He’s never coached. They’ve never won. Together, they’ll learn everything about winning!
– Emilio Estevez plays Coach Gordon Bombay, which is the role I will forever associate with the non-Sheen Sheen. I also saw him in some movie about being trapped in a library, but the whole time I just kept waiting for him to start chanting “quack, quack, quack, quack” at Judd Nelson.
– This flick kickstarted heartthrob Joshua Jackson’s career. Jackson went on to co-star in Dawson’s Creek, another show I’ve never seen a single episode of.
– Weirdo ginger Danny Tamberelli is also on the team, playing the role of figure-skating little brother Tommy. I know Tamberelli for playing one of the Petes on the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which even at 6 years old made me feel like I was on acid.
– An actor I wouldn’t have noticed without the help of IMDB is former Empire star Jussie Smollet, who plays Jessie Hall’s little brother, Terry. I don’t think Smollet had any lines, so it was a weird role. I’ll just leave it at that.
Hot-shot lawyer Gordon Bombay gets busted for cruising through downtown Minneapolis drunk as a skunk. He tried to hide the bottle from the cops with a brown paper bag, but the fuzz was just too sharp.
Gordon’s punishment for several potentially-felonious charges? 500 hours of community service coaching a pee-wee hockey team.
The good news is that Bombay’s got a little bit of experience on the ice. The bad news is that he Ray Finkled the shit out of his team’s chances to win the state pennant back in 1973, and he’s basically spent his entire life trying to make up for a missed penalty shot he took when he was like, 9.
More bad news: the team he’s assigned to is District 5, a team that makes the Cincinnati Bengals look like a dynasty.
After realizing there’s nobody on the team worth saving, Bombay uses his ambulance-chasing instincts to uncover one of the other team’s stars is actually supposed to play on the District 5 team, a plot twist I guess was Disney’s attempt to address the very serious issue of gerrymandering.
Shocker of shockers: after some growing and learning, the team pulls it together and manages to make it all the way to the state championship, where they have to play — GASP — the same team Bombay lost the championship for back in ’73, which for some reason is still coached by the same dude 20 years later.
Do they win? Of course. It’s Disney.
FIRST MEMORIES OF MOVIE:
I can’t remember whether I was in a hockey phase when this movie came out or whether this movie caused the hockey phase, but either way, I was really into hockey in the second grade because of The Mighty Ducks. I spent a lot of time rollerblading in my basement and pretending to be Adam Banks.
I begged my parents to play pee wee hockey, but time and money were a concern, so I settled for going to my friend Gunnar’s house and playing in his driveway. As his name suggests, Gunnar was pretty good at hockey, and even though I sucked, he let me play with him because I was willing to put on goalie pads and let him zing slapshots at me.
Gunnar went on to play hockey in college. He married my 9th grade girlfriend, and he now works in the front office of a minor league hockey team, and based on his Instagram account has a much cooler life than I do. I mean, they just got a camper, and they’ve been traveling around with it, taking cute family photos on their vacations while I’m sitting here wiping an infant’s vomit from my collar for the fourth time today.
ANYWAY, yeah, I liked hockey because of this movie. Not so much now.
GAPING PLOT HOLES:
– One of the devices the writers use to accelerate time is front pages of a publication called Let’s Play Hockey, the headlines of which show the Ducks’ rise from rag-tag losers to formidable foe. The newspaper’s tagline is “America’s #1 Hockey Publication,” and it’s like, come on. Is someone other than these kids’ parents and that Norwegian pedophile Hans really reading about Minnesota’s pee-wee hockey scene?
– At the turning point of Bombay’s character, he’s asked to choose between letting Adam Banks play for the Hawks or lose his job at Ducksworth’s law firm. “Are you prepared to lose your job over some kids? Some game?” Ducksworth asks.
“Let me ask you sir,” Bombay retorts. “Are you prepared to fire me over some kids? Some game?”
The answer is apparently yes, because Ducksworth tells him to collect his personal belongings.
I mean, I don’t know if Minnesota is a Right To Work state or what, but come on, Ducksworth! Bombay has a 30-1 record as a trial lawyer, you just gave him $15 grand to fund a fucking hockey team, and you’re going to throw that away for some weird back-door deal with two dudes wearing popped collars and pleather sleeves? Coach Reilly must have some serious dirt on your wrinkly ass, dude.
– Ok seriously, the players on that team were bad, but Greg Goldberg straight up SUCKED. He didn’t make a save THE WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE, even after Bombay tied him to the pipes with scarves and let the whole team fire pucks at him. A trash barrel would’ve done a better job. I KNOW the writers realized this because they introduce Julie “The Cat” Gaffney in D2 and Goldberg basically has to fight for his job the rest of the trilogy.
– There’s no way in real life Lester Averman would’ve made it 1 hour and 44 minutes without getting punched in the fucking mouth.
– How big of an asshole is Adam Banks’ dad to wear a Hawks jacket to his son’s championship game? We get it dude, you want your son to play for a team that isn’t so shitty, but that’s like Baker Mayfield’s dad coming to a Browns game wearing Patriots gear.
What do you think that ride to the hockey rink was like? Dad in his popped-collar Hawks jacket, Adam sitting in the front seat in his Ducks jersey. Adam tries to turn on the radio, Dad turns it off. Hopefully his son getting carted off the ice in a neck brace made Dad think twice about repping Coach Reilley’s squad of B-movie bullies.
– I don’t care if it was the ‘90s, there’s just no way any youth league would’ve let Charlie take that penalty shot without a helmet. The liability there is insane. If anyone knows that, it’s that sheister Gordon Bombay.
– The movie ends with Bombay getting on a bus to start his professional hockey career at like 34 years old. Let me get this straight: Bombay somehow gets recognized by North Stars center Mike Modano, who offers him a spot on the team based on his pee wee hockey career? Is this how the NHL draft works? Do you just show up at a game and hope one of the players notices you?
JOKES THAT USED TO BE OVER MY HEAD:
– Bombay: Think of it as your Bar Mitzvah, Goldberg. Today you become a man.
Goldberg: More like a circumcision.
– Team: TAKE THE FALL. ACT HURT. GET INDIGNANT.
LINES THAT WOULDN’T FLY IN 2020:
– Hawks player, to Jessie and Terry Hall and Guy Germaine: What’s this, the Oreo line?
DOES IT HOLD UP?
100 percent. What it lacks in originality or realistic character development, it makes up for in heart. Everybody loves a rags-to-riches story, and this one is no exception. The Mighty Ducks trilogy is one of my favorites, and I’ll have no problem watching this one with my grandkids.