Day 193: Mystery, Alaska (1999)

hqdefault (1)Without looking at a synopsis for a film, I honestly thought when I saw the title Mystery, Alaska that we were going to get a film like Fargo for example. I thought maybe it would be a town with a dark secret, but that is definitely not the case. In Mystery, Alaska, they pride themselves on their ability to play hockey in a town that has sub zero temps almost all year round. One day a former townee (Hank Azaria) returns from New York with news that NHL hockey powers the New York Rangers want to challenge the team to a traditional pond hockey game. The town accepts the challenge with some doubters, but they’ll soon have to realize that there are a lot more internal problems they’ll need to solve before they take on the hockey power. The film stars Russell Crowe (Robin Hood) as John Biebe, Burt Reynolds (Smokey And The Bandit) as Judge Burns, Mary McCormack (Private Parts) as Donna Biebe, Colm Meaney (Con Air) as Mayor Pitcher, Lolita Davidovich (Gods And Monsters) as Mary Jane Pitcher, Maury Chaykin (Entrapment) as Bailey Pruitt, Ron Eldard (Sleepers) as Skank Marden, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Tree, Scott Grimes (Robin Hood) as Birdie Burns, Rachel Wilson (The Glass House) as Marla Burns, Adam Beach (Flags Of Our Fathers) as Galin Winetka, and the film was directed by Jay Roach (Trumbo).

Kevin-in-Mystery-Alaska-kevin-durand-28478632-853-480This was actually a very good film that has the feel of The Mighty Ducks and the look of every other sports film released in that time frame. It’s the true underdog story of a small Alaskan hockey team that does the impossible by playing a pro team. The thing that is unique about this film is the challenges a lot of the actors face in the film like infidelity, corporate takeover, as well as other social issues. Russell Crowe was great, Burt Reynolds was very good, and just about everybody in the film did a great job. I loved the cinematography in the film especially during the big hockey game. These kinds of ideas make you wonder if a game like this would be possible, but I honestly doubt it. The players union would probably never approve of it in the first place. The idea of a spot uniting a town is not so far fetched as sports is a common thread for people and various towns all over America. One of my favorite things about the film is the cameo from Mike Myers (Shrek) who plays a character that is a parody of hockey commentating legend Don Cherry. That was definitely a highlight for me to see him in this film. I know Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 38% rating, but I really enjoyed the film because it was more than just a hockey film. That is why I have decided to give the film an B+ for a final grade.

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