Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Slap Shot

After the recent dreariness of the Drive-In Cult Classics set, it’s nice to be surprised by a really freaking great comedy that I had somehow missed all these years. While it’s not quite the best sports movie I’ve ever seen, it is absolutely the best sports comedy I’ve ever seen, and I say that while having a vast fondness for the Major League films.

The film stars Paul Newman (who apparently just a couple years ago said this was his all-time favorite role) as the aging coach of a crappy hockey team that’s in the middle of a big slump. He decides to change up his game a little, after a one-two punch of hearing about how he’s a lousy coach, and hearing about how his team’s going to be folded after the current season, and soon his team is winning heavily based on their new strategy of just beating the hell out of the other team.

One of the things I most enjoyed about this movie was in how it completely rejects the normal sports movie structure, and doesn’t seem to care at all about winning the championship or whatever. All the characters are really interested in is goofing off, joking, watching soap operas, and hurting other people, and that’s all the movie is interested in too. While there are the occasional obligatory moments where they discuss trying to get the team traded to Florida (pfft, as if there’d ever be a hockey team there) and trying to win the season, the film mostly ignores all that in favor of a constant barrage of jokes and senseless violence. The humor is generally spot on – this is the single funniest film I’ve watched in months – and as for the violence, well, I guess there’s just nothing more entertaining than someone being randomly beaten up for no good reason whatsoever. All the best sports movies function fine even to people unfamiliar with the sport – transcending the sport, if you will – and this certainly qualifies. It’s some of the most fun you’ll have all week, with the obvious possible exception of seeing Indiana Jones 4 this weekend, which I’m hoping to do. Really though, what are the odds that something whose fame peaked in the 80s would be sold out?

Rating: ****

No comments: