Screen Shots: Movie matchup

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If every NHL team's season can be seen as an entertainment product - like, say, a movie - then surely it should be reviewed as such. And while Screen Shots is tempted to publish a mini-manifesto on the conceptual similarities between the Chicago Blackhawks and any Fellini surrealist film, we realize that might lose a few readers.

In lieu of such a rant, we've decided to identify which actual movie titles best summarize each of the 30 NHL teams' 2005-06 campaign. As well, we've sought out professional movie reviews that, though first intended for each particular movie, also apply to the domain of Gary Bettman's Guaranteed Moneymaking Machine.


Movie: Flightplan

Summary: A kindly, older gent (Brian Burke) teaches the Ducks how to pick up their game.

Real Review: "Presented with such enthusiastic abandon that it's easy to get caught up in the proceedings." -- Sean McBride, SEAN THE MOVIE GUY


Movie: ATL

Summary: Young men in the Georgia area attempt to leave their less-than-impressive past behind, and make a run at stardom. Unfortunately, GM Don Waddell's attempt at inspiration - a playoff guarantee - doesn't translate into enough wins to make it.

Real Review: "There's a lot that's right about (it). But the things that are wrong are simply fatal." -- John Anderson, NEWSDAY


Movie: Ice Age: The Meltdown

Summary: Another wasted Bruins season features the trading of captain Joe Thornton, who goes on to finish No. 2 in league scoring. GM Mike O'Connell pays the price for ownership's meddling, losing his job before the season ends.

Real Review: "Forgettable, completely harmless, sporadically amusing, and not at all ready to go up against the real masters.” -- Dustin Putman, THEMOVIEBOY.COM


Movie: The Ice Harvest

Summary: Two men (Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff) hatch a plan to strike it rich. Nobody pays them much attention, but that's the way they prefer it.

Real Review: “Exceedingly well made." -- J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE


Movie: Blood Work

Summary: Flames coach-GM Darryl Sutter demands two things from his players, both of which can be found in the title of the movie.

Real Review: “Populated by hard-edged characters who brighten up a somewhat mechanical plot.” -- Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter


Movie: Thank You For Smoking

Summary: In the heart of cigarette-making country, the shockingly superb 'Canes prove you needn't inhale to smoke the rest of the NHL.

Real Review: "Much of the funÂ…comes from its letter-perfect casting." -- Carla Meyer, SACRAMENTO BEE


Movie: Good Night And Good Luck

Summary: A quaint look back into yesteryear, when men dared to fight the establishment over their backwards, restrictive ways. Ahem.

Real Review: "A travesty." -- Phil Hall, FILM THREAT


Movie: Rocky Road

Summary: The Avs' season was cruising along swimmingly until GM Pierre Lacroix rolled the dice in a big way, acquiring highly paid underachiever Jose Theodore from Montreal. Now there's no assurance the team will even make the playoffs.

Real Review: “May have been created out of good intentions, but then again, there's that old adage about a certain road being paved with such intentions.” -- Ted Murphy, BASELINE.HOLLYWOOD.COM


Movie: Two For The Money

Summary: Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev show why they're worth the price of admission in an otherwise lackluster production.

Real Review: "Falls somewhere on that aesthetic scale between mediocre and flat-out bad." -- Rick Groen, THE GLOBE AND MAIL


Movie: Glory Road

Summary: With the help of their inspiring coach, a Texas-based team overcomes the doubters to challenge for a championship.

Real Review: "All involved with the project play the game with enthusiasm and purpose, which is all we really require from a committed team." -- Terry Lawson, DETROIT FREE PRESS


Movie: Proof

Summary: With no small help from coach Mike Babcock, GM Ken Holland's charges demonstrate that perennial powerhouses in the Old NHL can still thrive in the New NHL.

Real Review: "Elegant, intelligentÂ…a breed increasingly rare." -- David Rooney, VARIETY


Movie: Friends With Money

Summary: Despite bringing in high-priced players such as Chris Pronger and Mike Peca, the Oilers find themselves in a familiar spot: in a dogfight just to make the post-season.

Real Review: “Offers an agreeable grazing menu…but doesn't end up feeling like a full meal.” -- Todd McCarthy, Variety


Movie: Bright Young Things

Summary: Injuries and inconsistency hurt the Panthers early in the year, but a late-season surge shows GM Mike Keenan is on the right track with his group of young, developing talents.

Real Review: "Begins unsteadily but finds its feet and grows." -- James Verniere, BOSTON HERALD

Los Angeles

Movie: Derailed

Summary: A promising start to the year is wrecked by a torrent of injuries -- for the third straight season -- to the Kings' most important players. Coach Andy Murray lost his job because of it, and GM Dave Taylor could be next.

