tclakin

The Greatest HOCKEY Movies, Ever

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

5. Youngblood (1986; Dir. by Peter Markle and starring Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Cynthia Gibb)

 

Blane Youngblood: “You can learn to punch in the barn, but you gotta learn to survive on the ice.”

Youngblood is a classic 80s movie in every sense: It has booming synth music, dimly-lit montages, and Patrick Swayze. It might not be the most popular movie in the hockey catalogue, but I’ll be damned if we at Game 6 are going to sit here and pretend like it’s not wildly entertaining anyway.

The movie tells the story of 17-year-old American hockey prodigy Dean Youngblood, a kid who has mastered every conceivable hockey skill except the killer instinct it takes to actually survive on the ice. When he finds himself in the thuggish world of Canadian junior hockey, Youngblood quickly realizes he has to learn how to fight, and fight hard, or he’s not going to make it.

Complete with a Rocky-esque boxing montage set in a barn and a final fight scene in which hockey sticks are wielded like swords, Youngblood is anything but realistic, but man, is it awesome.

4. Mystery, Alaska (1999; Dir. by Jay Roach and starring Russell Crowe, Burt Reynolds and Hank Azaria)

 

Donnie Shulzhoffer: “This is hockey, okay? It’s not rocket surgery.”

When it was released in 1999, for whatever reason Mystery, Alaska slipped way under the Hollywood radar. You’d think with Russell Crowe in the lead role, Mystery would have had some power coming out of the gate, but it actually came out a year before Gladiator and two years before A Beautiful Mind and Crowe was far from the household name he would soon become. Perhaps its poor performance is also due to a general American indifference towards hockey, but whatever the reason, Mystery came and went without making much of an impact. Too bad, because it’s a damn good movie.

The basic story concerns a small town in rural Alaska which happens to have a serious hockey addiction. Each weekend, a group of guys – some former low-level pros, a high school phenom or two – gather for the “Saturday Game,” which has become a big time town event and is eventually profiled, along with its participants, in a Sports Illustrated feature. Upon reading about the town and its group of weekend warriors, the NHL brass decides to stage a PR-minded exhibition match in Mystery, pitting the ragtag townies against the New York Rangers. A classic underdog story ensues, and it’s a great one.

3. D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994; Dir. by Sam Weisman and starring Emilio Estevez and Joshua Jackson)

 

Lester Averman: “Iceland’s bigger! Stronger! Faster! They’ve got more facial hair!”

If you grew up in the 90s and love sports, chances are you’ve seen The Mighty Ducks. Hopefully, you’ve also seen D2 – because it’s better. It’s got the Bash Brothers, Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, knucklepucks, giant Icelandic nutjobs who make the 1980 Russian Olympic team look like a bunch of cupcakes, and, last but not least, Emilio Estevez as legendary coach Gordon Bombay. In 1994 this probably wasn’t that big of a deal, but it’s about 1000 times funnier now when you remember that Estevez is Charlie Sheen’s brother.

2. Miracle (2004; Dir. by Gavin O’Connor and starring Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson)

 

Jack O’Callahan: You know what Coxy, let me ask you a question. Why’d you wanna play college hockey?
Ralph Cox: Isn’t it obvious? For the girls.

A lot of people love Miracle because it’s one of the best hockey movies of all time, maybe even one of the best sports movies of all time. And that’s fine. It certainly is both of those things. But what too often goes unappreciated – and the real reason we here at Game 6 love Miracle so much – is that it is also one of the best Boston movies of all time.

Think about it: when people talk about the greatest Boston movies, they bring up names like Good Will Hunting, The Departed, Blown Away, and now, The Town. And they should – those are all great flicks. But somehow Miracle never gets mentioned, even though it absolutely should. Half of the main characters are Bostonians. You’ve got Mike Eruzione, Jimmy Craig, and Ralph Cox, not to mention Jackie O’Callahan, who has to factor into any discussion of the best Boston movie characters ever.

Best – and hardest – of all, the movie gets the accents right. No one ends up sounding like Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days (“We ah tahking about pahssible nucleah WAH”), because the casting is impeccable. Just look at Mike Mantenuto, who plays O’Callahan so convincingly: this is a kid who grew up in Hopkinton and played hockey for the University of Maine and UMASS-Boston. Doesn’t get any more authentic than that (sorry, Matt Damon). So if you like Boston movies, or hockey movies, or sports movies, or, hell, good movies, check it out. You won’t regret it.

1. Slap Shot (1977; Dir. by George Roy Hill and starring Paul Newman)

 

Jim Carr: “Oh this young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country’s refusal to accept him, well, I guess that’s more than most 21-year-olds can handle… Ogie Ogilthorpe!”

Ah, Slap Shot. Unquestionably the greatest hockey movie ever (and anyone who tells you otherwise is either (a) confused, (b) 9 years old or (c) doesn’t like hockey) and quite possibly the best sports movie of all time.

Yeah, you read that right: Slap Shot is quite possibly the best sports movie of all time. It really is.

For starters, at its center is Reggie Dunlop (Newman), a pantheon sports movie character if there ever was one. I still think this is Newman’s greatest role, and that’s saying something. In any other movie, the presence of Dunlop alone would be enough to elevate it into the top-25, but then you add the Hansons and their toys, the ultimate goon Ogie Ogilthorpe, Dave “Killer” Carlson, probable pervert Morris Wanchuck, Tim “Dr. Hook” McCracken, Denis Lemieux, announcer Jim Carr, and we haven’t even mentioned the classic cameo from Clarence “Screaming Buffalo” Swamptown, who was known to refer to his hockey stick as the “Big Tomahawk,” and opposing players as “the little scalps.”

I could go on forever, but I won’t. There’s no need. Slap Shot is in the hall of fame. Enough said.

Now just go watch the damn thing, will ya? Do yourself some good. I don’t want to have to send the Hansons after you.

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  1. You seaaaaaahhhhriahhhhs heeeeeaaaaaaaahb?

    Jack O’Callahan

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