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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2004
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Reel View
By Nicole Shelton and Laurie Davis

Heartwarming movies
evoke tears, laughter
and cheers

In the summer of '79, while trying to pull his team together, Olympic hockey team coach Herb Brooks told his assistant, "I'm not looking for the best players; I'm looking for the right players." That's exactly what he found. Walt Disney Pictures' new release, "Miracle," starring Kurt Russell, retells the true story of how the U.S. Olympic team came together to beat the unbeaten Soviet Union.

Ninety percent of this film takes place either on the ice or in the locker room. There are no side stories, no love stories — nothing but hockey.

"Miracle" is a movie about how a great coach took 20 talented, young college students, and in eight months, turned them into an Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team — the last one made up of purely amateurs.

I thought "Miracle" was wonderful, and I didn't want it to end. It took only a moment for me to forget that Kurt Russell was an actor and to see him as the legendary Coach Brooks. I can remember watching those winter Olympics from Lake Placid and seeing the United States win the gold. Though there are few scenes with the real footage, the director did a great job capturing the era.

Reel View: The audience for this movie was filled with fathers, sons and teenage boys. Even though you knew exactly how this one was going to turn out, there were lots of cheers and tears when the final goal was scored.

If you love movies about sports, dedication, commitment and hard work, you'll love "Miracle." It's rated PG. I recommend it to any sports fan.

— Nicole Shelton

Inspired by a true story, "Calendar Girls" revolves around a group of middle-aged, Yorkshire women who meet every month at the Women's Club for boring lectures on broccoli, rugs and canning.

The husband of one of the more mischievous women gets cancer. As a last love poem to his wife, he likens the Yorkshire women to flowers who are beautiful at every stage with the last being the most glorious.

This sentiment along with men's penchant for nudity becomes the idea behind printing a calendar of the Yorkshire women, nude but not naked, to raise money for a new couch in the family waiting room at the hospital.

I loved this movie. While the main plot revolves around the empowerment of women, wonderful subplots about relationships between friends, husbands and children exist. "Calendar Girls" is funny, sad, messy and hopeful with all the ingredients of life set in the beautiful English countryside. Like the township, the movie is quaint without being superficial.

Helen Mirren and Julie Walters star as the instigators of the nude calendar and are wonderful at their craft. The other women are also delightful to watch. Each represents a personality and lifestyle representative of middle-aged women.

"Calendar Girls" is rated PG-13 for nudity and some language. The nudity involves a brief shot of a breast (who hasn't seen that by now?), and the language is mild. The film appeals more to teenage women and up.

Reel View: A celebration of life English-style for both men and women. — Laurie Davis

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