Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, September 17, 2018

My Series-ous Reading gets a taste of the Bard from Meet Your Baker

It's no secret that I've developed a taste for foodie themed mysteries of late and one of the advantages of resetting my Series-ous Reading schedule was adding the first book in Ellie Alexander's Bakeshop Mystery titles,Meet Your Baker.

Yes, that is meant as in "meet your maker" and the series does have a suitable dramatic flair to it,along with a nice note of whimsy as well. The culinary heroine of our story is Juliet Montague Capshaw,known as Jules, who returns to her home town of Ashland, which is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The whole town is centered around the live productions that keep the tourists coming,with businesses having names like A Rose By Any Other Name,Puck's Pub and The Merry Widow. While Jules is happy to help her widowed mother out at their family owned bakery called Torte, she can't help noticing the tension caused by a new arrival in Ashland.

Nancy Hudson has paid her way to a prominent place on the OSF board and quick to make plenty of enemies with her obnoxious attitude and less than subtle insults. On first encountering Nancy, Jules is happy not to have to host the Midnight Club gathering at Torte later that evening as no doubt the feuds going on between theatrical director Lance and established diva Caroline with Nancy will continue there:


When Jules go in to open up the bakery the next morning, she can't avoid Nancy at all, due to the fact that she's lying dead on the kitchen floor among a batch of broken jars of raspberry jam.

Even with knowing one of the officers on the case,who happens to be her high school sweetheart Timothy, Jules is uneasy about who might be unjustly accused of the crime and winds up getting involved in the investigation.

The suspect list is rather long but Jules does learn a few things that can aid Timothy, who is hoping for a promotion as well as impressing the lead detective known as the Professor,due to his love of quoting Shakespeare on a regular basis:


Before long, Jules uncovers a number of secrets and lies that not only shed light on the murder but stirs up some new troubles for her friends and neighbors,one of whom may be out to do her in to boot.

Ellie Alexander does capture the tone of small town life nicely without getting too cutesy and gives her leading lady a good amount of character development that feels just right. Juliet is a baker in her own right and her return home is also a separation from her chef husband Carlos, who was keeping a major secret from her that will surely break up their marriage.

Jules is also dealing with her mother's business troubles(she's in debt and could lose the bake shop to a local creep) on top of that as well as the murder yet her best stress relief is cooking. I love that amid all of the swirling chaos around, she takes the time to show one of Torte's employees the fine art of appreciating figs and making a sweetly savory dish out of them. It's true culinary comfort which makes the overall story so inviting and delicious:


All in all, I did enjoy this first outing with Juliet Capshaw and company and plan on making a few more. For one, I can't resist the gorgeously punny titles in this series such as A Batter of Life and Death, On Thin Icing, Fudge and Jury, A Crime of Passion Fruit and Caught Bread Handed(that last one I think I like the best!).

 I also want to find out if Jules really does leave Carlos and hooks up with Timothy, not to mention her mom has a budding romance with the Professor as well! Love, cake and murder, not a bad combo here,story wise.

At the moment, my next Series-ous Reading selection is Joanne Fluke's Blueberry Muffin Murder, which is set in the dead of winter and such a relief from the late summer weather in my neck of the woods. However, I do want to head back to Ashland soon because it very hard to resist the Bard:


Friday, September 14, 2018

Falling for historical fiction this season

There's just something about autumn that feels like the right time to read historical fiction. Maybe it's the crisp weather that brings colorful leaves or those cool evenings which invite sweater wearing and warm drinks to curl up on the couch with.

On my TBR pile at the moment, there are about three books that fit the bill nicely in this category(one of which I've started already). Perhaps one of them could suit your literary needs this season as well:

THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER: In Kate Morton's upcoming novel, the title character is a benevolent spirit that watches over Edward, an artist of the Victorian era at his beloved Birchwood Manor.

During the summer of 1862, Edward and his friends plan to spend a happy time together at Birchwood but two tragic events occur that change things for the worse. One of those is the death of a female guest , the other is the loss of a valuable heirloom, both of which ruin Edward's future.

