MANLY MEN: Movie Reviews of The Finest Hours and Mojave by Howard Casner

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rev 1 The story of The Finest Hours, based on a true one the screen tells us, takes place in 1951, which is probably apropos since whatever else the movie is, it’s certainly good old fashion entertainment.

It’s a movie in which men have to do what men have to do and their strong independent minded women also serve by sitting and waiting. It’s a movie that if it were done in odorama or smellovision, testosterone would be the fragrance of choice. It’s a movie so Howard Hawksian, you can’t help but wonder what that great director might have achieved with state of the art CGI.

But perhaps most important than all of that is that The Finest Hours is rollicking, edge of your seat fun. Yes, it’s formulaic and predictable (you can see the tropes coming a mile, or knot, off), but here it’s so well done, with such sincerity and heart, that the familiarity just makes it more enjoyable. And if that’s not enough, it has enough chills, thrills and nail biting suspense for ten movies.

The basic premise revolves around what is considered the most daring and dangerous rescue mission in Cast Guard history. During a massive storm, a tanker is split in two. The half with the captain goes down, but the other half, which has more ballast, is still afloat…for now. While the crew on the tanker try to figure out what to do (they settle on a plan to find a shoal and run the ship aground), on shore a Coast Guard cutter is assigned to look for the tanker—what many see as a suicide mission.

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