Thursday, February 18, 2010

Movie of the Week

This week,

MIRACLE (2004)

Starring- Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Eddie Cahill

The 1980 Miracle on Ice USA Hockey Team's defeat of the mighty Soviets in Lake Placid is arguably the greatest sports story of all time. It is the ultimate underdog story. It is chronicled very accurately and well in the 2004 film Miracle. Miracle focuses mainly on the team's innovative and unorthodox coach, Herb Brooks. Kurt Russell gives one of the best performances of his career as Brooks, as he drives his 20 players to be "uncommon men."

The film does a nice job of providing the backdrop of Soviet/U.S. tension and the overall malaise that was prevalent at the time to ratchet up the importance of what the U.S. Hockey Team's victory meant to the nation. In addition to being about hockey, the film is a nice time capsule and history lesson without getting too in your face about it. With that said, I love the movie most for its scenes with Brooks and his team.

Brooks is a master of knowing how to get to and motivate each player, and how to make them as good as they need to be to win the gold. For anyone who has ever coached, this film is a great example of what being a coach is all about. I studied some of Brooks' techniques and ideas so that I could perhaps use them in my work as a basketball coach. In addition to the great performance by Russell as Brooks, the young men who play the team make the film very believable. The team is played by hockey players, not actors, and that adds to the overall quality and drama of the game action, but rest assured, they do not come up short as thespians.

I get amped up by this movie every time I see it, and would rather watch it than the Olympics that are on right now. Even if you are enjoying the Vancouver games, pop in the DVD of  Miracle and observe the greatest sports story ever.

Things to watch for-

Al Michaels' re-created commentary
The Coneheads

"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

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