Directed by Gavin O'Connor.
Written by Eric Guggenheim.
Starring Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 4/2004
The Kurt Russell hockey flick “Miracle” is,
for an all-kinds-of-sports fan like myself, just completely
beautiful. Bypassing the normal clichés for team-based comedies and
dramas like this—you know, out of a ten-man team, you’ve got the
redneck, the dumb jock, the scrappy all-out-hustle gym rat, the
transfer, and on and on—“Miracle” just gives you the straight story
about a coach (Russell) that leads a group of 18 kids from the
Boston and greater Minneapolis area to the Olympic gold in 1980’s
Lake Placid, New York Games.
And, for anyone that has played sports in
high school, you get all those great reminders of why practice can
be so much fun. You watch as your teammates gel around you; you
watch as Coach imposes his will on you, trying to break you with
multiple suicides, name-calling and other mind tricks. “Miracle” is
great for us non-hockey fans, since the sport being played doesn’t
really matter as much as teamwork, clutch plays and the thrill of
victory; as Team USA works towards its goal of defeating four-time
defending Gold-medal winner Russia in Lake Placid, you get caught up
in the team’s drive to succeed by rarely being affected by the
hockey X’s and O’s of the sport.
I loved this movie, and during the time that
I was sitting there watching the re-enactment of the semifinal
between the US and the Commies, I was loving the original
play-by-play of Al Michaels during the haps. The halftime speech
during that game was great, the emotions were lovely, and the ending
Russell and the actors portraying the team’s
various players do the trick. We also get to peek into the home
life of the coach, with Patricia Clarkson doing able work as the
coach’s wife. Nothing to complain about here…the speed of the
hockey is great, the pacing of the film is brisk and the film
accomplishes the goal of firing you up about being an American.
Can’t complain about this film a bit.
Rating: Opening Weekend
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard