Miracle Review

by JoBlo (joblo AT joblo DOT com)
February 9th, 2004

RATING: 6/10

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The true-life tale of the American Olympic Hockey Team at the 1980 Lake Placid Games during which they triumphed, against all odds, to beat the Soviet Union squad, who at that point, were the most unstoppable force in the world (they had won every gold medal since 1960). This film details the development of the American squad from a wishy-washy team of amateurs (with bad accents) to a confident team of winners (with bad accents) Hockey ensues!

This is a cliché-ridden sports film about a ragtag team of "mediocres" who by the spirit, hard-ass nature and experienced coaching methods of one man with a horrible hairpiece, make all of their dreams come true, while lifting the morale of an entire country at the same time. Not too shabby, eh? I know all about this film's true life tale because I live in Canada and what we do in Canada is eat, shit and piss hockey, that is, whenever we're not eating, shitting and pissing beer. Having offended millions of Canadians by that last statement, I take it back, but do stick by our love of hockey and even remember witnessing the U.S. Olympic team upset the Russians back in 1980 myself (mind you, I was barely old enough to drink at the time -- which is about 6 in Canada...just kidding) Okay, let me get to this movie already. I enjoyed this film overall, but didn't really get as emotionally involved as I would have liked. I loved the set-up, the build up with the kids during training camp, the workaholic nature of Kurt Russell as the late coach Herb Brooks, but a tingle in the back of my mind kept reminding me that I knew exactly how things would end up in the movie, hence the lack of any real suspense. It didn't help that there were about 20 different people to focus on in the film, so building a real connection to any of the characters was doubly difficult. The picture decided, instead, to focus on Russell's home life vis-a-vis his sports goals, which was a decent way to go, since many people, including myself, can appreciate the difficulty of balancing one's professional life with the personal. Was the film inspirational? A little, but not as much as it wanted to be.

It was a good story about a bunch of underdogs overcoming the impossible, but in the end, I wasn't overly inspired, mainly because I didn't really care about any of them on a personal level. But maybe that's just me. I did enjoy the hockey though, especially since, well...I enjoy watching (and playing) hockey myself, although I'm not sure how many Americans will enjoy it since most of them would apparently rather watch bowling or golf over the only "real sport"...but I digress. And yes, I'm apparently out to make enemies with this review. I also got a kick out of hearing references to real players, situations, as well as cameo appearances, including ex-Hab Ryan Walter as a referee. But that's just me being a hockey geek. By the way, where the shit was Team Canada in 1980?!?! The film also ran a little too long (kinda like this review, but with less spelling mistakes) and spent the last 20 minutes or so minutely going through every period of the final game, which made sense considering the monumental importance of that specific event, but cinematically...somewhat redundant as well. The 80s fashions and world politics of the time were also well weaved into the picture, but none of the actors did a particularly memorable job in their role, with only Russell (and his very ugly hair) standing out like a sore groin (although even most of his acting was intrinsic) But overall, I was entertained by most of what this movie had to offer which was a classic story of "the forgotten" triumphing over "the superior", not because of talent or luck, but because of their sheer force of determination, training and belief in themselves. That's right...if they can do it...so can you, dude! Now get off your friggin' ass, stop reading this review and make something of your life, dammit!! "Again!"

Where's JoBlo coming from?
Any Given Sunday (7/10) - Baseketball (6/10) - For Love of the Game (7/10) - The Legend of Bagger Vance (5/10) - Mean Machine (6/10) - Mystery, Alaska (8/10) - Rocky (10/10) - Rollerball (3/10) - The Rookie (5/10)

Review Date: January 15, 2004
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writer: Eric Guggenheim
Producers: Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray
Actors: Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks
Patricia Clarkson as Mrs. Brooks
Noah Emmerich as Craig Patrick
Genre: Drama
Year of Release: 2004
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(c) 2004 Berge Garabedian

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