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"MYSTERY, ALASKA"
(1999) (Russell Crowe, Mary McCormack) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy Minor Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Comedy: A small, hockey revering Alaskan town prepares for a visit and match with a professional hockey team.
PLOT:
In the remote Alaskan town of Mystery, hockey is the most revered activity around. With the weekly pond matches that take place every Saturday being nearly ritualistic in nature, the recent big news is that Mayor Scott Pitcher (COLM MEANEY) and his council have decided that Captain John Biebe (RUSSELL CROWE), the town sheriff, is getting a bit long in the tooth to continue playing.

Thus, they decide to replace him with a young and upcoming player, Stevie Weeks (RYAN NORTHCOTT), who happens to be dating Marla Burns (RACHEL WILSON), the daughter of the town's judge and former local hockey coach, Walter Burns (BURT REYNOLDS).

All of that is eclipsed, however, when a story by former resident Charlie Danner (HANK AZARIA) appears in Sports Illustrated exclaiming how the local guys could easily compete against any NHL team. Suddenly the small town is thrust into the limelight. As such, Charlie, an associate TV producer, returns to Mystery hoping to persuade everyone that a match between the locals and the New York Rangers would be a great publicity stunt.

Biebe, who's already upset about being removed from the team, isn't so sure about the idea, particularly since he notices that his wife, Donna (MARY McCORMACK), has suddenly lit up upon the arrival of Charlie, her former boyfriend. While Judge Burns, whose son Birdie (SCOTT GRIMES) is on the team, also voices his dissent, the townsfolk, including local attorney Bailey Pruitt (MAURY CHAYKIN), rule in favor of allowing the game.

Thus, as Mystery begins preparing for the arrival of their NHL foe, other things begin heating up around town as well. This includes the Mayor learning that his wife, Mary Jane (LOLITA DAVIDOVICH), has been carrying on an affair with the town's lothario, Skank Martin (RON ELDARD), who's also bedded other women.

As the days count down to the big match and as the press arrives to televise it, everyone in town hopes that the team, including the likes of gentle giant Tree Lane (KEVIN DURAND) and Connor Banks (MICHAEL BUIE), a grocery clerk, have what it takes not only to win, but also defend Mystery's honor and uphold their dreams.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast or of hockey in general, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • RUSSELL CROWE plays the town's sheriff who gets upset when he's taken off the team (due to age), and becomes jealous of his wife's flirting with Charlie. He also uses strong profanity several times.
  • MARY McCORMACK plays his loving wife and mother of his three kids who briefly flirts with her old boyfriend.
  • HANK AZARIA plays that boyfriend turned associate TV producer who tries to improve his lot in life by staging the hockey match. In one scene, he drives the Zamboni machine down an outdoor street while drunk and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • BURT REYNOLDS plays the local judge who's somewhat of a sourpuss toward anything and everything in the town, although he does lighten up as the story progresses (he also smokes or carries a pipe several times).
  • COLM MEANY plays the town's mayor who cusses a few times, punches Charlie once, and gets upset when he learns his wife is having an affair.
  • LOLITA DAVIDOVICH plays that wife who's having an affair with Skank.
  • RON ELDARD plays that player who sleeps around with many women (and talks about his escapades and makes fun of one of them in the locker room).
  • RYAN NORTHCOTT plays a young player who has a brief sexual encounter with the judge's daughter.
  • RACHEL WILSON plays that daughter who's ready to have sex with Stevie so that she doesn't lose him to more sexually willing girls.
  • MICHAEL McKEAN plays a visiting sales rep. who uses plenty of strong profanity after accidentally being shot in the foot.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama/comedy. Profanity is extreme with 25+ "f" words and an assortment of other words and religious and otherwise "colorful" phrases. Sexual content is rated as heavy due to a sexual encounter that ends prematurely, several other briefly seen or heard encounters, and sexually related dialogue.

    Some of that involves people having affairs (thus bad attitudes) and some tense family scenes result from that and non-related elements, while other bad attitudes are also present. Some drinking is present and includes one character driving the ice smoothing Zamboni machine while intoxicated, while one character occasionally smokes or holds a pipe. Violence involves some hockey related, physical contact, a few people being hit in various fashions, and a person accidentally being shot off camera (with mildly bloody results).

