For, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shark movies and ‘the dog days’ go together like popcorn and Coke, and that that’s been true ever since “Jaws” ruled theaters for the entire summer of 1975 (and continued to run in some theaters for months after summer was over). And there’s a new shark film playing in theaters now, ’47 Meters Down.’ So, in keeping with that theme, here’s a column about the 1999 movie ‘Deep Blue Sea’ — or more correctly, about seeing the film with my adult sons — published in the Deseret News on Aug. 20, 1999, under the headline, ‘Giant-shark flick makes for a wild boys’ night out.’

Recently, I went to see "Jaws 5" … er, that is, "Deep Blue Sea." It was boys' night out with my adult sons, and they love this kind of thing.

You know, unlikely monsters on the rampage, going after innocent — or not so innocent — people they can chew up and spit out. And it doesn't matter whether it's giant snakes ("Anaconda") or giant alligators ("Lake Placid") or giant Chihuahuas, frogs or beetles — they're up for it. But it's even better when it's giant sharks.

They especially liked the helicopter being chewed up and spit out. (Or was that "Lake Placid"? Or maybe it was "Jaws 2.")

My son-in-law, Mike, summed it up quite nicely as we left the theater: "Sure it was awful — but, hey, it was sharks." In Mike's view, you can't have too many giant-sharks-on-the-rampage movies.

My sons Matt and Dave sort of agree, although they would have preferred the hero to be Jackie Chan or Jet Li instead of LL Cool J. They're into martial-arts flicks of all shapes and sizes. Which is kind of odd, since there was a time when I couldn't get them within 100 kilometers of a foreign-language movie with subtitles.

"Da-a-a-ad," they'd whine. "If we wanted to read, we'd get a book."

Then they discovered Jackie Chan, and suddenly foreign films were cool. As long as someone is getting his face kicked in.


Saffron Burrows thinks she's in 'Jaws' but it's 'Deep Blue Sea.'

Anyway, the boys all wanted to see "Deep Blue Sea" … well, all except Danny, my youngest and the only one of my kids who is still at home. (I have about 138 kids altogether, I think, but the rest are all grown and gone.)

Danny's into high school drama and choral singing, and he loves musical theater. So if the sharks had been performing anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber, or if Bernadette Peters had been on board doing some kind of song-and-dance ditty, Danny might have come with us. (Come to think of it, "Deep Blue Sea" might have been a better film if Bernadette Peters were one of the sharks' hors d'oeuvres, say, halfway through her first big number … but Danny probably wouldn't have liked that.)

As it was, he said he'd rather stay home and husk corn for his stepmother.

Instead of Bernadette Peters, "Deep Blue Sea" has Saffron Burrows doing a lot of pouting. She's supposed to be a scientist, so maybe she injected her own big pouty lips with collagen. Or maybe she pouted like that because the male actors got bigger paychecks. But after about 90 minutes of her pursed-lip style of acting … if acting is the word … we were ready for Burrows to become an hors d'oeuvre.

In fact, she was so bad that I wondered why in the world she was cast in this movie at all. Until the scene where she strips down to her underwear. Suddenly, it became clear why she was in the movie — to do the gratuitous Sigourney Weaver "Alien" underwear scene, only wetter. (Of course, Weaver was way too tough to ever let herself be an alien hors d'oeuvre.)


Samuel L. Jackson takes no guff from the 'Deep Blue Sea' shark.

Anyway, the movie is about these super-intelligent sharks, which is hard to believe because they were created by the dumbest scientists on the planet. They move really fast — the sharks, not the scientists. In fact, the sharks are almost as fast as the snake in "Anaconda."

In fact, the sharks are so smart they have apparently been reading the appliance manuals in the kitchen, since one of them actually turns on the oven to cook LL Cool J. (Silly shark; doesn't he know you shouldn't cook your food in the rapper?) Then the shark heads to the fridge to get some mustard.

Actually, I knew "Deep Blue Sea" was going to be bad when I saw that Renny Harlin had directed — he's the guy who tried to make his former wife, archer/Oscar-winner Geena Davis, a pirate in "Cutthroat Island" and an assassin with amnesia in "The Long Kiss Goodnight." And I especially knew it would be bad when the only actor I cared about became shark chow before the movie even got going. (I don't want to ruin it for anyone … but it's Samuel L. Jackson).

But the movie was really secondary to being out with the boys. This was a major father-sons outing, and it was great fun to spend time with them, and talk and joke.

Although next time we'll pick something Danny will like, too. Maybe Jackie Chan will land the lead in Lloyd Webber's film version of "Phantom of the Opera."

And, hopefully, there will be more munching in the audience with popcorn than on the screen with helicopters.