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Posted by on Oct 1, 2010 in Kick-Back Friday

Kick-Back Friday: #136

Kick-Back Friday: #136


The Damned United (2009): Few Americans are familiar with Brian Clough, the outspoken UK football (read, soccer) manager, but the guy’s a legend in his home country. An American correlate would be somebody like the NY Yankees’ Billy Martin: a personality in danger of overshadowing the players, the ownerseven the sport itself. So when BBC Films and Left Bank Pictures wanted to back the filmic version of Clough’s controversial 44-day tenure at Leeds United in 1974, based on a bestselling novel by David Pearce, the natural choice to play Clough was Michael Sheen.

Sheen, known for his portrayals of Tony Blair (The Queen) and David Frost (Frost/Nixon), haslike a budding Meryl Streepdeveloped a reputation for pulling off virtuoso impersonations. And like Streep playing Julia Child in the woefully misdirected Julie & Julia, Sheen carries The Damned United when the film has trouble sustaining itself or knowing its direction. Is The Damned United a study of a single character, manager rivalries, the marital-like bond between professional collegues, or the relationship between coach and team? Director Tom Hopper and screenwriter Peter Morgan weren’t sure, it seems. But one thing is clear: they had a most valuable player. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed to prevail.

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.