Years later, Elodie,a young archivist, becomes intrigued with the mysteries of that particular summer and her search for the truth leads her to Birchwood, where the answers she seeks may come from sources most unexpected. Morton does have a flair for placing her characters in quite engaging  settings that in and of themselves evoke mysterious wonder and this new book promises to be just as elaborately crafted as her previous literary gifts to readers have been:



UNSHELTERED: Author Barbara Kingsolver has a pair of leading fictional folk with a foot in different centuries in this story of the past and present of a grand house known as Vineland.

The current owner is Willa Knox, whose family finances are nearly in as bad shape as the home that her husband Iano just inherited. With both of their collegiate jobs gone and a new baby to provide for, getting a grant to repair Vineland is crucial to their rapidly growing troubles.

While researching the history of the house, Willa discovers the tale of a prior resident from the 1870s,  science teacher Thatcher Greenwood ,whose relationship with naturalist Mary Treat was rather controversial in more ways than one.

Mary was a correspondent of Charles Darwin and both she and Thatcher were eager to spread the word about Darwin's new theories of evolution. However, Thatcher's teaching position,not to mention his marriage, is put on the line for this friendship of ideals.  Can Willa use this story to save Vineland and at what expense will Thatcher's dilemma be the saving of his own future and Willa's as well?

Kingsolver's compare and contrast is not merely a storytelling set-up; she places these characters side by side in order to give a true reflection of what it means to deal with changing times in the here and now.

THE ESSEX SERPENT: I've started this much praised novel by Sarah Perry already and so far, it's a lushly written exploration of mystery and power. Young widow Cora Seaborne decides to leave the social oppression of London life and seek her intellectual freedom on the shores of Essex, where her interest in natural science can best be engaged in.

Upon her arrival, tales of a legendary creature returning to the area emerge due to the mysterious death of a young man on New Year's Eve. Cora is intrigued and eager to awaken her dormant skills in order to find the beast but is discouraged by Will Ransome, the local vicar who believes that the talk of the so-called serpent is a sign of moral failing rather than an actual monster in residence.

While Cora and Will both agree to seek the truth of the matter, their search may threaten the peace and welfare of many others, including Cora's emotionally fragile son Francis. However, their passionate feelings about this quest as well as their own hearts leads them down a path from which turning back is no longer an option. I'm taking my time with this book in order to savor it's simmering goodness all the more, plus the pleasure in getting to know Cora, truly a woman well ahead of her time:


Even though it will be some time before the true fall season kicks in, there are plenty of good books around to help make it so. It also helps that some great historical fiction is available on the small screen as well, with the recent adaptation of The Miniaturist on Masterpiece and another season of Poldark(the next to last one, alas!) plus, we'll soon be getting a fresh season of Outlander, set in America this time out.

Historical fiction has it's limits but when done right,it truly brings the past to life for all to enjoy and learn from, two great things that are actually great together:




Monday, September 10, 2018

Setting up your cinematic reading list for the fall at the Movie Trailer Park

Autumn is a big time for movies, as many of them are stepping out into theaters in hopes of claiming some future Oscar glory.

As it so happens, plenty of those contenders are based on books, giving film fans the perfect excuse to hit the bookstore/library on the way to their nearest multiplex.

I'm going to highlight an interesting quartet of films in that category here, starting with Mary,Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan in the title role with Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I.

Based on the John Guy biography, this story covers the growing rivalry between the two sisterly sovereigns with things getting tricky as Mary finds herself with child. Given that Elizabeth is not about to have any children anytime soon, Mary knows full well that her offspring could be the rightful heir to the British empire and willing to declare war in order to maintain that destiny for her descendants.

The movie certainly looks promising and yes, there is a meeting between the leading ladies that didn't happen in real life but given the towering talents of these two actresses, the temptation to bring them together at least once is clearly too hard to resist:


In a more female friendly fashion, we have a new version of Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women, set in modern times. Lea Thompson plays Marmee to her lively set of daughters who are figuring out their future roles in life and love.

Having Little Women be set in the present is not a bad idea; there was a brief YouTube series that did so very well(it stopped at a certain point and a sad one at that).

