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The elusive curling angle for this weekend's new releases

Posted at 5:44 PM on April 14, 2006 by Euan Kerr

In my other life (my real life?) I am a curler. I have been for years. I've heard all the jokes. ("You mean hair curlers?" "While you've got that broom why don't you clean up here a bit?" Every one a knee-slapper.) I have even heard the debate over whether curling is a sport (although anyone who has tried to throw a rock even once needs no convincing.)

Curling is enjoying a bit of a bounce right now, as it has at four year intervals in recent memory because of Olympic coverage. (There was however almost no coverage of Scotland's masterful win of the world championships last Saturday in Lowell, Ma. We long time curlers almost revel in those times where there is an almost complete lack of attention.)

So what's this got to do with movies? Well, it looks as though even Disney is getting on the curling bandwagon. An e-mail circulated the curling community this morning from the US Curling Association. Here's an excerpt:

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - What's the favorite pastime of a lion? According to Walt Disney Pictures' latest film "The Wild" - it's not napping or eating gazelles but curling.

"The Wild" will be released into theaters tomorrow and includes a four-minute scene featuring the movie's main character, Samson (voiced by Keifer Sutherland of TV's '24'), playing his favorite sport - turtle curling. Samson, a self-proclaimed turtle curling champion, must save his son who was inadvertently shipped from the New York Zoo to live in the wild.

The release goes on for a couple more pages, and includes the information that McDonald's will release a Happy Meal figure with Samson in a curling pose.

It all just makes me sigh. Curling is never treated seriously on film. There is the occasional scene here and then. (Remember George Lazenby at the mountaintop hotel in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service?") But deep down I dream for just one decent movie, something with a little heart.

There has been one feature "Men with Brooms" which was silly fun, but as the review on Wikipedia points out: "While the portrayal of curling itself is fairly accurate, the film, like most sports films, takes some liberties for the sake of excitement. The climactic final curling shot, in particular, serves its cinematic purpose but is not even remotely possible."

Also the curlers are made out to been sex-crazed, dope-smoking, losers, coached by a crazed fanatic played by Leslie Neilsen who has a curling rink hidden in his barn. It just doesn't cut it.

I'd love to see a real sports movie about curling: something that captures the dedication of the top players, the way history plays into the game, and some of the characters who populate this admittedly strange game. We have seen enough football movies, and had enough hockey movies to last us for a couple of decades.

I am throwing down the challenge: Come on Hollywood, let's do curling right. SWEEEEP!!!! SWEEEEEEEEEEP!

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