Greg Peck: "The Revenant" and "The Finest Hours" are two very intense movies
This is the time of year, after the holidays and the Packer season and before the Oscars and spring, when my wife and I like to go to the movies and see a few of the films seeking Academy Awards.
Our first pick a week ago was “The Revanant,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I wasn't sure Cheryl would really want to see it. DiCaprio stars as a frontiersman whose fur-trading companions leave him for dead in the 1820s wilderness after a bear mauls him. He must survive his injuries and confrontations with Indians and nature. It's gripping and at times gruesome and grisly, and that's even without the realistic grizzly attack.
Though Tom Hardy was nominated for best supporting actor, this film revolves around DiCaprio. I can't imagine anyone beating him out for best actor.
Then, last Saturday afternoon, we wanted to see “Spotlight,” “The Big Short,” or “Joy.” But the first of those three had already left local theaters, if it had ever played here, and the other two were only showing at night. I quickly found an intriguing option, “The Finest Hours.”
The first time I saw a TV commercial for this movie, I knew the story immediately and knew I wanted to see it in the theater. It's based on a true story that I read about in a book with the same name. In “The Finest Hours,” authors Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman describe what's widely considered the U.S. Coast Guard's most daring rescue after a 1952 blizzard split in half not one but two oil tankers off the coast of Cape Cod.
I realized I was gripping Cheryl's hand during a movie so intense it's a wonder I didn't break her fingers.
I enjoyed the book, as well. It's one of my favorite nonfiction stories. But I liked another Tougias book even more. “Overboard!” is much easier to follow because it involves the efforts of just a handful of people to survive after a massive storm swallows their smaller boat off the East Coast. It might be my favorite nonfiction book. I wonder if it, too, will someday lead to a motion picture.
That anyone survived in either of these two storms is a testament to human strength.
Having watched “The Finest Hours” in film has inspired me to pick up another Tougias book. I have plenty of options. Tougias has written or co-authored two-dozen books about Coast Guard rescues, nature, history and travel.