Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings (1993)
Directed By: Jon Turtletaub
Written By: Lynn Siefert, Michael Ritchie, Tommy Swerdlow, Michael Goldberg
Starring: Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, John Candy, Raymond J. Berry
Rating: PG
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I told you guys. I (we, my baby bro Josh included) watched a lot of movies over the weekend. This isn't even the last one. But I just thought of a way better way to start this here goes.


If you haven't seen this movie before, that should be all you need to read to head straight to Amazon Instant Video or wherever you need to go to watch this movie. But I'll do a review anyway :)

Synopsis Time:

This movie is actually based on a true story. I had no idea, until I was doing my research. Of course, the actual story happened much differently, and this version was very...disney-fied. This movie is about a Jamaican sprinter, Derrice Bannock (Leon; Get Rich or Die Tryin') who is the favorite to win the summer  trials and represent Jamaica in the Olympics. He is in competition with a few other Jamaican sprinters, including Junior Bevil (Rawle D. Lewis; Spy Hard) and Yul Brenner (Malik Yoba; Why Did I Get Married?). But as the three aforementioned sprinters are out to an early lead, Junior trips, in turn tripping both of them, and crushing three Olympic dreams with one fall. Derrice, however, is not ready to give up so easily. While "demanding" a re-trial at the Jamaican office, he sees a picture of his father with Irv Blitzer (John Candy; Uncle Buck) and is told a story about how Blitzer thought that Jamaican sprinters would be great at bobsledding. Derrice then seeks out Blitzer, and with the help of Bevil, Brenner, and his "best pushcart driver on the island" best friend, Sanka Coffie (Doug E. Doug; Shark Tale) (who is also the comic relief), Derrice sets out for the Winter Olympics....and is met with adversity on the way!

Thinking Time:

The last time I saw this movie was probably in 6th or 7th grade. I distinctly remember watching at one of those "you're a good student" parties that I rarely got to attend. But as far as movies go, it's actually really great. Of course, as I said before, It's a Disneyed up version of a true story, but the story is still an inspirational one. The comedy is clean, fun, family friendly, and it's an enjoyable movie altogether. It's quotable, and has that certain nostalgic quality about it. ABC-TV described it as "Rocky on Ice!" and that's a description that's hard to argue with. The acting is pretty great, actually, because most of these men aren't, in fact, Jamaican. These are things that occur to me now that never did in the 7th grade. It's altogether a really well-made film, despite its cheesiness (which is only amplified by being in 2012, as opposed to 1993). This, also, was one of the last movies John Candy made before he passed away. Some other current film-industry greats that take part in this movie include Hans Zimmer, who did the soundtrack for this movie, well before he was made famous by Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jon Turtletaub, who has gained a lot of fame since his bobsled days by directing the National Treasure franchise. There is a lot of quality film industry work put into this movie, so those are definitely two more in the "watch" column.

What Can We Learn From It?..Time:

What I learned from this movie is simple. Besides the traditional "follow your heart" "stand up to your father" "underdogs rule!" sort of motif that Disney has always got going on, I took this away:

Sometimes, your life will drastically change course. The way you've assumed that you're entire life is going to go just trips you up, and you have to use your only skill set and start over completely. I can relate a little bit, and I know that I'm not the only one. Sometimes, as this movie proves, the change can work out for the better. If you roll with the punches like these guys did, you're probably going to be alright. I make no guarantees, but...probably. :)

Also, I learned that half naked guys will sometimes be belly-surfing on a skateboard down your hallway in your dorm, at your Christian college, singing the bobsled song....


Okay. I really think you've heard enough (Sorry about that last mental image, though). Add it to your list if you've never seen it, and even if you have, you're probably about due for a re-watch. I've got a copy right here next to me if you're interested :) Watch this movie. Pay homage to John Candy, and find out what the heck these other guys are doing now-a-days. The whole thing is quite a trip. 

Thanks for reading, guys. Please, as always, leave your feedback, comments, and clicks on the clicky buttons. I really appreciate it! 

God Bless,