Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"The Mighty Ducks" Was Fucking Bullshit


As one who cavorted with Film Majors and took several film courses in college, I have learned that one of the main tenets of filmmaking is 'Suspension of Disbelief'. Suspension of Disbelief is a willingness of a viewer to suspend his critical faculties to the extent of ignoring minor inconsistencies so as to enjoy a work of fiction.

The term doesn't just apply to films, but also to written works as well. In fact the term was coined by a poet:

"(…) it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith."

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "I think I understand the basic principles of this theory, but could you provide examples?". Or, "Jeff, do you realize you are just quoting Wikipedia, which is not that accurate in the first place and doesn't prove that you know what you're talking about?"

Well, kind reader, first of all, I stand by my addiction to Wikipedia, and second of all, I would be more than happy to accomodate your requests for examples.

Take, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" Steven Spielberg's heartwarming tale of an alien who comes to Earth looking for little kids or something and befriends a boy named Elliot and Drew Barrymore. In what everyday scenario would parents allow their children to cavort with aliens without calling in an Amber Alert? Do aliens eat Reese's Pieces? I don't know. But that didn't stop the film from winning 4 Academy Awards and becoming the great tear jerker of the early 80's. Why? Suspension of disbelief my friends.

And it's not just sci-fi movies involved, let's look at the classic guy gutwrencher "Field of Dreams". There's the glaringly obvious stretches like James Earl Jones' well publicized allergy to corn, and the not so obvious. Ray Liotta portrayed Shoeless Joe Jackson and in the movie he batted right-handed and threw left-handed, while Jackson batted left-handed and threw right-handed in real life. Also, Italians notoriously suck at baseball. Did you see their World Baseball Classic team?! Lenny Dinardo was the staff ace! I didn't care about these goofs. I accepted them with open arms as a major factor of, you guessed it, suspension of disbelief.

I've seen thousands of films and have accepted every odd plot twist, bizarre character trait, and unbelivable denoument. Every movie but three. The wholly inaccurate Mighty Ducks Trilogy.

I know what you're thinking. 'Jeff, it's just a Disney movie', 'It's a kid's movie, Jeff you have to let some things slide'. Well, those "childish" movies may be very, very important to a large contingent of people who grew up in the early to mid 80's including yours truly. And I cannot suspend my disbelief for one minute, especially with some of the more egregious happenings taking place in this film.

Charlie Conway's Unnatural Ascension to Greatness

Take the main protaganist, Charlie Conway. In the first movie this good-hearted spaz with a kind-of-hot Mom stumbles and slips his way into finally learning the triple deke. In the second, he sucks so badly, that he voluntarily gives up his roster spot to make room for Adam "Cake-Eater" Banks and spends the championship game as Assistant Coach. Then, in the third movie he enrolls at Eden Hall as a superstar. How this trainwreck of a hockey player suddenly became the second coming of Mario Lemieux is not answered, or even mentioned by the filmmakers.


Not Dealing With The Loss Of Terry Hall


I'm no rube. I understand that not every character will return in every movie of a trilogy. Mighty Duck originals absent from the second film include Dave Karp and Peter Mark (obviously in juvenile hall, if their dog crap in a purse prank was any indicator); Tammy and Tommy Duncan (most likely getting back into competetive figure skating especially since Kenny Wu left to pursue ice hockey); and Terry Hall. Terry's absence goes unmentioned . This is especially troubling because his brother Jesse is still a consistent player on the team and it spells the demise of the Oreo Line. How Jesse continues to be one of Team USA/Ducks's leading players after the tragic death/kidnapping of his younger brother boggles my mind.

Speaking of the USA/Duck Merger…

Hendricks Hockey was very generous to sponsor Team USA, and allow them to retain their Duck swagger. Giving them sweet new jerseys for their Wheaties Box photoshoot was a kind gesture (And if you think that a Junior Olympic Hockey Team being worthy of a Wheaties Box before the tournament has even begun is a stretch, you obviously misunderestimate the pull that superagent Don Tibbles has). They even hooked up Gordon Bombay with a sweet pad on the beach so he could slick his hair back like Pat Riley, do tons of blow like Butch Hobson, and try and seduce that Icelandic Jezibel under the false pretenses of "getting ice cream".

Then, in between periods of the climactic game, Team USA changes uniforms into Anaheim Mighty Ducks jerseys. Not only is this illegal (the announcers say there's nothing in the rulebooks about jersey switches, a statement that happens to be fiction), but it is disrespectful to Hendricks. The USA jerseys prominently displayed the manufacturer's logo down the sleeve, the Ducks jerseys are made by CCM. An unspeakable travesty that went unpunished by Team Hendricks. Unbelievable.

