The Zionist Conspiracy
Sunday, February 01, 2004
In second grade I was sick and missed school for about 3 weeks, perfectly coinciding with the 1980 Winter Olympics. I spent all day in bed watching the Olympics and therefore have been looking forward to 'Miracle,' the new movie about the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team. I went to see it last night.
The best thing about Miracle is that the actors have played hockey and know how to skate. Most sports movies completely fail in this regard and immediately lose any credibility with sports fans. Adding to its authenticity is that the film uses the actual original call of the game by Al Michaels and Ken Dryden.
Overall this will be a very enjoyable movie for sports fans, especially those who remember the 1980 Olympics. It has a few contrived scenes, including two involving exchanges between Jim Craig - the star goalie - and coach Herb Brooks, but if anything it is unsentimental, and is certainly not sappy.
I do have two quibbles, however. First, the movie essentially ends with the victory over the USSR, with the gold medal victory over Finland mentioned over in passing, as though it was inevitable. In fact, not only was Finland favored to win the gold medal game, it led 2-1 going into the third period. Ignoring that game is like ending a movie about the 1986 World Series with Bill Buckner's error in Game 6 and ignoring Game 7. Second, the movie showed the growing excitement among Americans about the hockey team, but a lot of the excitement and interest in the 1980 Games - and therefore the hockey team's run - were directly due to the incredible five gold medals won by U.S. speed skater Eric Heiden. If my memory is accurate, Heiden's fourth victory occurred a night before the match vs. the USSR, and his fifth the night afterward, with the Finland game the next morning. If not for Heiden, there would have been much less interest in the Olympics generally and the hockey team's success in particular, and the film should have recognized this. In fact, the U.S. won six gold medals in the '80 Olympics - five by Heiden, and the other by the hockey team.
It'll be interesting to see the reviews for 'Miracle,' which officially opens on Friday, and whether those who are not hockey fans will find it enjoyable. My guess is that they will.