It had been a number of years since I had sat down and watched Slap Shot, but that is exactly what I did last night. Slap Shot was a rite of passage for me growing up, with my Dad showing it to me when both of my parents agreed that I was old enough to watch it. That is one of the main reasons why I hold this movie in such high regards.
That being said, upon watching it again for the first time in a while last night, a number of things stood out for me. Firstly, this movie could never get made in this day and age. The Seventies were a perfect time period for this movie, and one that actually suits the overall tone of the movie.
Secondly, the language is a bit shocking, but in a good way. The amount of swearing in this movie is still quite possibly the most I have ever heard in a movie, but let’s be honest, that is how hockey players, especially in the 70’s, talk. For me, the language in the movie actually lends to its believability, but also allows me to know that my boys will not be watching it for some years to come yet.
Thirdly, while hard to believe, most of the events of the movie are based on real life situations involving low level minor league hockey in the early 70’s, hell, the going into the crowd scene to beat up fans is not only something that happened in the minors, the Boston Bruins did it once, with the infamous Mike Milbury beating a fan with his own shoe incident.
Paul Newman has said that the most fun he ever had making a film was during Slap Shot as he had played hockey while growing up, and just allowed him to cut loose, and that Reg Dunlop is one of his favourite roles he ever played.
Slap Shot is very much a cult movie, as there are people like me that absolutely love it, and there are others that hate it, while still others that have never seen it. Despite the cult status that it carries, Slap Shot carries a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it is clearly even loved by critics.
It has even spawned two sequels, but you will never hear me talk about them as they are sequels in name only, and not in anything else.
If you love hockey, if you love Paul Newman, do yourself a favour and watch Slap Shot. It is hands down the best sports movie of all time in my opinion.
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