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The Finest Hours: A Fantastic Old School Film That Does the True Story Justice

January 27, 2016

The Finest Hours movie poster


The Finest Hours is an old school rescue film that is unpretentious, earnest and a lot of fun. The film is set in 1952 and tells the story of a massive oil tanker named the SS Pendleton that broke in half off the coast of Massachusetts. A nor-easter ripped the boat  apart and left 30 men stranded aboard the ship. In any other circumstance they would’ve certainly perished but between the men aboard the Pendleton and four brave rescuers in a tiny Coast Guard boat they survived. The rescue is still considered the greatest small boat rescue ever and you would have to see it to believe it.

The $80 million film features more than 1,000 CGI shots and does a great job making you feel like you are in the action. I sat squeezing my poor wife’s hand as the 36-foot boat miraculously made its way to the Pendelton without a compass and luxury of daylight. The men aboard the rescue boat should have died about 80 times over yet they kept plugging along in an effort to rescue 30 men in a boat that could only hold 12. The suspense is palpable and if it wasn’t true I would’ve called BS on the whole thing. Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck do a solid job of making you believe they could survive the ordeal and actually inspire men to trust them. Director Craig Gillespie  (Fright Night, Million Dollar Arm) balances action with earnestness and does a fine job juggling all the stock subplots (romance, cranky fishermen, punk crew members) a movie could offer and keeping them in the air.

There are archetypal characters and the cheese factor is high but I was able to look past all of that and embrace the experience. If you leave cynicism at the door I guarantee you will enjoy the journey.  It was a different time and place and I loved the earnest and old school vibe The Finest Hours showcases. The heroics come front and center and  I was really happy to see Casey Affleck playing a hero.

Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) and Tchuda Southerland (Josh Stewart) struggle to keep their ship, the SS Pendleton, from sinking in Disney's THE FINEST HOURS, the heroic action-thriller presented in Digital 3D (TM) and IMAX (c) 3D based on the extrordinary tur story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard.


I love when Disney turns its attention towards true stories. I am a big fan of Cool Runnings, Miracle, Million Dollar Arm and Invincible and they’ve all been very motivating. The things that people can accomplish blow my mind and I love when great and unselfish feats are rewarded. I had never heard of the Pendleton rescue before and now I find the whole endeavor amazing. True stories like this deserve the big screen treatment and The Finest Hours does a fine job honoring the rescue party.

Watch The Finest Hours. Appreciate the true story. Never take a boat out during a nor’easter

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