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Business News/ Money / Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins: 3 valuable money lessons to teach investors

Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins: 3 valuable money lessons to teach investors

An underdog sports film, 'Next Goal Wins', directed by Taika Waititi, fails to engage the audience with its multiple storylines and lack of depth. The film attempts to tackle themes of acceptance and diversity, but falls short in delivering a compelling narrative.

Hollywood Hit, Investing Hero: Next Goal Wins' Surprising Money Lessons (
Hollywood Hit, Investing Hero: Next Goal Wins' Surprising Money Lessons (

We love underdog sports films, don’t we? If the recent cricket world cup was any proof, then just check how many of you know the Shah Rukh Khan speech, ‘Sattar minute. Sattar minute hain tumhare paas…’ by heart. We identify with not just the coach but with the members of the team as well. We know who likes who or what, their struggles may be individual but we know someone who is going through the same. That’s why when we step out of the theatre, we have laughed and cried and loved the drama and then the catharsis of it all. 

Also Read: Dunki: 4 key money lessons you can learn from the Shah Rukh Khan film

If you are a fan of Kabir Khan and his team, or have earmarked the Ted Lasso cookie recipe, you will watch this head scratcher of an underdog film totally puzzled. You want to root for the team who has a story that’s real. Their dismal FIFA ranking is real. Their mad determination to make that one goal in a world cup qualifier is also real. Then why do we come away saying: Yeh kya tha?

Don’t get me wrong, look at the cinematic credentials of the film: written and directed by Oscar winner Taika Waititi. A film that stars Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, Elisabeth Moss along with Polynesian actors, and shot in beautiful Hawaii (that is a great substitute for American Samoa. Let us try to understand. 

So an angry, burnt-out coach is sent to American Samoa to coach their football team. Their only claim to fame? They hold the world record of the worst loss: 31 to nil against Australia. The coach arrives only to discover that the team is worse than your neighbourhood galli-cricket bunch. None of them are dedicated footballers and they’re as motley a crew as dry-fruit mix dabba in your kitchen pantry. It takes a huge learning for the coach as well as the team and the ask is low: they need one goal!

Again, the movie is a dramatised version of a documentary by the same name which in turn is based on a real life story. The film should be on an OTT platform soon but the money lessons it teaches are different from successful films.

Also Read: 3 key money lessons investors can learn from the movies which will hit the big screen in 2024

Turn your players into a team

The island population is like 59 thousand or something, so the footballers are doing more than just playing football. They hold so many jobs, football does not seem like their profession. The Dutch American coach Thomas Rongen’s (Michael Fasbender) task is to get them to eat, sleep, drink and live for football. He tries the ‘yelling at players’ routine which you have seen coaches do from the sidelines if you watch league cricket. But without having an understanding of the islander culture, their economic circumstance, the yelling just seems pointless, and is unsuccessful.

Let us say your portfolio is a bit like the American Samoa football team. All different, and on their own they seem to be okay, but together, they need to work as a team to make you rich. So you must keep studying to see which of your stocks is performing and which is not. You have to be the coach and figure out what makes them tick and then use that to push them to perform.

Your biases teach you about yourself

In the film, the coach is unable to understand what Jaiyah (played brilliantly by Kaimana) is all about. The team’s best player is transgender, and the coach is unable to accept that. The islanders have always had ‘fa'afafines' among them and have no problem at all with the ‘otherness’. It's a bias that the coach has. It takes time for the coach to get over his biases and then the result is awesome. By the way, Jaiiyah Saelua in real life is FIFA’s only transgender player and is a celebrity to boot.

As an investor, don’t be too quick to reject an investment opportunity because you don’t understand it, or claim that something different is doomed to fail. Your ignorance and unwillingness to accept new things could be costly.

Also Read: Fighter Movie: This Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone starrer has 4 invaluable money lessons

The writing makes or breaks a film

Writer director Taika Waititi tries to do too many things with the film and does not manage to engage the audience with anything. The coach and the ex wife could have been a dramatic relationship in the film, it isn’t. Will Arnett has super comic timing, but his role could have been given to anyone. The coach’s loss of his daughter could have been more. It isn’t. The director has a penchant for appearing in his films and as pastor in the film, he’s supposed to be funny. He isn’t. In fact the deleted scene doing the rounds of YouTube makes you want to do to him what the holy man does to the players: really slap the man with the holy book. 

Comedy is a delicate thing, when players you want to identify with are treated as caricatures, and when the coach is called ‘white guy’ all the time, it stops being funny. But you do remember how Shah Rukh smiles when he sees the team members beat up the local lads who say rude things to the players from the North East. He stops Krishnaji from intervening by saying, ‘I see a team here.’

When you create your portfolio, you have to be careful. Build slowly but surely. Trying too hard to do too many things - like Taika Waititi does with this film - is bound to lead to a film that’s neither funny, nor dramatic and certainly not memorable. That means a portfolio that is going nowhere too. Plus, it will help if you have a portfolio manager who knows your needs. And no matter how much Taika Waititi might flash his credentials and credit for having spotted the documentary, you want to tell him, We know better. We have Jaideep Sahni who wrote one of the best ever underdog sports team films. Hollywood can laugh uncomfortably with Next Goal Wins, we will always have Chak De India! 

Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. She can be reached on Twitter at @manishalakhe.

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Published: 03 Feb 2024, 10:52 AM IST
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