Mark rice Red Letter daze staff writer Now that we”ve done our time in the line, the countdown has begun to the start of hockey season. While hockey hasn”t received as much Hollywood attention as baseball and football, there still are a bunch of great films dedicated to the sport. So, since the NHL isn”t helping out in filling our demands for hockey, here are a few entertaining flicks to fill your need for the sport on ice.
There are a bunch of reasons why this film always finds itself in the top ten of critic lists when it comes to sports movies. What puts Slap Shot at the top of all sports movies is the fact that it never takes itself too seriously. From beginning to end, Paul Newman and the off-the-wall Hanson Brothers lead a team of actors (many of them actual minor league players) who pay tribute to the subculture of minor league hockey and the gritty, gutsy elements that we love in the sport. In the words of Jim Carr the radio announcer for the team, ‘Everybody is on their feet screaming “Kill! Kill! Kill!” This is hockey!’
OK, everybody now, ‘USA! USA! USA! … ‘ This relatively new film has solidified into a sports movie classic. Fortunately, the movie makers took a story that could have turned into a big wheel of cheese and made a classic. Additional kudos to the film for realizing that the original events of the Winter Olympics were amazing on their own and for not embellishing the story for the big screen. Kurt Russell is excellent as he plays master coach Herb Brooks and dons a lot of out-of-fashion plaid suits. Another thing to watch? The skillfully shot game scenes.
In between directing Austin Powers movies, director Jay Roach paused to make a really enjoyable sports film. The town of Mystery, Alaska has more hockey-obsessed people per capita than sections A and B at Lynah, one of which is an everyman town sheriff played by Russell Crowe. A publicity stunt is hatched to have the New York Rangers play the all stars of this remote town. At the rate that the Rangers have been playing in recent years, you would think that the locals would have a good chance of winning. However, Mystery Alaska is also a great portrait of small town life as the various Northern Exposure-like residents must deal with their new found fame.
While this tear-jerker story about two star crossed lovers is quite nice, the real reason for watching this movie is to see good old Cornell Hockey in action. It turns out the leading man of this film also plays hockey for the always hated Harvard. The real highlight is when he has to play the Big Red and the movie actually uses some footage from Lynah Rink. As expected, Cornell is victorious. Supposedly, Cornell coach Ned Harkness would only allow the film to use Cornell jerseys if Cornell won the game. During Cornell-Harvard games, the Pep Band actually will often play the Oscar-winning theme song to the film to taunt Harvard.
Archived article by Mark Rice
Red Letter DAZE Staff Writer