Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Morning Rant

Sorry for the lack of posts yesterday, it was a long day of working my real job and then after getting home and eating dinner I did what I seem to do very well these days: fall asleep for a long period of time. Wait, who exactly am I apologizing to?

Anyway, quick rant here. I think part of the reason I founded this blog was to have a forum where I can complain about things like this: Hollywood is remaking "Slap Shot."

To a hockey fan, player and a movie lover, this is absolute blasphemy. This is akin to wanting to add modern touches to the Sistine Chapel by spraying graffiti all over it. "Slap Shot" is only one of the best sports movies ever made (and that's not just my biased opinion) and along with "Caddyshack" is the best sports comedy ever made. The movie, despite being over 30 years old, has held up remarkably well, so you can't use the "Oh, well, it's aged" defense. Honestly, there's only one way a "Slap Shot" remake will turn out: It will suck.

And that is not just a shot across the bow at those who are making it. A "Slap Shot" remake could be co-directed by Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, written by Billy Wilder and Charlie Kaufman and produced by Daryl Zanuck and George Lucas and it would still suck. Why? Because it was that rare movie that worked so well because it was real. The original was written by Nancy Dowd, whose brother Ned (who had a role in the film as the goon of goons, Ogie Ogilthorpe) played minor league hockey. Ned's teammates were the Carlson brothers, who were the basis for the infamous Hanson brothers (two of the Carlson's played Hanson brothers).

Not just that but many of those involved in the production were real hockey players, such as Michael Ontkean, who played Ned Braden and had played college hockey at New Hampshire. Hell, even current Caps coach Bruce Boudreau has a cameo role. Paul Newman was perfect for the role of Reg Dunlop and who in the world could top Stother Martin as Joe McGrath. I am fairly certain there is not an actor alive who could do the scene where Martin tells Newman a story about a player he had who was "a terrible masterbate." So, in a nutshell, I am sincerely hoping this remake ends up in development hell. A "Slap Shot" remake DOES NOT NEED TO HAPPEN! Nor should it.

If it seems like I'm taking this rather personally, well, I am. See, "Slap Shot" is different for hockey players. It's more than a mere movie, I think, because anyone that's played the game knows how real it is. Oh sure, the violence is embellished and over-the-top but its not too embellished. It's not like "Youngblood," where any hockey player laughs at some of the cartoonish aspects of that flick. The details are spot-on: the locker room after wins and losses, the road trips, the quirky goaltender, the card games, the puck bunnies.

Back in the day, when I played pee-wee level for Easton (12-13 years old) me and my buddy Paul, our goaltender, used to know the movie so well, we'd talk in lines from "Slap Shot." Sample conversation:

Me: "It's their rink. It's their town. But tonight we got our fans with us..."

Paul: "...They paid their own dough to get here. So get that stick in his eye and let 'em know you're there. PUT SOME LUMBER IN HIS TEETH AND LET HIM KNOW YOU'RE THERE!!!"

Me: "Bleed all over 'em, let 'em know you're there."

And so on and so on. And yet now, Hollywood wants to tarnish that memory with some shitty remake, likely starring Billy Bob Thorton as Reg Dunlop, Shia Labeouf as Braden and the Jonas Brothers as the Hansens. Just another crummy, soulless, piece of shit Hollywood flick. To sum up my feelings on Hollywood doing that to "Slap Shot" allow me to quote the original again, "These guys are a fucking disgrace!"

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