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'Nine for IX: The '99ers' on ESPN Starting Tuesday 20 August

The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup winners reunite and reminisce in this commemorative documentary.

"They are the best known group of unknown women ever to captivate America," announces Tom Brokaw at the start of The '99ers. Premiering 20 August on ESPN, Erin Leydon's documentary looks back on the moment when the US women's soccer team made themselves known -- everywhere. While the precise moment might be named -- July 10, 1999, when the team beat China to win the World Cup at the Rose Bowl, the metaphorical moment is broader, more resonant, even timeless. The film is structured around a gathering of eight of the players, including this film's producer Julie Foudy, captain Carla Oberbeck, and Brandy Chastain, the one who took her shirt off. They walk back into the stadium and plop down on the turf, laughing and growing tearful over memories of their campaign, over years, to build support for the sport in the US, to achieve their own excellence as a group, and to weather their own storms, from Michelle Akers' chronic fatigue to Mia Hamm's reluctance to play the role of the media darling.

The movie offers a standard chronology, with dates and opponents noted as subtitles, game footage and announcers providing plot, along with interviews then and now, with the players and coach Tony DiCiccio. In addition, Foudy provides footage she took during their grand run to 1999, home-movieish scenes where they laugh and dance, ride buses and stage their own version of The Crocodile Hunter, adopting Aussie accents and wrestling a plastic lawn bear. Such footage is less instructive or even revealing than it is allusive, allowing you to imagine what the film doesn't need to show, how difficult their task had to be. The women are goofy and gracious, their antics indications that they were young and devoted to one another at the time when they were also working hard, achieving what had never been done. When they began playing as children, they all remember, there was no such thing as women's soccer in the US. They grew up to will it into existence.

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The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

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This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

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Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

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Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

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There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

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