By Dan Bernstein–
“The Godfather II,” it was not. Were it, the Blackhawks would have ended up in another parade, showing off hardware and long playoff beards, wearing big sunglasses over sleepless eyes as they drunkenly freestyle-rapped inane lyrics to a sea of red-clad celebrants.
It also wasn’t “Caddyshack 2,” thankfully. If that were the case, they would have won maybe 14 games. Actually, now that I think about it, more like six. And some players would probably have lost limbs or succumbed to a rare, tropical disease.
But it was a sequel, make no mistake. Enough of the main actors were back for another go-round, and enough new faces joined the fun. And just like the cinematic experience, we entered the theater knowing, somehow, that it couldn’t possibly be as good as the first one, but still held out hope.
The 2010-’11 season was the equivalent of a 2 ½-star movie following a 4-star triumph. Not entirely horrible, moderately amusing as our familiar heroes become involved in new twists and turns, but ultimately a letdown. We walk out unfulfilled, even if that’s what we really expected, somewhere in our heads.
The offseason roster moves were a message to many to adjust those expectations. The departures of Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Antti Niemi, in hindsight, were similar to when Michael J. Fox was replaced by Jason Bateman for “Teen Wolf Too,” if not Paul Newman and Robert Redford being supplanted by Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis in “The Sting 2.”
(Sorry to even bring that last one up. It was, indeed, a dark chapter in the history of our great nation)
“Ocean’s Twelve?” Not nearly that bad. And at least we could understand what was going on in front of our eyes when watching inconsistent hockey. I still have no idea what happened in that movie, what was supposed to be happening, or why the actors seemed to have so much breezy fun making something so utterly incomprehensible.
“Rocky II” merits some consideration, but it was probably too good. It benefited from both the inherent plausibility of title-belt rematches and a full returning cast, and ended with the protagonist finally winning. Not the best equivalent of nearly missing the playoffs and losing in the first round.
I thought about “Ghostbusters 2,” but I’m having trouble making an adequate judgment because of the time-lag before it opened. I was 15 when the original came out in 1984 – the perfect age for it. By the time they convinced Bill Murray to sign on for the next one and get it made, I was 20, and pretty much over the whole thing. It seems mediocre enough to mirror the ‘Hawks’ season (if slightly slimier), yet I’m just not feeling it.
So I think it’s this, the film most congruent to the 2010-’11 Blackhawks: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
The exhilaration of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was impossible to replicate, but George Lucas tried, using new screenwriters (just as this season was the first real chance for GM Stan Bowman to construct his own roster). Harrison Ford was still there, the “core” of the franchise now surrounded by new linemates – the plucky, young, Chinese sidekick and blonde damsel representing the likes of Viktor Stalberg and Fernando Pisani.
And it looked and sounded like the original, but you knew the whole time something was missing even as you mostly enjoyed the experience. The ending was exciting, and then it was over.
The silver lining of the comparison is the fact that the next film in the series, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” recaptured some of the magic.
There’s reason for hope.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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