This is just the tip of the iceberg my friends. Drunks being forced to coach youth athletics, street hockey in the projects of South Central, Los Angeles, Dean Portman lawyering up before an unexpected return to Eden Hall, noone hitting on Julie "The Cat" Gaffney for the better part of 2 years (thankfully Eden Hall's varsity goalie finally saw the light), Russ Tyler's unnoticed goalie equipment change, Jan and Han's interchangability, tying Greg Goldberg to the goal without being reported to the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletics Association for hazing, Hawks Coach Jack Reilly's constant collar-popping and general douchebaggery, Fulton Reed interchanging the name's 'Fulton' and 'Reed' on the back of his jersey (the precursor to Ichiro?), everything about Luis Mendoza.

All total bullshit. All unexcusable. Disney owes us all an apology.

Oh, and this is an ode to South Park's bound to be amazing yet-to-be aired episode, synopsized like so:
Stan Marsh has hit rock bottom. He's got no job, no bicycle and his only way out of a bad situation, is to coach the local pee wee hockey team. Once a hotshot pee wee hockey player himself, Stan Marsh has tried to put those days behind him. But he's still living with the memory of how let his team down when he missed the winning shot in the big game. Now, he's about to find out that being a coach means facing your past. He's determined to show his kids what it's like to be a winner!

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

what really chapped my ass as a hockey player growing up in the late 80s/early 90s was how hard it was just to make the national team. the best players in my town got as far as the final round of cuts, but none of them made it.

then a whole team, weak skaters and all, just gets awarded the entire roster? ahhh

Mike W. said...

How about that actor Scott Whyte played both Gunnar Stahl (D2) and Scott, the varsity goalie (D3)?

ryan said...

Two minutes for...roping? Highly dubious.

Jeff said...

The Scott Whyte corollary is a huge discussion topic amongst my friends, which is a blanket statement on our social lives.

I have two theories:

Apparently shaken by his team's stunning defeat in the World Juniors, he fled Iceland, to Eden Hall, only to immerse himself in Americana, so much so, that his former rivals don't even notice him.

OR

It was all a ploy to hook up with Julie The Cat Gaffney.

You decide

Anonymous said...

The fact they named a fucking full-fledged NHL team after this turd, for me, signaled the league's long slow slide into irrelevance. I wonder now, if they're just the Ducks, if the team wills top pretending anyone knows or cares where Anaheim is simply because Disney out of nobless oblige put it on the jersey of every team it owns. What patronizing shit.

KMS2 said...

I probably think this post is hilarious because I'm a die-hard Kings fan. I only liked the first Ducks movie ("it's not worth winning if you can't win big!") and thought the second one was pretty ridiculous and I didn't even bother with the third one. This is probably why I absolutely hate the Ducks. I don't care if they dropped the "Mighty" because they will always be associated with the movie.

LButler36 said...

How come all the good players live on the other side of the pond in the first movie?

Anonymous said...

Whenever they said it couldn't be done...DUCKS FLY TOGETHER

t_greenfield said...

What really grinds my gears is how they all rollerskated the entirety of Minneapolis, TO the MALL OF AMERICA(At least a good 10-15 miles), Back to Minneapolis, and then back to the hockey shop. No fuckin way. NO WAY.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the most inexcusable part: Bombay's haunting memory of missing the winning shot. Either his team was down by one and his shot would have only tied the game, or they were tied and him missing would have just led to another set of shooters. In the former case, it can be hardly blamed on a 10-year-old to save a season when it's clear that his team/goalie sucks too much give him the opportunity to actually WIN the game, not just lose or tie.

Coach Reilly said...

I invented the popped collar.

Anonymous said...

In the diner he tells Charlie the shot would have won the game, and that they lost in overtime.

What about Fulton Reed's ridiculous voice change which is extremely prevalent at the beginning of D2, and then nonexistant for the remainder of the film? This and the fact that a team that a couldn't skate one year prior is making up the vast majority of the USA Junior National squad is what bothers me the most. You can't tell me Averman was one of the 20 best junior hockey players in the country, he fucks up in every game he plays.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the fact that if those Ducks players had any nuts, they would start an all-out riot after Stansson took out Bombay's knee?

Or maybe the fact that Fulton Reed's shot knocked a goalie INTO the net?

Or the fact that the knucklepuck was, according to the "puck-cam," one of the slowest shots in history? And it STILL couldn't be stopped?

Yeeeesh.


