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Slap Shot turns 35
March 30, 2012 4:33 AM   Subscribe


 
but in the culture as a whole, it doesn't even reach Major League-levels of ubiquity.

Dood. Has this guy SEEN an NHL broadcast on a major network lately? The Hansen Brothers (and their clones) are all over the place!

Perhaps it's not as quotable as Bob Euker's "jut a bit outside" cracks, but really, "Slapshot" is alive and well among fans (if not exactly befitting of the game itself, as it now stands)

But come on. Watch any pickup game or local league and you're bound to hear someone on the bench beckoning "Cooach?" in that inimitable Hansen Brothers fasion.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:40 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


And so funny.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:40 AM on March 30, 2012


Yeah, that being said, the article does make some good (and accurate) points. But the Hanson (with an O) Brothers are alive and well in the world of Hockey.

As far as sports movies taking the same tack as "Slap Shot," I would say "Semi Pro" comes as close as any. (thus proving that yes, a movie like Slap Shot *could* in fact be made today, contrary to the article's contention)
posted by ShutterBun at 4:45 AM on March 30, 2012


Dave was there.
posted by fusinski at 4:52 AM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: default mode is Cheerful Annihilation
posted by photoslob at 4:56 AM on March 30, 2012


I wonder if the authors missed this just two weeks ago
posted by photoslob at 5:00 AM on March 30, 2012


Slap Shot is a national treasure.

Someone asks me "what are you doing?" and I'm always tempted to reply:
"Making it look MEAN!"

Someone says something I find distasteful, and the first response in my head is always:
"You make me sick when you speak, Maurice." (French accent included).

Someone has a thick Canadian accent, I think:
"None of that stinkin' ruut beer."

Someone's playing with their phone instead of listening to me and my internal reaction is:
"they brought their fuckin' TOYS with them."

Some asks me "what did he tell you?" and I'm likely as not to say:
"He say 'owwwnz-uh. Owwwwnz-uh."

I'm taking a Claritin out of the bottle, my internal monologue is:
"Make me sick my hal-ER-gee. Puke every time. Blarrgh! Like dat! Puke!"

Someone tells me that they're taking a trip to the Sunshine State and immediately imagine:
"We go to Flor-HE-da, and I get da money."

And of course, if I'm trying to pay attention to something and a person tries to get my attention, I'm tempted to yell:
"I'M LISTENING TO THE FUCKING SONG!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:05 AM on March 30, 2012 [27 favorites]


My neighbour is a former NHL player and he told me after a few beers that SLAPSHOT is a pitch perfect description of life in the minors. He described it as a documentary.
posted by unSane at 5:10 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's such a great Western Pennsylvania movie and is still well remembered out here, even if the real-life Johnstown Chiefs moved to South Carolina a few years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 5:11 AM on March 30, 2012


Has this guy SEEN an NHL broadcast on a major network lately? The Hansen Brothers (and their clones) are all over the place!

In fairness, the first part of that sentence is, "Hockey fans are still crazy about it," and I don't think anyone would deny that, but I don't know that I've seen many references to Slap Shot outside of a hockey context.
posted by Copronymus at 5:12 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


You nailed him, Coach, in the fucking head.

- Right in his mind.
posted by any major dude at 5:15 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dood. Has this guy SEEN an NHL broadcast on a major network lately?

Yes, after a number of very nasty injuries to forwards in the last couple of years, many resulting from particularly vicious cross-checks, I think we have seen a real resurgence of fighting as a means of policing other sorts of violent play (of course, this then snowballs into various beefs being carried from game to game, players trying to get each other sent off for instigation, fighting for the crowd, etc.). The league did try to suppress it for a while, I feel like this year in particular, there's been a lot of fisticuffs, and the league has either decided to turn a bit of a blind eye, or the players just don't care anymore.

Or it could just be viral marketing for Goon on Blu-Ray.



Eddie Shore!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:16 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some scenes for Slap Shot were filmed in my area, specifically in the Colgate University ice arena. One brutally hot summer afternoon when not much was going on, my sister and I decided to take a drive there to watch the filming.

I was able to get some nice shots of Newman and Ontkean. Not much was going on. Newman was wearing sneakers and a hockey uniform. We wandered into the stands for a better view.

Suddenly lights came up and the crew began filming. The crowd around us, bundled up in winter clothing, began to cheer. The director came over to the stands and pointed at us.

"YOU! You two in the shorts! GET OUT!"

We left quickly but were too thrilled to be mortified. We were taking direction from George Roy Hill!
posted by kinnakeet at 5:16 AM on March 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


"YOU! You two in the shorts! GET OUT!"


