It hurts when you discover your favorite childhood film is actually an uncovered piece of turd baking in the sun. Rock-a-doodle was great when you were a kid? Good luck watching that again today. Good Burger was hilarious back in the day? Try getting through it not and not wanted to punch everyone involved. You thought D2: The Mighty Ducks was the best film out of the entire trilogy when you were younger? Oh cruel world, when will this trickery end? I was beyond excited to rewatch D2, of which the Disney Channel-recorded version had long been on constant repeat in my VCR as an adolescent.
Sure, it was going to be a bit cheesy the way a lot of films of the past are, but I couldn’t wait to be reunited with the Bash Brothers and learn how to defend myself on the ice by street hockey players from South Central L.A. All the seemingly unnecessary characters from the first film are now replaced by cooler more diverse youth from all over America. The favorites are back, Connie and Guy are probably definitely banging, Charlie’s hair is still terribly quaffed, and “All That” cast member Keenan Thompson joins the ranks. I thought the trip down memory lane would be a purely fulfilling one, until that trip ended with the car swerving into a head-on collision with the reality of 2013.
D2 takes place a year or so after the original. Coach Gordon Bombay is back in Minnesota after a string with the Minors. He was this close to getting into the NHL, but a busted knee from an opponent soured his chances. Now back home, The Goodwill Games’ (Ted Turner’s response to the 1980 boycott of the Summer Olympics) Team USA, along with their sponsors, Hendrix, needs a coach. Gordon is chosen and with the help of Charlie rounds up his old hockey gang, The Ducks. Five new players join the team and they are moved out to California where they prepare to battle the best team in the league, Team Iceland. Gordon must whip the group back into shape, balancing out the differing dynamics while also attempting to not become sucked into the lavish lifestyle that comes with being sponsored.
Keenan Thompson. I feel very much at odds saying the saving grace of this film just so happens to be one of my least favorite “SNL” cast members today, but Keenan carries D2 on his back easier then it is for him to break character and laugh on “SNL.” Keenan was simply awesome in the 90s. He proved his talent from the beginning as a witty, charismatic kid with great comedic timing and an adorable face. For whatever reason, though, he’s pulled a Benjamin Button, aging backwards in talent as his career has expanded, but that’s an argument for a different time. As Russ, the street smart, loud-mouth youth constantly busting Team USA’s balls until he ultimately gets drafted on their team, Keenan easily has the film’s funniest lines and best moments that still stand the test of almost 20 years…. Jesus I’m old.
Who knew he’d never be able to stay in character again.
D2 it just so cheesy it might as well be fondue. My significant other put it rather perfectly when he questioned how D2 wasn’t a direct to video movie. When we’re not listening to the 90’s family score frequently used in films of the time, we have to endure corny sound effects like the “whiiip” “whoop whoop” and “booiings” of things and people flying through the air. It’s virtually watching a live action film with sound effects by the “The Animanics” or “Looney Tunes.” And good luck sitting through the handful of montages you thought were cool when you were seven and not vomiting into your mouth. At one point, the group takes a break to relax and have fun after a hard scrimmage. We are treated to the irritating sounds of a honkey-tonk song belting the words “let’s work together” as the team awkwardly dance to show they’re having fun.
I had to break the news to my childhood best friend that our beloved movie was nothing more than an idiotic mistake we made when we were younger. After she cursed at me for my blasphemy, she couldn’t find an answer when I asked her what she remembered about D2 that was funny. We both struggled; I even quickly went back to watch parts I loved as a silly youth and honestly there just aren’t many. Cut out Russ, and you’re left with jokes that revolve around cowboy newcomer, Dwayne’s, ignorance as a fish out of water and people getting whacked and bonked, and I don’t mean Tony Soprano style. Mighty Ducks at least had a few good jokes; when someone asks a kid where his mother is, he responds, “I don’t know, she’s busy with the mail man.” In D2 the jokes are pretty much nonexistent and the ones that are there are just flat out shit.
“You’re only here because you’re from the South and dumb hicks are always good to laugh at!”
Barely any time is spent with the team to fully explore who they are as individuals and what being on Team USA represents for them. Instead, we become acquainted with a bunch of half-assed hockey players who are only one trick ponies. These kids came to represent America as the best junior players in the country? Bullshit! How does a kid from Austin, Texas who ropes cattle for a living even get into hockey? How does a kid from Miami, Florida who can’t even control his skating make the team? I get if sometimes he flubs up, but ALL the time? Where is Jesse’s brother Terry? Or his ever so supportive father who used to attend every game. Team USA is basically competing in the Olympics and no family members show up?
I never noticed before, but Emilio Estevez is a pretty terrible actor in Mighty Ducks films. I chalk his less than mediocre abilities up to Botox as his eyebrows hardly ever move throughout the film. Estevez plays Gordon with hardly any voice fluctuation, a bare minimum of emotion, with lifeless eyes, and an overall bland presence. Melting ice would be more fascinating to watch. The man even makes slapstick unfunny!
“I guess I gotta drink milk tonight, do my taxes, inject more Botox and catch up on those infomercials.”
In the 90’s, D2 was cool, I don’t know why or how. Maybe it was just the era we were in that made it funny. Perhaps it was simply because I was young and it was a movie about other young kids having fun participating in a novel sport. Or, maybe all the Nickelodeon and Disney we engulfed as children turned out brains into mush– hell, we were a generation that only a few years later made “Cotton Eyed Joe” by Redex and “Blue” by Eiffel 65 international hits. Things were different back then. Call it being jaded, cynical, or just older, but Mighty Ducks: D2 was simply heartbreaking to rewatch. Do yourself a favor, save those nostalgic treasures in your memories where they belong.
Take a Drink: every time you endure a montage.
Take a Drink: every time Dwight yells “yeehaw.”
Take a Drink: every time a character reacts irrationally, i.e. Dean’s locker room meltdown.
Take a Drink: every time a fight starts.
Do a Shot: if you laugh.