Bend It Like Beckham may get all the headlines, but as far as pure, unadulterated soccer films go, there’s no better one than Goal!: The Dream Begins. Goal!: The Dream Begins was produced by Lawrence Bender, the man behind such legendary Hollywood films as Inglourious Basterds, Good Will Hunting, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2, An Inconvenient Truth, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Born in 1957 in New York City’s world-famous borough the Bronx, Lawrence Bender has made a career out of having an eye for great stories and ensuring that they lose nothing during the transition from page to screen. As such, and especially considering Bender’s resume, one of the best compliments I can give Goal!: The Dream Begins is to say that Lawrence Bender’s work on the film is one of the best examples of his skills as a producer to date.
Goal!: The Dream Begins is a story about a young Mexican American named Santiago Munez who is plucked from obscurity and his modest upbringing in Los Angeles and thrust into the middle of the world of professional soccer in England after a British scout discovers him. Over the course of his first season as a professional footballer, we witness Santiago’s struggles and triumphs as he transitions from following his dreams to facing the reality of what a dream come true actually looks like in the real world.
What makes Goal!: The Dream Begins so special is its ability to perfectly balance the wide-eyed optimism of pursuing your dreams with the stark realism you will face as you struggle to face the consequences of making your dreams come true. It is an inspiring story but with the caveat that you should be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. By that, I simply mean that Goal!: The Dream Begins doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of the life of a professional soccer player, which enables its message to hit home in a way that being too realistic or too optimistic would never allow.
That type of balanced storytelling is the reason Goal!: The Dream Begins is my favorite Lawrence Bender film. That’s saying quite a bit considering Bender has produced three films that have earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture (Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, and Good Will Hunting). Despite the greatness of those films, I stand firmly by my belief that Goal!: The Dream Begins is the best movie Lawrence Bender has ever produced.
John Boyega on Being Mentored
In the last few years John Boyega has become a pretty big name in Hollywood, with his biggest role so far being in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Although Boyega has become a bigger name in entertainment, he has had some influential help along the way, one such example coming from none other than Robert Downey, Jr himself. In a recent interview, Boyega spoke on how Downey helped coach and mentor him in preparation for his role in Star Wars. Boyega didn’t officially become a big name until the release of the movie, but did have several television roles.
Boyega specifically mentioned his fear of getting caught up in the glamour and fame aspects of acting, something that many other actors before him had done and forced them to slowly fade out. In order to avoid being a one-hit wonder, he took it upon himself to ask other veteran actors how they dealt with the pressure.
That’s where Downey Jr came in, as one who knows the pressures and darker sides of the acting business, as well as how too much ego and ambition could spell disaster for some. When asked, Boyega did freely admit that before first sitting down with Downey Jr, he never had any real relationship or connection with him at all. To get to him, Boyega simply asked his agent to help him get in contact with Downey, Jr. He too figured that he was the best source of information when it came to understanding just how extreme the entertainment world can be.