That's especially funny, because I've known guys who would go to a hockey game in (cargo) shorts and a hockey sweater (of course, Leafs fans).





Oh this young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him, well, I guess that's more than most 21-year-olds can handle... Ogie Ogilthorpe!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:22 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought of a couple other everyday situations when I'm drawn to Slap Shot, and I'm too enchanted with the film to not share them:

Someone tells me that they learned a particular thing in college, I hear:
"Not to underline the fuck scenes, they don't."

Someone says that my friend Dave "is [whatever]" and I think:
"Dave's a mess."

I can't believe I left this one out, because it's my favorite for its Transcendentalist feel.
My daughter gets sent to her room for a time-out, and I tell my wife:
"You go to da box, you know? Two minute by yourself. And you feel shame. And den you get free."
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:27 AM on March 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


When this movie played on British TV back in the early 80s we all went nuts for hockey at my primary school, and instead of playing football with a tennis ball on the playground we improvised our interpretation of hockey, which was like football except with scrums and a lot of bashing into each other.
Kids were jealous that I was emigrating to Canada, the land of hockey, later that year, but as it turned out I never did get to play hockey again.
posted by Flashman at 5:30 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought Goon was a really great successor to Slap Shot.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:34 AM on March 30, 2012


Mayor Curley, I'm a bit disappointed. You missed the absolute most-usable line from the movie (especially for you), Ned Braden's "Is the answer 'Jesus'?"

Also: "I'm telling you, ya cheap bastard, in about 30 seconds everyone in the crowd, with the exception of my wife is gonna be running for the exits!"

I re-watch it once every couple of years and it's never quite as great as I remember, but it's still good enough to transcend the genre of "sports movie". It's an actually good movie, or at least a tonal piece (there isn't a shitload of plot) and manages a wistful, elegiac tone in spite of the comedy. I think it appeals to you as you age and start to believe those sepia-toned memories. Reg Dunlop's fate isn't hockey-specific: what does it mean for a man to age, especially when he sees his physicality in decline so clearly compared to the never-ending procession of young players coming into the league. Worse still, he's killing himself at a dead-end job. He hasn't reached the height of his profession and all his labor is for nothing. By the end, he's given up the idea of trading his once-young wife in for a newer model and accepted the ridiculousness of it all. He's a sort of absurdist hero. Goddamnit, the '70s were the best movie decade.

And it still amazes me a woman captured a men's locker room so perfectly. Or maybe it's just not as hard as I think it should be.
posted by yerfatma at 5:39 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Take my comment with a grain of salt: earlier this week, unable to find my shirt, I yelled to an empty house, "I LOSE MY BLOUSE!"
posted by yerfatma at 5:42 AM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dood. Has this guy SEEN an NHL broadcast on a major network lately? The Hansen Brothers (and their clones) are all over the place!

I think we're talking about different things: fighting still exists, sure. Brawls do not. The Third Man In rule and the rule about tie-downs have changed the nature of the fighting. Sure there are still fights, but the sort of everyone-in-including-the-backup-goalies fights are rare now (though the Rangers and Devils tried their best to keep the spirit alive recently with a 6 man fight at the opening faceoff: that's old-time hockey, eh?).
posted by yerfatma at 5:45 AM on March 30, 2012


I still see people wearing Charlestown Chiefs jerseys. Chief Wahoo wear not so much.

And let's not forget one of the most honest sports movies of all time: The Bad News Bears. The original. Not the sequels or the phony-era Hollywood remake.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:47 AM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Forgotten? Never. I'd bet good money that if you walk into any professional locker room, pick up a phone and yell (in a French accent), "trade me right fucking now!" you'll hear more than one athlete responding with a matter-of-fact "now hang up."
posted by Zonker at 5:54 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dood. Has this guy SEEN an NHL broadcast on a major network lately?

Has anyone?

I'll show myself out.
posted by kmz at 6:07 AM on March 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


I thought Goon was a really great successor to Slap Shot.

"Don't touch my Vicodin! And...do you have any Vicodin?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:09 AM on March 30, 2012


And on a related note, here's a great tune about a goon. BTW, that's David Letterman's voice yelling on the album version.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:12 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


In college, I worked for the Huntington Blizzard who were the same league (ECHL) as the Johnstown Chiefs. Often the owners would hand me $100 and ask me to pick up a new player(s) at the airport (as an expansion team we were going through players on a weekly basis), and show them around town. This usually just involved going from airport, to their apartment to unpack, and then out to the bars on 4th Ave to get drunk. Over the many pitchers of cheap beer, I got to learn a lot about the minor league game and the guys who were willing to take a chance by playing in dying rust belt cities like Huntington for peanuts.

