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Hooligan films: is it time for football cinema to move on?

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  Tuesday 20th January 2015
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Tuesday 20th January 2015
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British football cinema has always largely relied upon storylines of violence and hooliganism for their leading narrative. Football Factory, Green Street, The Firm, Rose of the Footsoldier and many more feature on the line-up of gritty dramas complete with aggressive and troubled males who want to battle their stresses away on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s been tried and tested, there’s a market for it, but surely even that market have had enough of the same regurgitated storylines. 1995’s film, ID, was of its time, but now they’re under way with another helping that will feature Tamzin Outhwaite, with the really out there “undercover cop gets too involved” plot. The director talks of tackling more societal issues, but don’t worry, “it also has lots of fun and fights”.

There’s plenty of entertainment to be had out of the beautiful game without reaffirming and often glorifying what was a dark part of our footballing history in the hooliganism heydays. Though it still exists, it’s been mostly pushed to the recesses and dark corners which is where it belongs. You can actually go and watch your team. If that’s not interesting enough in itself (of course there’s plenty of variability depending on who you support) then why not start wagering on them to bring that excitement back? With some help from the sports experts at blue sq, you could even turn a profit and end the day a winner, which would be much more than you could say after spending another couple of hours watching some of the same old cinema.

That’s where Sacha Baron Cohen’s Grimsby comes in and hopefully sets the tone to bring down the stereotypical “lad movie” by spoofing it and stopping the rot. We’ve seen it across plenty of other genres – horror movies weren’t the same after Scary Movie, and cop flicks lost some of their prestige from the likes of Naked Gun. Using that tone to make jokes out of just how predictable and stereotypical the plots have become could be a good thing, for quality cinema at least. 

Though the local residents don’t appear to be taking too kindly to it, you can expect the always-astute comedic touch from Baron Cohen. Even Ricky Tomlinson admits the Grimsby folk are likely to “hate it”. But it’d be much more enjoyable than another predictable couple of hours bad acting and worse plots.

The editorial unit