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"WHITE SQUALL"
(1996) (Jeff Bridges, Scott Wolf) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Mild Heavy Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Mild None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Moderate Mild Minor Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
A group of teenage boys spends a year on a schooling schooner ending with a dangerous encounter with a deadly storm.
PLOT:
Chuck Gieg (SCOTT WOLF) is a teen in 1960 who goes to spend his senior year in the Brigantine sailing school aboard the Albatross. The skipper, Chris Sheldon (JEFF BRIDGES) is a hard nosed captain whose goal is to get this group of teens into mental and physical shape for their several month trip and for the rest of their lives. Among those joining Chuck are rich kid Frank Beaumont (JEREMY SISTO), rebel without a cause Dean Preston (ERIC MICHAEL COLE), and troubled teen Gil Martin (RYAN PHILLIPPE) who is scarred from the falling death of his brother. As Sheldon molds his crew with the aide of his wife Alice (CAROLINE GOODALL), the boys go through the trials and tribulations of forming into one group. This unity is tested as the Albatross encounters a white squall, a rare meteorological phenomenon, and the subsequent competency trial of Sheldon for "allowing" the resulting disaster to occur.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Perhaps. It does deal with teenage boys and Scott Wolf (of TV's "Party of Five") is present, but the story probably won't be much of a draw.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sexuality and a traumatic shipwreck.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JEFF BRIDGES plays the skipper whose hard nosed approach masks his goal of making the boys self dependent.
  • SCOTT WOLF plays a character whose only apparent bad trait is having sex with one of the Danish school girls they're escorting.
  • JEREMY SISTO lays the son of an overbearing, wealthy father, who wants to break free of his father's influence.
  • RYAN PHILLIPPE plays a teen who's unsure of himself due to the untimely death of his brother.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    This is a somewhat entertaining film based on the true account of the sinking of an educational schooner. Bridges, as always, commands the screens and his performance as the hard nosed skipper with good intentions is believable if not exactly original. The rest of the cast is competent, but none of the characters really stand out (although Scott Wolf is a dead ringer for a young Tom Cruise). The sinking of the ship is riveting, but the rest of the film just makes you wait for that event to occur. We give this film a 6 out of a 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The sinking of the ship sequence (and the panick stricken drowning of several characters) is very intense and probably shouldn't be seen by younger children. Other than that, there's just the typical hormonal rush in the teenage boys (and there's some sexual discussion and an off camera sexual encounter). Profanity (other than one "s" word) isn't any worse than what you'd hear on TV, and while the boys smoke a lot, one must remember the film is set in the 1960's when it was more accepted. With parental guidance and a look through our scene listings, this might be an okay film for more mature kids.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The adults drink wine with dinner on the boat.
  • At an island party, Sheldon tells Alice that there's rum in the punch as he hands her a glass.
  • One of the students sneaks a shot of whiskey at the island party.
  • Frank is drunk and is smashing some outside lights with a pole. Other students rush up to restrain him, but he ends up knocking over a table at a restaurant before they can remove him.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • The students are seen throwing up from sea sickness during their first encounter with rough seas.
  • A dolphin that's been shot with a spear gun is rather bloody.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Dean is cocky and doesn't want to get along with the others, but all of this is to cover up the fact that he can't read and considers himself stupid.
  • Dean tells another student "As soon as you grow some balls, I'll tell you..."
  • Frank shoots a dolphin with a spear gun because he's mad at the world and takes it out by shooting the animal.
  • A Cuban war boat fires upon and then boards the Albatross and their soldiers hold machine guns on the students. Their captain wants to make trouble and wants to take Gil who can't find his passport. Dean tries to intervene but gets hit in the stomach. Sheldon won't back down from the Cubans and they finally leave, but not before their captain smashes the ship's compass.
  • The boys don't follow instructions to return to the ship by a certain time and get left at port.
  • Frank's father is the one pushing for the trial to have Sheldon's license revoked.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • One of the students gets caught in the sail ropes and dangles, nearly hanging himself. Sheldon rushes up and saves him.
  • Sheldon forces Gil to climb up to the top of the ship even though he knows he's afraid of heights. Gil screams a lot and ends up urinating on himself.
  • One of the students is pulled overboard during rough seas. He holds onto a rope, but goes underwater many times until Alice and others finally rescue him.
