03.26.10

Grapes’ Wrath : CBC Film Recall’s Cherry’s Greatest Defeat/Meltdown

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 9:38 pm by

After the recent passage of the health care bill, you’d be excused from thinking the days of Americans envying our neighbors to the north were finally over. However, TV viewers in the lower 48 are shit out of luck this coming Sunday and Monday evenings, when “Keep Your Head Up, Kid : The Don Cherry Story” hits small screens courtesy of the CBC and thespian Jared Keeso (above) and Grapes’ screenwriter son, Tim. From Truth & Rumors’ William Houston :

Part 2 on Monday moves the story to Cherry™s coaching career and, appropriately wraps it up with the gut-wrenching Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup semi-final between Cherry™s Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, a game the Bruins probably should have won and ultimately cost Cherry his job.

This contains the best scene sequences of the movie. The now iconic picture of Cherry, standing on the bench, flamboyantly bowing to the braying crowd at the Montreal Forum, is reproduced. Real footage is blended with shots at the bench and the dressing room. You feel the tension building, and the sense of panic and confusion on the ice as the Bruins cling to the lead, fighting off relentless pressure by the Canadiens. The devastating impact of the too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the final three minutes of regulation time hits like a fist.

It™s hard to believe that he actually did this, but during the game Cherry left the bench and ran down the hall to the Hockey Night In Canada studio to complain to producer Ralph Mellanby about the telecast replaying the fights that Canadiens players won, but not replaying those in which the Bruins triumphed.

Mellanby looks at Cherry like he™s got two heads. Indeed, the scene does make Cherry look like a horse™s ass. They could have kept it out, but to Tim Cherry™s credit, it was included because, well, it was such an insane thing to do and it needed to be told. It also heightened the drama of the moment, and spoke to how out of control hockey people will get, Cherry in particular, in the heat of battle.

Leave a Reply