Movie of the Day – Slap Shot
May 10, 2012 1 Comment
They sure don’t make movies like this anymore. Actually they do, but they end of being a sad replica of an era when vulgarity and raucous humor found a perfect marriage instead of relying on the crudest of humor to force comedic moments. Sports comedies are an interesting genre, mainly because we usually view sports as some sort of hallowed institution of professionalism as athletes want to conduct themselves in a respectable manner. While there are more respectable sports films that cherish the elegance of the game, Slap Shot body checks the shit out those movie and combines the sweet vulgarity of comedy with one of the more entertaining sports films out there. Also Paul Newman is in this movie and that means I will watch it.
Paul Newman plays Reggie Dunlop, the coach of a pathetic minor-league American hockey team. His career at a standstill and his marriage in tatters, Dunlop has nothing to lose by taking on a new group of players who are one evolutionary step above Neanderthals. Only when the team begins winning does he decide to get behind these players, and to encourage the rest of the team to play as down-and-dirty as the newcomers. Straight-arrow team member Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean) resents this influx of gonzo talent, preferring to play clean. As the film’s multitude of subplots play themselves out, Dunlop does his best to keep the outraged Braden on the team. Slap Shot is the sort of film for which the “R” rating was invented: Its nonstop barrage of profanity and its raunchy action sequences are of such intensity that the film will probably never be shown intact on commercial television. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
There is something about sports movies that make them unbelievably quotable. Caddy Shack and Major League come to mind, but if you have ever seen Slap Shot, you will at least know about half of the script by heart from the sheer amount of hilarious moments that seemingly fit well in our everyday life. The film is a tour de force of one liners, physical comedy and how much the boundary of raunchy comedy could be pushed at the time. But while the comedy is the selling point of the film, it’s the solid acting from the cast and the compelling (to a degree) story of a down and out minor league hockey team with nothing to lose.
Ah yes, a rare comedic role from Paul Newman, but it ends up being one of his best roles. Not “the” best role, but surely memorable for those that are a fan of his work. His brash charisma ends up making his efforts to turnaround the failing minor league hockey team enjoyable and cheer worthy as he just throws out the rule book and substitute skills for violence. It’s the rougish style of coaching that you can get behind the team and the enforces, The Hanson Brothers. They were the shit in this movie. They didn’t crap from anyone, they did what they want and their sole purpose was to inflict the most damage possible on the opposing team. The provided some of the funniest moments of the film, from body checking and punching ref and players to outright rushing the crowd because of something they said. It’s the pure machismo of hockey, rolled into three guys who didn’t give a fuck.
Over time, Slap Shot has become one of the best rated sports film of all time. It is the pure reason we watch hockey, aside from the occasional goal and skill needed to finesse some impressive skating and puck handling. The violence, the comedy and the acting all make for a memorable comedy film that captures the chest thumping, crowding jeering comments that fuels the underdog sports theme perfectly. Slap Shot is the quintessential locker room movie that is quoted by fans and revered for the absurd mockery of the sport of kings or people who are really good at skating. If you haven’t seen Slap Shot or want to see the rare, Paul Newman comedy role, Slap Shot is a definite, must see.