Gay soccer, Beckham and an unorthodox Jesus

Out on DVD

“Eleven Men Out” (here!/Regent/Liberation) — A few athletes on U.S. sports teams — from baseball to basketball to football — have come out as gay over the years. In more recent times, such an event has come to create less drama than it would have in the past. Apparently professional soccer players in Iceland still have a long way to go when it comes to accepting a gay teammate, as we are led to believe in the drama “Eleven Men Out.”

While being interviewed for a story in a magazine, Ottar (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), the star of the Reykjavik soccer team, comes out. This lands him on the cover of the magazine and in hot water with his teammates and coach, who also happens to be his father.

Divorced from the former beauty queen Gugga (Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir) and trying to be a loving father to son Maggi ( Arnmundur Ernst Björnsson), Ottar attempts to sort out his personal life, which includes exploring his sexuality, being a good parent and being a good son, all the while maintaining his status as a star athlete.

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Friends Pétur (Helgi Björnsson) and Lára (Björk Jakobsdóttir) introduce Ottar to a team of amateur players, most of whom are gay, and soon he’s back on the playing field, with varying results.

Completely lacking the sense of humor and compassion of “Guys and Balls,” a German gay soccer movie that precedes it, “Eleven Men Out,” doesn’t really add up to much, not even tasty eye candy. DVD bonus features include here! news footage of gay sporting events and athletes.

“David Beckham: Life of an Icon” (Liberation/Starz) — The life story, so far, of millionaire soccer phenomenon, fashion icon and global celebrity David Beckham is told in this 77-minute doc. Declared to be the most famous sportsman on the planet, Beckham’s romance with soccer began at an early age, encouraged by his parents.

His relationship with the Manchester United team, which began when he was 14, helped turn the media spotlight on him, and it hasn’t gone dark since then. The great new hope for English soccer eventually joined M.U. at 16 and has gone on to prove his abilities as a top player. But since 1997, when he met Victoria Adams (a.k.a. Posh Spice), the woman who would go on to become his wife, his profile in the media has risen even higher.

In spite of the fact that he is uncomfortable with all of the hysteria and clamors for privacy, it hasn’t stopped him from courting publicity. His unique fashion sense has, of course, made him a fashion icon. A mere haircut generates media column inches. And his unambiguously homoerotic style has also made him a gay icon, a status with which he his quite comfortable.

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Ultimately, this doc is aimed toward soccer fans, and through interviews with school friends, a sports agency manager, teammates, journalists and even Beckham himself, the soccer phenomenon and his love of the game, the highs and the lows, is celebrated. DVD bonus features include an extended interview and more about “brand Beckham.”

“Forgiving the Franklins” (Indie-Pictures) — Part morality tale and part sex romp, “Forgiving the Franklins” is a funny and irreverent tale of a Southern Christian family from North Carolina from out director Jay Floyd.

Dad Frank Franklin (Robertson Dean), mother Betty (Teresa Willis), and football-playing son Brian (Vince Pavia) are members of a conservative church who are changed forever after a fateful car crash sends them to meet their maker, a very unorthodox Jesus (Pop DaSilva).

Frustrated by their narrow and judgmental world-view, he removes their “original sin” and sends them back to Earth. No longer inhibited, they bloom as husband and wife discover the pleasures of passion and their son embarks on a same-sex romance.

But there’s trouble in paradise, as their happiness puts them at odds with the neighbors, and their daughter (Aviva), a bitter cheerleader who prays to God in rants that are as profane as they are pious. “Forgiving the Franklins” is available on DVD May 20.

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