Brief synopsis: this film portrays the story behind the 1980 American college-aged Olympic hockey team and the path to victory at the Olympics.
I missed the first part of the movie since I did not really intend to watch much of it. I just came down for the Dots (the most fake candy ever, but whatever). I am glad that I stayed; this film completely deserves the description of “the best sports movie ever.” As always I liked the details, the daily life type scenes, the switching back and forth between types of scenes and/or characters, and the mini-plot lines. None of the scenes (except a pointedly long coach method scene, which is epic) lasted terribly long which is great for this girl.
The 1970’s style is hilariously interesting. The hair, the mustaches, and the coach’s plaid flare pants which my sisters hated. The film includes flashes of news events (this was the Cold War era).
The coach, Brooks is hilarious (in one conversation with his wife he is listing members of the intimidating Soviet team and ends with “Whatever-off”). His unconventional methods of coaching (which he could never get away with today in this era of easily offended people) are hilarious also. I found it amusing to watch the assistant coach; he at first finds Brook’s methods troubling until he understands (in the epic long scene). I like the various means Brook uses to develop the team USA mentality. Brooks’ method of dealing with the obnoxious press is quite satisfying (I love when people do not break for irritating and/or nosy people) and humorous, especially his answer to one reporter’s accusation of self-focus. I appreciate the fact that the assistant coach supports him in his attitude toward the press.
I enjoyed how the pieces of the players back stories, their personalities, and their relationship unfold in conversations and in actions: the fight between rival college players; the way the players start to stick together against the coach’s aggravation methods; the tear-stained face of one player badly injured just days before the Olympics; and after the anthem during the medal ceremony, the team captain calls the rest of the team over. I love the team building.
I appreciated that the film does not show all the games; the point of the exhibition time is the team building and then the first Soviet-American confrontation. Only the significant portions of the Olympic games are shown with key actions, reactions, plays, and injuries emphasized. I enjoy sports highlights, so this is more interesting to me than whole sports games.
At the end photos of the actors in character are shown with notes on the actual players’ later careers. I did not catch this until Googling the movie, but one actor played his dad. That is awesome. And the actors did not just have auditions, but tryouts; therefore, many of them had backgrounds in hockey at some level (and one actor did not have any film experience).