Thursday, September 09, 2010

TIFF Review: SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL

Written and Directed by Michael McGowan
Starring Noah Reid, Allie McDoanald and Olivia Newton-John


Canada is a different country after this year’s Olympic games in Vancouver. Its sense of pride was rediscovered through a collective rallying behind its many talented athletes. And one sport brought the country together like no other – hockey. In 2008, director Michael McGowan did something similar to enhance Canadian pride, albeit on a much smaller level, when he released his last film, ONE WEEK, a cross country road trip that showed how majestic Canada’s countryside truly is. And so it would stand to reason that combining McGowan’s filmmaking efforts with hockey itself should amount to a film that would resonate in the hearts of Canadians. Instead, SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL reminds everyone why Canada isn’t famous for its movies.


Noah Reid, a homegrown Canadian from Toronto, where the film takes place, plays Farley Gordon, a 17-year-old with enormous hockey potential that has yet to be tapped. Personally, I never saw any of this supposed prowess on screen but his buddies sure think he’s got the goods. He is such an amazing force on the ice that he inspires his teammates to burst into song in celebration. You might think that hockey and musicals don’t really go together but after seeing SCORE, you will actually know for a fact that they don’t. That isn’t fair though. Perhaps if McGowan had bothered really pushing the skills on either the musical or the hockey front, it would have worked. Instead though, he treats us to some barely passable hockey playing, some fairly grating singing and some just plain pathetic attempts at dancing. If a director isn’t going to bother pushing anyone to excel, why should anyone bother showing up for his amateur effort?


Being home-schooled by pacifists (Olivia Newton-John and Marc Jordan, looking more annoyed to be there than I was), Farley has limited experience with team sports and somehow managed to miss that fighting is almost an integral part of playing hockey with a team. Farley must figure out who he is in a world that is pulling him in so many indiscernible directions at once. Unfortunately for him, he has to warble his way through some pretty nauseating lyricism to get there. Fortunately for us, it only takes him ninety minutes to get there. Damn overtime.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This film is a truly horrendous piece of junk. Canadian film will never get better until it stops obsessing over being "Canadian." Whatever the hell that means. For some reason, we're being told that we have to capture everything that it means to be Canadian in all films and TV shows. Away From Her is a perfect example of a film that was just good honest work. It may not have been for everyone, but it certainly made an impact. If you're going to make a movie about hockey, for God's sake get it right. Develop good characters and story, and don't write crappy music and employ hockey players to do dance numbers if you want to do a musical. Hell, Hollywood doesn't even like to do musicals anymore. They're too expensive, too difficult, and the talent is simply not in place that was available in the glory days of the studio system. Have Canadian producers learned nothing from lessons learned in Hollywood 40 years ago? Jesus.

Joel Parkes said...

Without a doubt, one of the worst films I have ever seen IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Terrible acting, writing, casting and directing. A complete mistake from top to bottom. What were they thinking? Did they think a musical would work with hockey fans? Did they think hockey would work with musical fans? And who cast those terrible, and I mean TERRIBLE actors in those roles? Did the makers of this piece of unwatchable garbage think that people would look past the third-rate amateurism on display because it was of Canadian cultural significance? Who was in charge here? Didn't the film maker have any real friends who would come forward and ay ' Uh, excuse me, but this is crap'? I just watched the debut of this piece of crap at the TIFF opening and I honestly felt embarrassed by what was on screen. I have never, in my entire life, felt embarrassed by watching a movie before. The audio was actually out of synch, I'm not kidding. The voices and the singing did not match the movements of the lips of the so-called actors. God, I can't begin to tell how bad it really was. Too many 'yes' men. Too much funding for a supposedly Canadian product. Too much rank amateurism on display. I would give this zero stars out of four. A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PIECE OF CRAP FROM START TO FINISH.

Alex said...

Were you people even at the film showing today at TIFF? My daughter and I were and well, was it high art, no, but was it fun and funny and sweet and enjoyable? YES, yes it was! Some of the vocals were great and some were not, but honestly, since this film was truly an operetta, as opposed to a simple musical, that really worked in the long run. We spent a weekend at TIFF watching all kinds of films - some ready for mass production and a few foreign films that I will be shocked to find even on Netflix in a few years, but "Score" was a film that made most of the audience laugh and smile and enjoy themselves. Maybe it isn't high art, but well, I left Toronto today with "Hockey, hockey, the greatest game in the land" running though my head. And each time I thought about the scene on skates and the song they sang, I smiled and laughed - and so did my daughter. So as far as we are concerned, "Score:The Hockey Musical" more than delivered on it's entertainment value - and made up for more that a few more dour entries we watched this weekend!

Black Sheep said...

Wow. I don't usually get such elaborate responses on the site. I get the impression that the two of you who hated this film posted your comments almost instantly after seeing the film. It does incite that kind of anger. I could not agree with you guys more either, as I'm sure you can tell from my review. I thought this was pure junk and an embarrassment for TIFF to open with.

As for you Alex, if it worked for you, that's great. I can't say I found it funny or sweet. I don't need high art to have a good time but this was very lazy filmmaking for me. Poor songwriting, performances, dancing, hockey, script - I can't think of anything in the film that actually stood out other than how ridiculous it was. A minor league hockey player from Brampton does not get a billboard in Dundas square.

Thanks for your responses guys.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this film is an absolute embarrassment. Horrible from start to finish. It comes as no surprise to learn that Michael McGowan wrote only one draft before he started shooting. And that this movie was selected to be a Gala at TIFF before shooting even began shows how misguided Telefilm is. When this film makes ZERO dollars at the box office, Michael and his producers' Telefilm funding should be pulled.

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