Ernest Wilkins, @ErnestWilkins
12:09 PM CST, January 9, 2013
Once in a while, a movie slips under your radar. For about, oh, 20 years. In 'Big-screen blind spot,' we sit down with those 'classic' movies everybody but us has seen and give them the nostalgia critic treatment.
Confession: Until last week, I hadn't seen "Cool Runnings", the fictionalized account of the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team and their debut at the 1988 Calgary Olympics
Had I seen it in 1993 at the age of 8: My sincere hope is that I would have just laughed and enjoyed the wacky story and fun moments. If there's a kid critically analyzing films at eight, he or she should be given a ball and sent outside immediately.
Now: Meh. From Doug E. Doug's character named Sanka Coffie (a groan-worthy pun) to Malik Yoba's bald bobsledder named Yul Brenner, this is one of the better examples of a movie targeted to kids that has enough jokes to keep adults from rolling their eyes the entire time. Disguised as lighthearted fare, the film has decent lessons; with themes of redemption (the John Candy character atones for a past disgrace) and facing adversity (including Junior's rebellion against his father's wishes and the entire concept of the team even competing), "Runnings" inspires without being preachy. Those positives notwithstanding, the movie bored me. It was so generic that I predicted plot points before they happened. Sports movies aren't necessarily surprising, but I remained frustrated by the simplistic writing. Then I remembered the movie was made for children, so rather than needlessly slam "Cool Runnings," I'll acknowledge that between the wacky characters, the bar fight scene (a hilarious excuse for a brawl if I've ever seen one) and all of the quotes this movie planted in my head ("I see a bad ass mutha that won't take crap off of nobody!"), I can understand why my peers loved it so much when they were younger.
Must be noted: This movie was scored by Hans Zimmer. Yes, the same composer who scored movies like "Gladiator," "Inception," and "The Dark Knight." I'm just going to leave that there.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC