**Reader discretion is advised.**
I already know what you’re thinking. Well, no. Nope. No way. Not happening. It sucked, that’s where it ends, accept it. I don’t care how much it meant to your childhood or how much you THINK you still like it, it still SUCKS.
I’ve already did a number on Space Jam, and then I took a little detour towards the obvious suck factors of two disgraceful video games over the last couple weeks. Well, now it’s time to head back to the cinema and back to pointing out the phonies. Ladies and Gentlemen, maybe you saw it coming, maybe not, but I present to you another childhood flop, The Mighty Ducks.
I’m going to be honest here. This one is much different than Space Jam, I mean, yes, both of them are hit movies from the 90’s that are aimed towards kids, but the Mighty Ducks actually is able to gain some credibility over Space Jam. The plot is basic, the idea is there, and the storyline is actually somewhat sensible. What we have for the background of the Mighty Ducks is your typical 90’s sports movie. A terrible team of outcasts gets a new coach and somehow becomes the best team in the world overnight. Pretty lame, but that’s how it worked back then, and it actually managed to be decent a few times, for example, the one that I think started it all; The Bad News Bears (1976). Even though the plot wasn’t really believable or anything, it didn’t have to be because it was so funny. It incorporated some adult humor and bizarre moments while somehow still managing to be a movie kids could relate to and enjoy.
Now, take that same concept, remove all adult moments, humor, and entertainment elements. What do you get? The Mighty Ducks!
You probably remember the Mighty Ducks, whether it be as a child or parent. It’s actually one of the most memorable films of it’s type. You remember the jerk-turned-good guy coach, the players, including the girl, Charlie, the fat goalie, the nerdy kid, the tough kid, and the rest of the unorthodox gang. You remember the “Quack, Quack, Quack!” . The one thing I most remember about this film was the scene when the coach drives out onto the ice…..ahh, good memories, good memories.
Well, not anymore. Say good-bye to the good memories of the Mighty Ducks, as the fumigation as begun. FUME-ON!
Released in 1992, this Disney flick was about the underdog minor-league hockey team led by a head coach played by Emilio Estevez. And that’s where the first complaint already lies. The coach, named Gordon Bombay, is portrayed initially as a jack-ass, self-centered overachiever who is haunted by his childhood tragedy of missing a penalty shot goal in his teams championship game, just after his father died. He gives up hockey, and becomes a very successful yet arrogant lawyer. Due to his wreck-less, and drunk driving, he gets suspended from his firm, and is forced to coach a minor league team for community service hours. Now, I have no complaints with the way the character is written into this story, it actually seems like it would work pretty well. The only problem is the man who plays this coach and the lines of dialogue he has to deliver. Emilio Estevez clearly was not the best actor for this role, and I have no idea what idiot thought he was. His voice is so high that sometimes throughout the film, I think a kid is talking instead of the coach. It’s really that bad when you listen to it, especially when he has to pretend to be mad. He comes off as a Toby Maguire to me for some reason. Also, some of the lines he has to deliver are just flat out un-funny, uninspired, and completely pretentious. For example, during the scene when he tells his limo driver to drive on the ice, he is told by a player, standing right in front of him on the ice, that the team “sucks”. His response? “I’ll be the one deciding who does the sucking around here!”. Ugh, it may seem like that’s nit-picking, but when you actually see it happen in the film you can’t help but to stop for a second and ask yourself, “Did that really happen?”. Like I said before, I actually like what the coach is supposed to be in this movie, but they really screwed it up. I think a different, more intimidating actor, and some more adult-themed dialogue would make this character the real deal. Well, by the standards of what we are about to be dealt for the rest of this film……that’s WAY too much to ask for.
The kids on the team are probably the worst part of this gut-wrenching train wreck of a production. Unlike Coach Bombay, there is no potential whatsoever for any of these characters. Horrible acting, horrible dialogue, horrible effort. What we get is embarrassingly bad jokes, annoying personalities and little interest or background. The entire film is infested with these little jerks, which makes the following roster:
Charlie Conway (played by Joshua Jackson): Also known as the “spaz” of the team, Charlie is the heart and soul of the Mighty Ducks. He’s talented all the way up to the point of actually shooting the puck, which usually results in a complete whiff (thanks to this, we get PLENTY of bad jokes) or him just slipping on the ice. His mother becomes the love interest of Coach Bombay, and Charlie is almost seen as Gordon when he was a child (fatherless, gets the last shot of the championship game. Etc.). The overall performance is pretty basic and dull as hell. That’s actually a huge upgrade in comparison to the other players.
David/Lester (Played by Matt Doherty): This is the “nerd” of the team, and maybe the most annoying. This is one of the few characters I’ve ever encountered in a film that I actually at one point wanted to punch in the face. He has no purpose to the team at all, because he sucks horribly. Instead, he’s just the goofy idiot who yells “Heeeyyyyy batta, batta, swwwing batta!!” on the bench. Doherty’s acting is so damn annoying, it will literally drive you nuts. Actually, I’d probably rather drive over my nuts than actually watch this idiot perform. It’s probably much easier, too.
