There's been a lot of discussion lately on how women are criminally underrepresented at the box office. Men seem to have all the fun when it comes to action hero parts, superhero parts, serial killers, etc, but every now and then, there's a rush of sort of "girl power" movies that tend to be either hit or miss. Which means in the same year we got Clueless, we also got Cutthroat Island.
I had never seen it before. Like the rest of the Earth's population, I had missed it, well...much like a ship in the night. but now that almost 20 years has gone by, it still gets talked about. Mostly just about killed a studio (combined efforts with Showgirls, another "girl power" film, if you will). A quick search on Wikipedia will tell you that Geena Davis was married to the director at the time, that it cost hundreds of millions of dollars and only took in $11 million while in theaters. It will also tell you that no one wanted to be in it.
So, the prospect for adventure is very high indeed.
The plot is extremely complicated. Its a two hour plus extravaganza that seems to go on for at least a week. Morgan (Davis) has a stellar pirating legacy led by her father but is just waiting for the opportunity to prove her mettle, which she gets when she needs to find a place called Cutthroat Island (whoever named it was not thinking of the tourism industry or possible real estate development for families). There's treasure, blah blah blah and also one third of a map.
I should mention that this portion of the map she does have was originally tattooed on her father's head. He dies at the beginning so she scalps him for it and wanders around the rest of the movie carrying it around casually like its a set of keys.
I'd like to back up and just point out that the first major plot point of this film is Geena Davis scalping her father and carrying it around. Even that would warrant a squeamish look from Quentin Tarantino.
Morgan's foe is a bad pirate named Dawg. Yes, you read that right. His name is Dawg and he's played by classically trained and long respected actor Frank Langella, who also brought Skeletor to life in 1985's live action spectacle, He-Man: Masters of the Universe. If you haven't seen that, do yourself a favor, stop reading this and attend to that. He's got Map #2, which is carved on a piece of wood, proving that even he has his limits when it comes to using human skin from a loved one.
Lastly is our male romantic lead, played by Matthew Modine. I have chosen to not remember his name. His character is bland that tries really hard to have a personality. He smirks and says cutely sarcastic things, but he doesn't bring any special skills to the table. Yet, Geena Davis will fall in love with him.
For a movie that boasts a lot of money, this is the cheapest looking treasure I've ever seen.
The other highlight of this movie is the ridiculously complicated missions to get simple things. For example - Geena needs to find someone who speaks Latin. So here's the process...
But hey, they found a Latin translator. So that's all that matters.
The lesson here is that if you're looking for adventure, just hire really incompetant people - sit back and let the drama begin.
Despite all that, Geena and Co. win the day, the treasure, overall life itself and sail into the horizon willing to make all the mistakes all over again.
Not the studio though - they shut down shortly after this movie was released.
However, if you still crave more Geena Davis action, you can play her as a video game...
Anybody got a Super Nintendo and $9.95 I can borrow?
Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page. Geena Davis bland face impressions with me on Twitter