MGM via Everett Collection
If the Sochi games haven't been dramatic enough for you, there's plenty of Winter Olympics action to be relived in these two icy classics. While baseball and football get more than their fair share of cinematic glory, hockey and figure skating are underrepresented on the big screen. Maybe studios are wary of sending their actors out on the slippery stuff? But even though the films devoted to these sports are few, at least they are great. Every few years, the world's attention turns to wintry sports and their stars. And rewatches of Miracle and The Cutting Edge are a clear necessity. But which is the ultimate on-ice Olympic movie?
The Cutting EdgeLet's start with the 1992 skating flick. It's got a forever quotable screenplay by Tony Gilroy, who would go on to write Michael Clayton and the Bourne series. (Admit it, you still say "toe pick" in a sing-song voice when you see a pair of skates.) Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney have solid chemistry as a prickly figure skater and the former hockey player who becomes her unlikely partner. It's a rom-com with a shelf life, because it's about two people who have other motivations besides falling in love. It happens, of course, but not before they master "The Pamchenko."
MiracleThe 2004 hockey film, on the other hand, pulls its triumphant story directly from Olympic history. This is the cinematic retelling of the 1980 Team USA, the "Miracle on Ice." Kurt Russell plays Herb Brooks, who coached this team to a gold medal over the seemingly unbeatable Russians. The Cutting Edge is also a classic underdog story, but without the benefit of a clearly defined rival. And in 1980, you couldn't do much better than "the Russians" as far as a rival was concerned. Where The Cutting Edge portrays athletic competition with a wink and a smile, Miracle does it with an "I'm not crying, man. You're crying."
Which movie will reign supreme? Only your votes will tell.
The film centers on yet another over-achieving career woman Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) who is beautiful stylish and successful but can’t find the right man to save her life. You know the type. She would have given up by now if it weren’t for her three close girlfriends (Wendy Raquel Robinson Taraji P. Henson Golden Brooks) who exact a fair amount of peer pressure to keep her in the game. Kenya finally agrees to go on a blind date with Brian Kelly (Simon Baker) a sexy landscape architect who turns out to be not exactly what she'd pictured for herself. You know because she’s an uptight black woman and he’s a free-spirited white man. And there's our conflict. Should Kenya stay the straight and narrow path or follow her heart--no matter where it takes her? That’s a rhetorical question of course. Lathan has had a nice steady career making likable urban romantic comedies (Love and Basketball Brown Sugar) so she fits easily into Something New’s milieu. As Kenya the actress is effectively professional and whip-smart at work but also does a nice job playing up the character’s insecurities in her personal life. By being so very high maintenance one wonders why the almost-too-good-to-be-true Brian would even fall for her. But that’s what Something New has going for it--Baker (The Ring Two) and Lathan make their connection seem palpable and genuine. The movie really steams up when these two are on screen together. As for the rest they add flavor wherever necessary especially Donald Faison (TV’s Scrubs) as Kenya’s womanizing brother and Alfre Woodard who does a surprising turn as Kenya’s materialistic snobbish mother. Written directed and produced by women of color Something New wants to make a statement about the pressures professional women--in this case black women--have trying to find love and commitment in their lives. Successful producer Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow) and screenwriter Kriss Turner were both inspired by an article they read in the Detroit Free Press about how 42.4 percent of black women have never been married which then lead them to the idea that if you’re in your 30s and single are you going to open things up and look outside your race? This delicate subject matter in Something New’s is skillfully handled by first-time director Sanaa Hamri who adequately shows the fine line. But despite its sweet temperament the film ultimately lapses into ordinary and predictable rom-com fare. After all you got to have the Hollywood ending right?