It also helps that this isn't a big celebrity driven cast which may allow for new audiences to get more invested into the main characters and their particular dilemmas all the more better.

The big selling point for this adaptation is that it's the 150th anniversary of the book and if that gets more people to read or reread that iconic novel, it's good enough for me!:


Speaking of modern times, the acclaimed YA novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give, is about to arrive in theaters very soon. Amanda Stenberg plays Starr Carter, who finds herself switching from one personality to another as she goes from her working class neighborhood to the exclusive prep school that she attends.

Those worlds collide harshly as Starr witnesses the death of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a white police officer. Racial tensions increase within both halves of the community and Starr is forced to choose between what's the right thing to do and what is considered the right thing to do by certain people.

To say that this story is timely is a major understatement and this adaptation ought to pave the way for more conversations about the obvious prejudices all around us that affect more than one generation. At the very least, this book and film should be seen as a step forward in the right direction for us all:




Finally, if you're in the mood for a new twist on an old genre, The Sisters Brothers should provide that in plenitude.

Based upon the novel by Patrick DeWitt, the story is set during the California Gold Rush where top hitmen brothers Eli and Charlie Sisters(John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) are hired to take down a prospector who has ripped off the Commodore(Rutger Hauer).

The job turns out to be not so simple for the sinister siblings and while an opportunity is open for them to gain a fortune, the price for that risk is higher than they expected. This story is a mix of dark humor and family drama, bringing some fresh spice to this familiar brand of popcorn delight:



 These book-to-screen tales should be enjoyable in either form and whether or not you read the book before or after the movie is up to you. Debates still rage on about how well any adaptation does by the source material but by now, we ought to realize that with such pop culture developments, what we're really getting is two stories for the price of one.  That's quite a bargain, if you ask me:




Thursday, September 06, 2018

Caught up with Poldark's Warleggan on my Series-ous Reading 2.0 summer adventure

As some of you may know, I did a reset for my Series-ous Reading series and that lead to me spending Labor Day weekend with Winston Graham's Warleggan, the fourth book in his acclaimed Poldark set of novels.

Being a fan of the current BBC adaptation(which also airs on PBS and the fourth season is due by the end of this September), reading these books provides a bit of a refresher course to the show, which takes two of the novels at a time for one season.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't get anything new out of the books. In fact, it allows me to develop different insights into certain characters and why I feel about them the way I do. To explain that best, I'm highlighting three of the major female characters in this particular book to show cause about how I view them the way I do:

ELIZABETH: Her whole life is directly affected here, due to the death of her husband Francis, and I honestly don't blame her for marrying Warleggan.

Yes, he's a terrible person and complete enemy of Ross yet even she can't deny that George is a good prospect. For one thing, Elizabeth has no interest in running the estate or dealing with all of the responsibilities that go with it and George is more than willing to handle that.

Also,her mother becomes seriously ill and the additional work that caring for both of her parents(as well as her son and Aunt Agatha) demands is a lot for anyone to deal with even if that person wished to or was financially able to do so in the first place. Elizabeth is low on funds as well as inclination and in that light, George's proposal is a welcome relief.

When Ross confronts her about marrying Warleggan(in a night time visit that's as controversial as that night Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara had at one point in Gone With The Wind), she does make a good point about being expected to be a lonely widow for years on end.

In a weird way, she and George had something in common-a major fixation with Ross Poldark. While their reasons are very different for that, neither one of them can just get over what past they had with him and go on with their lives. Elizabeth does have one advantage over Warleggan, the fact that he does truly love her(in his own way) and is willing to be her fool in that regard . That's going to help her out as a certain family event is waiting in the wings that promises to be a game changer for them both:


CAROLINE: Since she does take up a good deal of time in the book, I have to talk about her but my first instinct for dislike is somewhat similar to Emma Woodhouse's recoil from Jane Fairfax, although I have far better reason than Miss Woodhouse does for such feelings.

While Caroline is occasionally generous, as when she anonymously helps Ross get out of debt with the Warleggans, she is too concerned with her own needs before anyone else's, especially when it comes to Dwight Enys.

