Author Topic: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon  (Read 22838 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #70 on: July 16, 2010, 10:30:09 AM »
You crazy stand-up comedians. Life isn't all quippy one liners and funny jokes.

(Is envious he didn't think of the joke first)
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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #71 on: July 16, 2010, 07:09:29 PM »
On board!

Life isn't all quippy one liners and funny jokes.

Nope. Death's the funny part.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #72 on: July 16, 2010, 07:15:33 PM »
Life isn't all quippy one liners and funny jokes.

Nope. Death's the funny part.
Finally, someone who understands.  ;)
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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #74 on: January 14, 2011, 01:47:23 PM »

White Squall. This is a movie they might show to adolescent boys in school... heavy on the morals, designed to inspire, and containing characters from diverse backgrounds so that everyone will have somebody to relate to (as long as youíre a middle-class white kid).

Our central character is a lad named Chuck. I say ďladĒ because I want to conjure a particular image in your heads of who Chuck is. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed.... someone a grandmother might describe as ďa nice boyĒ. The name Chuck suits him.

And so does that stupid leave-it-to-beaver hat has on.

The thing about Chuck is that he keeps a diary. And the problem with his diary is that he writes such cheesy stuff in it. And the problem with the cheesy stuff he writes is that itís used as narration for the movie... read by Chuck... in voice-over. It has to be heard to be believed. Take this moment at the bus station, for instance, when Chuck bids farewell to his parents.

Jesus. Itís like getting shot in the face by a cheese cannon. And if you think thatís bad, just waitíll the ending.

Now, if you were paying attention you heard Chuck say something about joining the crew of a brigantine school-ship. A brigantine, according to Oxford, is a ďa two-masted sailing ship with a sqaure-rigged formast and a mainmast rigged fore and aftĒ. More importantly though, it comes from the word brigand. Let me just refer to the dictionary again for a precise definition: ďa member of a gang that ambushes and robs people in forests and mountainsĒ. Did I say important? I meant random and senseless.

At least the name of the ship make sense - Albatross. Like the seabird.
Or is it a reference to Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?
OR does the captain play a lot of golf?

The ship is a school, the students are its crew. When they arenít busy learning to be sailors they spend time learning English, Math and Science from the first mate and the captainís wife.

Did you say ďwifeĒ? Why yes I did. The captainís wife is on board for the journey, and believe me her presence is a blessing. These ship-bound movies are typically sausage parties, and I for one welcome the change.

And now lets introduce the most important person on the ship!

El Duderino reporting for duty.

What kind of a man is he? Well for a shipís captain heís actually about as laid back as the position allows. Not one of these tyrannical types; overly cruel in the disciplining of men, arrogant, Ahab complex, etc. No, not like that at all.

He leads by never talking down to his men.

He leads by always keeping a tidy appearance.

He leads with subtle encouragement.

And he leads by showing unwavering bravery even in the face of white squalls.

Yes, he's a great man this captain.

Life aboard the Albatross wonít be easy for this rag-tag bunch of greenhorns. Their biggest obstacle might be just having to put up with each other for 6 months. As with most TEAM movies, every character is some extreme personality, and the hero, in this case Chuck, falls right in the middle. But lets meet some of his shipmates.

Introducing first: Too cool for school character.
-tough guy attitude to cover up insecurities

Rich kid.

-hates his pompous father
-canít relate to his peers
-thinks heís too good for grunt work

Lilly-livered youngster

-pees his pants when he climbs too high
-emotionally unstable because of childhood accident (involving, you guessed it, CLIMBING)
-gets sea sick
-has bad dreams

Slightly mental old sea dog (first mate)

-always standing by with the relevant Shakespearean verse
-a big drinker
-smells bad (Iím speculating here)

Being but young and inexperienced landlubbers, the first part of the movie is basically just them learning how to be sailors. Some, like Chuck, employ a trail and error approach to learning.

For instance, how NOT to carry rope.

How NOT to get out of your bunk in the morning.

How NOT to get in trouble on shore leave (drink Coke).

How NOT to aim your puke at the ocean thatís right behind you, thereby saving yourself a messy clean up.

Also occurring early in the movie are the obligatory pissing matches.

Hereís one I imagine was somewhat common on these ships. Who can dive from the highest yardarm.

In this case itís the too cool for school character who wins. He doesnít just dive, he literally does a double flip before hitting the water. Itís almost as if they hired a professional diver to do the stunt.

Everyone on deck is in awe.

Except the first mate. WTF is he looking at back there? God heís weird.

The captain comes out after to see what commotion is about. He launches into a speech about unity versus individualism, at the end of which he points to the ships bell, with the words ďwhere we go one we go allĒ written on it.

Now, at the midpoint in the movie, everyone knows how to do their duty, but the men are still at odds with each other. I wonder, what would it take to bring them all together. What miracle in nature could force these men to work as a team...

