I’m not much of a regular poster here, jumping in only on rare occasions to throw in my two cents (Jagr on Mount Puckmore? WTF?? Oh sorry....wrong topic). However, I’m in kind of a unique position at the moment, and this is the one place where I think/hope I might be able to get a little help.
Here's some background info: I've been a Ranger fan since I was four years old and saw my first game in 1979; game three of the '79 finals, which I watched in the basement of a drug dealer friend of my father's (don't ask). I remember being excited as a five year old during the Miracle on Ice a little less than a year later, mostly because my parents were going crazy, but the passion stuck. Aside from the glory that was 1994, I suffered through the Islander dynasty, the misery of the smurfs, Dave Brown, Patrick Roo-ahh and his goalposts, Trader Phil, Michel Bergeron, John motherf**king Druce, Leetch's ankle(s), Messier's Vancouver departure, every year from 1998-2004, the Leetch trade, Glen Sather's reign of error, and on and on and on....
I'm also a writer by trade (screenplays and script doctoring for the most part, though I did try out for this blog a couple of years ago before other work forced me to pull out of the running), and a few years ago, before Miracle came out, I went on a drunken rant complaining about the lack of decent hockey movies made by Hollywood. I was tired of counting off Slap Shot, then burying my head in my hands because next on the list was a toss-up between Youngblood and the Mighty Ducks. And I'm counting US-made movies, so the Rocket is out. Right now, to me, it's Slap Shot, Miracle, and then a drop off to anything considered a good movie (The Cutting Edge doesn't count as a hockey movie).
I'll continue my story after the jump....for those who want to keep reading...
I had this vague notion of a movie about the difficulties of winning a Stanley Cup, something semi-documentary style just detailing all the pressures involved on players, coaches, management, etc, but had no real hook. For years it sat in the back of my head, fermenting.....until I saw The Wrestler.
That, plus the whole Joe Sakic-Ray Bourque Stanley Cup passing mixed in my head, and I came away from it with the idea of showing how tough it is to win, from the point of view of a veteran captain at the end of his career, a Bourque type player who's won every individual trophy possible but has always been dogged by being on non-competitive teams (sorta like Marcel Dionne). A veteran player looking for redemption had more foundation, but I needed more.
As some of you may have noticed from my limited postings, I'm a student of history of the game, and that's where the final piece fell into place. I took the Nordiques' Eric Lindros trade on draft day '92 to the Flyers and Rangers and ran with that, giving our veteran captain the antagonist he needed: a rookie superstar, a Lindros-Crosby type whose style of play is the antithesis of how the veterans think the game should be played.
So, if you've made it this far, you're asking Yeah, and what the hell is the point of all this?
Well....I knew full well the troubles that would lie ahead in doing this, but I wrote the script like David S. Ward did when he wrote Major League: I used the NHL, the Stanley Cup, and set the veteran as captain of the New York Rangers.
I did this knowing the script has a maybe, if I'm very lucky, a .006% chance of ever getting made because of all that would be involved in it (Hollywood's eye rolling regarding hockey flicks, the rights that would need to be given by the NHL and all involved teams, etc).....but this script has been my passion for quite a few years. I've used a lot of material gathered in the recesses of my brain about stories from the locker room, on the ice, and off it to build this puppy up. It's a definite labor of love, and I figure worst case it'd make a nice spec sample. Plus, given the state of the Rangers, I knew this would be the only way to ever see them win a championship again.
A few days ago I finished a first draft and registered it with the copyright office and the WGA. I'm in the process of taking a couple of days away from it before I go back to re-writing. I've also got a couple of people who've read some of my stuff before who have requested a look at it once it's completed.
The reason for this post, at long last, is this: I've got people lined up to read it who can critique me on structure/plot/dialogue/subtext/etc, but what I'm looking for now is some hockey critique. Did I make it work? Does it feel like something natural and/or real?
If you're interested, I'm going to be posting it to my blog within a couple of weeks. Ideally if you want to check it out you have a semi-working knowledge of what a screenplay looks like and how it reads, and then give me some feedback....preferably other than "THIS FREAKING SUCKS!!!"
Also, I really, really, really wanted to finish mine before Kevin Smith finishes the one he's been working on based on Warren Zevon's Hit Somebody.
So, if you're interested, consider this an informal poll. If there's some interest, I'll post an update when the script's ready to read.
Thanks for the time, gentlemen (and ladies)!