    Beyond all of that, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some townsfolk watching a game drink beer.
  • We see some players drinking after a game.
  • Judge Burns and his wife have wine with dinner.
  • A person comments (what sounded like), "I just smoked a log, I wasn't myself" (perhaps referring to a joint).
  • We see a bottle of liquor near the mayor (suggesting that he's been drinking upon learning of his wife's affair).
  • Judge Burns takes a swig from a flask and then pours the rest onto someone's recently dug grave.
  • Skank comments on becoming a drunk like his father (sometime in the future).
  • We see Charlie driving the Zamboni machine down the road while drunk (and still drinking booze straight from the bottle).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a somewhat bloody bandage around a man's foot (where he's just been accidentally shot).
  • We hear the sounds of a player vomiting and then see a bit of it hanging from his mouth.
  • Charlie's nose is a bit bloody after he's been punched.
  • We hear Charlie vomiting (from drinking too much).
  • We see some blood on John's face during the hockey match.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Skank, who's just had sex with a woman, demeaningly talks about her with his teammates, and has both types of attitudes for sleeping with the town's women, including some who are married. As such, Mary Jane also has both for having an affair with him.
  • A comment is made that Charlie left town because he "skated like a homosexual."
  • Judge Burns is the local sourpuss who constantly belittles others' attempts, and is mean toward his son, although by the end of the movie he's changed his ways.
  • Connor threatens and then accidentally shoots a visiting sales representative.
  • John lets his jealously of his wife's friendliness toward Charlie (including some flirting), her former boyfriend, get out of control.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A character has a heart attack and falls to the floor.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Accidentally used by a local to shoot a visiting salesperson in the foot (not seen).
  • Handgun: Seen being worn by a police officer/security guard in a courtroom.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bum f*ck," "For f*ck's sake," "F*ck nut," "F*ck me," "Sh*thole," "Choking his own chicken" (masturbation), "Blow it out your ass," "Dumb ass," "Suck ass," "Jeez," "You sorry piece of t*t meat," "Bastards," "Pisser," "Pissed you off" "Lung biscuit," "What the hell," "I have a toy pony, he takes big sh*ts" and "Balls to the walls."
  • We see that a player has some tattoos.
  • The players make another player (guilty of gossip), dressed in just his jockstrap, skate across the ice and then slide on his bare butt into a snow bank.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A bit of suspenseful music plays in one scene.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • A few of the following words are said by a young child (for laughs and noted as words he picked up in the locker room).
  • At least 25 "f" words, 15 "s" words, 4 slang terms for male genitals ("c*ck," "pr*ck" and "Jimmy"), 1 slang term (and maybe one more) for breasts ("t*t"), 11 asses (1 used with "hole"), 7 hells, 3 damns, and 6 uses each of "G-damn" and "For God's sakes" (or just "God's sakes"), 5 of "Jesus," 3 of "Oh my God," 2 each of "Oh Jesus" and "Jesus Christ," and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see a camper rocking back and forth accompanied by brief sexual sounds.
  • Skank talks about a recent sexual conquest in the locker room (and comments about "vaccinating" the woman quickly and then going home to beat "what's left of the bishop"). He then states that the woman was "much fatter naked." He then says that she reminded him of a wet walrus and makes some sexual moves while saying this.
  • We briefly see Mary Jane (in her bra) having sex on top of Skank with movement and sounds, and we see a brief view of the side of her bare butt, but no other nudity.
  • Marla has Stevie stop his snow plow and tells him that they should celebrate him making it as a starter on the hockey team (and states "I have a condom, too"). He asks "Here?" and she states that she doesn't know where else they can do it. We then learn that she's going to have sex with him so that she doesn't lose him to some other girl who might have sex with him before her (since he'll now be "famous" in the town). Although he states that he won't leave her on the account of not having sex, she takes off her top (with a brief glimpse of her bra and cleavage) while he takes off his shirt. She then unzips his pants and puts her hand down inside her underwear, then tears open the condom and puts it on him (we can't see this, but there's no doubt what she's doing, and they're both doing some heavy breathing). We then see that he climaxes just from her doing that (by the reaction on their faces). He then apologizes, she says that it's okay, but then asks, "Does that mean we're done?"
