Ice The Movie’s plot is similar to many figure skating movies. It’s about a girl with much talent who pursues Olympic dreams. It’s about her struggles and it is about what she gives up in order to pursue those Olympic dreams.
What Maddison Bullock has accomplished is really impressive. Like many figure skaters, she completed a goal that seemed impossible. She wrote a movie about figure skating, produced the movie, and was the movie’s star. That is what makes Ice The Movie special.
My brother, Billy Schneider, had been one of Maddison Bullock’s figure skating coaches before she went to college at University of California in Los Angeles, UCLA. Maddison’s mom, Layna, had told me once that her daughter had developed a passion for acting in college. Then, in 2016, Bullock wrote a movie script and then went on to produce and star in a film that is now available for purchase on Vimeo.
My own family got a glimpse of the movie’s production since my daughter Annabelle Schneider-Farris was chosen to be one of the figure skaters who skated in the background during the filming. My husband Dan and I were extras.
As I viewed Ice The Movie, I appreciated more than ever how much work Maddison Bullock went through to make the movie possible because I saw what went on behind the scenes. We learned from our participation in the movie that making a movie is a huge project which is not all that glamorous.
We spent two consecutive nights from about 10 pm to 10 am in a cold Colorado ice rink while scenes from Ice The Movie were filmed over and over again. Many other parents, coaches, and figure skaters spent long nights at the ice rink as the movie was filmed. We all went without sleep. Some of the people that participated spent their own money on hotels, food, and travel. Others, including my husband, missed work. My daughter Annabelle missed school and her own skating practice.
The young figure skaters who play the young Bailey and young Peyton, Phoebe Stubblefield and Elise Freezer, are really outstanding skaters. It was fun watching them skate in the film, but I was slightly disappointed that doubles weren’t used to do some of the skating when the two girls became young women. It was obvious that the older actresses are accomplished figure skaters, but even viewers who don’t “know skating” will notice that Olympic level triple jumps were missing once the skaters grew up.
The best acting in the film is done by Patrick O’Brien Demsey, who plays Bailey’s father, Nick Grantham. Demsey is a former hockey player who played Mike Eruzione in the 2004 legendary movie “Miracle” about the United States Olympic hockey team’s victory over the Russians in Lake Placid in 1980. It seemed as if the rest of the cast were rather new to acting, but since I’m not any expert as far as acting goes, I am only making an observance.
There are also cameo appearances by US men’s champion Max Aaron, Olympic pair skating silver medalist and figure skating commentator Peter Carruthers, and US ladies champion, Alissa Czisny. Chelley Blakeborough, the niece of world and Olympic figure skating choreographer, Tom Dickson, plays a ballet teacher for the young skaters.
Michael Monks, who plays the Russian skating coach is a really good actor, but he does not really convince viewers that he is really Russian. (My son Joel got such a kick out of his thick Russian accent!)
There is a rival figure skater named Vera Lin (played by Danika Kong), who taunts both Bailey and Peyton. (Danika Kong’s mother told me during our “all nighter” in Colorado, that her daughter, who played Vera, had never acted before.)
There is also a very nice and happy ending!
Some of the original plot might have been changed. For example, during one of our long nights on the set, I observed a scene being filmed over and over again where a crazy skating mother-fan and her daughter tells Bailey about Peyton’s face being slashed accidentally. That entire scene was deleted from the film. The little girl who got dressed up and stayed up all night to be in that scene must be disappointed.
Actually, it seems that many of the people that spent long nights on the set at the ice rinks where the movie was filmed were cut out of the movie which must be disappointing for all the people that volunteered their time, but that is “show business.” I am guessing that the film’s director, Peter Paul Basler, felt that changes in plot and cut scenes were necessary.
Originally, I was told that Ice The Movie would be available for rent or purchase on Netflix and Redbox or Amazon.com, so it is puzzling that at this time why it is only available for purchase on Vimeo. I wish it was available for rent on YouTube at least.
In summary, I must compliment Maddison Bullock for taking on such a project and for promoting figure skating. She made her dream happen. I believe Maddison will go on to do many more great things!
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