She easily rationalizes eloping with Enys, despite his own reluctance in the interest of propriety, and then when he is unable to meet up with her on that fateful night first due to a medical call and then to save Ross and company from an ambush, Caroline flatly refuses to try again. Why?

Well, she tells Ross some time later than it bothered her that Dwight was willing to put someone else before her, even after Dwight fully explained what had happened. Caroline, the man is a doctor and there are times when his calling demands his complete focus-must you be so in need of constant attention there? Also, he risked quite a bit to help Ross in a moment of crisis and isn't that very quality one of the reasons that you like Dwight to begin with?

 As the book ends, Dwight and Caroline are about to give their relationship another chance and I suppose I wish them well but can't help wishing that Caroline was in a different series altogether:


DEMELZA: I have said this before and I'll say it again-Demelza is too damn good for Ross.

While she is willing to proclaim her trust in his fidelity, Demelza is well aware of what is about to happen when Ross learns of Elizabeth's agreeing to marry Warleggan and his determination to walk out their door forcefully that night is a true slap in the face.

Her anger is extremely justified and while in the book she doesn't punch him out as that particular scene in Season Two showed(she does sort of flip a table instead), Demelza firmly holds on to her fury there. Sadly, it's mixed with some insecurity due to her social status but I do like how it takes Demelza a good long while before she even considers forgiving him(and not completely at that!).

I know that some might blame her for exploring the possibility of revenge sex(which she doesn't go through with) but not me. Demelza has never been in any other relationship besides being with Ross and seeing how other men admire her is quite the novelty. Lesser folk have had their heads turned by such attention.

 On top of that, when Demelza and Ross share their stories on this subject, Ross thinks that it's worse for her to have a brief encounter with another man than for him to be with Elizabeth since he actually has feelings for Elizabeth! Uh,Ross-let me tell you something there-THAT ONLY MAKES IT WORSE, especially for your wife!!!

They do move past it somewhat, but the one change from the book on the current series is a vast improvement on the source material. I only wish the literary Demelza was given that moment to knock her ungrateful husband down for the count as well:


 Granted, most of my initial feelings about these fictional females are pretty much confirmed with this reading yet I do feel a bit more understanding about Elizabeth at least(and more firmly Team Demelza there!).

However, I am properly prepared for the new season of Poldark and will probably end my Series-ous Reading with the next book in the series, The Black Moon. I should get the next couple of books after that but not until season four is done with in order to be surprised by what's to come.

In the meanwhile, my latest Series-ous Reading title is the first in a foodie mystery series by Ellie Alexander. Meet Your Baker has it's heroine Juliet Capshaw involved in a mix of murder,Shakespeare and baking that ought to be a tasty treat to enjoy the upcoming flavors of fall with:


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Setting up your literary school supplies for September/October

With Labor Day weekend fast on our heels, some serious back to school shopping is under way and for those of us who have no immediate need for entering this scholastic fray, making up our TBR piles for the fall is the next best thing.

September and October do offer quite a bit of reading goodness to choose from but hopefully this little list of recommendations will outfit you with a smart set of fictional fare to showcase among your fellow students of literary lore:

HISTORICAL FICTION TEXTS:

 In Imogen Hermes Gowar's debut novel,The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, a merchant in Georgian England learns to make do with what he's got. Jonah Hancock has been carrying on the family business of  trade and doing rather well  in his own cautious way.

However, when one of his trading ship captains sells off all of the valuable cargo onboard for what is believed to be a mermaid, Jonah fears that his fortunes will not be around for the next generation. This turn of events forces him to team up with the most unlikely of allies; Mrs. Chappell, the owner of a well known for catering to the upper classes brothel.

