In light of the Winter Olympics, I'm going to be the 1,000th person (this month) to make a list of the best winter sports movies. So, apologies, this may cause deja vu.
Honorable mentions/movies that are better remembered than re-watched (trust me): All of “The Mighty Ducks” movies and “The Cutting Edge.”
9. “Sudden Death” (1995)
The NHL Stanley Cup finals serve as a backdrop to this awesomely '90s “Die Hard” rip-off. Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a disgraced fireman who discovers a terrorist plot to take the vice president hostage and kill everyone in the hockey arena with “explosion, fire and panic.” Powers Boothe is the grimy terrorist leader whom JCVD must take down.
8. “Iron Will” (1994)
The best dogsled movie yet made? Probably? No offense to Cuba Gooding Jr.'s “Snow Dogs.”
“Iron Will” stars Mackenzie Astin as a down-on-his-luck guy who joins a cross-country dogsled race to win money and save his family's land. It's an agreeably inspiring Disney effort aided by an early Kevin Spacey performance.
7. “Out Cold” (2001)
This movie's 8 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes is absurd. In the annals of slobs vs. snobs “ski school” comedies, you can do much worse than “Out Cold.” It's a deceptively stupid tale of a ragtag crew whose mountain resort is threatened by a yuppie invasion. Only the power of radical snowboarding and sex jokes will save them. A pre-fame Zach Galifianakis co-stars.
6. “Better Off Dead” (1985)
I love the '80s John Cusack comedies “Say Anything” and “The Sure Thing,” but a funnier movie is the aggressively goofy “Better Off Dead,” in which Cusack plays a suicidal teen who regains his self-worth by taking on a rival skier. Contains one of the best lines in 1980s cinema: “It's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that.”
5. “Goon” (2011)
If there's any justice, this underseen 2011 gem has a shot at cult-classic status. Sean William Scott finally shed his Steve Stifler skin to play a lovable lug who's recruited to be a hockey enforcer, doling out pain to rival teams. Scott's greatest challenge comes in the form of a legendary hockey brute played by a fu manchu-ed Liev Schreiber, and their climactic fight ranks up there with the Keith David/Roddy Piper brawl in “They Live.” The cast is rounded out by Jay Baruchel (who co-wrote the movie), Alison Pill, Kim Coates and Eugene Levy.
4. “Slap Shot” (1977)
It's hard to beat Paul Newman with a side of constant hockey violence. The movie's anarchy and glorious pointlessness would make it not out of place on an Adult Swim lineup.
3. “Cool Runnings” (1993)
Couldn't not include this, if only for the fact that the Internet just gave it a sequel.
2. “Downhill Racer”
Robert Redford stars as an up-and-coming skier who joins the USA team, and Gene Hackman plays his coach. One of the more cynical and nuanced movies about what it means to be an athlete.
1. “Miracle” (2004)
The best “based on a true story” sports movie Disney's ever made, “Miracle” pretty much clobbers you with tear-jerking emotion in every other scene. When goalie Jim Craig keep blocking those shots in the final USA vs. Russia game and Kurt Russell goes off to have his “I cheer alone” moment, it's nearly impossible not to be overwhelmed with 'Merican pride.