OMG the rich kid just went postal and shot a dolphin with a harpoon!!!

Surprising eh? Not what you were expecting. It does seem to do the trick though because the rich kid gets booted off the ship and the boys start to come together after. Suddenly they are climbing mountains in this lord of the flysy sequence.

They find a container with a book in it. The book is full of the names of boys who, like them, sailed the Albatross together.

One at a time each member of this yearís crew puts their names into the book. Annoyingly, they say their names out loud while they write.

Itís incredibly corny.

I guess now comes the big climax. The white squall. Since the movie waited until now to get to it, it must mean itís a storm so fierce that only a group of men working together can take it on. Letís see how they implement what theyíve learned.

Step one: Batten down the hatches.

(so far so good)

Step two: flounder around on deck ineffectually.


Step three: capsize


Several people drown in the storm and the Albatross sinks, leaving only a few men flotating around in life boats.

But hey, look on the bright side. When the ship sank it must've taken all the menís possessions with it, including Chuckís diary!
That means no more narration!

Oh.... wait.

Days pass. Rescue looks doubtful.

But wait!

ďSkipper! Skipper look! I think I see an ship! Maybe even an ending to this movie!Ē

The survivors come home only to face a throng of ravenous reporters.

The newspapers are looking for someone to blame.

It turns out that the rich kidís father is using his media and military connections to try and pin it all on the captain. The goal: take away his U.S. Master Seamanís certificate. Chuck shows up at the rich kidís house and tries to get him to see reason, and tell his dad to back call off the dogs. Rich kid doesnít budge.

Chuck hands him a mystery item and leaves before we find out what it is.

Things end up in court. The prosecuter calls into question the captains decisions, experience, fitness... the works.

Basically anything he can use to discredit the man in the judgeís eyes.

His men try to stand up for him when they get called as witnesses, even going so far as to lie.

But the Captain isnít having it. He wonít let any kid take the fall for him, so he hands over his license.

As heís walking out the court Chuck makes an impassioned plea.

He says itís nobodyís fault, least of all the captainís, and that he shouldnít lose his license.

Jeff Bridges listens, says heís sorry thatís just the way it is Chuck, and makes to leave.

Just as he getís to the door...


Oh shit! Itís the bell! The BELL! Rich kid has the bell!

(Except those guys who went down with the ship...)

The captain stops dead in his tracks, the music swells, he looks to his men, his men look to him...

And slowly they all come together for a group hug right there in the middle of the courtroom.

Love and loyalty win the day! Hooray!

So that's White Squall in a nutshell. The ending is the cheesiest thing I've ever seen in a movie. My little picture show probably doesn't do it justice, it's really the music that pushes it over the edge. The performances are good enough they actually didn't need any emphasis. Jeff Bridges especially. But man, Ridley Scott just lays it on SO thick. Even though it's somber moment for the characters I defy you not to laugh while you watch it.

Getting into a little more detail about the music, right from the opening credits things go downhill with an epic yet solomn Kenny G style track. You know the type, long unending notes connected by a rapid-fire toodling. Thatís followed by a melancholy solo piano number. Not so much a song as just a series of wistful chords played very softly, about 4 seconds apart. You can also expect your share of solo horn music in those moments when the hero finds himself alone versus the world but doing something brave (typically with a sunset or sunrise in the background). And finally, just to top it all off, you've got a healthy dose of pan flutes. The entire soundtrack is just a giant cliche.

But hey, the film is 15 years old now so maybe I'll give it a break. I even enjoyed it when it first came out. And it still does a lot of stuff really well. For one thing I couldn't spot any blue screen backgrounds. Every scene feels like it's shot on location. I guess that's what you get for 38 million dollars.

In the end though, it's a movie I'd pass on. Unlike Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) there's really no memorable characters that make it worth going back to see. Also, the story (though based on true events) really doesn't have that classic feel.


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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #75 on: January 14, 2011, 02:04:47 PM »
I never have to watch this movie now. This post is a thousand times more entertaining.  8)


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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #76 on: January 14, 2011, 02:09:22 PM »
The sailor is back! Awesome write-up, 'noff. ;D


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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #77 on: January 14, 2011, 02:18:34 PM »
That was brilliant.  These epic pic heavy reviews have been missing from my life and this does not disappoint.  I didn't hate White Squall.  It looks great, most of the acting is good and the squall sequence is exciting, but you're right on every point.  It's like Plinkett without the voice or sick side trips.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2011, 02:44:06 PM »
Seriously, dude, you need to write more of these because I always end up in stitches. Great as always.

This is one of the few Ridley Scott Movies I haven't seen. Sounds like it will remain that way.
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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #79 on: January 14, 2011, 02:46:17 PM »
I've missed these sooo much! ;D Love it, smirnoff.