May 1 Film Recommendation: Miracle
At the moment of my writing this article, the directive to stay at home is still is in effect, and not being able to go out and about, I have really begun to miss sports in my life. Whether it’s coaching Holy Spirit middle schoolers in baseball this spring, or getting ready for my Sunday evening “old man’s” baseball league that I play in each Sunday night, or the prospect of playing for Holy Spirit in the summer church softball league.
With the absence of actual sports events to plan for and to watch on television, I have begun to rifle through my old DVDs and autographed pictures of all the sports movies I have enjoyed in my life. I have a hobby of collecting sports-related autographs. And some of my favorite autographs are actually sign photos from actors in movies about sports. I have Burt Reynolds from “The Longest Yard.” I’ve got Robert Redford, Wilford Brimley, and Robert Duvall from “The Natural.” I’ve even got both Squints and Wendy Peffercorn from “The Sandlot.” But my favorite little collection is all the autographs of the actual 1980 Olympics hockey players depicted in one of my favorite sports movies—Miracle (2004), starring Kurt Russell. It’s hard I believe the movie Miracle came out 16 years ago, and it’s even harder to believe that it has been 40 years since the Miracle on Ice actually took place in Lake Placid, New York.
I was worried at first of a Walt Disney production of such a iconic point in our nation’s history. I didn’t want it to be some cheesy Mighty Ducks type of sports movie, especially when dealing with the task of portraying these well-known players and coaches. But the film does a very nice job of the presenting the events and people evenly and fairly (although the actor who played Lou Nanne was awful casting). I think it exposes a whole new generation of people and kids to what life was like in 1980; what life was like on the US hockey team, what they really accomplished, and how it happened at a key moment in our Nation’s history.
Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Kurt Russell, I thought he was very good as Herb Brooks. He had the mannerisms and the voice spot on. He had the Minnesota elongated vowels down pat, although as a Minnesotan I could’ve corrected a few of his pronunciations. Kurt Russell is a huge hockey fan himself, so I know it was a true honor for him to play Herbie Brooks, the man who shaped and changed the way hockey is viewed in Minnesota.
For any diehard hockey fan, this movie will entertain, and it does not poison the game action or what it’s really like to play hockey. So if you’re still reading this it goes without saying I think you should see this movie. Sure you know how it ends, you have probably seen the game at least once on ESPN classics, and you might even be old enough to remember the actual events in the first place. It’s very good to relive this wonderful event. The events of the “Miracle on Ice” were a very bright spot in a very dark time in our world. Besides the Olympic Games this movie also pays tribute our reactions at the time of Afghanistan, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the oil embargo, the general distrust of the government, and the Iran hostage situation.
This movie is about overcoming obstacles and looking for bright moments in times of difficulty. I think its themes fit very well with our current COVID-19 situation. This is not just a hockey movie, though it’s a great one; it’s a movie about hard work and perseverance, and isn’t that what America really is all about?
Stay healthy and keep your stick on the ice!