SA Movie Choice: 'Kicking and Screaming' with Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall and Mike Ditka delivered soccer's 'Bad News Bears'

A decade before becoming a part owner of MLS's LAFC, Will Ferrell  created a movie classic for the soccer family that set the U.S. soccer movie record with a gross of $56 million to surpass 2013 release "Bend it Like Beckham," which grossed $32.5 million in the USA.

Kicking and Screaming (2005)

The spiel
This family classic timestamps mid-2000s soccer to a tee, when pop culture presented it as a suburban sport for children and a Saturday morning blow-off-some-steam time for the parental units.

It’s cheesy as hell, but Will Ferrell as Phil Weston, a lifelong loser who discovers coffee and becomes a ranting, ignominiously irate soccer dad, somehow makes it all worth it (if you’re watching with the kids, at least).

Phil’s under-8 team is bottom of the barrel in the local rec league until he hires Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears (playing himself) to motivate his team up the standings. Phil’s father, Buck (Robert Duvall), coaches the Mavericks — the perennial champions — with an iron fist.

In the end it’s a father-son story of failure, redemption, and reconciliation painted haphazardly onto a canvas littered with dad jokes, ethnic jests and, as the title suggests, screaming. The only decent kicking going on is done by two Italian boys scouted by Ditka in a local butcher shop — go figure.

If anything, "Kicking and Screaming" tells you exactly what not to do when your kid’s coach is nowhere to be found at game time and you decide to take matters into your own hands. It can’t be that hard, can it?

Best lines
Will Ferrell, caffeinated and after a close loss, to his wife: “I am angry. I’m like a tornado of anger! Swirling about!”

“Coffee is the lifeblood that fuels the dreams of champions.” -Mike Ditka

Did you know?
"Kicking and Screaming" grossed $52.8 million in the U.S. and Canada, making it the highest grossing soccer movie of all time. "Bend it like Beckham" grossed $32.5 million.

How to watch
YoutubeTV, Amazon, Hulu

What Robert Ebert said ...
"With Ferrell in the movie, we might expect a raucous comedy like 'Old School,' or maybe 'Dodgeball,' a movie I have to keep reminding myself Ferrell was not in. But no, 'Kicking and Screaming' is more like 'The Bad News Bears' or 'The Mighty Ducks,' with the underdogs coming from the bottom of the league standings to eventually -- but I dare not reveal the ending, even though it will be obvious to every sentient being in the theater.
1 comment about "SA Movie Choice: 'Kicking and Screaming' with Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall and Mike Ditka delivered soccer's 'Bad News Bears'".
  1. R2 Dad, March 26, 2020 at 12:04 p.m.

    Too cringy--I coouldn't sit through it. I look forward to the remake in 30 years with Landon Donovan/Giovinco/Vela/Chicharito/Twellman as a old washed-up soccer player/coach that no one remembers (who actually played soccer) vs Ditka, a coach mostly known for his physical aggressiveness playing an entirely different sport. Kids don't know/care but grownups end up having to watch this, too.

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