One of the few perks of cold weather is its connection to winter sports. These games, often requiring snow or ice, tend to be a bit unusual and lend themselves well to comedy films. There are lots of great winter sports comedies, from family-friendly fare to more adult humor.
Here are five of our favorite winter sports movies, perfect for any snow day.
Ryan Aday on Cool Runnings
Feel the rhythm and feel the rhyme – it’s bobsled time! Cool Runnings hit theaters in 1993, bringing with it a healthy dose of irie and a shot of winter Jamaican style. The film chronicles the escapades of the 1988 Olympic bobsled team who represented the small island country.
Based on a true story, Cool Runnings isn’t your traditional winter sports film. We watch as a country with no snow sent a team to compete on the icy slopes of Calgary. In one of his final roles, John Candy serves as former US Olympian Irving Blitzer. A disgraced former bobsled champion, he is convinced that sprinters can learn how to become sledders. His idea is to recruit from Jamaica, a nation with a tradition of great short distance runners.
In typical movie fashion, the team has second-rate equipment and bottom-of-the-barrel facilities that delay their growth. In classic form, however, they overcome those obstacles to earn the respect of the bobsled community and the world. The story has elements of drama and comedy which mix well and make it a fun watch.
Danielle Ryan on Mystery, Alaska
There are loads of great hockey comedies, but Mystery, Alaska is one that generally flies under the radar. Helmed by Austin Powers director Jay Roach, this charming comedy tells the story of a fictional small town in Alaska whose hockey team gets propelled to nationwide stardom.
Mystery, Alaska is the only film that focuses on ice hockey played on frozen lakes (as opposed to in an arena). The film takes full advantage of the beautiful Canadian landscape, featuring some gorgeous cinematography that gives the film added depth. Russell Crowe is great in the starring role, still fresh-faced and eager to prove himself as an actor outside of Australia. The supporting cast is fantastic, including a weird Mike Myers cameo and a featured role for Burt Reynolds as the town’s judge.
There’s a surprising amount of heart at the core of Mystery, Alaska. Even though people in small towns are often at each other’s throats, they are forced to unite to look good on national television. It’s hilarious how a bit of fame can change people, and in this movie, it transforms an entire town.
Bob Aquavia on Goon
The role of the “enforcer” in hockey (and especially hockey movies) is an integral one. Essentially the tank of the team, the enforcer is used both to draw attention away from specific players and to strike back against the other team. In the movie Goon, Seann William Scott plays Doug Glatt, a former bouncer with a kind heart and a mean right hook. While normally he has a very easy-going personality, if you cross him or his team on the ice, watch out because hell’s coming for ya.
Goon is one of those low-key “fun to watch because everyone involved is having fun” type of movies. You could tell it was a labor of love, and while it didn’t make a huge splash on release, it has instead achieved a cult-classic level of success. In fact, a sequel is coming out in early 2017. Maybe an uplifting story about scrappy minor league hockey teams is just what we need right now.
Danielle Ryan on Out Cold
Out Cold is an updated semi-spoof on the ski school films of the 1980s. It was panned by critics, but it became a cult classic, in part because it stars a pre-Hangover Zach Galifianakis. Galifianakis kills it throughout the film, stealing every scene he’s in and putting on one hell of a show.
The movie is about a no-frills ski resort with a bunch of snowboarding party animals running the place. After the goofy owner dies, his son plans to sell the resort and turn it into a slick skiing destination. The snowboarding instructors team up to save the park and their jobs. It’s rote stuff but the jokes are funny, and the performances are great. With a supporting cast that includes Lee Majors, David Koechner, and Thomas Lennon, it’s hard not to enjoy this ode to ’80s ski school flicks.
Danielle Ryan on Men With Brooms
Men With Brooms is a Canadian comedy about – you guessed it – curling. Otherwise known as “the sport where you try to get the giant puck across the line with brooms”, curling has been a Winter Olympic sport since the 1998 Nagano Games.
Men With Brooms is a slapstick-type comedy written, directed, produced, and starring Paul Gross. Leslie Nielsen (Naked Gun) also stars as Gross’ father. It is a film clearly made with a lot of love for a rather obscure subject, and that’s part of its charm. The film’s premise is simple: four men must set aside their personal differences so they can win a curling championship in honor of their late friend, a champion curler. It’s pretty formulaic sports-movie stuff, though the choice of sport is certainly unique.
While Men With Brooms isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a solid popcorn flick with a decent cast. How many movies about hockey can you really watch, anyway?