Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Once in a Lifetime

Once in a Lifetime

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 21, 2006 Released by: Miramax

This well-crafted, informative sports documentary chronicles the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos soccer team.

Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary True Story of the New York Cosmos gets one into the Big Apple milieu of the 70's during the infamous blackout and Son of Sam killing spree. Crime and bankruptcy hit the huge metropolis hard during the decade.

The founder of Warner Communications, Steve Ross, helped move the semi-pro group from Randalls Island, teaming up with top executives from Atlantic Records.

By 1975 things were looking really good for the Cosmos with the expensive (2.5 million) recruiting of the retired great Brazilian Pele. His country needed some nudging from the likes of Henry Kissinger to get him over to the States.

The North American Soccer League's Cosmos would end up playing in the brand-new Giants Stadium, and boost popularity of soccer in the U.S. Ross got others like Franz Beckenbauer from over a dozen countries which led to many sellouts. Big celebrities like Mick Jagger and Barbra Streisand would be seen in the dressing room. And the team frequented the hot disco club Studio 54.

Directors Paul Crowder and John Dower make Once in a Lifetime riveting in a "Rashomon" way with the surviving interviewees having their say about the NASL and the management of Warner Communications. Especially good are Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia, and one learns of the revelatory marketing of the Cosmos and a story from a rival coach about the shenanigans prior to a big game.

As teams like Italy and France highlighted the fever of a beloved world sport, this sharply edited cinema verite entertains in a way like only New York could during a volatile, yet exciting epoch.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Once in a Lifetime       B+       B+

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