The Oscar Project
A film that makes you feel happy
OK, it’s Sunday and we’re heading into the third week of this project this November. After a few days of downer categories, it’s time to lift things up a little with today’s selection, a film that makes me happy!
If you’re too young to remember when Cool Runnings first hit theaters, go check it out immediately. It is based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the fifteenth Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Albert, Canada in 1988. Now, I remember this Olympics probably as the first one I remember seeing live. Being born in 1982, I was only two years old in 1984 when the previous Olympics were held, so this was my first exposure to athletics on a world stage. I’m not sure if I watched any of the bobsled at the time, though I’m sure I saw some in highlights since having the Jamaicans there was something of an oddity.
This film makes me happy because it is a true underdog story. Forget that many of the elements of the story have been tweaked or embellished for the sake of the film narrative. It’s just a fun film and it has a little bit of everything. You have Derice Bannock who is a champion sprinter trying to live up to the name of his father, also an Olympic sprinter. Derice’s friend Sanka Coffie is the loveable jokester, always ready with a smart comment, but a genuine and true friend so stands by Derice’s side, even if it means freezing his “royal Rastafarian nenes off.” Rounding out their team is Junior Bevil, eternally bowing to his father’s will in hopes of currying his approval and acceptance, and Yul Brenner, the tough guy who comes to show his own heart of gold by taking former rival Junior under his wing. Top off this cast with the late John Candy playing Irv Blitzer, their troubled coach who only takes up their cause after much nagging.
There are so many great scenes in this movie, and it’s one of those that’s hard to not watch to the end when you see it on TV. In true sports movie fashion, I always find myself watching the movie, hoping that the outcome might be just a little different. <SPOILERS AHEAD> For those who don’t know, the Jamaicans are in position to move into medal contention in the final day of competition, before an accident derails their chances. I always cross my fingers for these four unlikely heroes that they will make it through those final few turns and claim a spot on the medals stand.
Unfortunately, they did not medal, and while the Jamaicans sent bobsled teams to the Olympics throughout the 1990s and even sent a women’s team to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, those teams have never medaled.
Regarding the film, it is a tight 98-minute runtime and feels like even less once you get into it. It is available on Disney+ and perfectly suitable for kids.
Day 14 – A film that gave you depression | Day 16 – A film that is personal to you
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?