Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! COOL RUNNINGS!
Cool Runnings is a live-action Disney film Very Loosely Based on a True Story about the Jamaican bobsled team.Derice is a sprinter and wants to compete in the 1988 Olympic Games in athletics. However, his competitor, Junior, trips and brings him down along with Yul Brenner (no, not thatone) during the qualifying sprint race. The officials refuse to rerun the race, dashing the hopes of Derice and other competitors. The only chance he has to go to the Olympics is to compete in the Winter Olympics in bobsledding. Derice first convinces his friend Sanka to join him, then he finds Irving Blitzer, a former bobsledder himself, who reluctantly agrees to coach him and his team. Coach does try to get out of it by showing a film of nothing but sled crashes to a crowd of people trying out, but in the end, all this does is bring Junior and Yul to the team. The rest of the film is about working to overcome their lack of experience, the opposition of the Olympic Committee, the jeering and disbelief of the other teams, the internal struggles within the team, and the cold weather of Canada.The film is as funny as it is serious, and manages to do both well.
[after being told to "hold it" by his coach before a run, the team has crashed on the course]
Derice: Well, at least you can pee now.
Sanka: ...nnn, too late.
Catch Phrase: Several phrases are repeated several times. Some of them are changed near the end, to indicate Character Development. For example, "Sanka/Derice, you dead?" "Ya, mon." becomes "No mon, I'm not dead. We have to finish the race... ", while Grool's derisively calling the guys "Jamaica" becomes a term of respect/endearment at the end.
Colbert Bump: Thanks to the everlasting popularity this movie has, the real Jamaican bobsled teams always get a nice share of exposure every time they qualify for the Olympics.
Completely Different Title: According to Google Translate, foreign titles translate as Rasta Rockett (France), The Apprentice Champions, Jamaica Below Zero (Portugal, Israel and Latin America), Reggae on Ice (Poland), Running Below Zero, Coconuts on Ice (Czech Republic) and Ice Trek.
The Russian title of the film is Cool Turns/Banks (although the Russian word for the slang "cool" can also literally mean "sharp", which works too).
Fake Nationality: The four Jamaican bobsledders are all played by American actors. Meanwhile, Canadian John Candy plays American Irv Blitzer, while fellow Canadian Peter Outerbridge plays East German Josef Grool.
Heroic BSOD: Yul had this when his life's goal is shattered when Sanka and Junior informs him that the photo of the place he has dreamed so much to live in is the photo of the Buckingham Palace. Thankfully for Junior's support it does not last through the night.
I Was Quite a Looker: When Derice shows Irv the old photo of him with Ben Bannock (Derice's father), Irv admires his long-gone looks for a moment, then catches his current reflection in the frame glass.
No OSHA Compliance: Irv runs a clip about bobsledding, which happens to demonstrate just how dangerous it is.
One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Yul Brenner has a montage where he effortlessly beats opponent after opponent for money so the team can travel to Canada for qualifiers. Then he is struggling and ultimately bested by... a large, burly woman.
"You will never see a more beautifully, perfectly, compellingly formulaic sports movie that even people who don't like sports movies - like me - will like. The characters aren't really characters so much as they're just... archetypes."
Sure, Let's Go with That: The real life Jamaican bobsled team admitted that their crash was human error, and jokingly approved of the movie's version where it was a faulty sled.
Teach Him Anger: "I see PRIDE! I see POWER! I see a badass mutha who don't take no crap off of NOBODY!"
Title Drop: The team's mantra and rallying cry is Cool Runnings, which Derice explains means "peace be the journey."
It's also the name of their sled, after Junior's suggestion of "Tallulah" is met with laughter until he explains that it's his mother's name.
Training Montage: One when they're practicing the push start while in Jamaica, and one when they're training in Calgary.
Underdogs Never Lose: Averted. They transcended the need to win. (And a pretty unique way of being underdogs, too.)
Up to Eleven: When faced with the Calgary winter, Sanka puts on everything in his clothing bag. Then he puts on his clothing bag.
Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Instead of the unanimous derision depicted in the film, the international Olympic community welcomed the Jamaicans with open arms, providing them with equipment and coaching, especially the East Germans.
Outside of the crash footage at the climax of the film and the fact that Jamaica had an Olympic bobsled team that year, just about everything else — including the names of the actual participants — was a fictionalized creation.