Real Review: "For the over-initiated it smacks of been-there, done-that." -- Jeanne Aufmuth, PALO ALTO WEEKLY


Movie: The Song Remains The Same

Summary: The Wild will finish the year in the bottom five of the Western Conference in goals-for, and in the top five in goals-allowed. Sound familiar?

Real Review: "Seemingly interminableÂ…with some good moments." -- Ken Hanke, ASHEVILLE, N.C. MOUNTAIN XPRESS


Movie: Fantastic Four

Summary: How Bob Gainey, Cristobal Huet, Chris Higgins and Alexei Kovalev powered the Canadiens back into the post-season.

Real Review: “A cinematic sugar buzz.” -- Roger Moore, ORLANDO SENTINEL


Movie: The Beautiful Country

Summary: A collection of good ol' boys convince Southerners a foreign sport can be just as much fun as the NASCARapalooza locals are used to.

Real Review: "A touching story built on conflict: emotional, cultural and physical." -- Jeff Strickler, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

New Jersey

Movie: Hustle & Flow

Summary: A chronicle of Lou Lamoriello's blueprint to pull the up-and-down Devils back from the brink of disaster (i.e., missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996).

Real Review: “Uses its street smarts to show that dreams come in all shapes and sizes and that their realization sometimes is preceded by nightmares." -- Larry Rodgers, ARIZONA REPUBLIC

New York Islanders

Movie: Doom

Summary: A grizzled, veteran leader (Mike Milbury) directs a group of (mostly) brave men into a world they are wholly unprepared to handle.

Real Review: "The performances are awfulÂ…the violence is gratuitous, the lighting is bad and I have my doubts that catering truck was even up to snuff on this project." -- Richard Roeper, EBERT & ROEPER

New York Rangers

Movie: Nine Lives

Summary: The tale of how GM Glen Sather survived long enough to guide the Rangers to a tremendous season

Real Review: "Some parts are stronger than others, but as a fleshed-out artistic vision, (it) works remarkably well." -- Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION


Movie: Take The Lead

Summary: A suave and debonair teacher (er, Bryan Murray) shows a group of youngsters how to set the stage on fire with slick moves and various combinations of “jazz hands”.

Real Review: “An unabashed crowd pleaser that gets the job done.” -- Steve Schneider, ORLANDO WEEKLY


Movie: A History Of Violence

Summary: Bob Clarke acquires noted roughnecks Mike Rathje, Derian Hatcher and Denis Gauthier, continuing in his tradition of casting the Flyers as a collection of softies.

Real Review: “Always engaging but not quite convincing." -- Gary Thompson, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS


Movie: The Great Raid

Summary: New coach Wayne Gretzky wastes no time in completely overhauling his roster with a blizzard of trades and call-ups. It's still not good enough to get them into the playoffs, though.

Real Review: "Amounts to a noble failure." -- Wesley Morris, BOSTON GLOBE


Movie: Must Love Dogs

Summary: Although some of the cast is world-renowned for their prodigious talents, the results leave much to be desired.

Real Review: "Its flaws are patently obvious and they aren't pretty." -- Jeanne Aufmuth, PALO ALTO WEEKLY

St. Louis

Movie: The Benchwarmers

Summary: Coach Mike Kitchen attempts to coax a Bad News Bears-type year out of a collection of journeymen and NHL neophytes. He gets the Bad News part down pat, but nothing more.

Real Review: "These guys should have stayed on the bench." -- Nell Minow, Movie Mom At Yahoo! Movies

San Jose

Movie: How To Deal

Summary: Sharks GM Doug Wilson teaches then-Bruins GM Mike O'Connell the same lesson a lot of ex-GMs have learned the hard way.

Real Review: “Sustained by strong central performances and by its depth." -- Kevin Thomas, LOS ANGELES TIMES

Tampa Bay

Movie: Walk The Line

Summary: Got a problem heeding the wishes of coach John Tortorella? Tell it to somebody who could care less, bub. Torts certainly couldn't.

Real Review: “A lot less interesting than it might be.” -- David Denby, NEW YORKER


Movie: Sliding Down

Summary: A documentary whose subjects begin the film on an icy peak, only to see things go downhill from there.

Real Review: "I have a sneaking suspicion that [this] is a huge put-on, the latest jape from Christopher Guest and his merry band of mockumentary tricksters." -- MaryAnn Johanson, FLICK FILOSOPHER


Movie: Failure To Launch

Summary: A big-ticket, big-name team panders to its ego and meanders through the second half of the year, more than likely resulting in the Canucks missing the playoffs.

Real Review: "How, exactly, did an idea with this much star powerÂ…manage to misfire?" -- Peter Howell, TORONTO STAR


Movie: Awesome - I F**kin' Shot That!

Summary: On a desperate Capitals team, the lone pleasure comes in watching superior rookie Alex Ovechkin marvel and rejoice at his own unbelievable goals.

Real Review: "Get ready to be shaken and stirred." -- Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE

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