When “Goal” was released back in 2006, I was tentatively excited about the prospect of two more films centered on the exploits of Santiago Muñez (Kuno Becker). American soccer enthusiasts rarely get the kind of fan service that an entire trilogy of movies offers, but after finally seeing the oft-delayed follow-up, “Goal II: Living the Dream,” my expectations have warmed significantly. The story picks up where the last one left off, with Santiago enjoying great success at Newcastle United. When he’s traded to Spanish side Real Madrid, however, his relationships with Roz (Anna Friel) and Glen (Stephen Dillane) begin to crumble as his new superstar status goes to his head. As always, the on-the-field action is a blast to watch, but while Real Madrid’s cooperation helps bring a sense of reality to the movie (David Beckham gets so much screen time you’d think he had a supporting role), the different storylines feel like something you’d find in a telenovela. There’s one subplot involving Santiago’s mother (Elizabeth Peña) and her new family that’s particularly stupid, while some of the actors that made the first movie a joy to watch (like Dillane and Alessandro Nivola) are given even less to do the second time around. “Goal II” is still worth seeing, but you’ll probably feel guiltier and get less pleasure from watching it.
Click to buy “Goal II: Living the Dream”
If the pilot for “Pushing Daisies” wasn’t the single best hour of television to emerge in the 2007 – 2008 fall TV season (and it wasn’t, because I still say that honor belongs to the pilot for “Reaper”), then it can at least be said with some confidence that it was the one which made the greatest visual impact, courtesy of its gorgeous colors. It also had a pretty damned unique premise, involving Ned (Lee Pace), a guy with the ability to bring dead people back to life – but only for a minute at a time, lest their return to life result in the death of someone else – who splits his time between making pies, solving crimes, and pining for Chuck (Anna Friel), a girl he can never touch. Oh, right: it also had a script that was sweet, sentimental, unexpectedly dramatic, and very, very funny.
Hmmm. Suddenly, I’m beginning to wonder if I need to go back and re-watch the “Reaper” pilot. Maybe I got this one wrong.
Nah, just kidding…but “Pushing Daisies” is a great show, and after having re-watched the entire first season on DVD, I found myself geared up to see where things were going to go with the series, especially after that bombshell they dropped in the season finale: that Aunt Lily (Swoosie Kurtz) is actually Chuck’s mother.
Season 2 kicks off with a considerable amount of catch-up, which only makes sense, given not only how complicated the series is but also how long it’s been since the show was last on the air. This is a good thing if you’ve heard lots of great stuff about the show but were concerned that you couldn’t possibly get into it at this late date. Believe me, this is about as good a summation as you could hope to receive…and while it’s stuff that the regular viewers will already know, they’ve managed to slide in a few new scenes here and there to keep it interesting for everyone.
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