In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_lucy

Lucy

Scarlett Johansson is an intriguing blank in Luc Besson's "Lucy," which is stranded somewhere between a stranger-in-a-strange-land action thriller and apocalyptic science fiction.

Thumb_f8f20egntzlhnjjletts89sx5lt

Magic in the Moonlight

While Allen’s new picture, "Magic In The Moonlight," isn’t even close to being a disaster (for that, see, well, "Scoop"), I don’t think it’s unreasonable…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Life Itself Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

The Mighty Ducks

  |  

"The Mighty Ducks" is the kind of movie that might have been written by a computer program. It tells a story that has been told time and time and time again, about the misfit coach who is handed a team of kids who are losers, and turns them into winners while redeeming himself. Even the usual supporting characters are here: The opposing coach who persecuted the hero when he was a kid; the kid who has a divorced mother that the hero falls in love with; the tough rebel kid who only needs to channel his anger.

The movie is set in Minneapolis, and deals with Pee Wee ice hockey leagues. I have earlier seen this same plot applied to baseball ("The Bad News Bears"), football ("Wildcats"), basketball ("Hoosiers"), and even hockey ("Youngblood"). The evidence is clear: Hollywood likes this plot. If you are a would-be screenwriter desperate for a sale, rent the videos of all of these movies, and then simply apply the formula to a sport that hasn't been covered yet. The lacrosse team, maybe. Pay special attention to "Hoosiers," since it's the good one.

The film stars Emilio Estevez as the coach. He's a lawyer who gets arrested on a DUI, and his boss, the crusty Mr. Ducksworth, thinks it will help him slow down if he goes on a leave of absence from the firm, and coaches a Pee Wee hockey team. Estevez arrives at the first practice session in a limousine, inexplicable in plot terms but good for some inane scenes in which the little hockey stars flatten their noses against the glass. And then the season starts.

The screenplay by Steven Brill leaves nothing to chance.

There is not a single surprise in the film. Not even one small one, to show he's a good sport. We march in lockstep past the obligatory flashbacks to Estevez's own childhood, when an evil coach (Lane Smith) made him feel worthless after he missed an important shot. Of course, this same villain is now coaching the opponents of the Ducks.

There are more obligatory stops on the way to the end.

We see how bad the Estevez team is in its early games. We endure the name change, to the "Ducks," so named because then Mr.

Ducksworth will pop for new uniforms, and then we hear the team's new war cry, "Quack." All leads to the big playoff games. No prizes for predicting which team wins, or whether everything depends on a big final shot, or which coach makes a stirring speech about how it doesn't matter so much whether you win or lose - it's how you play the game. It must be said that this movie is sweet and innocent, and that at a certain level it might appeal to younger kids. I doubt if its ambitions reach much beyond that.

Popular Blog Posts

Video games can never be art

Having once made the statement above, I have declined all opportunities to ...

James Garner: 1928-2014

An obituary for the legendary James Garner, who has passed away at the age of 86.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus