Bruce Hall Goes Overboard
By Bruce Hall
June 4, 2013
I’m not a big fan of romantic comedy, but I am a big fan of Kurt Russell. He’s the greatest human being alive and I wish he was my dad. But my deification of America’s greatest living treasure is a subject for another time. Today, it’s my intention to regale you with the delightful story of how I accidentally killed a little part of someone I care about, using nothing but the ancient art of film criticism. Just remember – I didn’t ask for these abilities. They are both a blessing and a curse.
Recently, The Missus was talking to a friend about me and mentioned that I write film reviews, and no doubt spoke of my many incredibly manly qualities. The friend asked if this meant that I was unable to “turn it off,” meaning shut down my mind and experience a film with an uncritical eye. My rapier wit compelled me to use the Fast & Furious franchise as an example of how sometimes, I have no choice but to turn my brain off and enjoy the movie. In reality, the answer is “not really.” Just as an astronomer cannot look at the sky without seeing stars, I can’t watch a movie without…also…seeing stars…or…something. I don’t know; I lost my train of thought. The point is that no, it’s never completely shut off. That’s like asking me to watch a football game without noticing what quarter it is.
Fast forward to a night not so very long ago. The Missus and I were doing dinner and a movie at home. And although I very much wanted to watch Wrath of Khan (in my mind, to bring Star Trek OUT of darkness), odds were 100% she was going to veto that suggestion. I’d been promising her for weeks that we’d watch 1987's Overboard, starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. It’s one of her favorite movies of all-time, and by that I mean “in the top five.” Seriously. This is a movie that most reasonable people, even if they legitimately enjoy it, would not put in their top 20 or 30 movies.
And it’s in her top three. I don’t say that to make fun, both because she’s going to read this and because I want to illustrate how important our watching this movie together was to her. I want you to know it now, because I didn’t get it until after the unfortunate events herein unfolded. I had never seen Overboard, but I’m game to watch almost anything and Kurt Russell is my personal hero so I said yes. I prefer my Kurt Russell movies to be ones where he’s shooting someone in the face or landing a hang glider on top of the World Trade Center, but unfortunately, Christmas is some months away.
Plus, doing this now guaranteed that Wrath of Khan would be watched later. Everything was going according to plan.
So for the sake of a good setup, let’s recap the plot of the movie. It involves a snooty heiress (Hawn) who runs afoul of a rough-around-the-edges, hard-working, single dad with a heart of gold (His Kurtness). Said heiress falls overboard (har) on a yacht trip with her uncaring husband (Edward Hermann, for those keeping score at home) and loses her memory. Russell’s character and the husband see her on television, completely losing her shit at the police station. The husband decides not to claim the shrill harpy so he can turn the yacht into a party boat and dip his wick where he wants. Russell decides to get his revenge by claiming her as his wife, and making her take care of him and his four undisciplined but adorable kids – who are also in on the scam.