Starting today, the Hoddle will go back to a version of what I have done in the past: write about whatever I want, including lighter topics that don’t always relate to discrimination and inequality — I’ll still check in on those topics fairly frequently, but not ever day. What I will do every day, though, is a version what I’ve done over the last month: I’ll have recommended readings or videos about inequality in a section I’m (at least tentatively) calling Stay Informed. You’ll see it in between the ramble and the links.
Ramble of the Day
I know a few of you have wondered about my thoughts on Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, the film written by, starring, and produced by Will Ferrell about Eurovision on Netflix. I couldn’t get around to it right away because the NWSL Challenge Cup’s opening weekend occupied my time for the film’s opening weekend, but it only took me a week to get around to it.
I had quite a lot invested in this movie. I was quite worried Ferrell might ruin it somehow, or that it wouldn’t get the uniqueness of Eurovision. As I watched, a weight was lifted off my shoulders: it was pretty good, and the parts about the actual song contest are perfect.
After introducing things, the film really finds the balance between telling the story of the protagonists, Ferrell’s Lars and Rachel McAdams’s Sigrit, and giving the audience a behind-the-scenes look at Eurovision. The music is never far away, and does a bit of the storytelling itself — our first look at the antagonist of sorts, Russia’s Alexander Lemtov (played fantastically by Dan Stevens) is while he’s rehearsing his song “Lion of Love,” and you learn that he’s a good-looking guy and he knows it.
It’s part of allows the music to truly dominate the film, as is the fact that the music producers and production and costume designers really, truly understood Eurovision as a sensory overload. There were elaborate outfits (again, I’ll reference Lemtov); there was a human sized hamster wheel on stage; and most importantly, the songs were ridiculous. “Lion of Love” is terrific, but another one I loved was Sweden’s entry “Coolin’ with Da Homies,” performed by the film’s music producer Savan Kotecha as a performer named Johnny John John. Kotecha described creating “Lion of Love” process as such in an interview with Variety, which made me appreciate the efforts all the more:
Lyrically, we went over the top. For me, writing some of the lyrics felt like they were put into Google translate for English. It’s not really how you would say it and that was very much the idea for that one.
It’s not a perfect film by any means — the storytelling of Lars’s relationship with his father Erick (played by Pierce Brosnan) feels like it was left to the wayside despite being set up as central to the film. Still, the combination of events is clearly the work of people who appreciate Eurovision, and I am beyond happy with that.
tl;dr: I watched the Eurovision movie on Netflix and really, really enjoyed it.
Stay informed, watch this: the descendants of Frederick Douglass read his 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Links of the Day
Schalke will launch a women’s team this month, which will begin play in the eighth tier per German football regulations.
A longer read: Kathleen McNamee interviews newly retired Spurs captain Jenna Schillaci on her career and finally earning a professional contract at 35 for ESPN