  • A Cuban war boat fires upon and then boards the Albatross and their soldiers hold machine guns on the students. Its captain wants to make trouble and wants to take Gil who can't find his passport. Dean tries to intervene but gets hit in the stomach. Sheldon won't back down from the Cubans and they finally leave. A big thunderstorm approaches and a white squall hits the boat and turns it over on its side. It begins to take on water and the students have to struggle through the water to escape. An adult crew member gets caught in ropes underwater and struggles to get out (he doesn't). Gil gets stuck beneath deck as does Alice who bangs her head as the boat is tossed back and forth. This is a very prolonged sequence with several people drowning and the others outside the boat trying to rescue them. Sheldon tries to get to Alice, but can't and has to watch her look up at him as the boat sinks to the bottom. Chuck tries to rescue Gil, but a blocked door won't allow his escape.
  • Chuck has a flashback in a dressing room (of the sinking). We don't see what he's seeing, but see his reactions as he's tossed back and forth in the room.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Frank aims a spear gun at another student, but doesn't fire it.
  • Frank shoots a dolphin with a spear gun.
  • A Cuban war boat fires upon the Albatross before the machine gun carrying soldiers board her.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I hate you," "Screwed," "Shut up," "Idiots," "Twerp," "Stupid," "Hooters," "Boner city," and "Why would you do that? Because we've got a boner for you."
  • Chuck and others throw their S.A.T. score sheets into the ocean (after having all gotten good marks).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Several scenes are accompanied by mildly tense music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "s" word, 11 hells, 9 damns, 3 "ass" words, 1 crap, 1 SOB, and 2 uses of "God damn," and 1 use each of "God," "Christ," and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The guys recount a former student "doing the deed" up in the gib sail and when the sail was unrolled, two naked people fell out.
  • One of the students sees a woman pass by and says "I could really go for that." Another student says he saw Sheldon and Alice "doing the nasty dance" (having sex) while looking down through a skylight. Another says that Alice has "nice breasts."
  • The guys collect money for one of them to visit a prostitute while in port. Frank is selected and goes into a room to wait for a woman to show up, but a fully dressed, older, overweight woman appears and he races out.
  • Chuck is alone with one of the Danish school girls they're escorting. They can't understand each other, but she leads him off and then lowers her top, revealing her breasts to him (we don't see them, but he does). Later, another student comes running for Chuck's help and he stands up, shirtless, and is then seen in the motion of pulling up his pants.
  • One of the students says he's "pissing fire" (he's caught some venereal disease) and later is seen getting a shot from Alice where part of his bare butt is seen.
  • SMOKING
  • As this is in the 1960's, nearly everyone smokes cigarettes, while the English teacher on board smokes cigars.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Gil talks about his parents fighting and how he and his brother would climb up a tree to get away from it. It's from there that his brother fell and died (from a broken neck) during one of the fights where the parents were "really going at it" and pushing each other.
  • Frank and his father have a fight (Frank thinks his father is there to embarrass him and his father is upset with Frank's attitude) while in a restaurant and take it outside. There the father grabs Frank around the neck and struggles with him. This continues until Frank's mother breaks it up.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis, both of which are related to the Cuban ship stopping the Albatross.
  • Sailing and sea sickness.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Dean rushes up and grabs another student by the crotch and the throat after that student calls him stupid.
  • The guys get into a fight (after they've been left in port and their ship has left) and Chuck stops it by smashing a watermelon over Dean's head.
  • Chuck attacks Dean for cheating on a test until he learns that Dean can't read.
  • Frank and his father have a fight (Frank thinks his father is there to embarrass him and the father is upset with Frank's attitude) while in a restaurant and take it outside. There the father grabs Frank around the neck and struggles with him. This continues until Frank's mother breaks it up.
  • Frank is drunk and is smashing some outside lights with a pole. Other students rush up to restrain him, but he ends up knocking over a table at a restaurant before they can remove him.
  • Frank shoots a dolphin with a spear gun. The others pull it up on board and it's bleeding a lot. They decide it won't live and Sheldon wants Frank to finish it off with a club. When he won't, Sheldon violently clubs the dolphin three times until it's dead. He then pushes Frank back up against the side of the boat and wants him to fight but Frank declines.
  • A Cuban war boat fires upon and then boards the Albatross and their soldiers hold machine guns on the students. Its captain wants to make trouble and wants to take Gil who can't find his passport. Dean tries to intervene but gets hit in the stomach. Sheldon won't back down from the Cubans and they finally leave, but not before their captain smashes the ship's compass.



  • Reviewed September 25, 1996

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