Saturday, 21 April 2018

Movie Review: The Deep (1977)

When I asked Jay why he thought I should watch The Deep (1977), he said, "There seemed to be a glut of maritime movies at the time The Deep was released. They were all very similar -- but not this one. The Deep is a proper action film. You can think of it as a predecessor to the likes of Indiana Jones."

Seemed like a pretty good reason.

I didn't know that The Deep was an adaptation of a Peter Benchley novel. Totally not surprised, though. It has that feel. The Deep came two years after Jaws but is just about as forgotten as Jaws is remembered.

Although The Deep isn't really a horror movie, there are some quite creepy moments. There's a particularly effective one at the beginning, when something grabs Gail Berke's (Jacqueline Bisset) leg and tries to drag her under a shipwreck. It gave me high hopes for the movie.

It probably shouldn't have.

Just a few minutes into the film and I was pissed off. Berke and her boyfriend, Nick Nolte's David Sanders, are both supposed to be compitent divers but (of course) Berke freaks out and has to be saved from herself. Does that sound like sarcasm? You mean because women always have to be saved from themselves by men? Gee, of course not!


This is going to be the dominant theme of this review so, if you have some kind of issue with feminist rants, you should probably go ahead and leave now.

As if to prove my point, this was about the time that Jay said, "You know, the whole movie was sold on Jacqueline Bisset in that clingy white top but this is the most you see of it."

That might be why I was kind of preoccupied by watching what they dressed Bisset in through the film. Every single outfit she wore, except one, was white. Even that one was a pale yellow. Maybe that was a coincidence... or maybe they were trying to use the white to suggest some kind of feminine purity bullshit?

Let's hope for coincidence.

I'm gonna be straight up with you here. There's a very good possibility that I didn't give The Deep a fair chance because I was already pissed off about the damsel-in-distress crap. Or, you know, the patriarchy in general. What I'm trying to say is that I know this review is totally biased and sorry, not sorry.

The reason I'm explaining this now is that I'm going to spend some time bitching about Sanders. I freaking hated his character so much. Sanders and his girlfriend, Berke, are supposed to be on holiday together when they come across this wreck (that they weren't supposed to be anywhere near, anyway.) He becomes obsessed with it, even though she repeatedly asks him to forget about it -- which is really all you need to know about his character.

Sanders says it himself, "I feel things so I do them!" Basically, he's a selfish ass who does what he wants and screw the consequences. He shows no empathy. He isn't considerate or even polite. There is absolutely nothing likeable about Nolte's character.

Part of the reason for that, I think, is the fact that there's no backstory. I'm guessing they skimped on the character development because the movie was already over two hours. (It really feels it, too.) They shouldn't have, though, because it's impossible to give a damn about whether Sanders is successful or not.

The little bit of character development that happens as the movie goes along is completely turned on its head later when Berke is attacked. (I say attacked... stripped naked -- surprise me -- and smeared with blood.) Suddenly, and without any explanation, their roles reverse. She's determined to stay and find the treasure while he's determined to take her to safety. Why? For the love of the gods, why?!

Do not change a character's behaviour without explaining it, dammit.

Oh, right. Treasure.

Okay, so here it is. You know that wreck that they found? Well, it's the wreck of a ship filled with weapons ready to go boom at any minute but holds a buttload of morphine that every crooked dude on the island wants to get their grubby mitts on. It also happens to be sitting on top of a much older wreck that's hiding massive amounts of treasure.

It's interesting that Sanders is hot for the treasure because everyone else just wants the morphine. There's an interesting social commentary there -- drugs are worth more than gold. The Deep shows how messed up our priorities can be.

Talk about priorities... Sanders almost dies at one point because his desire for the treasure is greater than his desire to breathe. It almost made me angry that he got what he wanted at the end. He was so annoying that, rather than not caring what happened to him, I actually wanted him to fail, just to knock him down a peg.

Sanders always does what he wants and GETS what he wants. How is that sending the right message?!

