Monday, February 27, 2006

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge, that fab film about a spoiled prima donna and a washed-up hockey player who team up to attempt to get pairs figure skating gold, is being re-released on DVD tomorrow. But unlike the original DVD, the new Gold Medal Edition actually includes a bonus feature: a documentary called "The Cutting Edge Reflections."

I love this movie. Sure, there's some cringe-worthy dialogue, and the ending is so full of cheese, I can barely stand it. (And I'm from Wisconsin, so that's some serious cheese.) But for every bad line ("I'm saying I love you. And I'm saying it out loud."), there are at least two clever ones (Kate: "Just who the hell do you think you are?" Doug: "I know exactly who I am, sweetheart, I'm a guy who came a long way for lunch." Kate: "Oh, well, please don't let me keep you from the trough."). And the actors--DB Sweeney and Moira Kelly, especially--somehow manage to elevate this film from mediocre to a charming, fun favorite, in spite of an awful, awful soundtrack. (That woman who sang "Turning Circles" should never, ever be permitted to cut another single. Ever.)

Not being a artsy film school kind of moviegoer, I love The Cutting Edge, cheese and all, and I only have two real complaints about this film: 1) The ice skating sequences were blurry and hard to comprehend. I mean, I understand that you can't really show the Pamchenko, because a skating pair probably couldn't go from a bounce spin to a throw without someone ending up with a skate embedded in his/her skull. But honestly, couldn't they have gotten a decent pair of stunt skaters so we could have seen parts of a real routine rather than a drunken disco on ice guaranteed to trigger an epileptic fit in vulnerable viewers faster than a room full of strobe lights? And 2) maybe on someone else's planet it's cool to end a film before the final resolution (i.e. telling us whether Kate and Doug or "The Russians" won Olympic gold), but on mine, it sucks. Sure, I can infer that Kate and Doug won after the judges mouths dropped open as they witnessed the blurry and mysterious Pamchenko. But I don't want to work that hard. Not to mention that I am a master at coming up with alternate, worst-case scenarios and am therefore mentally incapable of inferring an ending that I haven't been shown. What if the Russians' program was technically more difficult than Kate and Doug's, despite the Pamchenko, giving them the gold? What if Kate and Doug blew it so badly in the short program, the Russians would have had to do the entire program sliding on their behinds to lose the gold? What if the panel of nine judges (this was 1992, after all) were weighted in favor of Eastern Bloc countries, which traditionally favor the more balletic style of skaters from former Soviet countries over the rock-and-roll edge of skaters like Kate and Doug? What if Kate and Doug's horrible music turned off the judges so much that they scored them below the Russians just so no pair would ever, ever choose to skate to a song containing motorcycle revving noises again?

Director Paul Michael Glaser, listen up: It isn't clever or literary to cut off a story like this, and I shake my fist in the direction of Hollywood every time I re-watch this movie (which is at least once per skating season). I can only hope you've made reparation to your fans by providing it now, one way or another. The way I see it, you have two chances.

The new Gold Medal Edition DVD of The Cutting Edge is not advertised as having a director's commentary or alternate ending that would have allowed you to neatly provide a final resolution to the film. But perhaps you've chosen to reveal all in the new documentary attached to the GME.

And if not, there's always the upcoming Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold, in which Kate and Doug's daughter teams up with a surfer (Ay.) to ... wait for it ... go for Olympic pairs gold. The film, written by the same screenwriter who wrote the original, is coming out on cable this month and will be released on DVD on March 28. Early reviews promise that this one is going to be a dud of the lowest order, faling somewhere between Dirty Dancing Havana Nights and Bride of Chucky. But I'll watch it anyway--that's why God gave us NetFlix. Maybe, just maybe, your directorial successor will show some old footage of Kate and Doug getting their gold, and the void that the original Cutting Edge's ending left in our lives will be filled once and for all.

Either that, Paul Michael Glaser, or it'll take them months to count the blade marks up your back.*

* That's a reference to a line in the film, not an actual threat. I'm actually a nonviolent person in real life.


mariann said...

Toe pick!

I have mixed feelings about The Cutting Edge... it's not quite the embarrassment as some of my other guilty pleasures, but I don't let anyone know that I will almost always pause in my channel flipping to watch a scene or two. DB Sweeney is so adorable that I just want to shove Moira Kelly off her skates, and I have lousy ankles.

Tracy Montoya said...

Yeah, I'm not as embarrassed as, say, liking Band Aid. DB Sweeney is a cutie. He should be in more movies instead of, say, Orlando Bloom. Or Paul Walker! I don't get the appeal of those two.

Mariann, I left a comment on your blog the other day, but in case your spam filters eat it, don't let someone else's misunderstanding of what you posted get you down. They don't know you or your writing.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Personally, I beg to differ. Paul Glaser's directing abilities rock just as much as his acting abilities. :)

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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