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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Soccer > Business > Media > Once In A Lifetime – The Extraordinary Story Of the New York Cosmos (2006/Miramax) + Dare To Dream (2005/HBO Video/Miramax) [Soccer Documentaries]

Once In A Lifetime – The Extraordinary Story Of the New York Cosmos (2006/Miramax) + Dare To Dream (2005/HBO Video) [Soccer Documentaries]


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+/D     Documentary: B+/B



Soccer is the great world sports game.  It is played by and loved with a passion by every single country in the world… except The United States!  Why?  Is it because of isolationism?  Ignorance?  That baseball, football and basketball have carved up the sport’s potential territory in the U.S.?  Or maybe it is because they do not know how fun and exciting the game can be.  Two recent documentaries show the slow rise of the sport in the U.S. and how much love it has in the states.


Paul Crowder & John Dower’s Once In A Lifetime (2006) is the terrific real-life tale of how soccer had arrived and disappeared in the U.S. by the 1960s, only to have some big and powerful fans risk great amounts of time and money to bring it back in a country where it did not seem to catch on.  There are no natural breaks, it requires non-stop energy, it is comparatively friendly and takes a certain kind of sportsmanship like no other game.


Fortunately, it had big friends in Steve Ross, the man who built Warner Bros. into the first media empire (music, film, etc.) and mature media was just for starters.  Joined by Atlantic Records’ founders The Ertegun Brothers who also loved the sport, they launched The Cosmos and that romp began one of the greatest chapters in the long world history of the sport.


Loaded with great interviews, outstanding archive footage, excellent editing, exceptionally clever music choices and a solid writing for narrator Matt Dillon, it not only tells the tale in deep detail, but shows the heart and soul of why and how Ross was and is (long after his death) one of the greatest corporate executives capitalism will ever see.


His consistent and persistent efforts to never give up on the sport shows the intensity of his ambitions that made his film studio continue to be one of the greatest of all time and why Warner Music eventually overtook CBS/Columbia as the #1 record label.  Sure, soccer still is not the biggest game in the U.S., just the rest of the world, but Ross knew talent and there is plenty here from Péle to Franz Beckenbauer.  Though about the sport and an extraordinary story, this is one of the best documentaries of any kind in the last few years and is a must-see.



Dare To Dream (2005) shows the fruits of Ross’ work taking hold as the female athletes previous excluded from sports in general find themselves making the sport a hit the men could not make it in the U.S. resulting in Live Schreiber narrates how Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Michelle Akers and Joy Fawcett forged a permanent legacy by becoming one of the greatest soccer teams of all time, putting the U.S. on the map in a whole new way.  String in the 1980s and quietly building into unseen success, it is also one of the greatest stories of U.S. sports team achievement regardless of gender and a great flipside story to Once.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentation for Once is varied by the wide variety of footage used throughout that runs literally half a century, but looks very good and is very watchable just the same.  Dream is 1.33 X 1 and has some detail issues (is that digital combing?) but is colorful and also nicely edited, if not as good looking overall than the widescreen film.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad on Dream, but Once has a Dolby 5.1 mix that has moments where (watch the pun) kicks, though it cannot overcome so much older monophonic archival audio.  It too has an edge like the picture.


Dream has no extras, but Once has a deleted scene, Stories Of Péle interviews segment from SportsCentury and three game highlight segments: 1980 Soccer Bowl, 1981 Soccer Bowl and Péle’s Farewell Game.  If Warner and not Miramax would have made the DVD, I bet we would have had more on Steve Ross.  Don’t miss these discs!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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