February 26, 2014

Captain Phillips (2013)

Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi



Show me a movie lover who doesn't love Tom Hanks. Seriously. Sometimes it feels like the man can do anything. Lose 55 pounds and play a gay man? Check. (side note: reading this description makes Matthew McConaughey's role seem slightly less impressive now. Whoops.) Grow a gnarly beard and befriend a volleyball? Check. Pretend to be a small child trapped in a man's body? Check. Play a disgusting, washed up excuse of a man we all expect baseball players end up to be in real life? Check. Confidently sport one of the most mocked hairstyles in cinema history while somehow maintaining respect for the movie itself? Check.
It doesn't get any more
American than this.

But this is Snarky Movie Reviews, people. And here, no one is safe. Not even Tom Hanks, everyone's favorite American actor. (er, I don't really know if he's everyone's favorite, but he seems like a really All-American choice.) Because for every Big there is a Cloud Atlas. And not even Tom Hanks could save Cloud Atlas, my friends.

So what's my gripe about Tom in this movie? His accent, of course! (In my next life, I'll come back as a dialect coach.) Granted, I don't personally know anyone from Vermont, but they can't possibly speak like that. It was distractingly bad. Like, his hair in The DaVinci Code bad. Freddie Prinze Jr.'s accent in Summer Catch bad. (Ok, maybe that was too low. I mean, Tom Hanks is a two-time Oscar winner - I shouldn't compare him to Freddie Prinze Jr..)

Tom's accent aside, the selling point of this movie is the fact that it's "based on true story." Now, my not knowing the real story of Captain Phillips can make it difficult to know exactly what is factual and what is "artistic enhancement" for the movie rendering. Except in this movie. Some of the plot points were so outrageous I was certain they had to be Hollywood's doing because no one could be that stupid. And yet, I kept hearing that tiny voice in the back of my head squeaking, 'based on a true story! Maybe it really happened!' I hate that voice.

So of course I googled it the second the movie ended and sure enough, all the moments of the movie that I hated were completely fabricated and never happened, so Hollywood ruined a perfectly good story just to try and make it more dramatic. I guess that's what happens when you market a movie as "from the director of The Bourne Ultimatum." You a get a movie that tries to be like The Bourne Ultimatum, even if that's not how it really how the story went down.

BTW, if you think my last post reminded me of home, I couldn't watch this movie without a big shout out to my home state of Minnesota (aka New Somalia)! Personally, I think Barkhad Abdi did a better job in his big screen debut than Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. (I'm not just saying that because they're both black, in case that's what you thought. That's just the first person who came to mind who won an Oscar for their first movie.) It remains to be seen whether or not that will earn him an Oscar, but I thought he was pretty impressive for someone who was a working as a chauffeur when he got his big break. (An actual chauffeur - not like people in LA who claim to be actors, but actually spend the majority of their time and earn all their money at jobs like, well, chauffeuring.)

Final word: Like a March Madness underdog, it's a strong first half player who fades down the stretch.

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