Tag: Graham McTavish

The Finest Hours

I am pining (Pine-ing, if you will) for a conspiracy here, so hold on to your butts, let’s see what I can do.

Chris Pine is a weird guy. He does a lot of weird movies. Did you see Stretch? You should go see Stretch. At the same time he is a bit of a Hollywood pretty boy, so Disney wanted to get him in some of his movies.

They got him a small role as a Prince to make him feel important in Into The Woods, offering him the lead roles in future movies. Which brings us to The Finest Hours. I guess I am teasing a bit, because, I won’t get to the point of this intro until after the second picture.

Pine Face
Chris Pine-spiracy.

This is one of those Disney true story period dramas that they do quite often, and half the time in Sports. So they picked a 1950’s Ship Disaster, where two large Oil Tankers near Massachustes were ripped in half during the same storm. And during this same storm, the local Coast Guards had to attempt to save the lives of as many people as possible.

Our hero is 23 or 24 year old Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a guy who grew up in a small town near Cape Cod and who has been sailing most of his life. So he joined the Coast Guard to save lives. There was a big storm the year prior where he was unable to do that and it has haunted him. So it comes to no surprise that he is willing to risk his life to go out into a bigger storm to do it again. His commanding officer (Eric Bana) isn’t from the area and is inept, meaning that he shouldn’t have sent out anyone due to the waves and the shifting bar. But then we wouldn’t have a movie.

Webber and his crew (Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, John Magaro) take a small 32 foot boat to find the half of an oil tanker that is apparently a few miles off the shore. They don’t have an exact location, it is night time, and of course en route they also lose radio communication and their compass.

Meanwhile, on the ship itself, it is a giant vessel, in half, floating throughout the big waves. The crew consists entirely of workers, with the captain and “real leaders” being on the other half and totally dead. The de facto leader goes to Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) a quiet type who runs the bottom of the boat. I am sure there is a real name there. He has to stop the crew from trying to mutiny and turn on each other, while also have them attempt the possible: to steer half of the ship to a shoal or a beach somewhere so they can maybe get rescued. They do this with the constant flooding and fear their engine/power will go out, which means no lights on their boat and no whistle to call for help.

The crew is made up of over 30 men, including Graham McTavish, Michael Raymond-James, Abraham Benrubi, Josh Stewart, John Ortiz and Keiynan Lonsdale.

Also featuring Holliday Grainger as Webber’s new fiance to give us that love interest and pseudo Interstellar moment, and Matthew Maher, aka the Holy Bartender from Dogma, with a sizable role as angry tow truck driver.

And dozens of extras who only grunt and scream and work. Dozens!

Back to the beginning. Disney wanted to woo Chris Pine because they wanted him to be a superhero in the Marvel movies. It makes sense. He is a big actor, in Star Trek and all. So they offered him a gritty-ish historical film to woo him hardcore and play to his interests. But Pine was sleeping around. Pine is now signed on to play a role in the Wonder Woman! Sure actors have played both sides of the field, but not since it has gotten to its current big status. So, thinking that Pine has made his decision, they decided to make The Finest Hours not as great as it should have been. They don’t care about a flop. They have Star Wars money.

For a film with a lot of issues, I feel I need to mention to best parts first. Casey Affleck was wonderful in this movie. His character was unique and had a consistent personality and was a great watch. Well done Affleck! McTavish also did a good job of grizzled pseudo-assistant.

The rest of the film? Well, first of all, it probably should have had permanent subtitles throughout. We have accents all over the place, so many characters require a bit of a stretch to figure out their words. Add on a loud angry storm, with people trying to yell things, and shit. Half the movie feels almost inaudible.

The next sense that is betrayed have to be your eyes. The entire film is mostly ugly on the color scale. It is grey, dark grey, and occasionally white, but usually grey white also. An already dark movie is made worse with 3D, adding to the overall darkness. And yes, as you might have fussed, the 3D adds absolutely nothing to the film, making it an unnecessary hindrance. Every single wave looks fake, so it is hard to really get drawn into any of the tension. I spent good chunks figuring out where the green screens were and how much of the water was actually real.

I don’t think anyone is real in this picture.

As for the actual plot itself, the romance, despite real, feels incredibly shoe horned. They realized they made a very man focused film, so only one woman, a fiance, has any real screen time and has to do everything as a result. We have to see her be strong and do things that were unheard of at the time for women. Showing great women is movies is a good trend, but not if it is badly done and at the detriment of the film. Not every film has to have it.

These scenes just made the rescue more drawn out every time they cut away from the two groups. And the intro of the movie is entirely about their romance, which also feels overly long, while also not allowing the audience to feel emotionally connected to either of them.

As a final moment of disappointment, a big advertising/selling point of this film is that there were 32 survivors on the boat and the rescue boat was small with only room for 12. They made it seem like there would be a nice moral/ethical dilemma once the boat was found. In reality, it was entirely ignored and the issue was solved by just fitting everyone on the boat quite easily. More great potential suspense floundered.

