Sunday, May 22, 2016

SS United States Silver Screen Review: Invincible (2006)

The SS United States Conservancy's Facebook Page announced on May 6th that another movie had been discovered that the SS United States cameo'd in - - Invincible (2006). Of course, I made that movie my next viewing priority.

This movie is based on the true story of Vince Papale joining the Philadelphia Eagles football team in the mid-1970's. Papale is played by Mark Wahlberg with long hair.

Saying this up front, I'm not one for sport movies. I get it, amazing stories can happen. A team isn't doing well, some random person's life isn't going well. Against all odds, that random person join the team. There are struggles.  Then everything starts getting better, the team wins, and everyone grows from the experience. It's very predictable. That being said, I begrudgingly admit I did enjoy the movie. You just can't not get excited when things start going right.

Favorite part was every time Elizabeth Banks' character [love interest] was in-everyone's-face that she was a New York Giants fan. If a list of her character traits were written up, outspoken New York Giants fan would be the first one. I would say half of her screen time was devoted to falling in love with Wahlberg; the other half was Giants pride. She even wore her Giants shirt in the Eagles crowd section of the stadium, cheering on Vince with his friends. She laughed off every Boo she heard towards her, and even instigated some fury when she yelled into the section "GO GIANTS!" It was great. Sure, she supported Vince as well, but that wasn't going to stop her from rooting for her own team. [According to Invincible's IMDB page, this Giants love was made up to add some drama to the movie]


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This is the second Disney movie to feature the SS United States. This cameo is very easy to miss, which is why it wasn't found until just recently. It's in the opening credits of the movie, setting the scene for blue collar Philadelphia life. It appears for a few seconds as an anonymous vessel moored at a very active pier.

As the movie takes place in 1976, nothing blatantly recognizable about the ship could appear. When this movie was happening, The SS United States would have been hermetically sealed and docked at the Norfolk International Terminal in Norfolk, Virginia. At that time, it was owned by the U.S.'s Maritime Administration MARAD. The ship below the waterline was still classified, so it could not leave the government's hands. The ship was declassified late 1977.

How can you tell it's the ship? You can see a bit of her promenade deck jutting out from the superstructure, the distinctive white line running across the hull, and the peeling paint everywhere. What other large ship in Philly with these characteristics is always available for a quick shot?



FINAL THOUGHTS:
Movie: It's alright. It does what it's supposed to do. 3/4
SS United States: It's the actual boat, helping to place the setting. 2/4


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