That being said, I love Slap Shot not just because it’s funny, but it is also a fairly accurate look at second tier minor league hockey (at least when I was around it). From the Veteran players washing out, college/junior kids not drafted trying to move up, young goons in training, and various other misfit players hanging on to the dream. To the crappy bus trips, old lady boosters, cup throwing drunk fans, young girls trying to snag a player, and shaky ownership always close to folding up the team. Oh and the fights, in the old ECHL the fights were epic, in one season I witnessed two bench clearers in games against Norfolk and Greensboro where even the backup goalies fought.

However, once you get above the ECHL it is a much different experience as far as the violence and “goonery” in hockey. The skill level increases, so fighting takes a back seat. Though in the NHL even though the fighting has gone down, the disturbing trend of cheap hits and stick play has gone up. While my take may not be popular with some, I feel the fights and the system of teams having an enforcer worked better as far as eliminating much of those cheap shots the often lead to concussions and career ending injuries.

Anyway, if you liked Slap Shot or Goon, check out the documentary called Les’ Chiefs which is about a Quebec Minor League team whose owner tried to model them after the “Slap Shot” style of play. It is an excellent real look at what it’s like to be playing minor league hockey.
posted by remo at 6:14 AM on March 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


As far as sports movies taking the same tack as "Slap Shot," I would say "Semi Pro" comes as close as any.

Lets not forget North Dallas Forty as well.
posted by TedW at 6:35 AM on March 30, 2012


Goddamnit, the '70s were the best movie decade.

this was probably the only period in American film history where fellow filmmakers actually looked down on each other for selling out. As great a filmmaker Steven Spielberg turned out to be he basically killed all that with Jaws. Was he a sellout, no, but hundreds who tried to emulate his financial success were.
posted by any major dude at 6:49 AM on March 30, 2012


And let's not forget one of the most honest sports movies of all time: The Bad News Bears.

And neither George Roy Hill or Michael Ritchie get enough respect as great '70s directors.
posted by octothorpe at 7:06 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


description of life in the minors

Junior Hockey in Canada's Heartland
posted by kliuless at 7:11 AM on March 30, 2012


Sports is not a series of storylines, or an Olympic clash of athletes at their peak, or some sort of allegory for how we should all live our lives, a set of role models representing the best our world has to offer. It's about a bunch of dumb guys traveling from town to town and punching each other for our amusement and diversion. It's a sideshow, a carnival, and one that, at the end of the day, has enough sentiment attached that some rich owner can write it off as a tax break and it all goes away. It is product, pure and simple. There are many great sports movies—Bull Durham remains the best—but Slap Shot is the only one that has ever understood that essential fact: This is an ugly, stupid business.

put another way:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:11 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


My son's 5th grade gym class did floor hockey back in January. My husband INSISTED on purchasing a Hanson jersey T-shirt for him to wear during that session.

(The gym teacher thought it was HYSTERICAL.)
posted by Lucinda at 7:25 AM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm glad Will Leitch still has a job.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:47 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Hockey, I love Slap Shot. I love gritty, nasty '70s movies.

That is all.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:51 AM on March 30, 2012


Is the answer Jesus?
posted by jimmythefish at 8:23 AM on March 30, 2012


I can't believe the conversation has gotten this far without a mention of what was once one of Canada's premier punk rock groups, up there with NoMeansNo, Dayglo Abortions and the Ripcordz.
posted by Shepherd at 8:30 AM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't believe the conversation has gotten this far without a mention of what was once one of Canada's premier punk rock groups, up there with NoMeansNo, Dayglo Abortions and the Ripcordz.

Oh, you! I didn't click your link because I can only assume you're talking about the greatest hockey punk band in Canadian history, The Cursing Roughhouse Rascals Who Play Dirty (which, as everybody in this thread surely knows, is the Japanese translation of Slap Shot). We may have only existed for a little over a year (1994-95), we may have only played a half dozen shows (Ottawa obviously wasn't ready for our greatness), but we were earnest and our songs were about Jurassic Park, gnomes, drinking beer, hating work, and Slap Shot. The lyrics for that last song were literally just quotes from the movie strung together over three chords and three minutes; I think the chorus was the "you go to the box" line, but with more shouting. I played drums, and shouted.

*clicks link*

What's that, you're talking about the Hanson Bros.? As in the awesome NoMeansNo side project?

Forget I said anything. Please, I beseech you.
posted by Chichibio at 9:10 AM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's Rink Rat by the Hanson Brothers.

