A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

RBH goes to the movies

Over the weekend, I watched "The Rocket", the 2005 biopic about Maurice Richard. Technically, this movie is titled "Maurice Richard", but it is more commonly known the same way he was.

There's also a documentary about Richard which was released in the 1980's, but this is the one that everyone talks about. As a side note, it irritates me to no end when people don't know the difference between biopic and documentary.

I highly recommend this movie, but I must add that attempting to watch the "English language version" is a horrible idea. It's really off-putting in a number of ways. Just watch the French version and put the subtitles on.

I really enjoyed the movie. It's got lots of hockey action, and a lot of insight into what Richard was as a man. Since I am neither Canadian nor "old enough", I didn't really know much about Richard other than his legendary hockey status. I didn't know how much he had to struggle in an environment (even in Quebec) dominated by anglophones. I didn't know how roughly he was treated by opposing teams players and fans. I didn't know any of the details about the "Richard Riot".

There's a load of NHL players in the movie, most notably Sean Avery as Bob Dill, a boxer-turned hockey tough guy for the Rangers. It's really cool to see Richard (played by Roy Dupuis) decimate Dill (Avery) in a fight that spilled into the penalty box. Good stuff. Good stuff.

The movie begins with the Riot, then goes back to his childhood, then glosses over his career with lots of focus on the Dill fight, and also on the incident which precipitated his suspension, which in turn precipitated the Riot.

I only have a couple of problems with the movie. One is that several years will pass by with no mention of what happened on or off the ice. Another is that the director makes some very sloppily attempts to make his footage look "authentic '50s". Instead of using stock footage of Montréal streets, he shot new footage with a sepia filter. He also sloppily attempted to blend some archival film with some of his own. It wasn't necessary for us to see Dupuis walking through the streets. It wasn't even necessary for us to have seen stock footage of the actual Richard walking through the streets. It just looked awkward and desperate. Maybe I'm too critical, though.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I learned some stuff. Check it out yourself, but seriously don't watch the English dubbed version. It's horrible.

As far as hockey movies go, I have to put this one a little below "Miracle", but well above "Mighty Ducks". Well above "Mystery, Alaska". Thankfully, I never saw "Youngblood". I shan't attempt to blaspheme George Roy Hill's fourth best film, so this one has to be #3 on my list of hockey movies. Not that I actually have a list, but you get the idea.

Check it out. You won't be sorry.

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