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Mostly hated by critics on its release, as much for its cynical viewpoint
its relentless profanity, "Slap Shot" has since become something of a cult
Set in the low-rent world of minor-league hockey, the movie follows the efforts of player-coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) to turn around the Charlestown Chiefs' final, losing season in a dying Pennsylvania steel town. Reggie is not above using a dirty trick or two to manipulate his teammates or psych out opposing players, and cheerfully gets physical when he has to. Even Reggie recoils in disgust, however, when his tightwad manager (Strother Martin) brings in the Hanson Brothers, three thick-lensed, thicker-headed goons who are more interested in fighting than playing Reggie's brand of "old-time hockey".
When it becomes apparent that the hometown crowd loves the Hanson's rough and bloody style, Reggie decides to go with the flow, and to fire up his other players concocts the story that, if they can win the championship, the owner will be able to sell the franchise to a group of rich retirees in Florida. To do that, though, they will have to get past an opposing squad specially stocked with the league's most notorious goons...
A sometimes uneasy blend of slapstick and kitchen-sink realism , "Slap Shot" has some pertinent things to say about the American worship of success at all costs, and (long before the rise of the WWF) our fascination with violent sports. Echos of its gritty style can be seen not only in many later sporting films, such as "Bull Durham" and "Major League", but even in the wave of British movies in which characters fight to hold onto their lives after the collapse of hometown industry, such as "The Full Monty" and "Brassed Off".
The film really shines as a straight comedy, though, delivering some classic characters and set pieces: virtually every appearance of the Hansons; a clueless, toupee-wearing sportscaster (Andrew Duncan); the team's tiny Quebecker goalie (Yvon Barrette), and Newman himself, in one of his personal favorite roles. The females fare less well, although Jennifer Warren stands out as Dunlop's long-suffering, estranged wife.
Note: in the VHS version, the background music has been replaced by an inferior, generic soundtrack. The DVD version, with the original music, is preferable.
I remember the first time I saw SLAP SHOT; I laughed so hard that I thought
I was going to puke. The best thing about this movie is that all the banter
between the players, the attitudes, and the jokes are ALL TRUE! I worked in
the locker rooms for a minor-league hockey team and I saw every character
movie: the aging veterans, the eccentric goalie, the lazy pretty-boy, the
young players looking for a chance, etc. It is so true to life and
accurate, moreso than any other sports related movie out there. And having
all the actors do their own skating is a big plus also. I really can't find
a fault with this flick.
And for my most favorite part of the movie? No question it is Moe Wanchuck! I have yet to find a character in any movie that everytime he open's his mouth, I go into hysterics. Along with Chunk from THE GOONIES and The Dude from THE BIG LEBOWSKI, Moe is up there towards the top of my list of favorite characters in any movie I have ever seen.
You know you have a classic film when the topic of SLAP SHOT comes up with your friends, or even people you have just met, and you spend hours reciting all your favorite quotes, trying to out-do each other. Do yourself a favor and see this movie so you can be part of the fun!
This one belongs on the list of the greatest sports comedies ever made. The humor (and the language) is some of the saltiest you'll hear in a movie but it doesn't seem excessive at all. This tale of a minor-league hockey team having one last go at greatness is boisterous and bruisingly funny, even if you don't care for the sport itself. As the aging captain of the team who's constantly amazed at the crazy happenings around him , Newman is at his roguish, charming best. Rent it with "The Longest Yard" for a perfect double-bill. A four-star **** classic.
