I was a child of the late ’80’s and ’90’s, so my first memories of movies were VHS tapes. With so many viewings and rewindings, you could wear those suckers out. Sure, you had to try really hard, but my family managed to do it several times. I think between myself and my two sisters, we broke two or three copies a piece of Die Hard, Dirty Dancing, Jurassic Park and this movie, The Cutting Edge. We watched the hell out of this movie. In fact, you can still sneak up behind my mother and whisper, “Toepick”, and it elicits a giggle.
Doug Dorsey is a talented college hockey player who gets injured while playing at the Olympics, thus ending the bright promise of a professional career. Kate Moseley is a spoiled rotten figure skater who has everything she’s ever wanted — except an Olympic gold medal. Doug desperately wants to play hockey again and Kate wants nothing more than that coveted gold medal. A kooky coach brings the two together, forcing them to get along in order to achieve what they both want. And, oh yeah, they fall in love along the way. Aww!
I was surprised, I guess, to learn how much this movie’s taken hold among many people I know, including those in the hockey blogosphere; you can probably catch a drive-by quoting of The Cutting Edge at Interchangeable Parts or A View From The Cheap Seats, both hockey blogs run by bloggers who adore this movie (Schnookie & Pookie over at Interchangeable Parts wold declare it to be one of the finest movies ever made, no doubt. In fact, I believe they have a D.B. Sweeney autographed VHS copy of this movie, as well.)
Doug’s easygoing, loose ways don’t sit well with demanding, bossy Kate. The quips and digs at each other fly quickly, particularly from Kate. Doug and Kate also seem to have the misfortune of crap family members, as evidenced by Kate’s father and Doug’s…whatever he is. (Cousin? Uncle? Brother? Some dude who is related to Doug and owns a bar that he constantly is trying to get Doug to work in, giving Doug lots of angst about the fact that he’s a hockey player, not a damn bartender, for God’s sake.)
Meet Doug’s whositwhatsit family member. It never speaks well of your family tree when you’re related to someone who looks like a cross-breed of Ed Belfour and Mickey Rooney.
Meet Kate’s way-overbearing daddy played by Terry O’Quinn (yeah, that dude from LOST!) whose biggest talent seems to be the fact that he’s an enormous jackass. Look at that pencil mustache. It says it all, right there.
After moving past the genetic roadblock that is their respective family members, and Kate finally comes to terms with the fact that she’s pissed everyone else off so badly, Doug’s her only shot — they have to pull off a move in competition that’s crazy and wacky and will set the entire figure skating world on fire. This means Doug and Kate have to find a way to reapply their energies to figure skating rather than developing crazy, Spy vs. Spy ways of slowly, painfully killing each other.
Through it all, Kate and Doug have their ups and downs, their total missteps, adventures in tequila and crazy Russian coaches (you had me at hello, Furry Hatted Coach Who Speaks Crazily) and they pull it all off and fall in love.
I think I could watch this movie every day for a long time and never get sick of it. I can’t actually tell you how many times I’ve really seen this movie, because it’s probably a sad number of times. It usually gets a rash of multiple repeated viewings in my family around Olympics time — Summer or Winter — and I seriously, positively cannot think of anything that binds people of like minds together more quickly than a simple spoken “toepick”.