Film of the Day - Rudo y Cursi


Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Rudo y Cursi

Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Rudo y Cursi

 

A movie for every day of the year – a good one

 

 

16 March

 

The Wanderers FC win first FA Cup, 1872

Today in 1872, the London football club Wanderers won the first football association cup, the oldest football competition in the world. It was the first of three wins of the cup for the club. The FA Cup is a knockout cup open to all football clubs who are established enough, and with facilities enough, to take part. In 1871-72, being the first season of the cup, there was a piecemeal and eccentric series of regulations – Wanderers managed to get to the final having won only one of their four games because in those days a game ending in a draw resulted in both teams going on to the next round. The final was played at the Kennington Oval, Wanderers’ home ground (and that of Surrey County Cricket team, which it still is) where Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0. The following year, given a bye all the way to the final as a result of winning the previous year, Wanderers beat Oxford University 2-0. The club’s third and final FA Cup win came at the end of the 1877-78 season when they again beat Royal Engineers. Success was short-lived: the following season Wanderers were knocked out in the first round of the FA Cup; by the 1880-81 season Wanderers were unable to raise a team and so couldn’t compete. By the following year Wanderers had de facto ceased to exist, playing only one ceremonial game each year against Harrow School at Christmas. In 2009 Wanderers were reformed as a charity-raising team and went on to stage a rematch of the 1872 FA Cup Final with Royal Engineers at the Oval in 2012. They lost 7-1.

 

 

 

Rudo y Cursi (2008, dir: Carlos Cuarón)

Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna came to international prominence in the 2001 drama Y Tu Mama También and reteam for this footballing drama that also takes smalltown boys on a rites-of-passage journey. The journey in this case is also sex-soaked, but then it’s also dripping in cocaine, drink, beautiful women and all the other trappings of the high life. This being the story of two naturally gifted poor half-brothers on a banana plantation who are spotted by a talent scout who happens to be in the area and then whisked off to Mexico City, where one becomes a striker for one of the city’s teams, the other a goalkeeper for another. One (played by Bernal) winds up with the hottest woman in the country (played by Jessica Mas); the other (Luna) with the biggest cocaine habit. It ends badly for both. As a film Rudo y Cursi is a little schematic in its rise-and-fall dynamic, but as a shorthand for what hits a Beckham, a Messi or a Suarez it tells what must be a true story – of guys out of their depth, suddenly surrounded by everything that money can buy, squads of hangers-on, with only their families to turn to for escape and counsel, who are also clueless and are also entirely swept along in the whirlwind. Rudo and Cursi are ciphers, in other words, and the acting talents of Bernal and Luna are powerless in the face of a script that isn’t interested in fleshing them out. More interesting is the scout Baton – straw hat, grubby shirt, girl on each arm – the ultimate stereotype, though played by Guillermo Francella with loads of guile, charm and intelligence, the bridge between the rural poor and the blinging rich. In a world of widening chasms between rich and poor, the film could be seen as a metaphor for the pay-no-tax entitlement of the super-rich and their “go hang” attitude towards the rest. If it is, it is never overt. Another interesting absence, this time definitely deliberate, is the decision to show no football whatsoever. Even the crucial “it all hangs on this goal” sequence required in all sports movies is conveyed by a series of close-ups of spectators in the stadium, cuts to various locales in the country (bars, mostly). There’s nothing here to frighten the sport-o-phobe.

 

 

Why Watch?

 

  • See what Alfonso Cuarón’s younger director brother can do
  • Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna together again
  • A sports movie without (much) sport
  • Adam Kimmel’s cinematography

 

© Steve Morrissey 2014

 

 

Rudo y Cursi – at Amazon

 

 

 

 

imdb poster Rudo y Cursi
Rudo y Cursi (2008)
Run time: 103 min
Rating: 6.8
Genres: Comedy | Drama | Sport
Director: Carlos Cuarón
Writers: Carlos Cuarón
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Guillermo Francella
Trivia: Two siblings rival each other inside the world of professional soccer.
Storyline Mexican half brothers Beto and Tato – who will eventually be appropriately nicknamed Rudo (rough) and Cursi (corny), respectively – have a typical love/hate relationship with each other. They both work on a banana plantation and live with their extended family consisting of their mother, abusive stepfather, sister Nadia, and Beto’s wife Toña and their children. The family are rural peasant class and are barely making ends meet. The brother’s fortunes change when into their lives comes Batuta, a soccer scout. Despite their advancing ages, both Beto and Tato are naturally gifted at soccer, Beto as a goaltender and Tato as a striker. Playing professionally has always been Beto’s dream, although Tato has other professional thoughts on his mind. Batuta eventually recruits both for different teams in Mexico City. Beto and Tato’s fortunes rise and fall, the falls based on those things which hold more passion for the brothers. For Tato, he loves fast women, specifically television … Written by Huggo
Plot Keywords: soccer, gambling, mexican, banana, mexico
Box Office Opening Weekend: $211,460 (USA) (8 May 2009)
Gross: $1,826,674 (USA) (21 August 2009)