As Mrs. Chappell is able to use her establishment to display Hancock's mermaid, he finds himself indebted to her in more ways than one. One of those ways has Angelica Neal crossing his path. Angelica's courtesan charms are not enough to pay her debts and so, a husband is needed with Jonah being convinced to take that role, leading to even more unexpected consequences.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock was up for the Women's Prize for Fiction when it first arrived in the U.K. and will no doubt make quite the splash over here. Such a savvy look at people of the past deserves a good look by readers in the present to see just how an age old wonder can inspire the best and worst in us all(Sept):


When Carlos Ruiz Zafron's epic The Shadow of the Wind first arrived on the scene, readers were intrigued and enchanted by his cast of characters who found themselves connected by the fabled Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

Three books later, the fourth and possibly final chapter has been written. The Labyrinth of The Spirits follows what may be the last case for investigator Alicia Gris to solve for the city of Madrid, the disappearance of Spain's Minister of Culture.

Teamed up with patrolman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia realizes that a vital clue to this mystery is a rare book hidden in the minister's home. This discovery leads to several imprisoned writers and also to renowned book seller Juan Sempere, who knew Alicia's parents very well. As she goes further in her inquiries, Alicia discovers a series of deaths meant to cover up a dreadful deception, one that could shake the foundations of a country
still recovering from a civil war.

Zafron's elegant prose and immersive characters weave a wonderful spell of a story, one that you hope never truly ends, despite this being supposedly the last-we shall see(Sept).

SOCIAL STUDIES OF A SORT


Author Patti Callahan explores the life and times of a female poet whose name is best known by the man she married for the second and last time. Becoming Mrs. Lewis introduces us to Joy Davidson when she is still living in America in an unhappy marriage.

Reconsidering her faith, she begins a correspondence with Oxford professor and writer C.S. Lewis, a friendship that grows with each letter between them. Joy eventually goes to England but her romance with Lewis doesn't truly start until she gets divorced and finds her own inner peace as well as artistic voice.

This trend of novels about women kept on the literary sidelines(such as The Paris Wife) that takes them into the spotlight they deserve is a good one and Callahan's contribution to this engaging genre promises to be entertaining and enlightening indeed(Oct):





The leading lady of Kitty Zeldis' Not Our Kind is sadly gotten too used to prejudice in a post WWII New York. Eleanor Moskowitz is on her way to yet another interview for a teaching position when an accident puts her in the path of Patricia Bellamy.

As luck would have it, Patricia is in need of a tutor for her ailing daughter Margaux and despite worrying about what her husband might think, she hires Eleanor, who turns out to be perfect for the job.

Patricia and Eleanor do form a friendship that isn't too held back by their social circles but worlds collide when Eleanor becomes romantically involved with Tom, Patricia's brother who prefers to ignore the restrictions that society places on him. Can these two women find their own way in life and yet still be friends?

Zeldis focuses on the Upstairs,Downstairs structure of New York society in the late 1940s with an eagle eye yet highlights the similar struggles of women expected to live up to whatever standards their little corner of the world has in store for them. A sharp look at love and friendship that hopefully uplifts both of it's heroines(Sept).

SPENDING RECESS WITH THE YA CROWD 


 If you can't get to Broadway, Broadway must come to you,preferably in book form. The creators of the award winning musical Dear Evan Hansen have combined their talents with author Val Emmich to write a YA adaptation for fans and newcomers alike to embrace.

Evan Hansen never meant his lie about knowing recently deceased Connor Murphy to go so far out of hand. However, his new found popularity and the emotional void that he's filling for the Murphy family makes it hard to confess the truth.

While the sudden attention grows bigger and goes viral, Evan has to ultimately decide when and to whom he reveals the real story to before that decision is taken out of his hands. This book should be as touching and engaging as the stage version with the added bonus of a soundtrack already waiting in the wings(Oct):



Author Syrie James and her son Ryan have created a new YA fantasy series, with the second entry Embolden ready to follow up where the first book,Forbidden, left off.

Claire Brennan has learned of her unearthly origins and with her guardian boyfriend Alec by her side, she hopes to be as normal a teenager as she can. However, that is easier said than done.

Between school rivalries, foes from their past and Claire developing a new power that's hard to control, this love match may not be made in heaven there. Hopefully, a little love can make things right but their relationship is a strange twist of fate to begin with.

I've read Syrie James' Jane Austen themed novels and her vampire fiction(Dracula, My Love) so I have no doubt that these books are engaging fun. Nice to see her working with her son as talent does run in the blood and collaborations of the creative kind are rewarding for writers and readers alike(Oct).

