Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who enjoyed Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, a television miniseries that first aired on CBC in 2010. Two years later, the Don of Hockey was the subject of a second three-hour miniseries, The Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story II — a great title for a great follow-up.
Last night, I spent three hours binge-watching Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story. The plan was to watch half of the miniseries one night before bed, and the other part the next night, but it was so much fun that my girlfriend and I decided to watch it in one sitting — bedtimes be dammed!
The made-for-TV miniseries, which originally aired on CBC in 2010, is about everyone’s favorite — or sometimes least favorite — hockey commentator Don Cherry. The two-part biopic chronicles “Grapes” long minor-league hockey career then gets into his coaching career and eventual tenure on Hockey Night in Canada. It was written by his son, Tim Cherry.
Hello Puck Junk readers. Sorry that I have not posted too much to this site lately. Truth be told, I’ve been doing some more writing for The Hockey News, and they just published what very well be my magnum opus: The Making of Sudden Death: An Oral History.
For those who don’t know — or vaguely remember — “Sudden Death” was an action film released in 1995, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film took place at the old Pittsburgh Civic Arena, and was set during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Sudden Death” featured a lot of Penguins personalities, such as Luc Robitaille, Jay Caufield, Mike Lange and Paul Steigerwald, and I spoke with many of them. I also talked with the director, writer and producer. You can read the article online here. Please take a look and let me know what you think. ■
Mark Gessner has scored his dream role. A lifelong hockey fan, the New York-based actor plays Dickie Litski, a hard-drinking hockey player, on the new IFC comedy series “Benders.” Or more specifically, he plays a really bad hockey player on a really bad beer league hockey team. Ironic, considering that Gessner, 35, has played hockey since his childhood. “Benders,” produced by Dennis Leary, follows four friends who are obsessed with two things: playing hockey and getting drunk at the bar afterward.
Gessner was both an actor and a hockey player during his high school days. He has appeared on “Orange is the New Black,” “Veep,” “The Blacklist” and “Law and Order: SVU,” among other shows. Gessner recently talked with us about his role on “Benders,” playing high school hockey and the rigors of making rec league hockey look bad.
Sal Barry: I’ve really enjoyed “Benders” so far. I play beer league hockey, and the jokes really hit home.
Mark Gessner: Nice. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
SB: How would you describe “Benders” to someone who has not yet seen the show?
MG: Basically, “Benders” is about four guys who have totally different jobs and are from totally different walks of life — but the one thing they can all agree on is that they love playing for their horrendous men’s league hockey team. It’s where they all intersect and where they all get along, and their friendship extends off the ice, as you often find in real hockey settings. It’s one of those sports where you become tight-knit playing it.
My costar, Andrew Schultz (Paul on “Benders”), came up with this analogy: it’s like “Entourage,” but as if they never left Queens, and then crossed that with a show like “The League,” where there’s a shared interest in a sport.
I knew all along that Goon was going to be a great movie for two reasons:
1. It had a hard time getting a theatrical release in the United States
2. Everyone who saw it made comparisons to Slap Shot.
You might think that any movie that had trouble finding a mainstream release is a bad movie. And in most cases, you would be right.
But I knew Goon would be great because of that. Hockey is a tough sell in the United States. A hockey movie is even a tougher sell, and yet Goon does not sell-out, pander, cater or kowtow to help reach a wider audience. No dumbing down or awkward, “after the fact” edits to make it more commercial.
After watching Goon, you can tell that director Michael Dowse and screenwriters Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg made the picture that they wanted to make: a film that is violent, funny and has a good story. The “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” of hockey movies, one that is truly worthy of Slap Shot comparisons.
Speaking of which, no one would dare compare a bad movie to Slap Shot, except for Universal when releasing a bad Slap Shot sequel. If other fans who have seen both movies say Goon is the Slap Shot for this generation, then Goon must have a lot going for it.
And it does. Continue reading “Movie Review: Goon”
You may have seen commercials for a movie called The Tooth Fairy during the Winter Classic on Friday. Here is the official trailer for that film.
Oh man, where is the downside? This could be one of those so-bad-it’s-awesome kind of films. It’s about the meanest, roughest pro hockey player who has to become a tooth fairy. As if the irony of that isn’t delicious enough, it stars Duane “The Rock” Johnson as the main character. “The Tooth Fairy” comes out on January 22. It will probably suck, but probably end up being unintentionally funny in the process too.
A new documentary about the 1960 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team will be released this week. That’s right, the 1960 team. Every four years, all the buzz among U.S. hockey fans is usually about the “Miracle on Ice” from 1980. But many of us overlook the fact that 20 years prior, the miracle first occurred when the U.S. team beat Russia, Canada and Czechoslovakia en route to U.S.A.’s first gold medal in hockey.
Here is the trailer to the documentary about the 1960 Olympic team, aptly entitled “Forgotten Miracle.”
Visit the Forgotten Miracle official website here.
It’s not a hockey movie. It’s not a funny movie, either.
Mike Meyers ought to be ashamed of himself for writing, producing and starring in The Love Guru. It is a bland, stupid comedy — and I use that word very loosely — that panders to the lowest common denominator with an overabundance of toilet humor and bad puns. Even worse, the film revolves around a hockey player on the Toronto Maple Leafs, making the sport of hockey guilty by association for being in this lame film. Continue reading “Movie Review: The Love Guru”