Monday, April 30, 2007


Another Saturday night of high cult-chah led us to the subtle comic stylings of Will Ferrell starring in what a former colleague of my spousal-unit might have sub-titled "Poofters on Ice" [his perennial name for certain portions of the Winter Olympics]. In Blades of Glory Ferrell forms a chalk-and-cheese pairing with his totally opposite number, a fair, lithe and easily-bruised Jon Heder, to enter a faux-Olympic event as the first male/male pairs skating team.

The finale takes place in Montréal, where indeed some of the climactic scenes were shot. But Canada provided more than just a location for this film-- without the ground-work of some of Canada's greatest skaters, there would probably be no film at all.

The principal inspiration for Ferrell's outlandish character has got to be none other than Canada's Silver Medal-winning (and Gold Medal deserving) Olympic superstar, Elvis Stojko, the man who proved single-handedly (and perhaps alone in all of history, if things keep on as they are) that being a figure-skating male need not be synonymous with being a puff-sleeved pansy. Elvis packed a great deal into his spandex suits, not least of which was a form and a persona that radiated cojones. A man of singular talent who, knowing he could never compete as one of a corral of pretty-boys, reconfigured the sport to open up a class of his own and cram it full of square shoulders and leather. [costumes by.... his mom.]

The villains of the piece, brother and sister pairs skating team of Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenburg (played by real life husband and wife team of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler), were at least marginally inspired by the sibling ice-dancing team Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, who, like Elvis (and Toller Cranston before him-- one of the "blue peacock" rather than leather school), skated for Canada and were innovators in their field, sometimes shockingly ahead of their time.

Blades of Glory is another truly dumb-fun way to unwind at the end of a week, and while not as tight and non-stop funny as Ferrell's Talledega Nights, still offered

wonderfully unanticipated si
ght-gags and skewering skating-world satire, and left its audiences well-wrung out with hoots and howls of laughter.

For those of us in the Great White North (and the many adjunct fans in other countries) it was also an opportunity to reflect warmly (from a weird angle) on the fine Canajun-made skating mavericks who left their mark on the Sport of Flings.

Thanks, Elvis.

We miss ya', Hotstuff.

Addendum: Gracias to my Spanish Editrix, for correct spelling of cojones. I definitely did not mean cajones.