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A Shot at Glory (2000)

The Cup, Cupdrömmen (Sweden), Kunnian kenttä (Finland), Sfida per la vittoria (Italy)

A small town. A small team. A big dream.

Directed by:

Michael Corrente

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 115 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Pele once referred to it “the beautiful game”. The Americans call it soccer. In Germany, it’s fussball. To the Scots, it’s fitba. And to Robert Duvall? Well, God only knows what he calls it, because in ‘A Shot At Glory’ you can barely understand a word the guy says. Apparently that’s a Scottish accent the Hollywood great is uncomfortably trying his hand at – and it wouldn’t be all that bad an effort, if only we were talking about a Scotland located somewhere between Newcastle and South Africa, as opposed to the better-known one that’s stuck onto the top of England. Seriously, he makes Mel Gibson’s Braveheart sound like a born and bred Stirlinger.

It’s a pity, for if only you could distinguish what on Earth the lead character was on about, this could perhaps have been a not-bad football flick. It belly-flopped upon its big screen release back in 2000, but now it’s been given a belated DVD release to coincide with the 2004 European Championships (well, us Scots need SOMETHING to watch during the summer!).

Set in the tiny fictional backwater of Kilnockie, the film follows the Scottish Cup run of the local Second Division trophy-dodgers managed by Duvall’s flat cap-wearing old schooler Gordon McLeod (Jeez, even the guy’s name sounds like a cliché). Poor Gord has two major problems (three if you count the accent): firstly, the club’s American owner Peter Cameron (an ever-twitchy Michael Keaton) wants to move the whole operation to Ireland; secondly, he’s been forced into signing his own estranged son-in-law, a cocky philandering boozer played by none other than tubby ‘Question of Sport’ captain Ally McCoist (wonder what made them think of him for the part?).

With no shocks coming from the storyline, the one surprise we’re left to discover is that McCoist actually looks a decent actor. He certainly outshines the doddery Duvall and, in fact, is possibly the sole member of the cast who looks comfortable on-screen. Of course, most of the rest of the guys taking part have got decent reason for not coming across as seasoned thesps – they’re nearly all real-life footballers (and aficionados of the Scottish game will have fun picking out the likes of big-eared striker Andy Smith and madcap ex-Airdrie keeper John Martyn). But what’s Duvall’s excuse?

It's Got: Mark Knopfler unsuccessfully battling against the temptation to rip-off his own score to ‘Local Hero’.

It Needs: To ditch Sky pundit Andy Gray’s opening speech about the bloody Old Firm and their tiresome (not to mention tenuous) links to religion. It would be nice to hear a story about Scottish football that doesn’t insinuate everything boils down to what’s going on with the gruesome twosome that are Rangers and Celtic.

DVD Extras A disappointing absence of any extra features. Surely it wouldn’t have been difficult getting some behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews? Not to mention the option of subtitles. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

Gregory's Girl, Local Hero, Mean Machine, Mike Bassett: England Manager

Summary

Scottish football fans will get a good laugh looking for their anti-heroes among the cast and spotting some familiar crumbling old terraces in the background – but anyone after a REAL challenge should just try fathoming what Robert Duvall’s saying.

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