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The Perfect Coincidence

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We just happened to be watching our local library’s DVD of The Perfect Storm during the late horrific assault of Katrina. New Orleans is one of the hemisphere’s great cities, in a great region, the US South. Our prayers and hopes for the swift return of stability go out to the now-dispersed residents, and our condolences will be but small solace to those who have lost loved ones.

New Orleans will come back. I hope to pursue a small side campaign here over the next few weeks to ascertain, long distance, the condition of the well-know landmarks — you know, something the newspapers won’t think of doing, since they’ll be so busy pimping the hottest non-news about global warming, and trying to plant the thought that Supreme Court-nominee John Roberts is a racist because he once employed the word combination “war between the states.”

I’ve been to N’arlins, and will go back again someday.

The city, though, will likely be totally transformed and in major ways; the character of it may change completely from the free-wheeling den of cheerful debauchery it’s always been, to become, say, a future center of pious Mormonism. You can never tell. These big natural events can cause big changes, sweep away the past and allow a whole new present to sashay in. We hear tell that San Francisco was quite the conservative stronghold before the Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

The Perfect Storm stars the totally outmatched and outclassed George Clooney. Outmatched because in the film George “big-dumb-ducks” Clooney, not himself in possession of the ability to act his way out of a half-full wading pool, is pitted against a monster weather system in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Outclassed because, somewhere in there, Karen Allen has a small late-starting part in an apparently pointless and confusing subplot, pointless until you realize that it is there to bolster the main theme of the film, kill off the men, and totally humiliate the ones who remain.

You’ll remember Karen as Boone’s fun-intolerant, professor-chasing girlfriend in Animal House, and the hard-drinking female side-kick in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yes, racoonish Karen Allen was in the movie, but she didn’t stay dry long and her only line appeared to be “Mayday! Mayday!” Nonetheless, she still managed, with those few words, to out-act the Easter Island Head-like Clooney, whose big “big dumb ducks” speech was so monotone and lacking in emotion that director Wolfgang Petersen felt compelled to play it twice in case anyone was still left wake after the first time. We’ll get to the hugs in a moment, and there were some, but the movie, like the Quake of Aught-6 and Katrina of Aught-5 did represent a big sweeping-away. What was swept away? From this crow’s nest it looked like the whole point of the movie was to wipe out men, and to lay out the it’s-so-obvious case for why that would be a good idea.

All the women in the movie were smarter than the men, on just about every point, and more productive economically. All of them were set-up as wiser, and they all survived at the end. The men? Nothing but a bunch of beer-guzzling yahoos, who spend all their time abusing animals, chain smoking and greedily pursuing an occupation. They all die. They all die, that is, except for the shamefully clichéd Retired Fisherman Barfly and the evil Controller of the Means of Production Exploiter, the fishing boat owner.

Weirder still, in the totally unheroic ending segment, incongruously played after a movie-long earful of inappropriately heroic score, they all seemed totally okay with it — dying that is — as if they had confessed to capital crimes, had made their peace and were marching off serenely to the gallows.

Except for all their “lamp shaking” servicing of the women, the men really had no other purpose here than to be set up like bowling pins, and knocked down as a penalty for all their gun-toting animal cruelty, chain smoking and greedy pursuit of gainful employment. This posed no end of frustration to the obnoxiously noble, scenery chewing gals.

On to the huggery muggery. There was plenty, which dove-tailed nicely with the overall emasculation theme of the work. Some of the more run-of-the-mill action occurred at conventionally inappropriate times, like when brief hug-orgies erupted on the bridge of the boat after little victories in the worst, most frightening parts of the storm. They all just spent 10 minutes dodging a metal gadget swinging from the fishing boom. George risked his life to blow-torch it off and then, HUGS! Come on.

But the most interesting and illustrative incident occurred after the Divorced Father character got hooked and pulled into the drink, and Markie Mark and the Low-Life Mechanic character go in after him. The Low Life and the Divorced Father had been at each other’s throats — the animal-abusing, chain-smoking yahoos — all through the movie. Yet Lowlife doesn’t hesitate to dive in, with Markie, to save his arch nemesis.

So of course there has to be a reconciliation of sorts after the rescue succeeds, and what followed could have been one of the best scenes in the movie. But no, they ruined it. When Divorced Father comes on deck after his revival from near-drowning, he encounters Markie first. HUGS!

It totally ripped the guts out of the scene.

Then, Divorced Dad walks over to Low-Life. They have their little semi-rapprochement, then they did what, if it replaced every male-on-male hug in every movie chronicled here it would obviate the need for this very blog. What did they do when they made up?

The took turns punching each other on the arm!

Now that was real.


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ed: JH

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