This month we salute the Boys of Winter, those gladiators of pigskin and puck, with two films that take an honest look at the hard knocks, human foibles & corporate puppeteers that lay it on the line in prime time for the love and money of the ‘Sports Fan.' It’s Game Day.
First up: It’s Nick Nolte and Mac Davis in the no-holds-barred NORTH DALLAS FORTY (1979). Based on a real Dallas Cowboy’s tell-all book, it pulls back the curtain on the pro football locker room, to reveal the aging, juiced –up jocks and their eternal struggle for game time. Nick is a wide receiver with great hands, lousy knees and a shrinking shot at the ‘big time’ who confronts a stat-obsessed coach & a head office looking for write-offs. Male bonding over joints/cans of Bud in hot tubs, Charles Durning & Dabney Coleman all make this a must-see.
Then: Paul Newman & his motley crew of misfits are on thin ice in the raunchy hockey classic SLAP SHOT (1977). As rundown coach of the sadsack minor-league puck squad the Charlestown Chiefs, the coach must resort to desperate measures to help save the team & the town’s favor. Shot on location on the minor league hockey upstate NY circuit, you can almost feel the sticks in your face. Tune in to see the violent goons and promotional gimmicks, and just maybe a hockey game will break out?
So let’s get ready to fumble- only during Freddy’s Big-Screen Backroom Happy Hour- Game On!