Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter Olympics: The Movies

I love an Olympics Opening Ceremony. I love the pageantry, the fireworks, the weird cultural choices each country makes. I love the parade of nations. No, seriously. I watch from Afghanistan Greece to Zimbabwe, and all the footage of their shining faces, their flag waving, their 'hi, moms', their hilarious dancing in the marshalling areas. But Sochi's Opening Ceremony hits the world at 3am our time, and I'm not that insane when I have a two-year-old that'll wanna get up and party at 6:30am. Plus I'm feeling more than a little 'meh' about Russia's take on their own culture after the pretty ugly treatment of their culture makers.

So I've been putting together a little movie night week to help me get in the mood. Turns out, there aren't really that many Winter Olympic themed movies about. So I've trawled through my memory for anything Winter Olympic sports related and come up with my favourites (and not so favourites because the list was a little lean).

Ice Skating/Dancing

1. The Cutting Edge (1992). Yeah, you read that right. 1992. I'm feeling old. But this is a classic. Actually, no, it's not... but if you're a total romantic comedy sap like me and like a bit of DB Sweeny - you'll love it. It's essentially two douchebags sportpeople (DB and Moira Kelly) who screwed their individual careers in Ice Hockey and Figure Skating respectively coming together to compete at the Olympics and fall in love. It pretty much qualifies as an 80s film. 

And if you really love it, guess what? There are three sequels (The Cutting Edge: Going for Gold; The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream; and The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice) with essentially the same storyline but with decreasingly well-known actors (except for that last one, which stars Brendan Fehr of Roswell, CSI Miami, Bones, Xmen and Nikita fame).

2. Ice Princess (2005). This one is pure Disney schmaltz, but it's got a great cast of leading ladies (Michelle Trachenberg, Kim Cattrall, Joan Cusack, Hayden Panettiere) that more than makes up for the fact that this is a movie about a girl geek who using physics and maths to become a champion figure skater. For reals. Does it help to know it was written by Meg Cabot?

3. Blades of Glory (2007). Don't stone me, but I'm not a Will Ferrell fan. This is a marginally funny movie about two douchbag skaters (hmmm, a theme?) who get banned from the sport but find a loophole if they skate with each other. Two dudes skating? Haha, right? Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are so wasted in this movie. 

4. Ice Castles (1978/2010). I haven't seen the original of this or the remake but from what I've read, they aren't the worst skating movies around. In a nutshell though - champion skater takes big risks and ends up blind then takes up skating again. Need a little cry and a boot up the butt of inspiration?


5. Cool Runnings (1993). "Jamaica, we have a bobsled team". Says it all really. Except, this was also one of John Candy's last films, and I loved that man.


6. Men with Brooms (2002). Did you ever watch Due South? The one with the Canadian Mountie? Yeah, he's in this but without the hat and the red coat and the Sam Browne belt. This is actually a bit of a sweet flick. The guys from a curling team reunite to fulfil their dead coach's dying wish. It's part mid-life crisis bloke movie and part romance. Leslie Nielsen's in it as Paul Gross's estranged father.

I'm going to try and find a copy of this one again, in honour of Norway's men's curling team's pants (geez that's a lot of possessive apostrophes).

Ice Hockey

I am less fond of Ice Hockey than I am of other Olympic sports. So much more meatheadness than I really care to watch. But there are a stack of Ice Hockey movies out there, so they make the list too.

7. Mystery, Alaska (1999) - Okay so this is actually a pretty good movie. Russell Crowe isn't atrocious. And Burt Reynolds, Mary McCormack, Colm Meany and Hank Azaria are great. It's about a small town obsession with Ice Hockey that leads to an exhibition match against a major league team. There's more small town interactions and relationship stuff than hockey though. Sports fans might not wanna tune in.

8. Mighty Ducks (1992); D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994); D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996) - I can't believe Emilio Estevez is in all three of these. Those must have been some lean years. Actually the first two aren't so bad. I managed to sit through them anyway.

9. Slap Shot (1977 with Paul Newman) and Slap Shot 2 (2002 with one of the Baldwin brothers) - pretty sure I know which I'd prefer watching.

10. Miracle (with Michael Keaton) - Don't know it. Never seen it. Probably never will. But 10's a much better number for a film list.

Are you a year round sports fan or a four-yearly enthusiast like me? Are you going to rune in to any of the Sochi events?


  1. I am not a fan of sport on TV, except the big ones - I love the opening/closing ceremonies.

    1. Me neither. The gender inequality in TV sport (and just professional sport in general) really gets my goat. But give me an Olympics Opening Ceremony and I'm cheering for all manner of sports.

  2. Oh Ice Castles - now tat is a blast from the past. I LOVED that movie and it made me want to ice skate. I couldn't skate for shit but it made me want to :) xx

  3. I love it, Lilybett. What a 'cool' idea (sorry, couldn't resist!). I snorted when I read Sonia's comment about Ice Castles. I can just see her there, dreaming of ice skating in 40 degree heat. x


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