Hi - this contains spoilers and will potentially ruin childhood memories.
Hi again, we were going to watch MD2 as a big, happy DSS family, but we can’t now because the NHL season got cancelled and it’s not on Netflix anymore. So put this in your back pocket for when someone hasn’t seen MD1 but wants to understand what’s going on in MD2.
Payson has never seen Mighty Ducks. I assume it is because he was doing things that would be useful for when he wanted to apply to Harvard like learning enigmatical words or volunteering or not failing Algebra while the rest of us were doing less important things like renting Mighty Ducks at Blockbuster every weekend and watching it 11 times before returning it.
So he needs to get caught up. This is exactly what happened in Mighty Ducks and is 100% accurate.
The Mighty Ducks is a story about a lawyer, Gordon Bombay, who does something slightly terrible, (you know, other than becoming a lawyer - ZING) that’s very stupid and dangerous - drunk driving... and somehow the punishment he gets is that he has to coach a youth hockey team with players from a deteriorating rustbelt hellhole - Minneapolis. Clearly, the judge decided that poverty is a bigger moral transgression than drunk driving, so these kids got saddled with enduring an entitled man-child as their coach as punishment.
Bombay had been a child hockey... talent... I guess. His main achievement as a hockey player was missing a shot in a shootout after his dad died in his prepubescent years and then having his coach, Jack Riley, say something mean to him, like “THAT’S WHY YOUR DAD DIED, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A FAILURE AND NEVER COACH A TEAM THAT BEATS MINE IN HOCKEY EVER.” It’s unclear if and how much hockey Bombay played after this, but it was enough to be able to coach a pee-wee hockey team after getting a DUI.
A key point to the film is that you have to suspend disbelief in the idea that Emilio Estevez is a good athlete. Is this possible?
Estevez is 5’ 5’ - let’s say he weights 135 lbs. Only 26 NHL players are 5’ 9” or under, so this might rule him out already. Also consider that 3/4 of the NHL is comprised of guys named Axl who skate badly, have no stick skills but don’t mind getting CTE if they don’t have to work in the Alberta oil sands fields for a few years, if he could play in the NHL might be the wrong question to ask - would Emilio Estevez die if he tried to play in the NHL might be better. So, Payson, you will really, really have to suspend your disbelief for the opening scenes of MD2.
It goes bad for a while - Bombay is a jerk to the kids who he thinks he’s better than and they lose a lot - including to the Hawks coached by coach Jack by a score of 222-0. Jack rubs in that there’s a kid, Adam Banks, who is the player that Bombay would have been if his dad didn’t die. Then he realizes that the nerdy kid, Charlie, who doesn’t play that well’s mom, who is raising the kid on her own, is single. Something deep inside him realizes that he and Charlie are the same person since he was also raised by a single mom and his Oedipal complex kicks in and he decides that he can probably raise himself and date his own mom at the same time. The judge might have told Gordon to get some therapy too.
So he starts to warm up to the kids on the team and they’re less of an embarrassment because some 5’ 5” guy who was good at hockey when he was 11 taught them to be a team and out run a couple of grounders. We also learn about the kids - there’s the overweight goalkeeper who farts a lot, a football player who plays hockey better than he footballs (and he’s super good at football), a girl (I think - or is that Little Giants? - these aren’t the same movie, I swear), maybe one of the kids from Sandlot who calls people he doesn’t like CAKE EATER, a player that skates fast and shoots a lot but doesn’t score much but is still a top five winger in the league going back to 2015... anyway - they’re plucky and happy go lucky from the city - they have what it takes, they just need someone to show them the way and buy them fancy hockey gear.
Coach Bombay continues to force the kids on the team to live his own un-lived life when the main conflict of the film emerges. Somehow, it occurs to someone to look at a map of the “districts” the teams draw players from... because someone thought to district pee-wee hockey players... and it turns out that Adam Banks should be on the team with the poors even though he’s actually rich. Banks fills the crucial role of metaphor for early 90s post-white flight suburban angst as the urban team is literally coming into the suburbs and stealing a child as a plot point and he spurs the conflict of adult man-child vs himself vs other adult man-child.
Coach Riley is pretty not happy about this and Adam Banks doesn’t like that he can’t play hockey with the other kids from Cobb County anymore. Gordon Bombay doesn’t care, he’s a lawyer and it’s technically right that Banks should be on his team - which is the exact kind of moral justification that children playing a game should be forced to adhere to. Since Charlie is terrible at hockey, coach Bombay gets to realize his true dream of coaching himself against his evil former coach.
Now you’re asking yourself - is there a montage?
Yep. At some point Coach Bombay decides that the kids should have good gear for playing hockey even if they’re poor. So he tells his boss, Mr. Ducksworth, esq, that he should sponsor the team and he’ll name them after him. Thus - the Might Ducks were born and this montage happened.
It’s great - good job Gordon’s boss!
Now the team is good at hockey and they win a bunch and Adam Banks does something to prove he’s not a cake eater so everybody is happy. Coach Riley goes and tell’s Gordon’s boss about how he’s messing with a child’s life and Bombay equates making a kid not play hockey with his friends to getting a DUI and is fired - he might think it’s for taking a moral stance, but he’s also taking it to an extreme and making a pretty big false equivalency and I have a hard time blaming his boss. In order to really have a finale though, the Mighty Ducks play the Hawks in the championship game. Sadly, Riley had his team maim Banks so Bombay is forced to let Charlie play. Charlie gets fouled and is given a penalty - Bombay tells him to do a triple deke (where you shuffle the puck three times) and then shoot. Charlie does this and they win.
The movie ends with the Ducks learning that if a rich guy decides to like you, anything is possible. Gordon ends up getting a tryout with a minor league hockey team and the kids tell him that they believe in him - knowing full well that he’ll be killed due to his short stature and the fact that he hasn’t played hockey since elementary school.
Next, we’ll dive deeper into the Estevez/Sheen/Lane Smith cannon and talk about the documentary Red Dawn.