Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

"Very Good"

Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos Review


Like most people, I couldn't care less about professional soccer, but the U.S. in the 1970s is a wholly different story. Hell, from the exhorbitant length of the title of Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos alone you can tell that this particular era in soccer history really resonated.

And kudos to Once in a Lifetime for jogging my memory about one of the most peculiar eras in pro sports. For a few short years, pro soccer teams were selling out some of the largest venues in America: 75,000 would turn out to watch the New York Cosmos (with superstar Pelé at the helm) kick a little white ball around on a giant field of grass. By comparison, the most popular team in baseball, the New York Yankees, currently draw about 52,000 people to see each game.

But baseball's been around in America for a century. Soccer came out of nowhere, with the NASL cobbled together from a couple of tiny, failed soccer leagues which no one cared about. Big players like Pelé (well, mainly just Pelé) were mega-celebrities earning millions. And then, a few years later, it was all gone, and soccer retreated to the rest of the world aside from America once again.

How'd this all happen? Well, Once in a Lifetime walks us through the story, and it turns out it's mostly the usual suspects: Clever marketing, chutzpah, and sheer luck got soccer to the top, and good old corporate greed brought it down. It's all outlined here in gory detail, though the memories of many of those involved with soccer during this era seem to have faded considerably. Paul Crowder and John Dower's documentary is an obvious must-see for any soccer fan, but casual moviegoers may be put off. The story is complex, and it ping-pongs from corporate machinations to footage of various games (the outcomes of which are largely irrelevant to the meta-story here), and the film almost begs us to care about them. It's right there in the title, alas: This is primarily the story of the New York Cosmos and not a movie about the NASL as a whole, the latter being a far more interesting subject.

After sitting through the film I feel better informed and reasonably entertained, but mostly I'm stricken with nostalgia for '70s fashion and Marv Albert's hairdo. Alas I find I'm no more interested in soccer now than ever before. Your mileage may vary.

The DVD includes archival interviews with Pelé, a deleted scene about the Haitian soccer team, and footage from three "important" games from the era.

10 fieldgoals? Oops, wrong game.



Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 7th July 2006

Budget: $1000 thousand

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Paul Crowder, John Dower

Starring: as Himself (archive footage), Franz Beckenbauer as Himself, Carlos Alberto as Himself, Raphael de la Sierra as Himself, Phil Woosnam as Himself, Jay Emmett as Himself, Werner Roth as Himself, Peppe Pinton as Himself, Giorgio Chinaglia as Himself, Shep Messing as Himself, Clive Toye as Himself, Nesuhi Ertegün as Himself (archive footage), Ahmet Ertegun as Himself, as Narrator (Voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.