But I'm repeating myself. Let's look at what I did like about The Deep: Robert Shaw. I thought it was a nice touch to have Jaws's Robert Shaw in The Deep as the lighthouse keeper, Romer Treece. The crazy thing is that, even though it's two years later, Shaw looks younger in The Deep than he did in Jaws. If it hadn't been for that incredible voice of his, I might not have recognised him.

Shaw is The Deep's saving grace. He's a renegade because he just wants to do the right thing. Treece agrees to get the morphine from the wreck, to give Sanders a chance to find the real treasure, but he doesn't want to keep it for himself or allow the baddies to have it. His solution is pretty bad ass, too.


I'm going to let you in on one of my big fears. (There are a lot. I'm a wuss.) Underwater views scare the shit out of me. Seriously. I can't even handle it in video games. There's something about the murkiness, I think, that unsettles me. The Deep was good at creating underwater atmospheres that freaked me out.

Underwater, shapes are uneven and unclear. They could be anything. There are no clear lines. The filmography here is really effective because the camera moves with the current. It feels like you're there -- which isn't so great if there is scary as shit. I'm not joking, y'all. I nearly broke Jay's hand, I squeezed it so hard.

Do you have any idea how freaking scary moray eels are? Do you?! The way they move is sinister and those teeth! *shudder* Thanks for the nightmares, man.

The score to The Deep was done by the legend that was John Barry. It's so important to the film because, underwater, you've got that muffled sound. Although the silence is broken by bubbles and breathing, it would be too much without the score.

If we ignore the way Berke is constantly left behind to play the victim, the fact that they managed to get her naked three times, the fact that Sanders can't even answer a simple question like if he wants to marry his girlfriend, or the fact that the film's baddies are all black guys and voodoo is dismissed as "garbage" -- I'm asking you to overlook a lot here, I know -- The Deep isn't so bad. It's not great, but it's watchable.

Not that I'll be watching it again any time soon.

Next time... I'm not sure! Should be a surprise for us all.

Friday, 20 April 2018

National Poetry Month 2018: Blackout Poetry #20

Blackout Poetry #20



good or bad

by yourself
   with me

you'll never know me

Thursday, 19 April 2018

National Poetry Month 2018: Blackout Poetry #19

Blackout Poetry #19

exterminate my voice

a few words first

condemn the horrible things
and people

let me have my word

sheath the audience

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

20 Blog Post Ideas for National Poetry Month

We're already halfway through so maybe this is a little late but I was thinking about all the ways bloggers can get involved in National Poetry Month 2018. There are so many interesting topics related to the art of poetry and lots of ways to include your readers in the process. Here are just a few.

If you're an educator, most of these ideas also make excellent discussion topics for class!

