Author Topic: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon  (Read 22576 times)

smirnoff

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #100 on: April 18, 2011, 01:56:19 PM »
I prefer Cabin Boy.

It's well documented!  ;D

And have I mentioned how awesome Cabin Boy is?

I've always used my love of Cabin Boy to demonstrate my non-film-snobbery.

In no way is Cabin Boy a "bad" movie.

Cabin Boy!

It's good, but Cabin Boy is better.

As the world's biggest Cabin Boy fan...


sdedalus

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #101 on: April 18, 2011, 02:05:51 PM »
I'll keep saying it until you watch it!
The End of Cinema

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smirnoff

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #102 on: April 18, 2011, 02:11:29 PM »
It's been many years. I remember it fondly but can't recall a single scene. I'm due.

tinyholidays

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #103 on: April 18, 2011, 02:13:31 PM »
 ;D

And now I'm wishing for a search function that would determine each filmspotter's most-name-dropped movie.

verbALs

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #104 on: April 18, 2011, 02:44:54 PM »
Thanks for the namecheck 'noff but your review nukes mine from orbit. I would only repeat that for Tracy to have won best actor for this piece of racial stereotyping is a bit weird. I don't know next they will be handing out awards just because a guy stutters on film...hold on!
The kid and Barrymore and Kipling's storytelling make the movie. I would employ you as publicist if you can make it look like Apocalypse Now though.
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

oldkid

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #105 on: April 18, 2011, 03:16:39 PM »
I appreciate the effort you put into this, but I don't know if we need that many screenshots, or that much plot summary.
What?! Most of us here for long smirnoff reviews.
Yea, it's part of the charm of his reviews.

Reading a long smirnoff review is always a bright and shiny spot in any day.  :D
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

smirnoff

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #106 on: April 18, 2011, 03:33:19 PM »
Thanks for the namecheck 'noff but your review nukes mine from orbit. I would only repeat that for Tracy to have won best actor for this piece of racial stereotyping is a bit weird. I don't know next they will be handing out awards just because a guy stutters on film...hold on!
The kid and Barrymore and Kipling's storytelling make the movie. I would employ you as publicist if you can make it look like Apocalypse Now though.

Now that would be a challenge! :D

It's amazing how many times Tracy was nominated. I watched the trailer for Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and thought of that one with Bernie Mac (then I looked it up and realized it's a direct adaptation. Duh, lol).


smirnoff

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #107 on: December 10, 2011, 07:20:13 PM »



A little background

This film often gets blamed for being the anchor that took Carolco studios to the bottom of the sea. According to director Renny Harlin that’s simply not true. In a recent radio interview he claims that Carolco was bankrupt already... the only reason they proceded with the project was because the investors had already signed on. He “BEGGED” to be let go but but in the end was forced to go through with it. He knew there was going to be no funding for marketing from the distributer MGM because MGM was in the middle of being sold itself and had no interest in spending more money at that point. So right from the get go the film was doomed to be a box office failure.

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean the film itself necessarily had to be bad... as Renny says in the interview, they did their best regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Renny even spent 1 million dollars of his own money hiring Oscar winning writer Marc Norman (Shakespeare in Love) to rewrite the script. As it happens the dialogue in the film still sucks, but that’s beside the point. While Harlin is right shrug off the blame for the film flopping, what he fails to admit is that it’s no excuse for the film itself being so lousy. Marketing and filmmaking are two different things and in this case both were done poorly.



98 Million Dollars and not an ounce of originality

As with any pirate movie you expect certain things; treasures, cannons, swinging from mast to mast, sword fighting, rum drinking, the jolly roger... these cliches are just part and parcel of the genre. In a genre so old as this one though an effort should be made to put a unique spin on them. Playing against the audience’s expectations for example is a great way to keep them engaged. Surprises are stimulating. The other option is to disguise the cliches. Inject an original style into them so the audience doesn’t automatically recognize them for what they are.

A good example of going against expectations is the character Moneypenny in the James Bond films. Bond is the dashing, well dressed, smooth talking hero of a spy movie; the cliche would be that every woman he comes across is powerless to resist his charms and that by the end of the film he will have had her (borrrrrrrrrrrrring). Not so with Moneypenny. Yes, she is attracted to him, and he to her, but she also knows what kind of man he really is and she has more self-respect than to jump in the sack with him every time he comes calling. Her willingness to rebuff James is original within the spy genre, and while it denies the audience something marketeers probably think they want (another sex scene) it gives them something better... sexual tension, humour, and a shot at Bond’s ego.

She knows just where he can put that, and it wasn't what he had in mind...

An example of disguising a cliche would be the way Tolkien depicts the The Ring of Power in LOTR. Rather than being an inert object of some priceless value that valiant heroes quest after, the ring itself is a character, and to possess it is to be doomed (and yet they must quest after it all the same). The ring speaks, it changes size and weight, it has a will of it’s own. It still falls within the framework of the “Holy Grail” cliche but because of the enhancements made by Tolkien, it’s a fresh experience. A new variable in an old formula.

