Six films to go, and I should finish this list of 100 films you must see (while avoiding the obvious) before I jet off on holiday to my favourite Greek island in a few weeks.
As I write today, its May 1st creeping towards the end of the football season and unfancied Leicester City are looking like they might seal the Premier League title today. Which brings me to football films.
I was once asked the question, what’s the best football scene in a film? This is easy. It’s Ken Loach’s Kes. The scene that features the school team playing football, with Brian Glover playing the ‘slightly balding Bobby Charlton’. Most blokes my age, in the UK, will recognise this scene from PE teachers of their youth.
Most blokes my age, who grew up in the 70s, 80s and 90s will also remember football hooligans – the best football hooligan film is the original 1980s The Firm (not the terrible remake) which I’ve blogged about before near the start of this list. However, you should also see Awaydays.
Awaydays isn’t so much a film about football or violence; it’s about footie, but also about fashion, music and growing up in the 80s. Music wise there are some standout tracks from Magazine, some great clothes (all back in fashion now – if they ever went out of fashion) and some great performances from a young, predominantly northern cast.
The film is based on a cult novel written by Kevin Sampson, who also did the screenplay and appears to be very close to the production of the film.
So, it’s a football violence film, but the violence is secondary to the plot. It’s a coming of age story and in many ways a love story between two young men. The film also features some very pretty young ladies, and good actresses to boot.
On a personal note, two of the cast members of Awaydays featured in my teen webseries Dylan Ogden, and they’re very good in this.
On a side note, in my own career I was once hired to write a footie violence film, and indeed I did early work on a film which went onto to be something of a hit on DVD. I was up against some real stellar writers when pitching for the project, including Kevin Sampson. I was overjoyed when I got the gig. I was paid £2,500 to do a first draft. My agent at the time told me that Kevin would charge more in the range of £20,000 for a first draft. Maybe I wasn’t a better writer for the project, I was just cheaper (story of my life)…
So, 6 films to go…
Matthew Cooper has written for most of the UK soaps, including writing episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal TV Society nominated. He’s been a script consultant and script writer for hire for over 20 years. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb.