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Cool Runnings
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Reviews & Ratings for
Cool Runnings More at IMDbPro »

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85 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

Not the truth, but still inspiring.

Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu
23 August 2003

Make no mistake, Cool Runnings is not the true story of the Jamaican Bobsled team. It is inspired by it, but this is not a documentary. Still, despite that, it does capture the spirit of the team and the derision they faced. In a fun and entertaining way, the filmmakers displayed the true lesson of the team: if you have a dream, go after it, no matter what anyone else says.

This isn't the greatest film ever and it's full of cliches; but, they work. If you can't get caught up in the emotion and excitement of the film, it's because your heart is frozen. There are plenty of laughs and general silliness, but there is also good drama and fine performances. John Candy showed he could deliver an emotional performance instead of just schtick. During the bobsled runs, you can't help but find yourself cheering for the team.

This film is a pleasure to watch and will bring a smile to your face. Is it good? Yeah, mon!

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68 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's bobsled time.

10/10
Author: cobram-1 from United States
16 August 2003

Just saw this movie again on HBO, haven't seen it in almost a decade, and was surprised at how much slipped by me the first time. It's only sad point is to be reminded of what a loss we movie lovers suffered with the death of John Candy. Imagine what he could have done with a little more time on this mortal coil. This movie is uplifting; it's about the human spirit, its strengths and weaknesses. It explores the parent-child conflict, superstition, ambition, love, hate, patriotism and a gamut of other themes. The story telling is good, the camaraderie authentic, and the celebration of life inspiring. Follow your dreams, wherever they may lead you. When things seem impossible, just remember that there's a Jamaican bobsled team.

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58 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

Sweet, disarming film

8/10
Author: Spleen from Canberra, Australia
23 September 1999

Hands up all Jamaicans. (There are only 2.6 million people in Jamaica - so I know you don't account for a large percentage of the English-speaking world.) Hands up all those people with any interest at all in bobsledding. Hah! I knew it! No-one.

That's why `Cool Runnings' succeeds. It depends not at all on aggressive nationalism (it couldn't afford to, with a constituency of 2.6 million), and people of all countries are free to participate in the Jamaicans' perfectly reasonable patriotism. (Probably even the Swiss, whose bobsled team comes across as more than a trifle arrogant.) Nor is there any of that worship of a particular sport that makes baseball movies so unendurable for people outside of North America, Cuba and Japan. (Not that I have any evidence that baseball movies are popular in Cuba or Japan.)

There isn't any power-of-positive-thinking psychobabble, either - at least, it doesn't dominate. The four Jamaican bobsledders are separate people with different goals and ways of thinking. The coach (played beautifully by John Candy, who proves that he can act without playing the clown) doesn't ram a particular ideology down his players' throats. I doubt that any sports film has a more civilised and reasonable coach.

It comes down to this: we are given a reason to care about the characters, unrelated to nationality; and we are given a story that's worth following, even if we would never follow the sport itself. The clichés are fewer than usual and never offensive. It's a sweet film, and I doubt there's more than a handfull of people who could resist its charm.

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43 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Cool running has to be the funniest ever made by the late John Candy

8/10
Author: (larrybell67) from Ottawa, Ontario Canada
22 February 2002

I have seen this movie at least 7 times and still get the greatest laugh from it. It has humor, sense of competition to win the big event with all their hearts. Just good clean overall fun and great story line which I understand was derived from a true story.

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31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

One Of The Greatest Films Ever Made

10/10
Author: Joe Walton from United Kingdom
20 April 2006

It might not be historically accurate - and you know what, some of the best films aren't - but I believe, hand on heart, that Cool Runnings is one of greatest films ever made.

Cool Runnings is absolutely hilarious with a wonderful blend of slapstick comedy, one liners, colourful characters and absurdity, however its comic achievements are well documented, and for this reason I will take them as read.

Cool Runnings is an exploration of a number of the weightiest themes a film can deal with, such as racism, poverty, pride, passion, forgiveness and self-belief. Cool Runnings tackles all of these themes head-on without losing an ounce of its charm, humour, or family-fun.

A superbly played Joseph Gruel is the prime embodiment of the racism the Jamaicans face on the hill, and his story is very moving. So too is the voyage of self-discovery and forgiveness embarked on by disgraced coach Erv Blitzer (John Candy). The team themselves are a wonderful advert for teamwork and the little island of Jamaica. Each one is wise, bold in the face of their respective adversity, and has an intriguing story to tell.

The ending of Cool Runnings also ranks as one of the greatest. It masterfully avoids the back-slapping, one-dimensional and predictable ending it looks to be approaching, a trap that so many other similar 'feel-good' films fall into. Instead Cool Runnings brings together all of the themes that have been explored, in one emotionally charged final scene.

99% will disagree with something I have written above. But I first watched the film 15 years ago and it has stayed with me ever since. I have watched it around 100 times now, and I still shed a tear at the end...no other film has ever brought me even close to that.

If you take nothing else from this review. Watch Cool Runnings. It is so much better than the clever-arsed, blockbuster-biased critics will have you believe. Forget the highly forgettable cheese like Remember the Titans, The Mighty Ducks and all the rest. Pull up a chair, get the phone on divert, and sit back and enjoy the only 'feel good' film worth watching.

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34 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

A little gem

8/10
Author: Lupercali from Tasmania
9 March 2004

'Cool Runnings' is one of those prized and rare animals - a genuinely feel-good family movie that doesn't also make you feel stupid.