Well, I hope that last blast of summer lets you enjoy some vacation goodness and that your back to school shopping is less stressful with the promise of new reads. See you all in September!:

 


 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Getting ready for Labor Day weekend with a Library Haul

The end of summer is drawing near and so was the time for me to return my last batch of books to the library. I brought back three and took out another three, something that I wasn't planning to do.

However, I did want to have something good to read during the upcoming Labor Day weekend, that last blast of summer,as well as a book that might set the tone for my fall reading. Oddly enough, two of the three books that I borrowed have the word "beach" in their titles.

First up is Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan,which was on many Best of the Year lists in 2017 and recently was chosen to be the official "One Book,One New York" read. The story starts off in 1934, as twelve year old Anna goes on a business outing with her father Eddie to a remote house that sets the course of both their fates.

We met Anna again when she is nineteen and working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard to support her mother and disabled sister Lydia, due to Eddie having disappeared from their lives five years ago. She also catches the eye of Dexter Styles, a nightclub owner with mob connections, who knows what really happened to Eddie but doesn't recognize her as that little girl he met at his beach side house so long ago.

Anna and Dexter do have a brief romance but the secrets and lies of the past catch up with them in ways that no one ever expected. I've heard a lot of good things about Egan's writing and while she is known more for her innovative short stories than straightforward fiction(this is her first novel, so to speak), I did want to give this a try. I'm on page 15 at the moment and already have a great sense of wonderful things yet to come as the pages fly by:



The next book I chose is by an author more familiar to me; Beatriz Williams and one of her latest historical fiction outings,Cocoa Beach. Most of the action is set in Florida of 1922 as newly widowed Virginia Fortescue goes over the tragedies of her life.

From witnessing the death of her mother at age 8 at the hands of her own father to first meeting her future husband Simon while being an ambulance driver on the battlefield of WWI, Virginia is no stranger to risk.

Yet there is uncertainty around Simon's demise in a fire and his seemingly more sincere twin brother Samuel is rather persistently in her orbit with an agenda of his own. While Virginia is somewhat willing to heed the warning of Revenue Agent Marshall about the dangers in her path, she has plans of her own to deal with what lies ahead.

It's been some time since I have read Williams' books and this novel looks like a good one to get back into the swing of her story telling ways. Sometimes, it's good to wait a bit and have a sweet stack of
savvy reads from a top notch writer to enjoy.


The final selection was My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. The leading lady of this modern day tale is Katie," Cat", Brenner, whose London life looks amazing on social media but is not that grand in the real world.

While dealing with troublesome roommates and scrimping to be able to afford just getting to work, Katie's tentative grip at achieving her dreams is soundly trashed by an abrupt firing from her demanding boss Demeter.

Katie winds up going back to living in Somerset with her father and stepmother, trying to help them start up a glamping(glamorous camping) business. She manages to do well there but when one of the new clients is Demeter, the urge for a little payback is getting hard to resist.

As a fan of Kinsella's Shopaholic series, I have also liked some of her stand alone stories and this humor with heart look at the difference between illusion and reality feels like the perfect late summer treat:


Well, I think that this is a pretty good literary line-up for the end of summer and the beginning of fall, about as good as the new season of Masterpiece set to air soon.  So thankful for having a library nearby to offer such reading options,especially for a long holiday weekend there. Good TV, good reads and some snacks in the shade ought to make for a nice seasonal celebration indeed:



Friday, August 24, 2018

Bad Movie Month goes Beyond the Poseidon Adventure

Welcome back for the last installment of Bad Movie Month's take on English actors in this year's "Badly Done,Brits!" series. Michael Caine is the final fellow to take a bow as we go Beyond the Poseidon Adventure with him.

This 1979 sequel to the 1972 hit movie from Irwin Allen(the Michael Bay of his day) holds the distinction of not earning any Oscar nominations, unlike many of the big budget disaster flicks that Allen churned out during that decade. Perhaps by that point, the levels of overacting from such a Love Boat type cast had become toxic to movie goers.

