Director: Jay Roach
Writers: David E. Kelley and Sean O'Byrne
Also starring: Hank Azaria, Mary McCormack, Lolita Davidovich, Burt Reynolds, Ron Eldard, Colm Meaney, Mawry Ellaskis
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Top marks all around. Writing, dialogue, performances, nice closure, setting, this movie has it all. The audience I saw it with had a great time, it is the kind of movie that engages you and encourages a little loosening up.

Crowe's John Biebe is one of those rare characters who can pull off being perfectly likeable.

rcbrsmall.gif (54676 bytes)He is the penultimate good guy who's only little vice is that he perhaps takes his sports a little too seriously. He is an excellent, scruffy, saintly sheriff.

Ron Eldard turns in a wonderful giggling town womanizer, someone with a buoyant outlook on life that anyone might envy. The movie has a lot in common with Hoosiers without the life or death fate of children in the balance.

The skating, the hockey, the cold is great (though I was very happy to watch it from a comfy warm California cinema) and whatever difficulty one might have with the suspension of disbelief at least gets a tip of the hat from the writers. Myself, I completely believe the hockey part, it is a fickle game.  Of course Mike Meyers was perfect.

Christian Science Monitor, October 8 1999 says:

Three stars (same as they gave American Beauty)
Mystery, Alaska, population 633, lives for the Saturday game of hockey. Rules are set and players picked by a committee. When a former town member who's now a television producer returns offering to bring the New York Rangers to play a game against the local guys, lives are turned topsy-turvy. It's a sweet and gripping sports drama. It also asks whether the slower pace of small-town life is enough or if it's better to leave for different challenges in the big city. By Katherine Dillin
Sweet, solidly entertaining, formulaic.
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances of implied or actual sexual activity. Violence: 13 instances, mostly hockey related violence. Profanity: 67 expressions, mostly harsh. Drugs: 1 scene with alcohol.

Read more at CANOE.COM:
Rink Dreams: Mystery, Alaska wants you to feel good about hockey...
Jam Movie Reviews, 10/01/99: "...a comedic power play", and "Small Town Charmer"
Mystery, Alaska article:
August issue at


Fan Reviews:

5crowe.gif (2095 bytes)
It's just an excellent film all around. It's got a strong cast
of "regular" looking people, and the actors all relate well to each other.
I loved the story, and I thought Russell was great as John Biebe.
Basically, it's got humor, relationships, romance, and sports -- the
perfect "date" movie!

Rated: five crowes

This was a thoroughly enjoyable film. The interplay of the characters and "way out north" humour were brilliant. I have a personal feel for this film. When your surname is Beeby you don't expect to hear it thrown about a film of any character. My father, THE John Beeby (and my brother Michael) are quietly impressed. I digress. Excellent acting from all. Good humour throughout and a heart warming finish with our heroes losing the match but remaining the winners in our hearts.
Rated: four crowes

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