Christmas came early for cinephiles nationwide when Netflix announced new movies available starting this month. It’s a long list. Ignore all but one: D2: The Mighty Ducks.
The 1994 movie was crushed by critics but beloved by fans, who turned it into an underdog success. Starring Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, the down-on-his-luck would-be player/reluctant coach, the sequel inspires us to love ourselves, hockey, and our country. (Spoiler alert: America.)
It also inspires a few questions.
1. Does Minneapolis suck?
Early in the movie, Bombay says he doesn’t want to get stuck “sharpening skates in this rinky-dink town.” Later, Don Tibbles, the huckster sporting-goods rep from Hendrix Hockey, threatens Bombay, saying if the team doesn’t shape up he’ll wind up back in “Palookaville, Minnesota, shoveling snow.” It sure is a lot of shit-talking from a movie franchise that helped launch a professional hockey team in fucking Anaheim.
2. What’s up with the USA Hockey junior team?
On the eve of a major tournament, the Americans have no coach. More than half the players are recruited by a group of teenagers rollerblading around Lake of the Isles. Before a cheap shot from the infamous “Norbert” blows out Bombay’s knee, ending his minor league hockey career, Team USA is in shambles.
3. Were these backstories written by the guys at Breitbart.com?
As the movie starts, Jesse Hall, a black teenager, is playing in-line hockey on a St. Paul playground (read: whiling away his youth on the streets). Averman, the curly-haired Woody Allen sound-alike from Brooklyn Park, is selling movie tickets (read: controlling Hollywood). Charlie Conway, a descendant of Irish immigrants, is working an unpaid job at a skate sharpening shop while some European makes all the profits (read: “We don’t make anything anymore”). If this movie’s beginning relied any more on stereotyping, it’d be blowing creepy air kisses to Ivanka.
4. What’s with all the bondage?
Dwayne Robertson, the fancy-skatin’ cowboy from Texas, uses his lasso to corral one opposing player before he can check Connie Moreau. Bombay ties the entire team together to teach them how to work together. At the movie’s start, “Bash Brothers” enforcer Fulton Reed catches some Edina villains from the first movie up to no good, and ties them to a tree... but first, he strips off their shirts and pants. D2 is basically 50 Shades of Grey with a puck.
5. Why didn’t “strudel-head” catch on as an insult?
6. Does Gordon bang Marria, the sex kitten/spy trainer for the Iceland team?
It’s certainly implied he did. The two are spotted canoodling around Los Angeles one night. Then Iceland slaughters Team USA 12-1, and afterward, the American kids complain Iceland “knew everything about us.” This could only be true if 1) Gordon “landed safely in Reykjavik,” so to speak; 2) he seduces women by explaining his junior hockey team’s assorted weaknesses; and 3) he calls out his power play lines during climax. Now that’s Minnesotan sex.
7. Is the Air Bombay Loafer, “for kids who wanna coach,” the worst product idea ever?
And why, when Gordon pitches it to him at a ritzy L.A. party, doesn’t Kareem Abdul-Jabar take his giant right hand and smack this clueless dope across the face?
8. Why does Charlie Conway hate America?
“Can’t we be U.S.A. Ducks?” he whines. “Or at least keep our own colors?” Evidently red, white, and blue isn’t good enough for this traitor. Later, when Adam Banks’ wrist recovers before the gold medal game, Charlie volunteers his roster spot to join Bombay on the bench. Sheesh. Somebody fit this kid for a pair of loafers.
9. Is a duck call really the best way to rally ducks?
This is precisely the same cruel device that has lured millions of ducks to their deaths. “Ducks fly together!” And get shot out of the sky! And picked up by someone’s golden retriever! And taken to a taxidermist! DUCKS! DUCKS! DUCKS!
10. Are people from Iceland very sneaky?
The entire Iceland team, constituting roughly half the population of that country, gets onto the ice while Team USA are chasing a beach ball during practice. No one notices until the ball rolls right up to all of them. In a one-on-one contest with Bombay, Iceland coach Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson slashes Gordon’s already injured knee. Lesson: Never turn your back on someone from Iceland. And for God’s sake don’t bang them.
11. Wait, is this movie secretly feminist?
Connie kicks the ass of any goon who tries picking on her. Miss Mackay, team tutor, takes over as coach one game when Bombay no-shows, breaking the ice ceiling that had kept women from coaching the national team. And Julie “The Cat” Gaffney makes the play of the tournament (Spoiler alert! On a 22-year-old movie!) with a glove save on Iceland’s last penalty shot in the final. Without them, this team would be headed for fifth place, Gordon’s out of a job and probably falling back off the wagon, and Charlie would be forced into a life of indentured servitude at Jan’s skate shop in Palookaville.
12. What happened to Jacques Berman?
Introduced as the color commentator for the tournament final, Berman says absolutely nothing throughout the game, leaving all the work to his partner Bob Miller. Is Berman commentating in sign language? Is he killed before the puck drops? WHERE IS JACQUES?
His half-second on screen is the best acting in this whole wonderful movie.
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