David Anspaugh made his directorial debut with “Hoosiers”, widely regarded as one of greatest sports movies all time. He also directed “Rudy”, another timeless classic of the genre. Unfortunately, the third time wasn’t the charm, as his third sports drama, “The Game of Their Lives,” doesn’t live up to its predecessors. In fact, he bombarded with reviews and public look alike.
The unforgettable film is inspired by the 1950s World Cup soccer match between the United States and England. The English side were clearly ahead to win, but the United States shocked the world with a blistering 1-0 win. Even though the United States did not win the World Cup, their victory over the English is still considered one of the most surprising surprises in FIFA history.
Too bad the match couldn’t be told in a better film. The characters populating “The Game of Their Lives,” all of which are based on real people, feel like cardboard cutouts designed to tick basic “underdog” boxes. The film’s meager budget makes the whole thing look like a cheap knockoff of a better movie. What results is the ultimate in generic “inspirational sports movie” entertainment.