Welcome to the final entry of week 2 of the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! When creating a blog, coming up with a unique concept will help distinguish you among your fellow bloggers. SG from Rhyme and Reason combined his two favorite things, movies and poetry, to create a truly unique blog within the film blogging community. Go check out his one-of-a-kind format over on his site. But before you head over there, here is his review of Miracle, the biopic of the 1980 Winter Olympics gold medal US men’s ice hockey team.
A loss is a cross that the loser must bear,
In danger of letting it lead to despair.
He may have excuses of why it’s not fair,
But nothing will change while it’s there.
To shed it in favor of triumph and pride
Depends on the hope they can muster inside,
And winners emerge when their hope is applied
To effort no loser has tried.
MPAA rating: PG
For a while, when I was thinking of what movie to review for this 2000s blogathon, I tried to come up with some quintessential film that defined the decade. Instead, though, I just opted for a really good 2000s movie about an event that defined its decade – the 1980s. Detailing the unlikely triumph of the American Olympic hockey team in 1980, Disney’s Miracle didn’t revolutionize the inspirational sports drama, but it nailed its conventions so well that it has become an instant favorite of the genre.
Kurt Russell plays Herb Brooks, the hard-nosed head coach hired to gather and train the American Olympic hockey team, which has been bested by the Russian team year after year. Herb approaches the challenge with confidence, feeling that the U.S. has a chance to win gold, and he trains his team of hand-picked recruits with that exact goal in mind, leading to what could only be described at the time as a “Miracle on Ice.”
Russell delivers one of his best performances, nailing both the steely resolve and slight Midwestern accent of Herb Brooks. He’s a hard task master with his team, but that only helps him fit comfortably among the screen’s finest cinematic coaches, like Gene Hackman in Hoosiers and Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans. Naturally, he earns some pushback from his team and assistant coach Craig Patrick (Noah Emmerich), but his uncompromising methods and team-building tactics are vindicated by the end in crowd-pleasing sports movie fashion.
The one quibble I have, as with most films with a large number of interchangeable young males, is that the teammates are hard to tell apart at times. There aren’t any familiar thespian faces to distinguish one from another, and I’m not well-versed in famous hockey names like Mike Eruzione, though that did get better as the film progressed.
The political implications of the “Miracle on Ice” may be unfounded, considering the fact that the Soviet Union went on to win gold in the next two Winter Olympics, but it was still an unexpected point of national pride for all Americans, especially with how the opening credits recount a time when America was in sore need of good news. With its sports clichés based in truth, Miracle captures that pure inspiration and does what every rousing sports movie strives to do: leave you smiling at the end.
Rank: List Runner-Up
Best line: (Brooks, at the end) “But on one weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed most: a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance, once again, to believe.”
If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.