Ahoy, Asheville eco-warriors! The Perfect Storm is your feel-good hit of the summer! Thrill as a rowdy gang of lumpenproletariat carnivores, hell-bent on destroying the aquatic ecosystem, get smacked around royally by Mother Nature! Seriously, that is the movie’s plot. Based on a true story (and recounted in a best-selling novel by Sebastian Junger), The Perfect Storm portrays the treacherous 1991 journey of the Gloucester, Mass., swordfishing ship, the Andrea Gail. Her trusty crew? A salty bunch of swashbuckling stereotypes. In The Perfect Storm, George Clooney plays the skipper of the swashbuckling stereotypes, the Gail’s Capt. Billy Tyne. Joined by “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, who is typecast, as usual, in the role of the “Brazen Upstart” (note to Mr. Wahlberg: In your next film, play a gay scientist), other cliches include, but are not limited to: the tough guy with the heart of gold; the tough guy with a chip on his shoulder; the ugly nerd; and the hip, Caribbean black man (a la Cool Runnings). Clooney and cohorts’ characters exist only as blue-collar ciphers, cardboard cutouts whose single purpose is to be soaked in brine. The most mysterious thing about these guys is their penchant for wearing ball caps that read “CAT” and “John Deere” (they’re fishermen, not farmers, for God’s sake). However, let’s not squabble over something so minor as continuity. You and I both know who the real star is: THE STORM! YEAH! The meteorological mothership that set the ridiculously high standard by which all other storms have since been judged. It’s true, the “perfect storm” in question is the largest of its kind ever to be recorded. This bad mother doesn’t appear until an hour into the movie, but that’s to your benefit. In the interim, you can take your time, buy some popcorn, eat a box of Junior Mints, and play a few video games with your kids. The more you miss of Clooney’s and Wahlberg’s corny eulogizing, the better off you’ll be (and, the greater will be your appreciation for The Perfect Storm). For, even though they’re computer generated, the storm’s 50-foot swells will have you screaming for your mama. A veritable one-way ticket to a town called Hydrophobia — after viewing The Perfect Storm, you’re not even gonna have the guts to take a dip in your next-door neighbor’s pool until the summer of 2003.
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