Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Mighty Ducks (1992)

I hate this movie.

This movie is like finding out that Pee-Wee's Playhouse was canceled because Pee-Wee was caught masturbating in a Porn theater and being young enough to be really bummed about it and old enough to understand what "masturbating" and "porn" mean.

I don't remember ever seeing the Mighty Ducks in my youth, but I assume that I did. Unless my memories of it come from growing up in Minnesota and being surrounded by the collective knowledge of all things hockey. Also, I was a huge Paula Abdul fan and therefore knowledgeable about all things Paula, including her marriage to Emilio Estevez.

Speaking of... Emilio Estevez can't act.

All through this movie, his facial expression doesn't change! If it does, it looks less like a human expressing emotion and more like a mask with strings taped to the face. 

Pull the strings and you create a smile.

You want sensitive? I'll give you sensitive.

How about a little outrage?

This one's a double whammy. Lovelorn + sweater = Straight up, why do people like this movie?

What's that? You want to know what the movie's about? I'll tell you what it's about. It's about destroying childhood so a egotistical lawyer can re-live his youth. That's what it's about.

I'll tell you.
Twist my arm, why doncha.

The movie starts with the scene of young Gordon Bombay getting ready to take the ultimate shot to win the Pee-Wee (Hey, Pee-Wee!) Hockey Championship. His coach pretty much tells him that if he misses, he's going to let everyone down, his family, his teammates, his dead father, the Dalai Llama, everyone's life is going to be a little less precious if he misses the shot. 

Guess what.

He misses the shot. And his life is OVER!

That missed shot was so terrible to his young psyche that we find out poor little Gordon Bombay quit hockey and grew up to be a cheating, smarmy, alcoholic lawyer.

When he gets arrested for DWI, Gordon's boss, Mr. Ducksworth, makes a deal with the judge to make Gordon serve 500 hours of community service. So he can learn the value of teamwork and stuff.

What is Gordon's community service? To coach hockey! Duh!

That's ragtag band of misfits, if I've ever seen one.

Goldberg's outfit is the only redeemable quality about this movie.

The team sucks, but Gordon doesn't care, he's just going to sit there and serve his time and not put any effort into the team. Their first game is against the Hawks, Gordon's former team. They still have the same coach and the same insane training. They are the best. They never lose. Look at that coordination. They're like the Filipino prisoners of Pee-Wee Hockey.

For the next game, Gordon has an awesome plan. The players are going to take dives at every opportunity, to gain penalty shots and what not (what is this, a futbol movie?!).

But Charlie don't play that. He refuses to take a dive. He's a stand-up kid and he knows what's what.

Also Charlie:

Grows up to be this:



Oh, right, Gordon is a douche during that game.

At the game, Gordon spots his magical former mentor, Hans, and he can tell that Hans is real disappointed in him. He goes to visit Hans late one night and is reminded that he loved hockey, not because he won all the time, but because he enjoyed the game. You see, when Gordon was on the ice, it's like he was flying.

So Gordon goes skating and re-connects with his hockey roots. I have to say here that there's really nothing like skating outside early in the morning when the light looks like this and all you hear are buses driving by and the sound of your own skates on the ice. It's pretty awesome.

Gordon realizes that he was an ass-wipe and goes to Charlie to apologize for his behavior and also to make a move on Charlie's mom.

Gordon decides to use his advantages to help the kids, so he goes to his boss, Mr. Ducksworth and asks for $15,000 to pay for equipment for the team. Mr. Ducksworth gives him the money and they go buck in Hans's store.

Then Gordon actually starts teaching the kids to play hockey!

When he gives them their new uniforms and tells them that they will be the Mighty Ducks, he explains how awesome ducks are (he's trying to stop the whining about being named after water fowl). He asks them if they've ever seen a duck fight and then he says,  no! because blah blah blah. Except, actually, I have seen a duck fight and it's fucking scary. One duck was left horror movie bloody and even though it was almost 20 years ago, I can still see that duck, on the verge of death, stumbling away from the fight. Fucking ducks are messed up!

Thinking about this movie and how much there is left to re-cap is making me feel like this:

I need something to make me happy.

Much better.

What? Oh, right, the movie. So, the Ducks start winning, but then shit happens and they get mad at Gordon because they think he's betraying them. And then he apologizes and Goldberg, sweet Goldberg, rolls his eyes because, even he knows, this is ridiculous.