Cutthroat Island makes one attempt and one attempt only at doing anything original. It casts a woman to be the captain of a pirate ship. And instead of a parrot on her shoulder they give her a monkey.


Don’t applaud the outside-the-box thinking just yet though. First consider this: One year before Cutthroat Island opened, a HUGELY successful TV show debuted, also featuring a Capuchin monkey.


This my friends is what they call monkey business.

And as for casting Gena Davis as the pirate captain... well that too was an unintentional bit of creativity. Michael Douglas was set to star in her role but he dropped out of the project before it started shooting (must’ve got a wiff of script). He didn’t do too bad for himself that year though, in fact he went on to become president of the United States.

So to speak...

What prevented Mrs. Davis from pulling a similar cut and run maneuver? Well, she was married to the director! So what appeared to be off-the-wall casting was actually just a last resort by way of marital obligation. Davis was supposed to be a mere love interest to Douglas but instead found herself in the captain’s chair. And while her character survives through to the end I’m afriad Geena’s career went down with the ship.


So there you go, even the originality that is present isn’t legitimate creativity. And that’s how it feels to watch too, like a gimmick. Davis adds nothing to the part but her cleavage...

...which I grant you is considerable, but still.

You could look at the film as being quite forward thinking in that it doesn’t even deign to acknowledge this gender role reversal, as if it’s saying “this is 1995” and it shouldn’t be a big thing. The problem with that is, it WOULD be a big thing in 1668, which is when the movie takes place. Nothing is done to convince us how this situation is possible, nor is the part written with any sort of femininity. It’s the words Michael Douglas would’ve said, but it’s Gena Davis saying them. Now I’m not suggesting there are things that men are naturally better at than women (aside from peeing overboard), but circumstances such as these demand an explanation.

Go go gadget submarine!

Failing to tailor the role for Davis, it turns out, has some unintended consequences.

Symbolic penis envy for one.


And here’s a more pointed example.



The movie ends with her using the biggest, blackest cannon on the ship to dispatch the villain.


Even Frank Langella is awed at the size of it.


And Matthew Modine feels inadequate.


The resulting shot, in one of the film’s stupider moments, sends Langella straight backwards through multiple walls of the ship and out the rear.

And yes that’s the cannonball you see pushing him along...

The usual cliches of the pirate/sailing genre that I mentioned before are all present:

The underwater kiss / providing oxygen for the person whose leg has become tangled in a bit of rigging and is holding them under.


Treasure is mixed in with skulls and other various bones.

God knows why...

Chandelier swinging out of danger.


This of course precedes cutting the rope holding the Chandelier up causing it to crash to the floor.


Using a powder keg to create an impromptu fuse.


And a more general one: A close up of a butcher chopping meat as the first shot of a new scene.

I feel like I've seen this edit 1000 times before.

It’s a shame that the action sequences played out in such boring ways, as they clearly cost a lot of money. The fight choreography is uninspired and bloodless, the explosions are more fiery than impactful, and the music is generic swashbuckling fare... really nothing to get excited about.

There is one element of the action that impressed me on a few occasions though, and that’s the stunt work (swordplay excluded). Easily missed amongst the chaotic noise of the film, these stunts are really quite remarkable:

The first is something we’ve all seen in lots of movies before, but never like this (as far as I can remember). Gena Davis falls from the top of the frame and Matthew Modine grabs her arm as she goes by, saving her from a deadly drop. What’s unique is how it’s not just edited together to “look” like that’s what happened... it REALLY happens!


I’m not sure if they used a dummy for this stunt either. Usually you can tell by how it moves... and to me this looked like the real thing. Even if it WAS a dummy it’s still an impressive stunt of strength and eye-hand coordination. And boy does it make for a cool shot!

The second stunt is one of remarkable timing. Davis rolls out a window while below her Modine drives the cairrage. Without seeing what’s coming she vaults off the roof and into the passanger seat. Again, NO edits.


It’s remarkable too when you consider what might’ve happened if she’d timed it wrong. Bravo to the whole stunt crew, this one really kicks ass.

And finally, my personal favourite: A death defying leap that must taken months of preparation and cost millions of dollars to stage.


Aaaaand, he makes it! :)



Ultimately, Cutthroat Island is not a movie worth seeing if you’ve seen any other pirate movie ever. It cost a lot of money but does little to stand out amongst the crowd.


I know how you feel, bro.


oneaprilday

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #108 on: December 10, 2011, 08:27:43 PM »
Woo! Another installment from 'noff!   :)

Especially love this sequence:
Failing to tailor the role for Davis, it turns out, has some unintended consequences.

Symbolic penis envy for one.


And hereís a more pointed example.



The movie ends with her using the biggest, blackest cannon on the ship to dispatch the villain.


Even Frank Langella is awed at the size of it.


And Matthew Modine feels inadequate.


The resulting shot, in one of the filmís stupider moments, sends Langella straight backwards through multiple walls of the ship and out the rear.

And yes thatís the cannonball you see pushing him along...

oldkid

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Re: Flotsam & Jetsam: A Sailor's Marathon
« Reply #109 on: December 10, 2011, 10:07:58 PM »
Thank you, smirnoff. Thank you so much.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

 

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