Sports Break

Karl Malden portrayed 1980 United States Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in the 1981 made-for-TV movie "Miracle On Ice." I heard a rumor that Tom Hanks might portray Herb Brooks in a new "Miracle on Ice" movie.

No. No. No. No. No.

Hanks has always been a good guy, someone you like, someone you have empathy for. His two Academy Awards for Best Actor aside (and in In The Name Of The Father Daniel Day-Lewis acted circles around Hanks' Philadelphia performance, but I digress), I doubt he could pull off being the brilliantly psychotic head case that is Brooks. We're talking about a guy who mellowed so much in his sixties that as recently as two years ago after a game he went after a Denver broadcaster he took issue with. He unloaded on the dude a profanity-filled tirade complete with shoving and a threat to "kick your ass all over the place." I just watched an archive of this incident on the Web and found my pacifist self yelling "Get him, Herbie!" For this recent Olympics, he was finally brought back as hockey coach. Prior to a game against Germany, he made some quip about the Germans losing World War II that had humorless types in the media up in arms. The rest of us pumped our fists and grinned. And no surprise - the American men won their first hockey medal since 1980.

You see, no matter how good of a performance Hanks put in, everyone would still see a basically good guy up on the screen. We need someone who can be a jerk, we need someone who can be an asshole. Someone picks a fight with one of his own injured players during the first 1980 Olympic game and by doing so inspires the team to rally to a tie against a tough Swedish team. (His players would go on to win the rest of their games.) Someone who when he threatens to shove a hockey stick up some cheap-shotting commie Czech's ass, fucking means it. Someone who all the players feared so much, they played their asses off for him and pulled off the greatest sports upset ever.

After considering contenders like Tom Cruise (played great jerks in Rain Man and Magnolia, but too big of a star) and Kiefer Sutherland (needs more jerk roles like those in his youth); I almost went with Alec Baldwin, who had an All-Time Great Jerk Performance in Glengarry Glen Ross. I ultimately settled on the relatively unknown Eric Bana, who had a brilliant loose-cannon tour-de-force performance in Chopper. You may also know him from Black Hawk Down.

Hollywood won't listen to me, so we'll likely end up with Emilio Sheen in Mighty Ducks IV: Miracle On Ice, a Disney production. Damn.

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