  • Skank comments to a woman that the cold makes "the compass point north" and then asks her, "How about a quick round?" Instead of doing that with him, she hits him over the head with her shovel.
  • When the mayor tells Donna that they're getting a Zamboni, she mockingly replies, "I'm getting wet just thinking about it."
  • We see a player wearing just his jockstrap while skating outside (and see shots of his bare butt) as punishment for blabbing about Skank's sexual escapades.
  • Regaining consciousness after being body checked, Stevie blurts out, "I'm a premature ejaculator."
  • Charlie asks Donna if she'd like to live in a city that has a museum and where "brothers and sisters are off limits to each other sexually."
  • Stevie, still in a daze from being body checked during practice, says that he's sorry he didn't get the condom on and blames it on Marla's breasts being "perky."
  • Marla tells her mother that Stevie "doesn't want to sleep with me," causing her mother to say, "So you two have, you know, already had relations?" Marla then says, "He came in the condom" to which her mother asks, "Where was the condom when he, you know..." and Marla says "On his serpent."
  • Skank asks a female TV reporter if she'd like to rub her fingers "on a nice, warm Yuletide log." He then adds, "Christmas is a lonely day for a guy to be choking his own chicken." Although she refuses his advances, she later suggestively tells him that she has several hours before she has to leaves.
  • Mary Jane shows some cleavage and the upper side of her thigh as she sits on her bed.
  • Skank shows up at Mary Jane's door and tells her not to worry since he didn't come there to sleep with her.
  • Skank mentions that in the cold, people "play hockey and fornicate...because they're the only fun things to do" in cold weather.
  • After playfully tackling Donna into some snow, John lies on top of her and they make out.
  • A sports announcer asks, "Do you know where a guy can get a rub and a tug around here."
  • A woman holds up a sign at the final match that reads, "Hey Skank, I'm pregnant."
  • Marla laments that Stevie is leaving and mentions that they never had sex.
  • Someone mentions that a player is going to have a lot of fun because there's "a lot of turnip" in New York City (possibly slang for sex).
  • SMOKING
  • Judge Burns smokes or holds a pipe several times.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Judge Burns is somewhat harsh toward his son, who thinks that his dad is disappointed in him.
  • John and Donna have a spat about his jealousy toward her flirting with her old boyfriend.
  • The mayor and his wife also have problems once he learns that she's been having an affair with Shank.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Life in an isolated, small town.
  • People and towns obsessed with sports.
  • Extramarital affairs and Skank's sleeping around with many women.
  • That the players worked hard and together to accomplish a goal and overcome obstacles in their way.
  • Marla wanting to sleep with Stevie so that she wouldn't lose him to any other girls who may be willing to have sex with him now that he's more "famous" (for being on the team).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Judge Burns whacks Stevie on the head with a rolled up paper for kissing his daughter in public.
  • We hear that a local has accidentally shot a visiting salesperson in the foot (from a ricochet) after apparently threatening him with a gun.
  • A woman, who earlier had sex with Skank, hits him on the head with a shovel several times (for blabbing about their encounter and making fun of her size), knocking him out with the second blow (and we later see him getting stitches).
  • Some hockey related violence occurs (people being hit and knocked to the ice or over the railing, etc...).
  • Birdie punches Stevie in the face -- for stating that his sister's breasts were "perky" -- and knocks him out.
  • Some players fight in a hockey game shown on TV.
  • John hits Tree several times during practice to show him how to be rough, eventually causing Tree to knock him to the ice with one body shot.
  • Scott punches Charlie upon learning that the Rangers may not show up.
  • More hockey related violence occurs during the match.
  • A player is hit in the crotch with a slap shot.



  • Reviewed September 15 1999 / Posted October 1, 1999

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