Based (rather loosely, I suspect) on the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team who competed in the Winter Olympics, against outrageous odds, ridicule, complete lack of snow in Jamaica, etc, etc - 'Cool Runnings' hardly puts a foot wrong as it moves towards its rousing ending. That ending is genuinely inspirational, lump-in-the-throat stuff, which so many serious sports movies have aimed at, and fallen short of.

Most miraculously, from my point of view, I actually found myself _liking_ John Candy, in this movie.

I'm giving this one 8 out of 10. It achieves its goals splendidly. Be sure to give it a look if you've not seen it before.

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27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Funny, strong and endearing characters

9/10
Author: shrav86 from United States
3 July 2005

I remember watching this movie when I was a kid and loving it. It is one of those feel good movies that you think is corny but somehow avoids that label. The characters are funny and endearing. John Candy balances the broken side of his character along with the inspirational side of his character very believably. Doug E Doug has some hilarious dialogs. You feel yourself rooting for the team with more feeling than you expect. The director does well by not focusing on the racial aspect of the movie and converting it to just another movie of black vs. white. Obviously you cannot expect any brilliant acting or movie making but all in all this movie is a must see for families. Four Jamaicans in a bob sled is more entertaining than it looks.

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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A scene from the 1988 Olympics:

7/10
Author: Ron-181 (rhall96319@aol.com) from Lake Butler, Florida
24 November 2001

One of John Candy's best movies. An excellent cast makes this a real feel good film telling the story of the first Jamaican bobsled team and their efforts to overcome the prejudices of a previous all white sport. You'll enjoy every minute of this flick and have a better understanding of what it takes to join the Olympic movement. For the entire family.

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25 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A very cool comedy

8/10
Author: Philip Van der Veken from Tessenderlo, Belgium
11 January 2005

It's probably a word game that has been used many times before, but "Cool Runnings" is a very 'cool' movie that offered me a lot of fun and laughter. And since this is a comedy and not a documentary, that's all I'm asking of this movie.

If you hope to see a documentary on how the first Jamaican bobsled team was created and how they got to the Olympics than you'll have to look for something else. This movie has been inspired on the true events, but never pretends to be faithful to the truth. Does that mean that this movie isn't any good? No, certainly not. I loved to see how these four guys were transfered from sprinters to bobsledders and I couldn't help laughing all the time when seeing their reactions on, for instance, the cold and the snow.

This isn't the greatest movie ever and yes it is full of clichés, but they all work and it never bothered me once. However, don't expect to see a ridiculous comedy with no content either, because it still has a good story and plenty of emotions and excitement to offer. I reward this movie with an 8/10.

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Pretty fun sports movie

7/10
Author: Scott-101 from arlington, va
24 June 2004

This one of those family-oriented sports movies that I have fond memories of from my elementary school days. Off the top of my head, I can name The Air Up There, Iron Will, and the Mighty Ducks in this category as well. They weren't masterpieces, per se, but they were pleasant, fun, and sometimes inspirational.

The thing about a sports movie is that the passion that a dedicated athlete feels is usually something that can translate itself visually on screen. For instance, if you were to make a movie about a passionate chess player, it's not as exciting to watch the final climactic moment when the hero checkmates his opponent, as it is to watch a game winning shot. What I'm getting to is that one of the draws of a sports movie is being exposed to that passion and desire in our hero.

In this case, the hero is Jamaican sprinter Derice Bannock who was accidentally tripped during the Olympic trials, but is determined to make the Olympics anyway. Since track's no longer an option for him, he figures why not start the nation's first bobsledding team, since a bobsled team hasn't been fielded yet. He also is encouraged in the sport by the fact that a friend of his dad happens to be a bobsled coach and he might be able to help. The bobsled coach declines citing as his reasons that there's no ice in Jamaica, that there's not enough time to train, that Derice doesn't have 3 other people which is needed to form a team, that he doesn't even think Derice was a good runner, and that he doesn't even like coaching anymore.

Nevertheless, Derice manages to convince the coach, and get three teammates consisting of his best friend, the guy who tripped him in the trials, and another sprinter who got tripped in the trials along with him. This is one of the better sources of entertainment in the film because the dynamics of this team are formed under such unusual circumstance. For instance, Yul, one of the two who got tripped during the trials, still hasn't forgiven Junior, the tripper.

The film very cleverly finds a balance between the inspirational element of this story and the humor. Essentially, Derice the most determined member of the group, is a person who we come to admire for his persistence, and maybe that's why it's a good family film, someone kids can look up to. The humor comes from Derice's friend, Sanka, who says a lot of funny stuff. This really is the only way the movie could work because if Derice was funny and told jokes, you wouldn't take him seriously, and if Sanka was more determined about winning, his jokes would sound out of context. The two guys in the middle of the bobsled, both metaphorically and literally, add to the film in their own ways but on a smaller scale. The late John Candy plays the coach and fills the part well.

The other notable thing about the film is it's ending. Provided, this is your first viewing, it really does a lot for the movie. I won't give it away, but the ending is unpredictable yet equally satisfying, something I don't often see. However, I wonder, since this was filmed only five years after the Calgary Olympics, how familiar would viewers have been with the actual event that inspired the film. If they knew the story of the '88 Jamaican bobsled team in its entirety, than the impact of that ending would have been lost.

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