Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne...And Bernie Webber

     The Brick and I have been watching our share of movies lately. 

Three that stood out were Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, starring Tom Cruise as Jack:

Jason Bourne, with the original Bourne, Matt Damon:

and The Finest Hours, with Chris Pine as Bernie Webber.

All three are action flicks: lots of tension, and seemingly insurmountable odds faced by the heroes. Bourne and Reacher have some great fights. (Well, Bourne does more than Jack.) And if you liked the previous Reacher and Bourne movies, you'll find these interesting, too.

But the clear winner?   To our surprise:

The Finest Hours! 

     This one focuses on a stormy February in 1952 in Chatham, MA -- and a Coast Guardsman, Bernie Webber, who takes three crewmen out on a seemingly impossible rescue. The Pendleton, a tanker, has broken in half in the storm. Both the bow and stern sections ground, but the 8 crewman on board the bow are dead. The stern section, on the other hand, has 33 guys hoping against hope that someone is out there looking for them.
     Not only did Webber and his crew manage to find them, in spite of being storm-tossed themselves and losing their compass -- they rescued 32 men. (The last, the ship's cook, was accidentally run over by the lifeboat while tossed by a wave.) They managed to get them safely home somehow, packed onto the small lifeboat.

Webber, the pilot, and his crew are said to have pulled off the greatest small boat rescue in the history of the Coast Guard.

USCG Petty Officer Bernard C. Webber lead the dramatic rescue of 33 sailors from the stricken freighter Pendleton -a.jpg
Bernie Webber, when he wasn't in the movies (Wikipedia)

     Chris Pine does a great turn as Bernie Webber, but it's not just him -- this Disney movie is packed with true-to-life character actors that really point out the danger of the rescue, and the risks the crew took. As Pine-as-Webber points out, the Coast Guard's job is to head out for rescues -- not necessarily come back.

We honestly had not heard about this 2016 movie, but it puts both Reacher and Bourne way back in the rear view movie mirror. Neither are too bad -- but Tom Cruise seems a bit tired. (Though he still fights great.)  And Matt Damon does a yeoman's job at making an exhausted and confused Jason Bourne still interesting.

But really -- don't bother.  Rent The Finest Hours, instead. If you want to learn more, here's a documentary on the rescue:

All I can say is:  You The Man (or Woman), Coast Guard!

Honesty note:  The Brick and I got free tickets to Jack Reacher via Gofobo.  If you haven't heard of this company, you should try it -- they hope for reviews, but really don't require anything of you, other than showing up. Available tickets go quickly; if you get an e-mail notice, reply to it as soon as possible.

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