Monday, 7 December 2009

Busy Week Ahead

As I stare down the next five days, it has become apparent that my time is at a premium when it comes to leisure. Longer hours at work combined with my commitments to the various sports I'm involved in has me away from the computer for significant blocks of time this week. I'm still going to post daily, but if it seems like some of the entries are far shorter or have less effort put into them, you're probably right. Antler Banter will be quite interesting on Wednesday after yesterday's antics in Rockford. The previous two games against Peoria and Milwaukee were less than pretty, but all will be covered. Otherwise, there are some things I want to post this week, and they deserve a look. Tonight is no different as we take a look at something from 1977.

Magazines have come in gone since the late-1970s, and some have been lucky enough to stick around. Others, however, have not been so lucky, and they have fallen to the wayside in the world of print media. Some of these magazines contained some interesting information regarding the world of hockey. Very interesting.

One such magazine was Texas Monthly. It occurred to me as I read through one issue that sometimes writers might fudge a few details in order to write an article that tries to convey a message rather than being objective. That's cool if the writer and editor feel comfortable in doing this, but when a writer reviews a movie, fudging the details makes it hard to believe that the writer even watched the movie.

Marie Brenner wrote for Texas Monthly in April 1977 where she reviewed films. One of the films she reviewed this month was the classic hockey movie Slap Shot, starring Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean, Lindsay Crouse, and Jennifer Warren. I've pieced together the article into one image, so feel free to read Miss Brenner's review here, and I'll discuss below. Especially when it comes to everything she got completely wrong.

In the opening scene alone, she manages to completely butcher the entire scene. Denis Lemieux, the goaltender for the Charlestown Chiefs, is a French-Canadian, not Spanish. I'm not sure how she got the name Lemieux to sound Spanish, but I guess French and Spanish sounded the same to Texans in 1977. Then again, when you misquote the movie as poorly as Miss Brenner does, you simply attribute it to mishearing Lemieux's Spanish accent, I guess.

Next, the interviewer does not ask Lemieux "what is flashing". He asks "what is slashing", a common penalty called in hockey, but I would suppose that Miss Brenner would have no idea as to what slashing is in 1977. The Houston Aeros had only played in the WHA since 1972, and I would have thought that she might have taken in a game at least once in five years. But I guess I thought wrong because she heard "flashing", not "slashing". Unless Miss Brenner has some sort of hearing problem, the video is fairly clear as to what Lemieux says.

Third, her view on the entire movie is entirely misplaced. Sure, they play up the violence in the movie a lot. But that's the entire point! The movie was based on the real-life North American Hockey League - the same one that Brian Conacher coached in and wrote about in his book, As The Puck Turns. The brawls that happened in that league were portrayed in the movie. Again, the film-makers played it up to be a lot worse than what actually happened, but that's entertainment. And it happened in real-life. Apparently, background information wasn't done on a regular basis in 1977.

As for being a "shameful spectacle", I would present these major flaws in Miss Brenner's work as exactly that. Slap Shot is a testosterone-driven comedy that exploits the insanity that was a real-life hockey league.

A "Spanish" hockey player who speaks French; "what is flashing"; unnecessary violence in the movie.

Who was she writing this review for? And who is the editor that decided to run this nonsense?

Ahhhh, the 1970s. Care-free and free-swinging. And apparently writers were allowed to write whatever they wanted, no matter how inaccurate and off-the-mark it is.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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