Old Lady Movie Night: “The Mighty Ducks”
Old Lady Movie Night is a weekly (or so I try) column in which we gather, dressed like grandmothers, and watch/criticize movies in the spirit of, say, Dorothy Zbornak. You’re not old if you like these movies, you’re not old if you know them. But sometimes I like to think of myself as the lady on The Simpsons who throws cats at people while wearing cardigans. Probably because one day I know I will. (The cats will have been trained, don’t worry.)
So last week we basked in the glory of one Richie Rich, and are continuing on our quest quickly and efficiently because we literally have zero amounts of time to waste. This week? I praise the finesse of a certain Pacey Witter a.k.a. Joshua Jackson who, I declared while watching The Mighty Ducks for the first time in the early 1990s, was “such a babe” that I needed to “eat a mint.” (As in my best friend and I kept sneaking candies out of the dish her mom kept for company, and ended up eating the equivalent of one large bag. I think we just wanted candy.)
ANYWHO. This week we shout “EMILIO!!!!!” and flap our arm-wings and pretend it’s not a million degrees outside which it currently feels like thanks to the humidity and my ever-growing hair. FYI: if you ever can’t see your computer screen, it’s because my hair has expanded that much, and is causing a massive universal eclipse. This is why we need winter.
1. First, let me get this out of the way:
EMILIOOOOOOO!!!! EMILIOOOOOOOOO!!! Did you hear me? I SAID:
2. Now, I think we can also all recognize that Gordon Bombay would never actually coach the little league IRL
Because while his DUI may have had nothing to do with kids, it just seems like out of EVERY potential form of community service, a sad former hockey player would be put in charge of anything but hockey. Like maybe they’d hook him up with teaching a law class in high school or folding pamphlets. Raking leaves. Not the livelihood of little kids who just want to play hockey. You know, like Gordon Bombay did, before Jack Reilly got a little too real.
3. Jack Reilly is INSANE though
Because who would honestly care that much about a blown penalty shot? I know a lot of people, yes, but how old was Gordon? Young, right? Like, young enough that you could say, “Hey dude, the game’s the game, it’s fine, there’s always next year.” Like he was A CHILD? It’s not like he was being paid millions and millions of dollars to score that specific goal. And isn’t that how hockey works? Sometimes you get the goal in the net and sometimes you don’t? Gordon, it’s okay. I blame Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, and I blame Jack Reilly, who I assume was on par with the principal in The Breakfast Club in terms of being way too intense. No wonder Gordon’s so angry in the courtroom.
3. Woah woah woah so Gordon left hockey after his father died?
And so his father is sick and snobby coach-man is STILL on him for not being the greatest player in the world? WHO ARE YOU, REILLY. You WOULD be from Edina, wouldn’t you. You know where I’m not from? There, or anywhere like it, so I will now hate on this team and its corresponding coach even more than I already did. I mean, have money, sure (what’s that like, by the way?), but rub it in other people’s faces? ENJOY YOUR MATCHING GEAR AND EQUIPMENT, IDIOTS. The Mighty Ducks are taking you down.
4. Speaking of which, I genuinely thought — and still might think — the actual team in the NHL happened because of the movie
I know I am 100% wrong but didn’t Anaheim form really close to the release of the movie? Because I was convinced that’s why they did — because they liked the movie. And that’s why I’m sure most of my classmates started wearing Anaheim jerseys. And why I cared that the team even existed. Am I wrong? I think I am wrong. Look, baseball’s my game, people. I can navigate hockey, but as far as I’m concerned, the Mighty Ducks exist as a hockey team because Anaheim liked Emilio that much.
Updated: IT WAS. And then Disney sold the team and now they’re the Anaheim Ducks and honestly NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS FAIR. Although see also: I was right! TRIPLE DEKE INDEED.
5. Remember how GORDON berates the Ducks for not being amazing at first?
That is just embarrassing for the adult. Honestly, when you think about it, being an adult coach and yelling at your team of children is just humiliating. For the adult. “What did you do today, dear?” – “I yelled at children!” – “Fantastic! Please now berate the cat.” SO WEIRD. I mean, I can understand it in terms of grown-ups, sure. Kind of. In a way. But kids? GORDON. He’s totally channeling his father in The Breakfast Club: “You have to be number one!” (Doesn’t this movie seem so much darker now?)
6. What if the lawyer’s name wasn’t Ducksworth but like, Catepilleridge
Food for thought, you guys. The Mighty Caterpillars does not exactly have the same ring to it, so let’s just praise whatever hockey gods that be that this old man was named “Ducksworth.” Also though, on par with yelling at children is also, “Yes, I will help your team, BUT!” [DRAMATIC PAUSE] “You MUST name the team after me!” [GASP] And I mean, no, that’s not how it happened. BUT in my head that is how it happened, and that is how it will always happen ALWAYS AND FOREVER.
7. JOSHUA JACKSON FOREVER. I NEED ANOTHER MINT
I was seven when I saw The Mighty Ducks so obviously my crush was innocent in a “I want to hold your hand” way. (Or: “I need to eat this bag of mints” way — which still exists even now.) So can we please have a collective gasp for Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway, who I was CONVINCED I would marry because that is EXACTLY how movies work. (The boy jumps out of the TV and says, “I am a fictional character, but ABSOLUTELY I will hold hands with you!”) Spoiler alert: we are not married. Also, that’s fine. Diane Krueger seems lovely.
