The Kwanzaa Miracle


What follows is an actual email exchange between me and Stephe on December1, 2005.  As with most of these conversations, it started off as one thing and ended up something completely different.

In the spirit of the holidays, please enjoy this very rough treatment for “The Kwanzaa Miracle,” sure to become a holiday classic on par with “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Die Hard.”

I get to be the happy little Christmas Elf today.
I just got authorized to replace our entire fleet of Nextels and to replace four more computers.
It’s like Christmas and CHaunackkhaah (spelling?) all rolled together. 
It’s the Kwanzaa Miracle.

Wasn’t Kurt Russell in that movie?  Him and Chris Tucker?

I think you’re right.  It was much better on Video than in the theaters. Well you don’t have the people talking to the screen.  Especially at that crucial moment when Tucker goes on the Power Play and scores on an aging but vital Scott Glenn.

I didn’t recognize Glenn under the mask.  I’d read where he was in there as an uncredited cameo, some favor owed from when they made ‘Backdraft’.  Apparently Kurt saved his life.

I could never find him in the movie, but now that you say goalie, yeah. That was some intense ‘eye work’.  They way they shifted back and forth with resolve.

I read somewhere that he learned to act “occularly” at the feet of that great master…Jerry Lewis.

Neither of them will talk about it.  It’s some kind of secret society thing.

My favorite part of the movie though was the realness of Russell’s discomfort as Tucker and Kate Hudson fell in love.  I thought he was going to stroke when they kissed.

Well that was kinda creepy.  That scene where he was trying to ‘make love’ to her and she was still in the coma.  He wouldn’t kiss her but just lick her face 
And its all because his gruff father, played by Samuel L. Jackson, wants him to have the opportunities to play hockey that he never had growing up in the rural south of the 50s.  Jackson pushes him to be his best, even going so far as to call him Tigger to avoid copyright infringement.

But who’s to say Tigger would have even had a chance if it hadn’t been for the timely intervention of Team USA’s organizers, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, and in a surprising dramatic turn, Eugene Levy, who sided with Jackson’s assessment that the team lacked ‘color’.

If there was anything that hurt the movie, it was the ‘all Russians fear the Black Man’ stereotype that they overplayed.  It undercut sublime performances by both Robin Williams (Moscow on the Hudson)and Yakov Smirnoff (Branson, MO) as the coaches of the Russian team.

And a surprisingly live Josh Harnett as Yuri, the star of the Russian team and the man who joined with Tucker to unite the 2 countries in their love of puck.

Some say it was the direction of Joel Schumacher, but I think the weakness was really in the derivative Michael Bay script.

I thought it was the studio tried to sell it as ‘Love Story meets the Ice Capades meets D3: The Mighty Ducks”, Josh is no Joshua Jackson, and then they went and over-hyped the ‘love affair’ of Yuri and Piggy (Katie Holmes).  That was what, one sideways glance as she hovered near death.  They weren’t even in the same room!

But it did set up the conflict between Yuri and Tigger, as that was when Tigger moved in on Piggy. 

Some said the threesome with Tigger, Piggy and Jenni (Hudson) was too far over the top.  I myself hated the gauze filter they used to shoot it.

Speaking of shooting, Kiefer Sutherland’s small role as the bigot assassin out to kill Tigger for taking over the last sporting sancutary of the white man seemed like an afterthought and far too Grishamy.  But that was nothing compared to the scene where he is abruptly offed by a steel chair wielding Rock.

What? A Michael Bey Production of  Joel Schumacher film from a Shane Black Script, starring Chris Tucker, Samuel L Jackson, Katie’s Holmes & Hudson, Kurt Russell, Josh Hartnett, Robin Williams, Yakof Smirnoff with appearances by John Travolta, Eugene Levy and Kevin Spacey in a story of love, racism, pluck and hockey? 

Plus cameos by Scott Glen, Kiefer Sutherland, the Rock and, lest we forget Nicholas Cage, as the team equipment manager.

Sadly, if we could actually write this script we could probably sell it.  But only if we can somehow attach Vince Vaughn.  You’ve got Favreau’s number…right?

If we get Vince, we get Ben and the Wilson boys and maybe Will Ferrell.
Then we’d have to change the story to old guys going one last round, or Special Olympics so Ben can perform his Drooling Monkey-Boy routine.  The Wilson boys will play a deaf mute and a blind kid.  Ferrell will suffer ADHD.

No…we cast the Wilsons and Ferrell as the “Hensen” Brothers.  wink wink

Stiller can be Kurt’s assistant coach who is all classroom knowledge and no playing time, thus allowing him to pratfall on the ice for the entire movie.

Vince as team owner Vince and we make a mockery of McMahon.

That beats special olympics any day.

Vince lording over Travolta, Spacey & Levy….genius!

All we forgot was the Steve Buscemi/Tom Cruise fued over who’s the “Iceman” Zamboni driver.

And the Chinese Hockey team of Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yung Fat, Sammo Hung and a cgi Bruce Lee.

And John Woo directing the hockey fights.

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