"Gunnar, you lost it for me."

"You lost it for yourself."

Anonymous said...

All good and fair respect for the best and most accurate film about youth ice hockey in recent memory

stopcrowdingtheplate said...

If they managed to stay onsides with the Flying V, the Ducks can do anything.

Anonymous said...

thanks for dinner.....losers???!!!

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is missing the most mind blowing aspect of the whole trilogy. How do town champions from Minnesotta become the majority of the US team. Second, how does a team as good as a US representative team become the JV team at a prep school. The kid from texas didnt know how to stop and Kenan can only shoot a knuckle puck but gets a scholarship.

Anonymous said...

I think you're all missing the most important and ridiculous part of the movie. If I get a DUI I pay a huge fine and might go to jail. Gordon Bombay got a DUI and got to coach Team USA. And he got a limo which could drive on ice. Coolest DUI ever.

James R said...

haha. I could only hope that my future DUI would be as cool.

Anonymous said...

How about the fact that Bombay claims that he quit hockey after missing the penalty shot but then in D3 when having is 956465496 hear to heart with charlie there is some sort of hockey shrine of him in eden hall

Not to mention that is Fulton Reed's 2 out of 5 accuracy percentage holds true he is on pace to miss his next 150 shots.

Also Luis Mendoza would have been expelled from eden hall for sexualharrasment/misconduct/rape well before the JV/varsity game.

Plus if Guy Germaine went out that long with Connie without getting any, he definitely would have dumped her ass.

"NO WAY, I love Pantera"

-Dave I

Joseph said...

I studied abroad with two girls from Iceland, and the first thing I asked them was whether or not they rooted for team USA or Team Iceland in the Might Ducks 2. First off, they rooted for Team Iceland, which is not surprising, but more importantly, there response changed me forever. They told me, and I swear I am not lying, that there is not a single ice hockey team in the whole of Iceland. Now if that doesn't turn you off from disney or the whole ice hockey underdog story, I don't know what will.

Anonymous said...

I think that one point that also needs to be mentioned as one of the greatest flaws in the trilogy, is that superstar Adam Banks switched from playing right-handed in the first movie to playing left-handed by the third movie.

Matthew said...

Two minutes well worth it.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to know how you could leave out the fact that in the second movie, they get to meet Wayne Gretzky who of course is Canadian. Why would a Canadian meet with Team USA?

MN said...

Any Minnesota hockey team worth its salt that was going to name itself after water fowl would've picked the Loons (the state bird). I could almost get behind the Anaheim Loons.

Anonymous said...

The biggest question about D2 is this. How is Canada not the favourite to win this tournamnet and Iceland is? And if Canada is either too obvious or not enough of a villian, at least use a country that is known for hockey, say Russia? Or at least Sweden or Finland to allow for the hot, blonde, Scandanavian trainer.

Turd Ferguson said...

How about the fact that bombay quit hockey when he was 10 years old and then all of a sudden after coaching 1 year of peewee hockey gains the experience of the game and skills to make a minor league franchise and then supposedly come one step away from the NHL.

What BS.

And why the hell is it that in the First movie when the ducks go to see the Northstars that Basil Mcrae and Mike Modano are seen and McRae knows who Bombay is and mentions how he used to "rule" in Pee Wees?
Basil McRae is from Ontario!
There is no way a pee wee hockey player from Minnesota could be so good (even tho Bombay supposedly had 198 goals his last season) as to be known throughout Canada. And even if he was that good, he wouldn't have been able to quit hockey so simply, cuz he woulda been a big fucking deal

Anonymous said...

I loved all three movies, but I've just got to say something about the blatant racism in the Ducks trilogy.

Case #1: The Oreo line? C'mon. Lets just teach all eight year old kids watching this movie that it's okay to define everyone by their skin color. Never mind that this is the overall most productive line on the team, rather than calling it "first line" or "scoring line," lets refer to them by the color of their skin. Gordon Bombay is a racist prick.

Case #2: In D2 when they play hockey in "the Hood," one of the older players on the other team is wearing a shirt with a picture of Africa on it. Oh right, how could I forget? All black people come from Africa, of course. How silly of me.

Case #3: I'm surprised no one has mentioned when they play Trinidad/Tobago in D2! Not only is it preposterous to think that this small Carribean country will EVER have a hockey team, but when they score they immediately start yelling stereotypical chants from the bench such as "Yah mahn!" and break out the steel drums. I swear to God, I'm surprised the writers didn't just go all the way and make one of them light up a joint.

Bravo, Disney. Stop trying to brainwash our youth with racist stereotypes!