20 Blog Post Ideas for National Poetry Month

1. types of poetry 
Did you know that there are more than 50 types of poems? Teach your readers some basics this National Poetry Month (and maybe learn something in the process!)
2. what poetry means to you
Poetry means something different to each of us. Spend some time exploring what it means to you.
3. why we read/write poetry
Why are we, as a society, enamoured with poetry? Why do you read and/or write poetry? 
4. a poem you wrote
It doesn't matter what kind of poem it is, or how long it is. Don't worry about people might say. Just get it out there!
5. a list of prompts
If you're not feeling the poetry bug yourself, why not help someone else get into it? Think up some fun, crazy, scary, or thoughtful prompts and share them with your readers. (You can find my list here.)
6. poetry exercises
Sometimes people need more than a nudge to get started. Sometimes, people need to be taken through the process of writing a poem from start to finish. Or, they might just want to hone their skills. Either way, some simple poetry exercises can come in handy.
7. your favourite poem
What is your favourite poem? Why? Help others fall in love with it, too.
8. illustrate a poem
I wish I had enough artistic ability to do this! Chose a poem that inspires you, then create an illustration (doesn't matter if it's computer generated or hand drawn) to accompany it. 
9. your favourite poet
Who is your favourite poet and why? What can you tell us about their life? Their work? 
10. a letter to a poet who inspired you
Whether that poet is alive or deceased, thank them for their inspiration. If your letter is to a living poet, why not share the link with them? Authors love to hear how their writing affects readers.
11. your least favourite poem
Hey, we're not all going to love every poem we read. There are some poems that just annoy the heck out of me. You've probably got some too, right? Don't just list them, though. Actually explain what you don't like about them. It's important to know what does and doesn't work for you.
12. your least favourite poet
Just be sure to keep it civil, okay? It's alright to say that you don't like a poet's style - it's not alright to personally attack them. 
13. your favourite type of poem
Let's go back to number one. When you were learning about the different poetic styles, did you find one that spoke to you? Do you have an example of that style? Have you tried writing one of your own? Share, share, share!
14. or one that you hate
What type of poem do you absolutely hate? Why? 
15. a poem you know by heart
When I was a child, I learned "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for school. I've never forgotten it. Is there a poem you know by heart? You could even share a video of yourself reciting it.
16. rap/song lyrics as poetry
Poetry, in its earliest form, was spoken so it's not that hard to see the connection between song lyrics and poetry - especially rap lyrics. Do you agree or disagree? Get a debate going!
17. nursery rhymes you remember from childhood
I grew up in America but worked in a school here in the UK. It's interesting how different nursery rhymes are from country to another. Which nursery rhymes do you remember from your childhood? Why do you think they've stayed with you?
18. poetry, elitism, and snobbery
I believe that many people are put off poetry because they think it's elitist. That only a certain type of person reads or writes poetry. What do you think? Do you think we can change these misconceptions? How?
19. review a poetry collection
Hopefully, you're spending this month exploring some of the brilliant poetry collections out there. Why not take a few minutes to review them? It helps authors and potential readers. 
20. links and other resources
It can be time consuming and frustrating to find what you're looking for online. Help other poets and bloggers by providing a list of handy resources for National Poetry Month. Don't forget to link back here if this list helped you!

National Poetry Month 2018: Blackout Poetry #18

Blackout Poetry #18

to kill you
to kill us
   killing ourselves

poison the blood
   no antidote

   to die

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

50 Poetry Prompts to Get You Through National Poetry Month

Poetry comes easier to some than it does others. I'm one of those people who needs a little nudge to get them started. If you are too, this should help.

Here are a few ideas to get your poetic juices flowing this National Poetry Month. They range from simple, to thoughtful, to fun and quirky. If you've got some ideas of your own to share, be sure to drop them in the comments below!

50 Poetry Prompts to Get You Through National Poetry Month

1. write a poem about each of the seasons
2. explore the seasons through the 5 senses
3. write about the life of a flower or tree
4. write a rainbow poem, where stanza is a different color
5. write about the colors as if they were people
6. write a poem about each of the 7 deadly sins
7. write a poem about a lonely monster
8. write about a monster who loves their job
9. write about a forgotten memory
10. write about a half-remembered dream
11. write about a recurring nightmare
12. write about what a nightmare fears
13. write a poem about hope
14. write a poem about fear
15. write about birth
16. write about death
17. wite about the day life and death met
18. write about a reflection that isn't yours
19. share a secret that's not a secret
20. write about a voice you remember
21. write about a voice you can't remember
22. write about a sound you wish you'd never heard
23. write about a sound you wish you could hear again
24. tell the reader about something you lost
25. tell the reader about something you found
26. write about your favourite food without saying what it is
27. write about your favourite food without using the sense of taste
28. write about sadness as if it were a person
29. write about hapiness as if it were a person
30. give the weather a voice
31. share a day in the life of a cloud
32. explain why a thunderstorm is angry
33. paint a famous picture (with words)
34. write a poem about earth
35. write a poem about air
36. write a poem about fire
37. write a poem about water
38. welcome a newcomer to earth
39. write about the inside (from the outside)
40. what does _____ (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise) taste like?
41. what sound does the sun make?
42. what song does the moon sing?
43. what do the stars dream of?
44. write about a person earning their stripes
45. write a poem about numbers
46. write about home
47. write about leaving home
48. write a poem about someone you love
49. write a poem about something you hate
50. write a poem about poetry

National Poetry Month 2018: Blackout Poetry #17

Blackout Poetry #17

really great

Canon in D started up

"They're playing our song."

my heart sank