Keepin’ it Reel: Olympics and Hollywood collide

Tania Jachens

Have you ever noticed how incredible and awe-inspiring it is to watch people who are really good at what they do? 

Whether it’s an actor who can convey a paragraph of emotion with just one look, a singer whose voice gives you goose bumps or an artist who can sketch an accurate portrait using just a napkin and pen, these are the kinds of people who make us stop, stare and wonder why we weren’t graced with such talents. 

And luckily for us, beginning tomorrow we will be given two weeks to honor, ogle and cheer for over 5,000 examples of such exceptional, athletic people. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t watch the Olympics to celebrate the best in athletics.

 I watch because I want to be entertained, and with so many athletes competing in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, there are sure to be some interesting characters to watch. 

The highly-anticipated Opening Ceremonies are the perfect place for spectators to soak up the palpable energy and excitement for what is to come. 

All the hard work, training and sacrifices they have made in the past months lead up to that single moment when the clock starts, the gate opens or the game begins, and the world will be there to watch.

With so much honor and glory on the line, not only for the athletes but for their home countries as well, emotions run high, but the stakes are even higher. 

For most of these sports (curling excluded), athletes put their lives on the line in hopes of blowing away the competition and ending up on that medal podium.

 National pride soars because this is one sporting event during which no one can be indifferent. 

Whether for individual athlete or entire team, you cheer during their event, share in their honor of winning a medal and commemorate them when they return home as heroes. 

Since Hollywood has always had its finger on the world’s pulse, it’s no surprise that the competition and excitement surrounding the Olympic Games have yielded many successful films. 

I’ve compiled list of movies you need to see in order to fully appreciate the Olympic Games. 

Since one of the most incredible aspects of the Olympic Games is the entire world overcoming its differences and coming together to compete, my list obviously includes “Cool Runnings.” 

Based on the true story of the unlikely Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Olympics, this movie shows that how you compete is often more important than actually winning.

 Even though it’s a Disney comedy, “Cool Runnings” deals with the still-relevant issue of racism and racial stereotypes. 

Overcoming every possible obstacle, these four men turn out to be the ultimate underdog team, becoming an inspiration to their country and returning home as national heroes.  

Even though my next choice doesn’t exactly take place at the Olympics, I doubt anyone will argue that “The Mighty Ducks” does not deserve to be on this list. 

It tells the story of a washed-up hockey player forced to coach a peewee hockey team, which he names “The Ducks.” 

These young kids show that pressure and glory are second to the feeling you get from doing something you love with a team of friends. 

You’re not human if you don’t feel the urge to chant “quack” along with the rest of the arena at the end of the movie.

For those who want a little more romance than sport, look no further than “The Cutting Edge.” 

This is the cute story of a temperamental figure skater and a former hockey pro who are partnered together and must overcome their differences because they are each other’s only chance at winning a gold medal. 

Sexual tension paired with slick ice-skating moves and a nail-biting conclusion give this movie the perfect balance of chick-flick fluff and Olympic spirit.

Last, but certainly not least, is “Miracle,” the inspiring true story of one of the greatest moments in sports history. 

The 1980 U.S. ice hockey team, formed from a motley crew of college students, went on to (spoiler alert!) unite the nation and defeat the legendary Soviet Union team at the Lake Placid Olympics. 

As the ultimate example of a David and Goliath story, “Miracle” shows that determination, hard work and a little tough love can make the impossible a reality. 

It will undoubtedly inspire you to try your hand at hockey and feel proud to be part of Team USA. 

But at the end of the day, no movie can replicate the action and emotion seen and felt at the real Olympic Games. 

I recommend these movies for your viewing pleasure, but make sure you tune in to the real action. The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony cannot be missed, airing tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.