I caught the last 30 minutes of “The Poseidon Adventure” this weekend. Because I am good at life.
Now, I have written some hard-hitting commentary on this, the grand dame of all disaster flicks. And I say without shame that I love it. I love “The Poseidon Adventure.” I love Gene Hackman. I love all the polyester. I love how Red Buttons puts the sweet man moves on that blonde girl and doesn’t let the rest of the group know she can’t swim.
But I had a few epiphanies on this, only my second viewing of this cinematic masterpiece:
1. For the love of all that is holy, I hope these people got some serious counseling after they were rescued. Since this was 1972, I’m guessing not. They were probably given a complementary cruise line t-shirt and sent on their way. But this entire experience (because I WILL NOT call anything that involves dying on vacation an “adventure”) just screams PTSD.
2. When the survivors are finally rescued, it’s by these dudes in a helicopter that lands on the capsized boat. Uh, wouldn’t that be super-dangerous for the helicopter and possibly cause The Poseidon to sink? Also, they get the people out of the hull of the boat and are all, “How many of you are there?” And when the folks answer, “Six,” the rescuers are just like, “Oh. OK.” And they load up the six people in the helicopter and fly away. What if there were more people the six folks just didn’t know about? I guess they’re just outta luck because the helicopter dudes have other cruise ships to land on.
3. Everybody is always talking about what a lardass Shelley Winters was. Like, per the script, they’re just fat shaming her left and right. And yet?
Shelley looks just fine, like an older lady. Well, she looks just fine until she dies of a heart attack after saving Gene Hackman’s life. It was … not the most realistic death scene. But she died a hero! A hero who wasn’t sideshow-fat-lady fat, thankyouverymuch.
Here’s not-fat Shelley doing her own stunts. Underwater.
I would also like to mention that I was at a conference this spring where Maureen McGovern sang. I did not actually meet Ms. McGovern, but I now feel like I have a special “in” with the cast of “The Poseidon Adventure.” Like, I’m pretty sure Gene Hackman will be stopping by at Christmas. As long as Christmas isn’t on a boat because OMG none of these people should ever get on a boat ever again.