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Viewer’s Collection – Week 4 (FINAL WEEK) of Ricky’s Picks: “Crimson Tide” (1995) [JUNE WINNER ANNOUNCED]

April 25, 2012

I’ve been excited to review Ricky Coker’s final pick in the Viewer’s Collection Month of April. After reviewing visual effects extravaganza (“Twister”), an early Cusack/Thornton pairing (“Pushing Tin”), to a film by the creators of “Top Gun” trying to strike lighting in a bottle twice (“Days of Thunder”), we’ve made it to the final hour…my boy Denzel in “Crimson Tide”!

I freaking love Denzel Washington, he makes good movies amazing (“Remember the Titans”) and he makes bad movies watchable (“The Book of Eli”), the man can do no wrong. Back in 1995 he teamed with Tony Scott for the first time, an actor/director pairing that will live on in future films, along side for the ride is the legend himself, Mr. Gene Hackman. Interesting factoid about this submarine thriller, screenwriters Quentin Tarantino & Robert Towne contributed to the screenplay, receiving no credits. No wonder the dialogue is so fucking snappy. Sort of in the vein of what Tony Scott was  trying to do in “Days of Thunder”, two leaders with different philosophies about battle and leadership wage war with each other creating high tension no one sees coming.

Capt. Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) is the commanding officer of a nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Alabama. Ramsey is a distinguished veteran near the end of his career, and he leads his men with an iron hand. Ramsey is assigned a new second-in-command, Lt. Commander. Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington); Hunter is much younger than Ramsey, Harvard educated, and believes the goal of the military in the nuclear age is to prevent war, not fight it. While at sea, word reaches the Alabama that a splinter group of Russian forces have seized missile silos, and the ship is put on red alert. The Alabama has orders to fire, but as it is receiving a new incoming order the radio malfunctions. It’s Ramsey’s contention that an order is an order and they are to move forward with the attack, while Hunter feels if there is any question at all about their mission, they should wait until they can receive further instruction, with Hunter going so far as to threaten mutiny against Ramsey if the missile strike is carried out.

You’ve got two classy, powerhouse actors, dedicated to their craft, one whose been doing this longer than the other, and certainly has his own style. That kind of casting and human mentality plays to the films favor in telling a gripping story and giving the audience the suspension of disbelief.  I must say, this movie sort of reminds me of the 80s cult classic, “War Games”, the tension is palpable and ongoing from start to finish; the viewer begins to have a mental guessing game. Tony Scott’s finest hour, I think, comes in the form of “Crimson Tide”, for me it has everything you could ever desire from an action thriller and a few other things you usually can’t hope to expect. It’s a rarity these days that action movies can surprise, especially classic ones we’ve seen before. I’ve seen “Crimson Tide” before, hell I’ve got it on Bluray, best format for a movie like this, and still to this day I find myself on the edge of my seat, or bed, depending which room I’m watching this in. 



Job well done Ricky, you’ve saved the best for last and you’ve made a movie geek like me very proud. As for the next Viewer’s Collection, the next installment will kick off in June, during the height of the summer movie season. Starting June 6th I’ll be reviewing four films handpicked by a reader of my blog site. I had 10 entries for the month of June they were all terrific picks, but alas, only one could be picked, so I did a hat drawing and the winner for the month of June is Mr. Jake Kaufman of Lamoni, IWOA. The following are his picks:

  • “Enter the Void” – June 6th
  • “Taxi Driver” – June 13th
  • “A Prophet” – June 20th
  • “The Man With No Name Trilogy” – June 27th

The last entry will be a marathon review since it’s three films. I was skeptical to write that pick off and make choose something else, but the more I thought of it, Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western trilogy feels like one long movie, one long, grand, epic movie. So it’ll be something extremely cool to review.

I’m already accepting entries for the month of August, the entry cut off date will be on June 26th, and the winner will be announced on the 27th. Email me your picks to OR

Have a great summer people, should be the best one in years!

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