Also, shout-out to Banks, and to my new favourite insult:
8. Then, I proceed to get anxiety for the rest of the film
Because now the Ducks have heard Bombay and his out-of-context quote about them JUST when they were starting to feel so great about themselves. JUST when we had seen beautiful, inspiring, convince-myself-I-could-also-play-hockey montages in which the Ducks begin to feel good about who they are and what they’re doing. See, this stuff kills me. Miscommunication? NOTHING stresses me out more than that. Not in life, not in movies, nothing. But here we are. And now the kids are sad, and Bombay’s trying to prove himself a good human being, and I will never be sold on Adam Banks, you mark my words.
9. We’re also not talking about Connie enough, and I apologize
Because Connie RULED. Connie was who made The Mighty Ducks less about dudes playing hockey and more about “YEAH GIRLS PLAY TOO DO YOU WANT TO SHUT YOUR FACE OR WHAT.” She was like the Gloria in Richie Rich: totally underrated and honestly a huge deal. A HUGE DEAL. Also, Marguerite Moreau, who played Connie, grew up to be Dr. Emma Marling on Grey’s Anatomy. So we can assume she went to university on a hockey scholarship and then went to med school, where she was eventually placed in Grey’s. (And changed her name because . . . well, I leave that part up to you.) Connie, if you are reading this, thank you (for being a friend).
10. What is WRONG with Ducksworth?
See, this is just as embarrassing as naming a team after a shortened version of your name: a deal that results in either letting down a team of children or firing your employee. I mean, WHAT? Why does he care? Why does ANYBODY care? Am I missing something? I grew up in a hockey town, but in terms of teams like the Mighty Ducks (the movie one), I doubt any lawyers were making negotiations behind closed doors. And if they were, that is just saaaaaaaad. “Hey honey what did you do today?” – “Rigged the minor hockey league!” – “Aren’t those kids, like 12?” – “You bet! Ha ha ha!” And then it thunders and lightenings because VILLAINY.
11. Gordon + Mrs. Conway = TRU LOVE 4EVER
I wanted so badly for my Mom to be single so Emilio Estevez could date her, and that makes absolutely no sense because Charlie Conway wasn’t his son, and this was a movie, and that’s just such a bizarre way to think. Also, I like my Dad, so this whole daydream was REALLY unfounded. But in my head, this was the pinnacle of romance meets ideal situation. And for the next year or so, my Barbies were always single Moms who dated “Brad” — my Barbie loosely based on Emilio Estevez (but in my head, looked like Joshua Jackson). I still can’t understand why I had so few friends.
12. This movie also made me think I understood hockey terms better than any other person
Particularly the term, “triple-deke” which I knew was a big part of The Mighty Ducks narrative — specifically because it’s what Gordon taught Charlie. SO when the guys next door would play road hockey outside and enlisted their sisters and me, I would yell things like “TRIPLE-DEKE!” when I was actually just taking slap shots, or just trying to touch the ball with my stick in any capacity. In fact, I can hear the older brother yelling even now, “THAT’S NOT WHAT THAT IS.” And me thinking, “You are totally Connie in The Mighty Ducks and they don’t even realize.”
13. I mean, imagine if Gordon was like, “I DO NOT believe in you, Charlie”
When you think about it, it is incredible that Reilly was a) allowed anywhere near children, and b) WANTED to be near children, since they are obviously not the kind of people he knows how to talk to, and c) not fired from his coaching job when Gordon sued him for harassment (which he does, in my mind). So I mean, while it seems like Gordon is wonderful for telling Charlie he believes in him (and he is! it’s great!) the alternative is NUTS. Just crazy! Basically, this is a movie about a man who should’ve been fired, and continues to have the lives of children in his hands. This could be a drama, truly.
14. I also like to imagine Reilly being sued by Gordon because Gordon’s a lawyer
And then the kids Reilly coaches being part of some huge Mighty Ducks team. Because damn it, it’s not the kids fault! They have to play mean because their coach is basically Mrs. Turnbull from Matilda and will and has probably put them in the Chokey (the emotional Chokey). Or makes them write things like “I will not tell lies” ala Harry Potter. Or . . . I don’t know what. Damages their self esteem. #SaveReillysKids #ConnieHelpUs.
15. This movie is about dreams coming true and it is beautiful
So let’s face it: The Mighty Ducks is an emotional journey. Don’t believe me? HUH? WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT? (Look I’m Reilly!) Here’s everything this movie about hockey tackles in LESS THAN TWO HOURS:
– Socio-economic statuses
– Anything and everything associated with Reilly (harassment, emotional abuse, etc.)
– Alcohol abuse
– Prison — or the potential for it (dun dun dun)
– Single family homes
– Tough, grown-up choices
– Self esteem
I mean, YIKES. This is some Frozen-level type awareness right here. And even as a seven-year-old girl who didn’t watch a ton of hockey aside from what everyone played around here, I remember leaving our viewing of The Mighty Ducks with two feelings:
1) Feeling like I could ALSO conquer the world, and
2) Feeling very, very sick from all of those mints
I regret nothing.