The Hanson Brothers featured members of NoMeansNo, and are from Victoria BC.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:12 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not only was it a great film, but I swear that Kurt Rambis of the classic Lakers teams stole the Hanson Brothers' look for his own enforcer career.
posted by msalt at 9:25 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slap Shot is a great movie. Love Harry Truman. And his ass (NFSW).

But calling it the "only honest sports movie" is stupid. Hoop Dreams springs to mind. North Dallas 40? Anyway, the title turned me off, so I didn't read it.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:44 AM on March 30, 2012


I never play without putting on the foil. just sayin'.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:59 AM on March 30, 2012


Remo nailed it.

I'm an ECHL fan myself (Reading Royals is my local), and it's a very different experience from the NHL or even the AHL. The play is still high-enough level to be interesting and recognizable as hockey, fights are common, the arenas are generally decent-to-surprisingly-good, and the players themselves are a different breed; chances are that a stud who's clearly NHL-bound won't have more than a cup of coffee there, if he's there at all. It's a blend of almost-good-enoughs, not-old-enoughs, too-olds, wanna-bes, hangers-on, and guys who just say "screw it, I'm not gonna make big bucks, but I wanna play pro hockey and get cheered by these people."

How different is the money? A couple of years ago, minimum salary in the NHL was $500K. At the AHL, one level down, $36,500. For the ECHL? $400/week plus housing expenses. That's $400/week for a lot of midnight several-hour bus rides, taped-up injuries, sticks stuck lots of places you'd prefer to decline, catcalls from the crowd when you're playing sub-par, and no guarantees of advancement for most, plus you're one serious injury away from looking for a day job.

Tough life? More like a birthright.
posted by delfin at 10:37 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I think it appeals to you as you age and start to believe those sepia-toned memories.

People forget how fucking sad this movie is. Of course it's hilarious, and I love quoting it as much as anyone (my personal line is Newman's "In-fucking-credible!", which pops into my head whenever I'm exasperated), but think about the last shot of the film; the woman Paul Newman loves and spends the film trying to win back, getting the fuck out of town while the getting's still good. Lily and Ned's fucked-up relationship. The backdrop of the plant closure, industrial decay, the death of the middle-class American dream. The uncaring callousness and cynicism of the team owner. Sure, the players get a parade at the end of the film, but most of them don't face a bright future.

It's interesting that Slap Shot is held up as the best and most accurate cinematic depiction of locker-room culture, because I'm not sure it's entirely the affectionate celebration of laddishness people think it is. Every male character is a total idiot or, at the very least, distanced from his emotions by problematic notions of masculinity. Is this how women view men?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:41 AM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Okay, a couple more Reggie quotes to lighten things up after that last post:

"Oh you cheap son of a bitch. Are you crazy? Those guys are retards!"
"They brought their fuckin' TOYS with 'em!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:46 AM on March 30, 2012


The Hanson Brothers...are from Victoria BC.
As are the Dayglo Abortions, for the record.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:04 PM on March 30, 2012


Any mention of the Dayglos in any context makes me a happy boy.

ARGH FUCK BILLY!
posted by davelog at 1:50 PM on March 30, 2012


It's interesting that Slap Shot is held up as the best and most accurate cinematic depiction of locker-room culture, because I'm not sure it's entirely the affectionate celebration of laddishness people think it is. Every male character is a total idiot or, at the very least, distanced from his emotions by problematic notions of masculinity.

Have you been around many men who play sports?
posted by delfin at 1:53 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I played house-league hockey for 12 years. I'm not saying it's not accurate.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:43 PM on March 30, 2012


Dood. Has this guy SEEN an NHL broadcast on a major network lately? The Hansen Brothers (and their clones) are all over the place!

I think we're talking about different things: fighting still exists, sure. Brawls do not.


Actually, what I meant is that the *actual* Hanson Brothers (or guys who dress up like them) can be seen at tons of hockey games, especially at high profile games (i.e. the kind which get shown on major networks) I wasn't merely implying that fighting / goons still exist, but that genuine references to the movie itself are still to be found in hockey (though admittedly, less so in the outside world)
posted by ShutterBun at 2:43 PM on March 30, 2012


Every male character is a total idiot or, at the very least, distanced from his emotions by problematic notions of masculinity. Is this how women view men?

I'd say it feels pretty honest. I learned, years later, that the script for Slap Shot was written by a woman:

Wikipedia: Nancy Dowd (born 1945) is a screenwriter most famous for her films Slap Shot and Coming Home. Her brother Ned Dowd inspired the story behind Slap Shot based on his experiences playing minor league hockey...

