There Simply Are Not Enough Submarine Movies These Days

08.22.18 13 Comments


There are not enough submarine movies these days. It’s a shame, really. Everyone loves a submarine movie. They might not come right out and say “I freaking love submarine movies” when you ask what kind of movies they like. They’ll probably say, like, “action movies” or “the Marvel ones” or “literally anything with Keanu Reeves.” That’s fine. I love those kinds of movies, too. But I bet when they’re sitting at home on some weekend afternoon, flipping through their cable guide or streaming service of choice, and they stumble across a submarine movie, they’ll at least stop to check it out. And if they stay long enough for someone to launch a torpedo, even a single torpedo, they’ll be hooked. That’s the power of a submarine movie. Or rather, that was the power.

It’s didn’t used to be this way. There used to be lots of submarine movies. The Hunt for Red October was a good submarine movie. So was Crimson Tide. They have a lot in common, actually. Both were about conspiracies related to Russian military actions and both had the word red or a synonym for red in the title and both featured a hotshot younger guy fighting the system and a gruff and cranky older guy who was in charge of a submarine. In Red October, the hotshot and gruff guy were Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery, respectively. In Crimson Tide, they were Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.

Somehow, none of those four guys were Harrison Ford or Tommy Lee Jones, despite the fact that the movies were made in 1990 and 1995, a period of time when Harrison Ford played almost every hotshot and Tommy Lee Jones played every gruff and cranky guy. And one of the guys, the one played by Alec Baldwin, was Jack Ryan, a character Harrison Ford played in two movies in the 1990s. My point here is that, with enough manufactured confidence, you could probably convince someone that Harrison Ford was in either The Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide.

It gets even more confusing because Harrison Ford actually was in a submarine movie a few years later: 2002’s K-19: The Widowmaker, which was based on a true story. There used to be a lot of weapons called Widowmaker, too. I always found that weird and a little presumptuous. What if the person it killed was single? It wouldn’t make anyone a widow then. In that case, the weapon would be more of a FriendSaddener or DogConfuser. Something to think about, I guess.

Another submarine movie was U-571. That one was set during WWII and starred Matthew McConaughey and Jon Bon Jovi. It’s weird that we talk about literally anything other than this. Most conversations should be some variation of:

PERSON 1: Anyway, that’s why I have all those papayas in my bathtub.

PERSON 2: Hey, remember that movie where Matthew McConaughey and Bon Jovi were on a submarine?

PERSON 1: Yup.

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