Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/
  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/


FIFA, The World's Worst Organization, Has Put Out The World's Worst Movie

Normally when someone says a movie is the worst movie in the history of everything, you'd take a look at Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" and see that it can get worse. This isn't the case with the FIFA propaganda film "United Passions." It somehow manages to be worse than "The Room" and that's saying something.

Don't get me wrong, Tim Roth nails it--he always does--but literally every other part of the movie fails on literally every single level. No, I am not being hyperbolic.

If you're a glutton for punishment and want to see this disgusting piece of propaganda you'll need to find your way to one of the 10 theaters in the country showing it, like I did. If you live in New York City you'll need to make your way to Union Square, a transitional zone between uptown and downtown, where new New York and old New York mix, and head two blocks south past the farmer's market, past protesting youths and old men playing chess to 12th street and the Cinema Village.

The small art house theater isn't the busiest, there were maybe 10 people walking out after a film when I got there, but it generally chooses well reviewed films. Except in this case; no one liked "United Passions."

"You're the first person to see it today," said the 20-year-old with the stylish haircut behind the concessions counter when I presented my ticket to him.

"United Passions" made about $900 total it's opening weekend, that's somewhere between 75 and 180 people depending on how much money the theaters make per ticket. There were two other people that came by to see it over the weekend. I imagine they were either curious, bored, or looking to write a story like I was.

Outside of Tim Roth's performance, he literally doesn't even appear in the first half of the film, there's no reason to see "United Passions." There is no plot, the characters aren't very likable, the writing is childish, the villains (the English) are hilariously racist, and there is no sense of context for anything that is happening.

Navigating the movie's narrative structure is like trying to spell a word with Spaghetti-o's: impossible. You float from place to place, from time to time with little to no historical context to ground you. The only reason you know World War II is going on is because the German guy is a Nazi and the Italian is a fascist, and the only reason you know any of that is because they come out and say so.

The story of the first World Cup could be interesting, it isn't. Keep in mind that this is supposed to be a propaganda film when I tell you that, according to the film itself, the first World Cup was bought with a rather sizable bribe.

A Uruguayan diplomat has a meeting with the first FIFA president, Jules Rimet, and wants to host the first World Cup. He wants in, but he also says, "We don't want to sell the one resource we have: honor."

"Please, don't misunderstand me. We don't want to buy anything. Let's just say, we would be especially honored to host this competition. We have unlimited funds, Mr. Rimet. Unlimited funds," says the diplomat.

Does it sound like he offered a bribe to anyone else? That what it sounds like to me. By the end of their conversation you know they've made an agreement, which is why it's odd that in the very next scene Rimet says, "The first world championship will be held in a nation yet to be determined." They then hold a vote, and to the shock of everyone Uruguay wins!

"United Passions" is filled with moments like this, moments where it alleges wrongdoing but never quite comes out and says it. One of the final scenes in the first half of the movie is a World Cup final between Uruguay and Brazil. Everyone is sure the Brazilians will win, even Rimet. The game is tied and about to end, so Rimet heads down to present the trophy he bribed a sculptor, with two bits, to make, but when he makes his way onto the field, Uruguay has won. He's very shell shocked and you get the feeling that the match might have been fixed without his knowing, or perhaps it had been fixed the other way and Uruguay won anyway. Either way something fishy went down there.

Then Sepp Blatter enters the film!

"[Blatter] is apparently very good at finding money," says the newly elected FIFA president Havelange when introducing Blatter to his inner circle.

It's fairly obvious from their introductions that both Blatter and Havelange are corrupt. It's implied, by an incredibly racist Englishman, that Havelange bribed his way into the presidency. Given Havelange's later lines to Blatter this wouldn't surprise me at all.

"I need this contract [with Coca Cola], get it at any cost," Havelange says to Blatter. Their body language makes it fairly clear what he means by any cost. There was probably a bribe involved, but that's the movie's implication and not mine.

Please don't sue me Coca Cola, I have no money to take. I am poor.

Then Blatter has a meeting with an Adidas executive on the side of a foggy highway at some gas station in the middle of nowhere. They talk about a sponsorship deal and, the Adidas executive talks Blatter into using their ball exclusively, and then they head to the back of the executive's car. He says he doesn't have a lot to offer in return, as he opens the trunk of his car. Given the setting, the foggy side of an abandoned highway, you expect the trunk to be filled with $20 bills, gold bullion or even one of Blatter's enemies, but no. It's just soccer equipment.

"Bullshit! There was money in that trunk," I cried out at the screen in the empty theater. The implication of a bribe was once again there, but they stopped short of actually showing it.

Again, please don't sue me, Adidas. I have no money.

Then there's the Argentina World Cup, where Blatter is concerned about human rights abuses! He's there trying to talk Havelange out of having it there considering everything that's going on, which is hilarious considering a couple of thousand people have died in Qatar building their stadiums. It's darkly comic, but comic nonetheless.

Havelange also makes a direct reference to Diego Marradona's "Hand of God" goal against England in the final, saying that the people of Argentina need something to hope for. The implication there being that the match was rigged and England was robbed, which would come as no shock to any Englishman and is hardly the first case of match fixing in a World Cup. Recently Italian newspapers have been questioning not only Italy's loss, but Spain's controversial loss to South Korea in 2002. Ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, who is also at the center of the FBI's current investigation, is being accused of placing referees in certain games to try and affect the outcomes. Who knows if there's any truth there, but considering the FIFA propaganda film implies past match fixing, who knows?

Then the obviously corrupt Havelange picks Blatter to replace him and Blatter wins the vote, as if there were any doubt.

"The slightest breach of ethics will be severely punished," said Blatter after he won, "We will play by my rules now."

Keep in mind his rules involved taking bribes from countries, such as South Africa, and passing them out to avoid controversy like in the case of Ireland. Looking through Blatter's lines in the movie through the lens of these recent allegations makes for great comedy.

When it seems Blatter's goose is cooked and the other FIFA executives have finally grown tired of him, he goes to his old friend Havelange to ask for advice. Havelange gives Blatter a list of five names that are on the fence about the vote and says to go get them. Blatter asks how. It's a good question. Havelange says to find something on them – their dark secrets – and then he will have them. That sounds a lot like blackmail. Actually, I think that is blackmail.

Despite having no main character, no real storyline, no sense of historical context, and feeling very much like the cheesiest propaganda film of all time, there is a sense that FIFA was corrupt from its first breath; that the corruption has always existed; that there were always bribes and match fixing and shady deals. That the corruption has spiraled out of control under Sepp Blatter and has reached a critical mass.

As the film ended and the lights came on I knew that I'd never want to see "United Passions" again, even with friends to trash talk it, something that we very much enjoy doing with bad movies.

The fact that this movie even came out shows how out of touch Sepp Blatter and the FIFA executives that commissioned it are. That they could OK a movie that makes them look so obviously corrupt shows how far down the rabbit hole they have fallen. That they aren't bothered by the very obvious implication of corruption shows how very corrupt they must be.

There was no one waiting for the next showing. I would be the movie's only viewer on that day. The sun had already set as I walked two blocks north to Union Square and my long subway ride back into Queens.

FIFA is in transition. "United Passions" marks the end of old the FIFA, the hilariously and incompetently corrupt FIFA we've come to know. We don't know what's going to happen next, if things will get better or not. I hope they do, but who knows.

I do know one thing, when they make a sequel, and they should, it needs to begin with the FBI and Swiss police arresting of all the corrupt FIFA officials in that hotel three weeks ago – and they need to set it to Italian opera music. That should be a movie worth seeing. Hopefully it has a happy ending.

Videos you might like