So then there's a twist to the movie, kind of. Not so much a twist as solid evidence that Gordon Bombay is not a nice person and should not be allowed to guide children.

You see, Gordon finds out that the division lines for the teams have changed and one of the players for the Hawks, a one Adam Banks, should actually be playing for the Hawks. He gets a lawyer and tells the Hawks coach that Adam should play for the Ducks. If not, all of the Hawks games will be invalid.

It turns out that Adam's dad is friends with Gordon's boss, Mr. Ducksworth, namesake of the Mighty Ducks. Mr. Ducksworth strikes a deal that Adam can play with the Hawks through the end of the season and then, before the next season, the teams will switch back to their old boundaries so Adam can stay on the Hawks.

But Gordon is all NO! And we're supposed to believe that he's being noble and stand-up, because he won't let his boss (who kept him out of jail, paid him full salary while he was doing community service-because he was arrested for DRUNK DRIVING, did all this to teach him how to compromise and think about others, oh yeah and gave him $15,000) tell him what to do. 

But what exactly is Gordon doing? Oh, right, he's taking a 12 year-old boy away from his friends, his family legacy, and his love of playing fast hockey so he can play for a ragtag team, where everyone hates him. That's what kind of stand-up guy Gordon Bombay is. 

And why is he taking this child away from the Hawks? Because he wants the Hawks to have a disadvantage so they lose and he wants the Ducks to have an advantage so they win. 

Adam shows up for a game and as expected, everyone hates him

Especially Jesse. Even though everyone decided to like Adam after he scored a goal, thereby helping them get closer to a win. Jesse still hates him.

Oh, Wait! There is one Awesome thing about this movie!


So, now that they have a coach who cares and they've stolen a star player from another team, the Ducks have made it to the Championship game. 

How do they train for such a big game? You ask
Is there a training montage?

Why, they train by being mirthful and experiencing joy! This training montage is all about fun!

Finally (FINALLY), here they are, in the Championship game, versus the Hawks.

We know the Hawks are bad because the Hawks chant "Win" and the Ducks chant "Quack"

The only time the Hawks have lost a Championship was that day, lo so many years ago, when Gordon Bombay, failure 4 life, missed the shot.

There's a whole lotta side-eye

and collar-popping going on.

Are you intimidated yet?!?!?!

Then, in classic Karate Kid form, the Hawks coach tells one of his players to "Drop Banks like a bad habit." The kid pushes Banks into the net and Banks is lying, still on the ice. The only complex character in this whole fucking movie is that Hawks player, who crosses team lines because he's concerned about his friend's well-being. He also chastises his teammate who pushed Banks. Whatta guy.

Meanwhile, Jesse decides, now that he probably has a broken neck, that Banks is an OK guy.

And that's the last we hear of Banks. So what if a 12 year-old is maybe paralyzed? 
There's hockey to play!

They do the flying V, which is a big deal

Then, the game is tied. Only seconds remain. And Charlie gets tripped! Which means a penalty shot!
If Charlie makes this shot, the Ducks win the Championship.....

Hang on guys, I know this is going to blow your mind, so let me type it slow:

This. is. just. like. the. pivotal. moment. in. Gordon's. childhood.

Phew! Charlie made the shot! The Ducks win! Their lives are validated! 


(btw, how's Banks doing? Is he dead?)

Wait! One more scene! Keep the torture going!

Gordon is leaving to try out for the minors (in hockey, duh).

And the kids (except Banks, who's probably dead) are all there to wish him well.

Awwww....... barf.

I'm going to leave you with the best part of the entire movie

Thank you, AquaNet.

PS: Anyone who decides to put this movie on their best sports movies lists needs to watch it again and experience the same suffering that I have.



  1. mary, we actually started a hockey team at columbia called mr. ducksworth. we were not very good. we are planning on rewatching this movie as part of our training next year, but i imagine it will involve drinking, and also d2, because of the bash brothers.
    also, how could you not mention fulton reed?

  2. I was going to mention Fulton, but, after watching and absorbing this movie, my will to live was too weak.

  3. i am sorry. i am also excited to see what will come. hopefully the sandlot will come into play. maybe field of dreams.
    i fucking hate kevin costner.

  4. Awesome recap. I especially loved the shots of Pacey (one of the greatest television characters of all time - in my humble opinion*).

    *in the middle of re-watching all of My So-Called Life for the umpteenth time.