I’ve stumbled into some questionable situations during the course of my life. I once went on a bender in honor of my 21st birthday only to wake up three days later without shoes. Or pants. There are things I’ve been through that I hope someday age robs from me the memory. And then there are things I’ve seen that I hope I never forget; Cool Runnings is one of those. This film is one of the greatest examples of inspiration I’ve ever witnessed. It’s full of heart and hilarity and is truly amazing. Watching this movie is like huffing pure enthusiasm while doing whippets of elation.
Cool Runnings is loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican national bobsled team and their journey to the 1988 Winter Olympics. The film follows three sprinters as they try, and fail, to qualify for the Summer Olympics in a clusterfuck of epic proportions. The sprinters, plus one pushcart driver, team up with a morbidly obese coach to form the most raggedy-ass bobsled team you’ve ever seen. But they somehow make it to the Olympics, riding dreams of accomplishment and acclaim. There, the motley crew runs into constant disapproval, judgment, and opposition. The once-disharmonious team bands together and rises from the ashes of ridicule as valiant underdogs hell-bent on earning the respect of their nation, and the world. In the end, these righteous rastas prove to themselves, and everyone else, that (win or lose) they have the hearts of champions.
This film doesn’t break any molds or new ground in the cinematic realm. It doesn’t shock you with unexpected twists or turns in the plot or blow your mind with a surprise ending. What Cool Runnings does is tell a story with such depth of clarity and charm that even the Disney formula is forgivable. The success of this movie is entirely wrapped up in the characters and their evolving dynamic. Cool Runnings is entertaining with an effervescent sweetness that offsets the usual manic determination of your average sports film. I love this movie so much I’d even break my number one rule of No Kissing (On The Mouth) and french the hell out of it.
Taking this a step beyond what went on in front of cameras, the credit has to be given not only to the characters, but the actors who made them come alive. I believed every minute, every word, and every action that happened onscreen due to the wholly genuine and entirely authentic rapport between the actors. As I learned from The Huffington Post, this wasn’t an accident. When the cast arrived in Canada to film, they spent time with each other outside of the process to build a bond that would translate onscreen… And. That. Shit. Worked. They formed such a strong connection with each other both on and off screen that the finale makes me cry like Britney Spears after cupcake-binge guilt sets in… Every time.
Cool Runnings is the cinematic equivalent of Prozac; it’s uplifting and humorous while delivering a message of hope and perseverance. Even Darth Vader would get in touch with the softer side of The Force after watching this.
Take a Drink: for every training montage that goes awry/each accident.
Do a Shot: whenever Yule Brenner intimidates Junior.
Take a Drink: anytime you hear someone say “ice”, “bobsled”, or “Sanka”.
Take a Drink: every time Coach gives the team a dose of tough love.
Shotgun a Beer: for the epic use of a Slow Clap during the finale.
Bonus Irish Car Bomb: to whoever is the last to start clapping when you start your own Slow Clap in tribute.