Four Jamaicans form their country's first ever bobsled team to compete in the upcoming 1988 Winter Olympics. They enlist the help of a disgraced former Olympic gold winner to reluctantly coach them. However, when they reach Canada they're treated as outsiders by the other teams, who fear they'll only succeed in embarrassing the sport.Written by
The Jamaican bobsledder characters in the movie were all fictional characterizations and were not based on their real life counterparts. John Candy's Irving "Irv" Blitzer coach character is also fictional. See more »
In the beginning of the movie Joy asks Derice where he's going, his response is Calgary, however Derice competes in track & field, a summer event. His response should have been Seoul South Korea, as the summer games were held there. See more »
Written by Patrick Barrett and Garnett Smith
Performed by Tony Rebel
Courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
Sweet, disarming film
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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