Classic Movie Thursdays: Cool Runnings Review

So I watched Cool Runnings…

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This was one of my favourite comedies growing up. It’s just one of those feel-good movies that always puts a smile on my face. No matter how many times I’ve watched it, it always feels fresh and offers up something new for me to enjoy.

Okay, basic plot: Derice Bannock (Leon) is a 100m sprinter who hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and win an Olympic medal for his country of Jamaica. Unfortunately Derice trips and falls during the qualifying race, seemingly slashing his Olympic dreams. Undeterred, Derice learns that Irv Blitzer (John Candy) – a former Olympic champion in the four-man bobsled – lives on his island. Along with his best friend Sanke (Doug E. Doug), Derice seeks Blitzer out, determined to convince him to be their coach. The bobsled team is rounded out by Junior (Rawle D. Lewis) and Yul (Malik Yoba). Although highly spirited, the team face several challenges which one would expect from a Jamaican team set to compete in a winter sport.

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This film’s story functions so well because it combines two classic cinematic themes: firstly, the fish out of water story and, secondly, the underdog story. The film is loosely based on true events and it’s in the moments where the screenwriting trio of  Lynn Siefert, Tommy Swerdlow and Michael Goldberg utilize their creative licence that the film functions best. The trio add drama, sensationalize and create moments of tear-jerking heart that form the film’s emotional spine. However, this film is first and foremost a comedy. There are plenty of moments of hilarity that are perfectly accentuated by the actor’s put-on Jamaican accents.

This is one of those comedies where the actors are funnier than the film’s script. The script is funny, don’t get me wrong; but when I think of my favourite lines, I laugh because of the way they’re delivered rather than the line themselves. The quartet of men at this film’s helm put in entertaining performances. My personal favourite is that of Doug E. Doug as Sanke. He’s the resident clown and constant source of comic relief. Leon also impresses in his turn as Derice. Leon embodies the character of Derice perfectly, bringing across the determination and fight in the character wonderfully.

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The film’s cast is rounded up brilliantly by John Candy. I consider Candy to be comedic royalty. He adds a steadying influence and resounding quality to the film. Candy’s presence mirrors his character’s purpose in the film. He’s the veteran, had a few hits, a few slips but you definitely want him on the team.

Overall, Cool Runnings is a funny movie that will warm the heart. It’s a great underdog story with an ending that avoids the cliche success you’d expect. It’s definitely worth watching.

3.5 star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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