Friday, September 24, 2010

CIFF 2010: In Review: Score: A Hockey Musical

Last night at the Opening Gala of the Calgary International Film Festival they screened Score: A Hockey Musical. It was written and directed by Michael McGowan a Toronto native who also directed and wrote another "hearts to Canada" film One Week.

One Week took us across the entire landscape of Canada on the back of Joshua Jackson's motorcycle and Score: A Hockey Musical takes us to the best place in the land, the hockey rink.  McGowan was asked about why he makes these films that are so potently Canadian and he responded, "I am making films for Canadians...I wrapped the film around the flag not cause I want to hit people over the head with a beaver pelt and a quart of maple syrup, but because I love the country."

Is that what decidedly made this movie acceptable to open CIFF 2010, being strong in the patriotism department? Because I have gone to CIFF films before and I have been blown away by their greatness, inginutiy and entertainment value. Sure Score had some famous Canadians making cameos, it was about hockey and it was a musical (which seems to be all the rage these days) but I left the theatre thinking "dud."  And it is not like I went into it looking for reasons for it to was exactly the opposite actually. I wanted so badly for it to succeed because it had been branded as truly Canadian.

Noah Reid plays Farley Gordon a 17 year old home schooled kid who plays shinny hockey and has never been on an organized team. His parents (played by Olivia Newton-John and Marc Jordan) are against organized sports and violence, so when Farley gets discovered and labeled the next Sidney Crosby they are not impressed. Farley plays for a team, but has some issues with the fighting that is involved and finds himself between a his beliefs and a hockey player's fist. Oh yeah, and there is a little love thing going on with the home schooled girl from next door. 

That's the basic gist of the riveting, I know. I actually think that it wouldn't have been half bad if they would have cut out the musical part.  Now, I may be jaded from the over saturation of Glee and all things musicals, but I kept thinking, "Is this necessary, all this talk-singing?" I wasn't expecting a group of Josh Grobans, but come on. Half of the people were brutal singers and the songs...well they just made me want to keel over in pain.  The only ones that had a silver lining in them at all were the ones done by Farley and Eve (the girl neighbour love interest played by Allie MacDonald)...except they all sounded like slightly poorer versions of Anyone Else But You as sung by Ellen Page and Michael Cera in Juno.  Let's just say I will not be buying the soundtrack.

(Side note: Speaking of Micahel Cera, Noah Reid is like a slightly cuter version of Mr. Awkward.) 

Then there was the story wasn't as painful as the singing, thank God, but it wasn't outstanding by any means. I actually would have quite liked it, had it not been for the disdain for fighting in hockey. No THAT is unCanadian. Everyone knows that fighting is one of the best parts of a hockey game...for the viewer anyways. My 3 favorite parts of going to a hockey game are as follows: the anthem, the goals and the fights. If Farley had turned into a Ninja on the ice at the end I would have been beyond thrilled, but...well I won't tell you what happens cause you may actually want to go see it. Let's just say...there is no blood.

This film definitely had potential. Maybe they just didn't have the budget to give them the time they needed to really work out the kinks in the story and the music. The whole thing felt rushed. The music sounded like it was in the rough stages and the story line definitely needed some polishing. They could have even bought some more time to find some actors who could actually sing or the other way around.

I hope to see more films labeled Canadian in the future, but I really hope that the label comes from the content, not because they suck. In the words of Lindsay Blackett...joking joking, I won't say that...although after this film he may be patting himself on the back.

Verdict: 1.9 Stars


Score: A Hockey Musical is in theatres October 22, 2010

1 comment:

  1. At first I was bummed I didn't get to go to I'm glad I spent my Wednesday evening being sick and tripping out on Nyquil.


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