(And yes, an excellent movie).
posted by ovvl at 4:08 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've left this till the end, as I've said it before, but my cousin, a fluently bilingual Francophone Québecois from Montreal, maintains that Slapshot is the best movie ever dubbed into French. Because all the swearing is totally realistic, language-of-the-street, Quebec French. As it should be.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:45 PM on March 30, 2012


(That should have been creatively-vulgar-approaching-an-artform Quebec French)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:59 PM on March 30, 2012


This is my kind of thread.

Slap Shot was based on my dad's hockey team at the time, the Johnstown Jets. More than half of the Charlestown Chiefs are not actors and were legitimate hockey players on the Jets at that time. Many of the opponent hockey players were too.

My dad was an extra and you can see him in a few on-ice shots.

My mom, however, had a speaking part as one of the hockey wives. She is in the crowd a lot when they show the 3 (One of which is Swoozie Kurtz). My mom is the one that is always knitting. I think she has a total of maybe 3 or 4 lines in the entire movie. To this day, she still gets a check for $75 in the mail for every time Slap Shot is broadcast on TV.

Nancy Dowd, who wrote the movie, had a brother, Ned Dowd, who played for the Jets at the time. He carried around a tape recorder and let it run in the locker room and team bus so that she could get a good idea of the dialogue - which is one of the things that I think makes the movie so, well, truthful. Oh, and Ned Dowd was also in the movie, as the evil Ogie Oglethorpe!

My dad was one of the folks who helped Paul Newman skate better and helped him off screen with his hockey skills. When Paul Newman left town, he gave my dad & mom his portable sauna. It was in our basement for years.

I have tons of great photos from the filming. The stories I hear are great too. On the rare occasion when my parents see some of their old friends from this time, I get to hear a lot more too! I keep telling my dad he needs to get someone to help him write a book someday.

There was a fantastic book called "The Making Of Slap Shot" that came out a few years ago that was really good, I highly recommend it.

Finally, I leave you with a fantastic photo that I just received this week - a photo of the Johnstown Jets celebrating their Lockhart Cup championship. How many Slap Shot cast members can you pick out?
posted by punkrockrat at 5:55 PM on March 30, 2012 [122 favorites]


punkrockrat: as has been said before here, I wish I could favourite that a thousand times.

(But then I go to da box, you know. Two minutes, by myself. And I feel shame. And den I get free).
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:56 PM on March 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


You had Paul Newman's portable sauna in your basement?


*head asplodes*
posted by lazaruslong at 9:59 AM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The fellow who played Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken used to work in the skate department at Paragon in NYC.

"I'm waiting for quiet."
"Yeah, you'll have quiet."

I also think of my stick as "the big tomahawk" and other players as "the little scalps." Sometimes.
posted by AJaffe at 10:25 AM on March 31, 2012


Punkrocket, that may be the best photograph in the history of photography.
posted by qldaddy at 4:18 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Love the movie...saw the Hanson Brothers live a few years back, great show.
posted by schyler523 at 10:23 AM on April 2, 2012


paul newman's portable sauna is a wonderful sockpuppet name.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:33 PM on April 2, 2012


Punkrocket, that may be the best photograph in the history of photography.

Guys really knew how to dress back in those days.

I was a movie reviewer when Slap Shot came out, about 150 miles east of Johnstown. I could never figure out why — even though I thought he was a great guy — I never liked Paul Newman movies all that much. But that one was fantastic, 6 stars on a scale to 1 to 5.
posted by LeLiLo at 3:32 PM on April 2, 2012


Just watched it for the first time in a while, what a terrific movie. '70s movies seem like documentaries now compared to the slick hyper-artificial style that current movies are made in. It's all just so loose and open feeling, like they were making it up as they were going along. It's hard to think of too many mainstream sports movies these days that would spend so much time with plot-less character study bits as this does.

Cool to see the shots of Johnstown with the mills still running, they're long gone now and most of that downtown that you see is boarded up.

Paul Newman had the best smile ever.

Wow, that was a lot of swearing.

Loved the clothes. Newman's leather pimp coat was awesome.

Ralphie's mom naked!
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 PM on April 6, 2012


Ralphie's mom naked!

There's a connection I could have happily gone the rest of my life without being aware of (unless, of course, I happened to watch "Slapshot" again, which is probably a given, depending on how long I live)

Until now she was mostly "Barry's mom from 'Close Encounters'" (although I saw her last night in "Absence of Malice)

But yeah, she was topless in Slapshot. Now I need movie-bleach.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:12 AM on April 7, 2012


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