C'mon, this is pure comedy. No breaks, no lull parts just funny all the way through with the appropriate cheesy 70's soundtrack. This movie not being in AFI's top 100 comedy films is a travesty. If they want a period piece this was it. They sighted Fast Times, it just stands to reason that Slap Shot should fall into the listing. The Hanson's deserve special consideration. The casting is perfect
I grew up in south 'jersey when the Flyers were still the Broad Street Bullies and all lived on our side of the Walt Whitman Bridge. They had handlebar mustaches. Many spoke with thick French-Canadian accents and wore wide ties, jackets with lapels you could park a truck on, and more than the occasional leisure suit. Many were just kids when they were pulled from the farmlands of the North and found themselves in the middle of suburbia by day, and at night, playing "Old-time hockey" while the chanting and organ music echoed to the rafters. Now whether you played pro hockey like they did, or were on the semi-pro Johnstown Jets that inspired the crew here, there seems to be a prototype player who played a certain style of game for the rest of us to watch. Sadly, that era is long gone. Marketers and big business have left the game in smoldering ruins. But we still have Slapshot. It perfectly captures what the game used to be and the guys who used to play it. Paul Newman is incredible as Reggie Dunlop, the aging player-coach who seems to be the last guy to figure out his team is on the verge of folding. The fictional town has hit the skids so that means no more hockey team. But instead of going out with a whimper, Dunlop has a scheme to get his crappy team back in the standings and the fans in the stands. And as the plot develops there's locker-room talk that would make even today's teenagers shut up and take notes. Nancy Dowd's story, which she wrote after seeing her brother Ned play in the minors during his career (and parody in the movie as Ogie Oglethorpe) translates into a total classic. The raw banter between Newman and his GM, between the players -- literally all through the movie -- makes for the most quotable flick I know...but I have to be so careful where I can recite my favorites. One such place was out on the fishing boat of a hall-of-famer from the old Flyers. (It's rumored one of the characters in the movie was modeled directly from HIM.) Slapshot brought even this guy to his knees with hysterics. Just rehashing a few quotes from the movie triggered his REAL stories of his own team that won the Cup two years in a row, and then never again since. That's how well the movie tells the story of hockey. There's a lot of social commentary here, too, if you are into such a thing. Lots on relationships, male bonding, machismo and the like. Some of the subplots take the story off the ice for too long, and the movie tends to drag in spots, admittedly. But when play is on, the brutal scenes reach such a sublime level of violence all you can do is gape and laugh in astonishment. The players here have all become like Reggie himself: They don't seem to notice that they've gone too far and they are creating a goonathon just to fill arenas. Meanwhile, those with real talent get benched right along with the national anthem. It's pretty clear -- both on the screen and during the times when the movie was being made -- that Old Time Hockey was on its way out. But it didn't go with a whimper, either, and at least Slapshot was there to give it a send-off to remember.
I have played goal for 32 years.. On many of the men's rec
I STILL hear someone say: "How about it tonight, guys? Old time hockey?"
everyone yells : "Pi** on old time hockey!!!"
then "Eddie Shore???": "Pi** on Eddie Shore!!!" It still gets
laugh in the locker room!
The goalie being allergic to the fans is a quote from my favorite pro goaltender: the late Jacques Palante.. He was allergic, he said, to the Toronto Fans.. and would often sit the bench.
You can tell the actors are having fun making this movie.. it comes thru loud and clear!
Another locker room favorite that has survived is when you ask another player getting dressed what he is doing.. He might just answer: "Puttin' on the foil, want some???"
I've even been told on occasion that my wife is a lesbian as a joke! She ain't but I often react with mock anger and dash out of the net.
After a bad game where my defense let me down I told our coach in the locker room : " Trade me right fu***** now!!" (and the player to my right said "Now hang up")
A movie that survives this long after release is is is .... A CLASSIC!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When you look back at all the outrageous sports comedies this is probably one of the first. It has set a new standard for comedy across many movies. With Paul Newman in here he kind of gives this movie a soul. Maybe not a great one, still something is in here. Lately there have been many sports comedies such as Dodgeball, Balls of Fury and many of Will Ferrell's movies. Yet none of them, except maybe Dodgeball have reached the originality and such witty lines from Slap Shot. I think this movie really has something more to it than just the comedy. It actually displays the faults in hockey and professional sports in general. It really shows that to many owners that the idea of having a team is like a cool new toy. All kids eventually get bored with toys and give them away or just throw them in the trash. This is exactly what we see in Slap Shot with the owner, she just plays with all their lives and can just make them a simple tax write-off. It also shows the desperation of the players. Paul Newman talks about going out with style about as soon as hears scout are at the game he quickly goes back to the team's brutal and dirty tactics (This made out to be a hilarious scene). The difference between this and other sports comedies is that it actually has a lot of realistic situations ( THough sometimes exaggerated). I would definitely recommend this.