The true story of The Finest Hours is great. It could have been a very inspirational tale. But it was filled with cheese and shoddily made, giving what feels like a half-assed feel good film.

1 out of 4.


Dun dun dunnnnn. Dun DUN DUNNNNNNN. That is my impression of the main Rocky theme, you’re welcome.

I first saw Rocky about 5 or 6 years ago. I was pretty late to the game. But I liked it for what it was. I didn’t see any of the other films until this summer, in preparation for Creed. And since I never had to review any of those films for the site, here are reviews of 2-6.

Rocky II was hilarious, because half of the movie was Sylvester Stallone rambling about whatever comes to his head. He clearly is showing he has severe brain damage and Adrian apparently thinks his mental handicap is cute.

Rocky III gave us Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. It was okay, gave us the best montage fun with Apollo and Rocky though.

Rocky IV was my most quoted film, while I had only seen the fight between Creed and the Russian. It had a fantastic ending, where Rocky single-handedly defeated Communism and Robot Boxers.

Rocky V was steaming shit. What a terrible movie. Why the fuck was this made?

Rocky Balboa was 16 years after Rocky V, a sadder tale about an old man coming out of retirement to prove he wasn’t a pushover. And well, I honestly didn’t like it at all. Was a very different tone and was night time half the film, and just mehhhh. What a waste.

Kind like my thoughts when I saw that MJB was starring in the new Fantastic Four. What a waste.

And now there is Creed. They might have called it Rocky VII, but that one if it ever exists will have to be called Adrian’s Revenge.

Turns out Apollo wasn’t faithful. He had an affair out of wedlock and Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) was born. However, he wasn’t born until after Apollo died in the ring, so he never had a chance to meet his father. His mother died when he was young, so he was passed around the foster care and juvie system, always getting into fights, until about 10 or 11. That is when Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad) found him. She, somehow, found out about the affair and the kid, and since she heard the news, she wanted to adopt him so he can learn about his father and grow up in the proper lifestyle.

Now years later, Adonis is fighting in Tijuana, Mexico, trying to be a boxer like his dad, but in secret. Fuck real jobs, real responsibilities. He just wants to punch people in the face.

He wants to punch people so badly, but no one will give him a chance in LA. So he heads to Philadelphia. He goes to see Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky is old, managing a restaurant, with no real family to worry about. He doesn’t want to. But he realizes that he might be the only real father figure that Adonis will ever have.

Even better, he doesn’t want people to know he is Creed’s son. He wants to become a fighter on his own, not by legacy. That’s good news. Fuck it. Let’s train the kid.

Oh and Adonis of course meets a lady. Bianca (Tessa Thompson), a soulful musician who is also slowly losing her hearing.

Also featuring Ritchie Coster, Tony Bellew, Graham McTavish and Wood Harris as various fighters/coaches. And a dude who looks a hell of a lot like Edward James Olmos. I have no idea who he is, but he was in the movie a lot as their team doctor guy, had no lines, but I couldn’t find out who he was on the IMDB page, because it was very badly laid out order wise. It might be Olmos. It might be a weird cameo.

You might be able to tell by his shorts that someone eventually let’s the name secret out of the bag.

Creed featured four montages. FOUR. Three of them training, and one a fight montage. All of that exists, but we don’t see Michael B. Jordan splashing the dying corpse of Sylvester Stallone. A shame. More movies need playful beach splashing.

In terms of themes and atmosphere, Creed is a bit closer to Rocky Balboa, but it is also a lot more entertaining. The best shot moment was during the “mid film” fight, where the entire thing was one long shot. Multiple rounds, corner talk, the whole shebang. It was wonderful. I figured they would do that for the final fight as well, but we had to settle with the walk from the waiting room to the ring to be the one long shot.

With Creed, they clearly want to turn it into a new franchise, since Stallone can’t possibly un-retire from boxing for the 50th time and the son route didn’t work out. Creed had some nice moments in the fights and I felt appropriate at the ending, but I don’t like a lot of elements as well.

For whatever reason, Rocky himself doesn’t have as much brain damage as he did in Rocky II, and they are making him progressively more and more normal. You wouldn’t expect that with age. SLIGHT SPOILER, but they make it so that Rocky also has a health concern. I won’t say what, I will say that it, again, has nothing to do with brain damage. It feels like an incredibly bull shit side plot, when they have perfectly reasonable and obvious health issues they could have instead brought in.

The back story for Adonis felt a bit shitty too. It seemed like they had to jump through hoops to get the backstory they wanted, again, over complicating it. The story was also incredibly inconsistent with Adonis’ feelings. He wanted to make it big without using the Creed name to get him by, but instead be a good fighter on his own. Mary Anne also had the same feelings, but apparently they both just figured they should get over it and embrace it, making some of his earlier journey feel a bit dishonest.

Oh well. Some good fights. And Michael B. Jordan was great in it. This should fix his career back up again quite nicely.

2 out of 4.