It was sad when the great ship went down

May 20, 2006

I was hoping to go to the movies for Mother’s Day. Is didn’t work out and I am making up for lost time.

I am ambivalent about the Da Vinci Code. I was raised Catholic, and am still a little miffed that I missed, “Secret Catholic Conspiracy Day” during CCD.

Maybe this was one of the things that only the boys got to go to. And I must have missed self-flagelation day, too. Catholic boys have all the fun.

But why waste time watching Tom Hanks’ bad hair, when “Poseidon” is still in theaters? Especially since “The Poseidon Adventure” was the first book I can remember as a wall-banger. I stopped reading after the little boy disappeared and his sister got raped. Thank you, Paul Gallico, for your treatment of the only characters I could identify with when I was in junior high. If it ended better for them, I’ll never know. I’ve been holding a grudge against this story for over 30 years.

I prepped the kids for the new movie. The original, with Shelly Winters, was on TV last week. Whatever you remember, it was worse than that. Gene Hackman as the hip minister, shaking his fist at God. Shelly Winters, who had a fatal heart attack, followed by a long death scene (neat trick). Carol Linley with no eyebrows, and no facial expression, singing “Morning After” and panicking every few feet. Ernest Borgnine, playing Ernest Borgnine.

#1 Son said, after a half an hour, “This is a comedy, right?”


“It’s supposed to be serious?”

“Yeah. Except for the parts that aren’t funny. Those bits are the comic relief.”

The main problem with the new movie, is that it’s very hard to make fun of in an original way, since everyone is saying the same thing. And I was worried when heard that it wasn’t bad enough to be campy.

Not campy? Wrong! Put your backs into it, people. There is always a pony under the manure. Keep digging.

I regret not having made ballots for the family, or at least placed some bets while still in the lobby. It meant that we’d have to violate the family ‘no talking through movies rule.’ But this movie was begging for audience participation, so I feel no guilt.

I checked the cast in advance. No token fat woman. And you know someone is going to have to take that swim. Who would it be?
Who would die first?
Who would live?
Who would care?
Who would be going to refill the popcorn?

I leaned over to #2 son after the boat rolled and asked him to pick the first corpse. He nailed it in one. I trained him well.

He was also the one to announce, “So he’s the fat old lady in this one.”

And he explained to us the impossibility of the wave, which in mid ocean would be only an inch or so different if it hit the beach as a 40 foot wall of water, since tsunamis need a bottom to push off of. The rogue wave that hit the boat probably meant that they’d be taking the survivors to the new coastal city of Chicago.

Is it possible to spoil the plot? I’m not sure. The boat tips over. People die. Some people don’t. The end. I can offer a few handy tips, should you ever be taking the New Year’s cruise, right before the wave hits.

Bring the kids. Little boys, no matter how annoying, do not die. If you’re having a land based disaster, bring the dog along for good measure. But on a cruise, kids should be enough (unless you’re trapped in the damn book).

If you are childless, the less will to live you have, the better your chances of survival.

Never offer to go last.

If you do, do not hang onto the ankle of the suicidal gay guy.

Do not be the captain.

Wear sensible shoes, even with your evening gown. Do not go commando or wear a thong like the rest of the women in the ballroom probably did. They’ll get theirs. Harlots.

Do not be nick-named Lucky.

Although a flask is always handy at times like this, a screwdriver would be handier.

Didn’t I tell you not to hang onto the gay guy’s ankle? Or go last? Why does no one listen?

Adult children are not protection. Get a smaller kid, or borrow someone else’s.

And that’s about it for Poseidon. There was a lovely preview for “The Lake House” which is a time travel romance with Keaneu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, living in the same house but separated by two years and communicating through letters in a magic mailbox.

Which caused #1 son to announce, “And the house can’t go under 60 miles and hour…”