Caine is front and center here as down on his luck tugboat captain Mike Turner,who is quick to salvage the overturned Poseidon in order to keep his ship from being repossessed. Accompanying him is loyal second mate Wilbur(Karl Malden) and plucky passenger Celeste(Sally Field, who was at the peak of the "feisty female sidekick"  stage in her career).


Caine and Field are meant to be future love interests because of course, they don't get along in the beginning due to his dislike for her coffee making skills,at which point in the squabbling she should have told him to make it himself!

One of the turning points in their relationship is when he starts calling her "Monkey"(after a spider monkey that Wilbur use to own) as an insult but eventually it becomes a term of endearment. However, that nickname only reminded me of Dwight and Angela on The Office.

 Before they get any further in that direction, sinister Dr. Stefan Svevo(Telly Savalas, who looks like a nautical Lex Luthor here) arrives with his crew to supposedly give aid to any survivors. Both groups agree to temporarily team up but you just know that this alliance is not going to last  beyond the next twenty minutes at best.

After managing to get into the ship,which keeps exploding every ten minutes or so, they run into a few trapped folk such as nurse Gina(Shirley Knight), distraught dad Frank(Peter Boyle) in search of his missing daughter,who shows up in the company of elevator operator Larry(Mark Harmon) and alleged millionaire Tex (Slim Pickens).

 It's not hard to figure out how things will turn out as just from the opening credits, you get that huge whiff of soap opera style story telling that is about to commence:


Most of this movie follows the usual pattern of a disaster film: Tragic Death Moments, Characters Who Are Not Whom He/She Claims to Be, Sudden Romance,Pointless Fighting to be Forgiven Later After Near Death/Sudden Death Experience and Instant Back Story Moments.

Caine does his best with his "I don't want to make friends yet I can't help being a hero" character but as it turns out, Sally Field is way more annoying than him. Her character Celeste is supposed to be this quirky go-getter who happens to know just about anything that another person mentions like fine wine, college level sports and world travel.

 Yet Celeste constantly dithers around when it comes to jump across gaps(holding up a whole bunch of others in the process) and whines about a slight injury when Frank get shot during the first fire fight(more about that in a moment). One particularly annoying scene has her follow Mike down a passageway to look for escape only to take a much needed "crying moment" and complain that "This has been a bad day for me!"

A bad day for you? You willingly went aboard a sinking ship to "salvage" some loot while the folks around you are looking for their loved ones and praying to get out alive. Not to mention all of a sudden, you need to whimper about not being married and having a high IQ yet being an underachiever(I would not have blamed Mike for leaving her on the ship right then and there). Yeah, your day is much worse than anyone else's, oh right!:


This isn't really a movie you can get mad at,however. Things just get so ridiculous that you have to just go along with it.

 Svevo and his henchmen run into Mike and company later on in the story as the real reason for this soggy super villain to climb aboard this sinking vessel is revealed-he's out to steal a stash of weapons and a barrel of plutonium. Yep, every commercial cruise ship comes with just such lethal items in their cargo hold, ready for bad guys to swipe them at their convenience!

This leads to a shoot-out in the ship, where Frank bonds with his daughter's would-be suitor before his Tragic Death Moment, and then later outside the ship, where in open waters a-swimming-with- a-wine-bottle-in-hand Slim Pickens takes one for the team and shouts to Sally Field "This one is for you, little lady!" Don't worry, the bad guys get what's coming to them before the closing credits roll:



Interesting enough, Irwin Allen was planning another Poseidon sequel after this that involved survivors of the ship being trapped in a train tunnel. That project never went through but it later became the basis for a Sly Stallone movie, Daylight-just goes to show that even the most worn out ideas can find new life especially in Hollywood.

Well, that is it for Bad Movie Month this year and I thank you all for checking this cinematic schlock fest out. Not sure what the theme will be for 2019 but chances are, it'll be closer to home. Maybe Disney movies or action movies or even Disney action movies! The way those live action remakes of classic Disney animated features are going, I would not be surprised to see this SNL parody come to vivid life in a theater near you some day: