Slap Shot Reviews
The plot concerns a washed up veteran hockey and coach (who's not really good at either) who tries to take his awful, struggling minor league team and turn them around into popular winners, which he starts to do once he discovers that the audience reacts positively to goonish behavior. He's a fascinating guy to watch because the skills he lacks as a player and coach are made up for by the fact that he's a skilled con man who is good at manipulating people, especially other players.
Their team, the Charlestown Chiefs, is not the only one struggling. Besides looking at sports, the film also touches upon the current events of the time by addressing the dire situation of late 1970s industrial towns in the Northeast. The local mill is on the verge of closing, and, should that happen, the hockey team is likely to go too. This little detail is something I appreciated because it adds more to the film, but also helps cement it as a cultural timepiece, giving insight into what the world was like at that time.
So yeah, the film is dated to an extent, and the vulgarity and rawness of things aren't quite as shocking, but I still found the film fresh and eye opening because of the content. This film is undeniably a product of the 70s, and I think it's all the better as a result.
The cast are great. Paul Newman reunites with George Roy Hill (this time without Redford) and he is awesome as coach/player Reggie Dunlop. The guy is a mess, but yet, despite his attitude and actions (and the attitudes and actions of his team), you can't help but like these guys and root for them, even though you should feel otherwise. Supporting him are Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean, and tons of actual pro and minor leaguers.
Give this one a shot. It's entertaining, funny (though I don't think it was supposed to be a comedy), has wonderful music, and is a great look at the wild side of sports.
Nevermind the level of sarcasm, senseless violence and gutter language. It says more about the men in the rink, their issues and their needs, than the typical, preachy and over-sentimental hollywood crap.
A somewhat disturbing dark comedy conjuring up some of Robert Altman's best work in its first 90 minutes, the ending leaves a lot to be desired. It makes a great point about hockey, but I really wanted the sports formula. Good performance by Paul Newman, and a piece of hockey lore worldwide, this is an offbeat movie that, even with its flaws, can be watched again and again.
Jim Carr: A bounty?
Reggie Dunlop: Yeah, a hundred bucks of my own money for the first of my guys who really nails that creep.
Now here's a movie about fun. Paul Newman and his friend and director George Roy Hill combine forces again to make a great, fun, vulger sports comedy about Hockey.
This movie is R for a reason. All the players talk like real men, hockey men, they swear, curse, and shout obsinities. They are hard core.
The movie surrounds the minor-leage team, the Charelston Chiefs and how they suck, but don't want to stop playing. When the team learns that it may be their last season or they may be sold, new players are acquired.
This introduces the Hanson Brothers, a vicious mob of three players who destroy everyone in the rink, and the movie just gets funnier.
This is a funny movie, that's not afraid to ...pull punches.
McGrath: Good crowd out there tonight, boys, let's really try to win this one.
Ned Braden: You have to hand it to the old bastard, he's highly original.
Jim Ahern: That man traveled 15 hours by bus to say that?
Slapshot is nothing more than another Cinderella-story sports film. The film is a comedy, yet I barely laughed. The Hanson brothers were somewhat humorous, but I can't get behind the cult following they've spurned. Please don't take away my citizenship for saying this, but I think a large reason this film has garnered any sort of following is simply due to it being a Canadian comedy about hockey.
There's a great soundtrack too, Newman on top form and a terrific pace and energy that keeps the film moving at full steam.
A sports movie for people who are sick of sports movies.
The story follows a minor league hockey team who?s so bad that their team is about to fold. There?s a small hope that they?ll be sold to Florida if they can turn their season around. In order to start winning the team gets a novel idea: play dirty. They begin to play a violent variation of the sport, often prioritizing bloodshed over goal scoring. Consequently they begin filling the stands with screaming fans looking thrills not seen since the days of the Roman Coliseum.
A lot of sports movies would dabble in this kind of off color humor only to devolve right back into sanctimonious lessons about the importance of good sportsmanship. But not this movie, just when it looks like its going to do that it pulls the rug right out from under the audience and continues to celebrate these players for their sociopathic behavior. And that?s not the only genre convention it subverts; one assumed that Paul Newman (not the kind of guy you expect to see in a movie like this) would be the kind of veteran player who would go out of his way to uphold the values of the sport, but here he?s pretty much the first person to sell out. One expects the dorky brothers that are introduced into the movie to be plucky underdogs who drive themselves to save the team through hard work, but they really end up just being even more violent and stupid than everybody else. This is like the ?Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia? of sports movies. The crudeness isn?t only confined to the arena either. The scenes off the ice are just as off color, the dialogue here has Apatow-esque levels of profanity and political incorrectness, and this must have seemed incredibly vulgar back in 1977.
I doubt that the sporting scenes here are particularly realistic, I know next to nothing about Hockey but everything I?ve seen about it isn?t anywhere near as violent as this. The referees seem to have almost no power over the proceedings and the players are rarely punished for their obvious transgressions. Also, aren?t these people supposed to be wearing helmets? It doesn?t really matter though, because the over the top behavior kind of lends itself to a heightened, almost slapstick atmosphere. I also think there might be some more sophisticated satire below all the mayhem, its established that the town this team is in a dire situation because of a steel mill shutting down in the environment of the late seventies recession. The town?s destiny mirrors the team?s destiny at the hand of a greedy financier who chooses extra profit over the welfare of their employees. This treatment seems to fuel the blood thirsty players and crowd. I?m not going to call this a classy satire, but there?s something there to be found.