Goldberg (Played by Shaun Weiss): The goalie, and of course, the thing that all teams need: the fat kid. This is another player that is so annoying it actually hurts to watch. Goldberg might actually be the worst of the crew, because of the type of humor he brings to the table, which is the gross humor, you know, the fart jokes. He’s not even that disgusting, but just annoying. I mean, body odor jokes are already old as it is, but this kid provides nothing but them. He’s also supposed to be from Philadelphia or something, but I honestly could care less. In conclusion, he’s the kid that always tries to be funny but never is, and any real people would just ignore him.
Jesse Hall (Played by Brandon Adams): The black kid. And a really annoying one. This is starting to become a theme for this movie, isn’t it? Next time you look for the Mighty Ducks at the video store, don’t look under “Sports”, or “Comedy”, just go to the “Annoying” section. Anyway, this character is a loud-mouth and a brat. He’s almost like the enforcer of words for the team, for example, as we re-visit the driving-on-the-ice scene, when the team first meets Coach Bombay, Jesse thinks he’s a drug dealer. Jesse, in the most racially awkward way, says, “Yo, dude! You obviously in tha’ wrong hood! This is my dominion. It’s a drug free zone, understand? We ain’t buyin’ nothin’! Now, I’m feelin’ generous today, so I’m gonna let you get your sorry vanilla booty outta here before we start usin’ your eyeballs as hockey pucks!”
Fulton Reed (Played by Eldon Henson): The physical, hard-headed, tough-guy recruit who stands up for the kids when the get into street fights with goons on roller blades. His slap shot is super-fast, even though it misses it’s target most of the time. Big, dumb, soulless is the best way to describe this character.
The rest of the pack is minor characters. There’s Adam Banks, a star player they somehow are able to steal from a rival team, Tammy and Connie, the two girls of the team, Karp, who is pretty much a red-shirt character that not even the writers cared about, and then there’s Guy Germaine, who is the best player aside Banks and Connie’s boyfriend.
Overall, the cast sucks. End of story. These characters all provide nothing but humorless jokes and lines that sound like they are being read on the spot. And this is what the movie is all about, so, by seeing that the team and it’s players are stupid, dull, and unfunny, where do you think the movie stands?
The plot, again, is pretty basic, and may have actually worked if the cast was worth anything. It’s the typical underdog story, as the team, which, once again, coach Bombay meets when driving on an icy pond, goes from a bunch of stupid annoying kids that suck at hockey to a bunch of stupid kids that magically become a team and make it to the championship game. There is a rivalry between the Ducks and the Hawks, another one of the pee-wee teams that Bombay played for when he was a child, led by Coach Jack Reilly, played by Lane Smith. I find it a tad ironic that Lane Smith is the rival coach, seeing that Bombay was a lawyer before becoming the coach of the Ducks, and Smith played a district attorney in “My Cousin Vinny”, a much better film that was released in the same year. Anyway, Reilly is probably the most cold-hearted coach in the history of children’s organized sports. When Bombay was one of his players, and was summoned on for the game-deciding penalty-shot years before, Reilly not only reminded Gordon that his father was dead, but that a missed shot would result in everyone hating him. What a a-hole.
Well, the Ducks become a great team under Bombay, and of course make it all the way to the championship despite starting 0-10, at one point being so bad that a 5-0 loss was considered their best game, having no hockey equipment at the beginning of the season, and having a coach that sound like he’s 12 years old. Wow, that’s about as likely as a pro baseball player dropping an in-field flyball at the end of a……..never mind.
So, of course they play the rival Hawks and Reverend William Stryker…I mean coach Jack Reilly. The game itself isn’t that fun to watch. During the actual hockey scenes in this movie, the camera angles are so awkward that it’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on. And usually the camera isn’t on the puck, it’s just showing a kid doing something stupid like falling or making a bad pun. So, overall the hockey part of the film isn’t engaging at all. During the game, Reilly has one of his players hurt Adam Banks, the Ducks best player. When Banks scores a goal, a player from the Hawks blatantly pushes him in the back, which causes injury to Banks, and sends him out of the game. You know what, that’s just cold-blooded. But, for some reason this happens in most sports movies…the coach takes the game too seriously and actually wishes physical harm on the opposing team. Hell, it happened in Space Jam.
So, what do you think happens? Take a wild guess.
Yeah, they win. Charlie gets the last shot of the game when it’s tied at 4, just like Bombay as a child, he skates in front of the American Flag, pulls off the perfect triple-deke, makes the goal, the team goes crazy, “We are the Champions” starts playing, and Jack Reilly puts a revolver to his temple and pulls the trigger.
Such a happy ending.
You know what, this movie is truly one of the biggest QUACKS I’ve ever seen. The plot was simple, and they screwed it up. I’m not the biggest fan of the underdog-turned-champion story that’s been used a million times, but it works, and it was the foundation for every freakin’ 90’s sports movie anyways. If the coach and players were just a little more believable, actually funny, and a lot less pretentious and annoying, this movie might have actually been decent. But nope. No matter what, it sucks. And nothing will ever change that. We’ll accept this failure, and move on. We’ll just be thankful that there wasn’t a sequel or anything…..
Post-note: All statements are satirical, and do not reflect the opinions of any other writers at SportsFullCircle.
Have a suggestion for Piss Fumes? Is there a sports movie/game/book/etc. that you want reviewed in an article of Piss Fumes? Send them to email@example.com – You never know, your suggestion might make an article?
Photo Source: Photobucket