The sea’s fed and fostered the brave men of Gloucester,
Who sail out to harvest its plenty,
But the ocean has claimed several thousand strong names
And has left many families empty.
They’re stories worth telling, both sad and compelling,
But there’s one that stands out as a tale.
Six seamen were drowned and their bodies not found
In the wreck of the Andrea Gail.
Ol’ Captain Bill Tyne is not like a fine wine,
Bringing in less and less as he ages.
All his friends say too much that he’s losing his touch,
And his crew isn’t keen on their wages.
So both Tyne and his men plan to set out again:
Bobby Shatford, whose girl tends to worry,
Murph and Sully are there, as is Alfred Pierre,
And, with Bugsy, they leave in a hurry.
Their efforts don’t fly, and their tensions run high,
As a shark, then an accident spooks them.
Sully saves Murphy’s life, though he stole Murphy’s wife.
When they want to turn back, Tyne rebukes them.
They almost leave the map for the famed Flemish Cap,
Where both swordfish and jeopardy flourish.
As their fortunes emerge, three storm systems converge
And on warm Gulf Stream waters are nourished.
The swordfish abound; the ice maker breaks down,
So they must make a choice now together:
Let the fruit of their toil just sit out and spoil
Or attempt to sail home through the weather.
Wishing no more to roam, they decide to head home,
And the hurricane soon crashes around them.
They drive through the night, and yet, try though they might,
By morning, the tempest has drowned them.
Their friends grieve together, will miss them forever,
Will honor their fruitless travail.
Their memory survives, though they all lost their lives
In the wreck of the Andrea Gail.

The Perfect Storm is a disaster film that, while not as cataclysmic as many other such movies, focuses on the main six lives that were lost when the Andrea Gail sank below the Atlantic. While these six men are all flawed, they seem genuine in their actions and relationships (though Bugsy’s appeal to that single mother is inexplicable), and the eulogy at the end is truly touching. However, The Perfect Storm, like Witness, also lovingly presents a way of life that seems foreign to outsiders like me. While I would not want to be part of that world of sailing and fishing, I can still admire the unsung heroes who work so hard to bring in fish that most of us take for granted.

It’s not a perfect disaster film, in part because it tries too hard to show the extent of the disaster. My poem makes no mention of the three-person crew of the Mistral or the Air National Guard helicopter that comes to rescue them. These scenes present how the storm affected more than just the Andrea Gail, but they also distract from the six people that are otherwise the center of the movie. The Coast Guard scenes drag on a bit too long, and I can’t help but feel that they were added just to make the film longer. This, plus the strong sexual innuendo and frequent language that are probably not as bad as on most sailing vessels, detracts from what is otherwise a film with great acting and special effects. It’s just a shame that those men lost their lives just trying to make a living.

P.S. Try reading the poem to the cadence of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Best line: “I’ll be asleep, and all the sudden there he is, that big smile. You know that smile. And I say, ‘Hey, Bobby – where you been?’ but he won’t tell me. He just smiles and says, ‘Remember, Christina: I’ll always love you; I loved you the moment I saw you; I love you now; and I love you forever. There’s no goodbyes – there’s only love, Christina; only love.’ Then he’s gone. But he’s always happy when he goes so I know he’s got to be okay – absolutely okay.”

Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 6
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 5
Watchability: 5
Other (innuendo and language): -7
TOTAL: 29 out of 60

Tomorrow: #335 – 9 to 5

© 2014 S. G. Liput