Last night three friends treated me to an advance screening of "Miracle" – the new movie starring Kurt Russell that's based on the USA team that stunned the world when they beat the USSR 4-3 and eventually won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. The trailers for this movie were great and really drove my desire to see this film.
In comparison, this movie ranks up there with "Hoosiers", "Rudy", and even "Rocky" (with glimpses to "Rocky IV"). Time and time again you hear stories about how this game meant much more to America than the gold medal, and this movie made no issue of ignoring that idea. It begins with a montage of history flowing through the 1970s. We see footage and hear audio clips of all the historical, and cultural, events that shaped that time period. Wars, riots, pop culture, everything rapped up into a five minute nutshell, leading us up to Fort Collins, CO in 1979, where Herb Brooks (Russell) was being interviewed to be the head coach of the 1980 Olympic Hockey team.
The movie was fantastic, the audience was quiet listening to every word spoken, feeling every hit on the ice, feeling sick when Coach Brooks wouldn't let his team stop their conditioning drills. The acting wasn't over the top, but was just enough to make you feel like you knew the players, their place in life, and their desire to win it all.
"Miracle" wasn't so much a pro-US propaganda movie on the surface, but I can see tendencies in the background. The Russian team was big and very intimidating – they won games based on fear alone. Maybe that was like America at the time - scared of the big bad Russian machine. And perhaps the USA's win in Lake Placid was what woke up America once again. Who's to say.
If you want a great feel good movie to go and see, check out "Miracle" when it opens February 6. It made me want to coach again, it's something that I continue to dream about. Maybe it's something I should follow.
+ original post date: January 22, 2004 11:38 AM
+ categories: Movies