Leave The New Year's Disasters To The Poseidon Adventure
By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 27, 2011 8:00PM
Let's be honest: there is a lot that can go wrong on New Year's Eve. You can be stuck at a terrible party. You can be stuck at an amazing party, but be the designated driver. You can find yourself at a party which seems so much like previous year's party that only the festive paraphernalia marked "2012" clue you in that this is déjà vu and not Groundhog Day. So we won't second guess you at all if you decide to ring in the new year watching other people endure a New Year's Eve where everything that could go wrong literally does, which is to say watching The Poseidon Adventure at the Music Box.
You'll feel better about any snafus you may have endured in the past after seeing the grandaddy of all disaster movies, whose plot is the quintessence of the genre's undisputed master, Irwin Allen. The luxury cruise ship S.S. Poseidon is due to be decommissioned, but its greedy owners insist on one last transatlantic voyage made at speeds that endanger everyone involved. When an undersea earthquake create a tidal wave, there's not much the captain can do. There is the usual cross-section of humanity aboard the vessel fighting for survival, with Gene Hackman as an action hero slash minister undergoing crisis of faith, Ernest Borgnine as a hard-nosed cop, and Shelley Winters as a kindly grandmother at the top of the bill.
One of the biggest box office smashes of all time, Poseidon remains an epic and engrossing collection of action movie cliches and earnest suspense. Its special effects and stunts still work their magic, with much more than the patented “Irwin Allen Rock and Roll" (where the camera is tilted one way and all the actors fly the opposite direction, to simulate the pitch of a ship's bow) to make things interesting. Despite the participation of 15 Academy Award winners, contemporary viewers may have trouble getting past Leslie Nielson as the ship's captain, a role he more or less ruined for us all by spoofing it so expertly in Airplane.
Watching The Poseidon Adventure on New Year's will allow you to stay safe and dry, and offer a seat to watch a disaster from afar rather than unfolding around you at a party. Who wouldn't toast to that?