So I dragged myself out to see a flick last night. It was either going to be 50 First Dates or Miracle. Even though Miracle was whatevery I know as well as I know the sun will rise tomorrow that I made the right choice. That 50 First Dates movie looks like a disgrace. Anyway, I saw 'Miracle' in the local little Cobble Hill theater. I really wish I liked going to this theater more because it's all old styley and creepy and half-haunted or whatever. But the friggin place has seats that are just backbreaking. I honestly feel like I would have been more comfortable sitting on a friggin airplane for 2 hours than in this seat. Also something is weird about the acoustics in there because you can hear every crinkle of a bag. Every munch of a popcorn. Everything. And once I start focusing on the extra noises and the bad seat situation the movie better be friggin good to make up for it. Oh well. Old theaters.
Anyway. Miracle. It doesn't really score. It's a nice shot but it hits the post with a clang. Whatever quick summary. It's about the ragtaggy 1980 Winter Olympic USA Hockey team that beats the evil Russians and people can't believe it and everyone gets happy and chants 'USA!' 'USA!'. The End. When this happened in real life I was 11 and not a real hockey fan at the time. I vaguely remembered people going sort of nutty but I think the media machine back then was nothing compared to it is now. Because I don't remember it all that clearly. I just remember thinking I should chant 'USA!' too- but not clear exactly why.
No doubt it is a great sports story but the movie plays out exactly how you'd think it would. It covers all the bases and has zero surprises. Here's the halfnutty coach who is obsessed with the team but turns out to be brilliant. His neglected but loving supportive family. The young players all with glimpses of backstories here and there. And the hockey.
Anyway, the one really good thing (in a way) about this movie is the nostalgia for 1980. It was sort of sweet. It was a simpler time then. There was the USA. Us. And the evil Russians. Them. Done and done. We knew who was our arch-enemy/rival. Who we were scared of and what we were scared of. Were we going to blow each other up? Yes? No? Maybe soon? Maybe later today? The USA was right. Russia was wrong. Let's settle it on the ice. We kicked ass and took names that ended in 'ov'. It was cool that way. Now everything is more blurry. Way more blurry. And that kind of sucks. Who are we scared of now? What are we scared of? Are we in the right? USA! USA!... usa? Ain't so simple no mo. I miss the time when weapons of mass destruction weren't 'hidden'. They were flaunted and I knew they were pointed at me 24/7... for a fact.
As for the movie it was cool sort of seeing this huge hockey story play out. But it never really got to me to the point where I got patriotic or even excited. It's a good story. Kurt 'Cash' Russell does a good job as coach Herb Brooks but apparently the Herb had a tendency to wear big plaid pants and jackets, so when Cash would give a speech he'd have these funny clown pants on and I'd be half-thinking 'Look at Cash in the funny clown pants!' instead of really listening. Granted the flick gives messages of determination and heart but in a sort of shruggy... 'well I sorta knew that already' way. More of a reinforcement than anything. Work really hard. Believe in yourself. And win.... and yawn.
Today it's not a big deal when the 'Dream Teams' stomps all over another country- because we're only surprised when they lose. So looking back on this old school hockey was sort of fun to see. It was shot well but after watching alot of live hockey on tv it was sort of difficult to watch the action. When I watch hockey I like to follow the puck zipping around. The problem in the movie was there'd be this good pass and I'd follow it. Then there'd be the cut away to Cash yelling something. Then it was a cut another part of the ice. Pass here. Cut away to the crowd. Back forth. Here there. It got dizzying and choppy. I just wanted to watch the whole game play out. To watch it unfold. And in the end I think that's what I would have preferred. Just to sit back with a beer and watch the real game... and I'm sure with the real deal I wouldn't have even noticed the bad pants.
Three Good Things About this Movie
- It made very clear that the goalie Jim Craig was a friggin superstar and
the MVP. Goalies get overlooked way too much.
- Cash did a nice job as the coach Herb Brooks. Even though his wig and accent and clothing were noticeable throughout.
- It had some good crunchily solid hits into the boards and was cool to see the actors actually doing the skating.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- It was a way long 25 minutes way too long.
- Disneyicity factored in with lines like when the players said, 'We're a family!' or whatever...
- It made me think about teams that worked just as hard if not harder and lost. And were totally forgotten. Sort of sucks. This unavoidable 'everyone loves a winner' concept is just rough sometimes. Especially for people like me who have watched many a team celebrate in the middle of the field right in my face.
All in all the story is definitely great. The movie... eh. For such a big moment in history it wasn't all that wowish. As sports movies go, a flick like Hoosiers was much bigger. This flick could have easily been on ABC as a made-for-tv movie or whatever. It felt that way and played out that way. And in alot of ways it felt like the small screen was where it belonged, because when push came to shove-- fitting the whole thing on the big screen felt like a bit of a stretch...