Monday, January 14, 2013

The Dark Side Of Non-Genre CInema: Overboard

The Dark Side Of Non-Genre Cinema:


Year: 1987
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Vincent Daemon

Every once in a while there is non-genre film, of a seemingly innocuous nature, with a serious dark side. That when you look past the veneer of of slapstick (or any other general convention) you find something so astonishingly horrific and of poor taste that it boggles the mind.

Take the 1987 "Romantic-Comedy" Overboard, for example. While no classic of it's genre, this film does deserve a place in the annals of "Hitchcockian Nightmare" territory for the sheer audacity of it's philosophy.

Starring the always creepy Kurt Russell (it doesn't matter, from Snake Plissken to Stuntman Mike to Cap'n fuckin' Ron, he is consistently a creep), the once sexy but now walking plastinated corpse of Goldie Hawn, endstage Roddy McDowell, and Edward Hermann (who gives a fuck, really), Overboard was loosely based upon the 1974 Italian (un)comedy Swept Away and apparently spawned the 2006 South Korean sitcom Couple Or Trouble. Good god. It astonishes me dreck like this could have such a wide and long lasting reach but, hey, it's 2013 and I'm talking about it. Fuck.

The film opens with a bitchy, spoilt rich broad (Hawn) giving the fumbling carpenter working on her yacht (Russell) a difficult time over woodgrain. She refuses to pay him and accidentally knocks he and all his tools overboard (get it) the boat he's renovating. (I worked for several years in the home remodeling biz and I can tell you this is NOT how this situation goes down).

Later that evening Hawn loses her wedding ring and, while looking for it, falls over the boat herself, conking her plastic-pretty head and getting amnesia. The next morning, as her husband Edward Hermann (like anyone cares) refuses to claim her, seeing once and for all an escape from life with this harpy.

Russell sees it all play out on the tv and evises a scheme that, in the real world, would be wholly monstrous and would get him jailed for life. Deservedly, at that.

So he goes to the hospital and claims her himself. When asked for proof it's his wife, Russell says something about a birthmark on her ass which this lecherous criminal mastermind noticed while leering at her earlier that day. You know, when he should've been installing the proper fucking woodgrain.

From here on out this rotten bastard essentially imprisons her to fix his life and to care for his unruly horde of neophyte-sociopath shitlings. She ends up falling in love with Russell, saves his ass on a job, and gets the kids to at least stop setting fire to neighborhood pets.

Eventually Edward Hermann (who cares) comes along and takes her back to his own particular form of imprisonment. After he catches her doin shots (and a possibly a series of blowbangs) with the current crew renovating their yacht, Mr' Hermann flips and claims he never loved her.

This Stockholme SYndrome addled mess of Hawn's character takes control of the yacht and drives it back to Russell, where they reunite in the nice blue waters and she goes back to her trauma-induced comfort zone of white trash motherhood in pure PTSD bliss.

Ah, the 80's.

Simply, this bizarre, twisted shit couldn't be made today. This film is not really good, and not really funny, but is kinda sick. Change a few minor details and this could be remade as a fuckin' horror masterpiece of, as previously stated, Hitchcock-inspired cinema. I'm not going to "recommend" this film per se, I refuse to be responsible for that 106 minutes you'll never get back. But it's a change, a lil something to laugh at, and lil something to occasionally drop your jaw with it's sheer political incorrectness. If this were done right, oh, it could be so much more.

Stay Sick,

Vincent Daemon

---- Vincent Daemon's short fiction has appeared in over 24 publications, and he just put his first short story collection, Bury Me In A Nameless Grave: A Collection Of 11, together to eventually be published. He is also editor of the annual Grave Demand magazine, as well as a freelance editor for hire in his down time. He can be found on facebook, and at his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind , and contacted at ----

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