The Perfect Storm

By Mark Ramsey | 2000/06/25

This week’s headline: Dennis Miller joins the announcer crew on Monday Night Football. In related news, the terms “sangfroid” and “Kierkegaard” declare an IPO.

Let’s talk movies.

I’d say The Perfect Storm is not the perfect movie, but why spoil that line before you have a chance to read it in Entertainment Weekly and USA Today?


Thanks to a rare combination of meteorological events as explosive as Patrick Swayze and a twin-engine Piper, the New England coast is threatened by “the storm of the century” – also known as nature’s way of giving six scurvy fishermen a shower.

Unfortunately, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and crew are steaming through the Hellish storm, desperately trying to get their fish to market before it spoils so it can be cooked, breaded, and deposited in the supermarket freezer case until the next storm of the next century.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is one fine actress, but she’s beginning to look otherworldly. Her eyes are so far apart, I wondered if that’s a nose or a fault line. Too bad her role in X-Men was cut: Peripheral Vision Girl. Is it just me, or does Mary Elizabeth look like George Washington with Felicity’s hair?

“You’re steaming into a bomb,” Mary Elizabeth warns Captain George, who answers “You mean The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle?”

Cut to the Channel 9 newsroom, where our heroic TV meteorologist has just applied the final ultra-hold layer of Consort for Men when he notices a huge front of Super-Doppler special effects aimed at the New England coast. “Fetch my umbrella,” he shouts, “I’m headed to a remote in the studio parking lot! But first, get this shine off my nose! Do I have time for quick dental bleach?”

Attention must be paid to George and his crew because of the clever use of facial hair to tell this tall tale. John C. Reilly boasts a full face of the stuff. Clooney’s got almost as much as Frida Kahlo. Even Mark Wahlberg’s got some – sort of. Close investigation reveals that Mark’s peach-fuzz is actually the charred remains of a three-alarm facial brushfire. More “lip camouflage” than “beard,” rumor has it that Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio left her washcloth at home and used Mark’s face as a loofah.

And there’s the old salt of a fisherman who’s now permanently docked bar-side and anchored to a bottle of scotch. He gets all the I-look-like-Don-Imus-and-I-

talk-like-Robert-Shaw-in-Jaws lines.

The Perfect Storm should be called Twister 2000. It’s got the same blend of high-tech theatrics and numbskull melodrama. But there’s no flying heifer, unless you count Diane Lane’s mom – and she doesn’t fly, she just floats gingerly.

When Mark Wahlberg delivers cheesy lines like “there’s no goodbye, only love,” you can understand why the cover of the book tie-in features a shirtless Fabio. Enough with the faux Titanic-style emotional gravity, okay?


Tons of people are going to see this movie – every single one of them to see George’s boat, the Andrea Gail, hang ten on that epic wave. These are rad fisher-dudes! Boogie boards all around, phat-heads!

Look, I know water is the toughest thing to animate, but when Mark is treading water in one long shot, he’s obviously an animated figurine in an ocean of pixelated vectors. Look! There goes the S.S. Snow White with a crew of seven diminutive seamen, whistling while they work. These effects are so fake the bottom of the frame featured my score and an ammo level. Where’s the joystick? How do I fire? HOW DO I FIRE!?

This movie had me battered and fried. I can hear the blurb-meisters gearing up already: If anyone tells you this movie will “blow you away,” they’re suffering from gale force hyperbole.

Despite a top-notch cast and my main man, George Clooney, this sure-thing mega-hit is strictly scrod.


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