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Mystery, Alaska (1999)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Sport  -  1 October 1999 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 20,639 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 120 user | 74 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

This comedy is about the residents of a small town who get over-excited when their hockey team gets chosen to host a televised event

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Title: Mystery, Alaska (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bailey Pruitt
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'Skank' Marden
Ryan Northcott ...
Stevie Weeks
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Connor Banks
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Bobby Michan
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Kevin Holt
Leroy Peltier ...
Ben Winetka
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Storyline

When Mystery, Alaska's amateur hockey team accepts a challenge to play against the New York Rangers, the entire population must put their petty differences aside and pull together as their small town becomes the center of a nationally televised event. Written by Ranger Mode

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Small Town on the Outskirts of Greatness

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Disney's Hockey Project  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,102,191 (USA) (1 October 1999)

Gross:

$8,888,143 (USA) (24 December 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burt Reynolds' character name Walter Burns is the same as the editor of Cary Grant's character in 'His Girl Friday'. Reynolds starred in 'Switching Channels', a remake of 'His Girl Friday', as the character originally played by Grant, named Walter Burns. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie and John are sitting next to the zamboni talking, Charlie throws up on the ground. As the shot pulls back, there is no vomit on the ground next to him. See more »

Quotes

[John is jealous after seeing his wife and Charles Danner laughing together in the stands, while John was busy trying to coach the team. Donna doesn't understand why he is upset]
Donna Biebe: John?
John Biebe: You've been smilin' a lot lately.
Donna Biebe: [smiling, still puzzled] Excuse me?
John Biebe: Ever since he came back. Charlie. You been smilin' a little more.
Donna Biebe: [finally understanding] John. That was high school.
[He walks a few steps, kicking the snow to reveal the frozen pond below. Then he kicks at the ice again and speaks metaphorically]
John Biebe:
See more »

Connections

References Scream 2 (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Love You Till the End
Written by Darryl Hunt
Performed by The Pogues
Courtesy of 'Warner Bros. Music Ltd. [gb]'
By Arrangement with 'Warner Special Products [us]'
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very well done
25 October 2005 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

This movie is easy to bash because of its "underdog" formula, but this is one of the better spins I've ever seen put on it.

Mystery, Alaska is a small, ice-covered town that no one would ever have heard of were it not for former resident Charles Danner's (Hank Azaria) article on the "Saturday game" of hockey that has become a ritual in the town. Danner sings the town's hockey praises, likening their skating ability to that of "any team in the NHL," and the gods of fiction hear the call, arranging for an exhibition game between the New York Rangers and the Mystery players. This sets off storms of conflict and multiple subplots which give this film a depth normally not found in the genre. The hockey game itself is almost an afterthought, because while the players know how to play the game, they don't have the same mastery over their daily lives.

John Biebe (Russell Crowe) is the town sheriff and involuntarily-retired player from the Saturday game who is called upon to return to the team as their coach and as a player. His wife, Donna (Mary McCormack), is proud of the life she has built and slightly wistful about what the rest of the world would have held for her, but is content with what she has and does not live with her head in the clouds. Burt Reynolds is excellent as town judge Walter Burns, who must grapple with his teenage children, one of each gender, with the boy lacking the ambition Walter has for him, and the girl being a little too ambitious for his taste with her boyfriend. Colm Meany is the town Mayor who must deal with marital conflicts, and the remaining characters are what you'd expect to find in a closely-knit small town.

The game itself is more like something out of "The Air Up There" than any of the movies mentioned in the other reviews. In that movie, the Africans played basketball for much the same reason as the Mystery boys play hockey, and as in that movie, the talent pool from the area is rich enough for the pros to take more than a passing look at the players (two of the Mystery players wind up signing with the Rangers and playing for their minor-league outfit in Binghamton).

The players' main worry is that they'll get blown out by the Rangers, and shatter their illusions about their talent, but since the game is held on "their pond," where they believe "nobody beats them," they weren't about to back down. The Rangers, at first reluctant opponents who would rather have had some time with their families, get an early wake-up call in the game that causes them to remember why they played hockey in the first place, and take the game as seriously as a Stanley Cup final from then on. It is then that we see that while the Mystery players may lack the polish of the NHL, they are hardly outclassed.

As expected, the Zamboni makes a cameo, as does Mike Myers as a former player/announcer. The movie has the usual small-town hostility towards outsiders, including some ribald swipes at a female TV reporter, but throughout the movie, we see what makes this town tick, and how their commitment to hockey is one that every professional player should never lose. Sports may be a business, but in the end, the play is the thing, and this movie makes that point better than many of the better-known films that try to drive home the same point.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Good movies that were box office flops Topher88
Russell Crowe's Skating Ability andrewlittle_87
to all the fan`s of mystery alaska beautifulfeet-667-879639
Hockey Error nessiesens
'He passes it to Laviolette' Wing_nut
Russell looked hot in this movie caitriona62
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