Tag Archives: Gordon Bombay

Everything Wrong With “D3: The Mighty Ducks”

Dthree_the_mighty_ducksIn 1992, Disney released its very first hockey-themed film, The Mighty Ducks. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the studio’s $10 million project would become a hit, grossing over $50 million in box office revenue in the fall of that year. For kids of the ’90s, Mighty Ducks emerged as a seminal favorite, a timeless classic, however cheesy, that an entire generation would gravitate towards well into adulthood.

Beyond striking a chord with its target audience, the movie had a lasting impact in other ways, as well. It rejuvenated the career of its star, Emilio Estevez; made a star out of one of its young supporting actors, Joshua Jackson; and even inspired an NHL franchise of the same nickname. The success of The Mighty Ducks prompted Disney to release a pair of sequels over the course of the next four years, unveiling D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks (really creative names, guys) in 1994 and 1996, respectively.

While D2 capitalized on the triumph of its prequel ($45 million box office gross), D3 was not nearly as fortunate, resulting in just $23 million in box office sales for the studio that birthed Mickey Mouse. Besides overloading the market with Duck fever in such a short amount of time, Disney appeared to cobble together D3 hastily, producing a film that elicited the same clichés and predictable outcomes as its predecessors.

Along the way, D3 acknowledged that its audience, just like its young actors, was quickly growing into adolescence. This inspired (or forced) writers to present a whole new set of non-hockey issues for viewers to try and relate to. Luis looking up cheerleaders’ skirts! Charlie falling in love with someone other than his coach, his mom, or the old guys from the skate shop! A political uprising over an offensive team nickname! It all became a bit much to cram into one whimsical sports picture, and yet cram those writers did.

As a result of Disney’s efforts to squeeze every last ounce of Ducks hype out of its surprising franchise, D3 floundered as the worst installment of the entire trilogy. Some might even argue that it emerged as one of the worst sports movies ever, but the third installment of the Major League series would beg to differ.

After a recent viewing of D3, I took some time to outline everything wrong with the film from start to finish. Adult Me is not nearly as impressionable as Kid Me, you see, and in looking back at a movie I knew was trash even at age 12, I’ve only become more incensed by such a disastrous conclusion to an otherwise great sequence of motion pictures.

Beware: The following list contains numerous spoilers. If you haven’t seen D3 and feel compelled to watch it, it’s currently available for instant viewing on Netflix.

1. The most plausible story line in the entire movie involves Gordon Bombay becoming a high-ranking director of personnel for the Junior Goodwill Games.

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John Calipari is the Gordon Bombay of NCAA basketball

mightyducksRemember Gordon Bombay?  He was the reckless coach of the peewee hockey team in Disney’s Mighty Ducks trilogy, a one-time lawyer sentenced to community service that found himself through hanging out with teenagers.  A wild-and-crazy hotshot who settles into the role of mentor in the first Ducks installment, Bombay regresses to his me-first ways as a sellout public figure in D2, the second edition of Ducks.  By D3, Bombay has left the coaching box for a return to the courtroom, though still cameos as the once-again compassionate, loving patriarch of the Flying V.

Such is the life of Memphis men’s basketball coach John Calipari.  From 1988 to 1996, Calipari was the on-the-rise head man at the University of Massachusetts.  Thanks to one Marcus Camby (aka Ducks’ captain Charlie Conway, aka future Dawson’s Creek co-star Joshua Jackson), Calipari led the ’96 Minutemen to their first-ever Final Four appearance, whereupon his team was defeated by eventual champion Kentucky.  Nevertheless, Calipari carved his own Ducks-like sequel, bolting UMass for the glitz and glamour of the NBA, where the stay at the top was short-lived.  In two-plus seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Coach Cal comprised a mediocre 72-112 win-loss record, all but punching his return ticket to the college basketball ranks.

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