SKATING TO NEW YORK – A Review by John Strange

By: John ’Doc’ Strange
Directed by: Charles Minsky
Cast: Connor Jessup, Gage Munroe, Wesley Morgan, Matthew Knight, Dylan Everett, Michelle Nolden, Jason Gedrick, Niamh Wilson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for language, including some crude sexual references)
Selig Rating: MATINEE
Runtime: 93 Min.
Following a tough loss, five members of the high school hockey team from a small town in Canada decide to do something no one has ever done before, skate to New York.  Doesn’t sound too tough, does it?  Try doing it on the coldest day of winter, oh, and New York is 40 kilometers away across frozen Lake Ontario.  Thin ice, frigid winds, and few if any landmarks to help them navigate their way across the lake are only a few of the hazards.
No one tells their parents as they pack what they each feel is required to make the trek across the lake.  Each has their own reasons for going on the trip but central to their desires is the need to do something to relieve the pain they each feel from the loss by doing something that no one can ever take away from them.
Their journey is a typical trek when you factor in the fact that these are teenagers.  Their first stop is in an abandoned truck topper style camper resting against a tree in mid-lake.  The boys take advantage of the camper to get out of the wind.  They pull out their drinks and food, finding that some of them failed to properly pack and the necessary items are now frozen solid.  Those with drinkable and edible goods share their provisions.
When the wind rolls the camper off them, these intrepid skaters get back on the trek.  They work through issues of loyalty and team work to reach their goal.  Reaching their goal is not all they hope it will be. 
This is a high school sports story and a wilderness trek rolled into one nice tale with lots of family problems blended into the story.  The filmmakers have crafted the story with a subtle adhesive holding the stories in a structure that allow them to flow around the audience and help us feel the correct emotions. 
I really appreciated that the writers (Monte Merrick’s screenplay from Edmond Stevens’ novella) and the director (Charles Minsky) allowed the various sub-plots to give us some deep answers that weren’t all sweetness and light.  Sometimes the correct answer is not the one that gives us a “nice” ending.  Sometimes a couple is better off NOT being together; sometimes a father is a better father if his son respectfully reminds him that he is stepping over the line.  That is what I saw when I watched Skating to New York.  I think you will like it as much as I did.
By the way, as you watch this film you will see faces you recognize like Jason Gedrick (Doug Demas) and Connor Jessup as his son, Casey.  Jason’s work includes such films as Iron Eagle in the 1980’s and a few TV series like Sweet Justice and Murder One in the 1990’s.  Connor is an up-and-coming actor who has appeared in a few TV series including TNT’s Falling Skies.  You may also recognize Michelle Holden who portrays Connor’s mother, Jessie Demas.  She is best known for her roles on the TV series like Nikita and Saving Hope.
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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