Every hockey fan I've ever met, no matter how pedestrian, identifies
with this profane, but prophetic 1977 cult classic. SLAP SHOT perfectly
nailed the circus we know of as the now-defunct Johnstown Jets: a
former farm team of the World Hockey Association's Minnesota Fighting
Saints. Real life is truly stranger than fiction, but SLAP SHOT seems
to combine the best of all worlds.
As legend goes, screenwriter Nancy Dowd got the brainstorm of doing a documentary on minor-league hockey, spending a few months in Johnstown, PA with her brother Ned Dowd. Ned, who was working his way up with the Jets from the U.S. college ranks, toward the WHA Minnesota Fighting Saints, was Nancy's inspiration for Michael Ontkean's Ned Braedon character.
Nancy, whose 1979 screenplay for "Coming Home" would cop her an Oscar, was like a fly on the wall when all of these bizarre events began to play out before her eyes. She managed to capture "the spirit of the thing" and compose what is surely one of the most spectacular sports film plays in the history of cinema.
As the storyline in SLAP SHOT was true to life, names had to be juxtaposed to protect the innocent. The Johnstown Jets became the Charlestown Chiefs. Real-life Minnesota hockey-playing siblings, the Carlsons became the Hansons. Real-life player "Killer" Hanson, inspired the "Killer" Carlson character. Brophy, the tipsy captain of the Hyannisport Presidents was so-named for juxtaposing with the Reggie Dunlop character, allegedly patterned after a career minor-league player named John Brophy, who went on to coach the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs.
Everyone who lived in the seventies reported sightings of one incarnation or another of toupee-wearing sportscaster Jim Carr. And when it comes to sports-writing, Reggie Dunlop said it best: "If Dickie Dunn wrote this, it MUST be true!" Some of the classic character names in this film must be honored also: Barclay Donaldson, Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken, Andre "Poodle" Lucier, "Ogie" Oglethorpe, Ross "Mad Dog" Madison, Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown and Gilmore Tuttle.
With all the other strokes of brilliance and genius SLAP SHOT has become famous for, we cannot forget the contribution of the star Paul Newman, who is believable and sympathetic as washed-up Chiefs player-coach Reggie Dunlop.
Minnesota native, the late George Roy Hill, who also directed "The Sting" and "Slaughterhouse Five," could arguably claim SLAP SHOT as the master stroke in his illustrious career.
Miraculously, several stars of SLAP SHOT would go on to make other hockey movies: Yvon Ponton starred in the French-Canadian TV series "He Shoots He Scores" and the "Les Boys" film series; Paul D'Amato starred in "The Deadliest Season"; Jerry Hauser appeared in "Miracle On Ice."
One of the knocks that has always been given to Paul Newman was that he
was not right for comedy. When you're talking about stuff like A New
Kind of Love or Rally Round the Flag Boys that's probably true. But
Slapshot shows that what Paul Newman needed to be good for comedy was
something not quite so sophisticated.
Slapshot ain't Oscar Wilde, but it's not quite to the level of the Police Academy movies. It's just right for Paul Newman as the veteran player/coach with a team of misfits from one of hockey's minor leagues who's forever looking for a break from the majors.
The Charlestown Chiefs who seem to be the hockey equivalent of the New York Mets are having a perennial losing season. The town itself is one flush away from despondency with a mill that was the main employer in the town shutting down. That means the paltry attendance the Chiefs already have will diminish more. It's an uncertain future.
So with nothing to lose, Newman's boys turn the sport into a hockey facsimile of the World Wrestling Federation. In no other sport are fights among the players so accepted. But Newman ratchets it up to an exponential level.
And his team actually starts to win and the Charlestown Chiefs become a gate attraction.
There's a lot more to the resolution of the team's problems, but that championship game is unforgettable.
All Hail the Brothers Hanson.
I liked this movie when I first saw it over twenty years ago, and its still great! The swinging 70's get perfectly captured, by the music, hair styles and especially the awful clothes. All the actors do their own skating, so you aren't distracted looking for body doubles the entire movie. The screenplay is priceless and if anyone thinks its sexist - a woman wrote this movie! This is the only hockey movie worth anything - hopefully "Mystery, Alaska" can join it.
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