Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Review: Pirates of the White Sand

The best 14 minutes you'll ever spend

Over at Proper Course, Tillerman has posted his next group writing project: write a review. He goes on to explain that this can be a review of anything at least somewhat related to sailing, such as equipment, books, even movies – although he notes, "your choice is somewhat limited there."

Limited, maybe, but there are some good sailing-related movies out there. One obscure gem is Pirates of the White Sand, which debuted at the 2005 Duke City Shootout film festival. Written by the Seeger Brothers, the script won the festival's Federico Fellini award, earning the brothers a chance to bring the film to the festival, in which directors are given one week to film and edit a 14-minute movie.

The crew experienced some serious technical problems, such as a failure of communication between the film-editing computer and the film-industry expert provided by the film festival to assist the production that resulted in all edited footage being lost just hours before screening time. But after a seriously intense all-night editing session, an extremely rough cut was available for the final public gala, at which, despite the technical issues, it won the Audience Choice award.

The film itself is a rollicking adventure involving a crew of unruly pirates, colonial Spanish gold treasure, and nuclear weapons. The pirates, led by Captain Moab (Miguel Martinez), descend upon the remote roadside café run by the ever-efficient Ruthie (Deborah Chavez), in their "ship," the Crusader, a 1964 Lincoln Continental. This is the same model used effectively in The Matrix as a trans-dimensional transport device; it serves a similar purpose in this film.

The pirates have been on a search for treasure, a vast trove of gold looted by the Spanish from the Aztec empire, hidden somewhere in what is now the White Sands Missile Range never to be found again. While the pirates are on the trail of the treasure, someone else is on the trail of the pirates, in helicopters and big black SUVs.

After many weeks "at sea," Moab's crew is eager to unwind at Ruthie's café, enjoying "grog" (beer served in a pitcher labeled GROG that Ruthie keeps on hand for the pirates) and, of course, green chile cheeseburgers. The action is frenetic, matched with a punk-rock adaptation of the sea chantey "Here's to the Grog" that underlies the action and also emphasizes the anachronisms that run throughout the film.

Martinez does excellent work as the pirate captain, bringing a wide range of emotions to the role, as the swaggering leader of a crew of brave men, and also the man who is thoroughly in love with Ruthie but knows he will never be able to have her, as his pirate life keeps him from being able to settle down. It is easy to see why he won the Best Actor award at the Shootout. As the film industry's presence in New Mexico increases, look to see Martinez in small but memorable parts in future blockbusters. His talent should take him far.

The directing is good; director P.L. Fuego keeps the pace brisk, although in one or two places the action seems to drag. In on scene, in particular, a sight gag involving a nuclear warhead doesn't quite work right. Mostly, however, the audience will be carried along nicely by the action.

The film is, unfortunately, not widely available. Fuego has been working on a director's cut that fixes the technical problems that marred the film-festival version and adds some material that had to be left out because of the Shootout's time restrictions. He might let you have a copy if you ask him nicely, or you might be able to find a friend of his who has a copy and copy that. Uh, yeah, pirated Pirates.

Disclaimer: I know these guys. Oh, all right … I'm related to them. Uh, yeah, they're my brothers. Still, it's a good film. If it sucked, I just wouldn't have written the review.

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Blogger Pat said...

And they'd truly love to have funding to shoot it at full length.

Sun Jul 05, 07:40:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Thanks Carol Anne. Look forward to seeing this movie one day. Will it ever be available on Netflix i wonder?

Mon Jul 06, 07:05:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Maybe someday ... when the Seeger Brothers make their major breakthrough film and become as famous as the Coen Brothers are now (Fuego has worked with them on a couple of projects, including No Country for Old Men), the world will become interested in their past accomplishments, and their previous short works (including the more recent "Moonlight Sonata" and "This is Awkward" series, both of which had origins in the blogosphere) will be dug up.

Or if you come to New Mexico to claim the beer you earned for participating in the light-bulb joke project, we could arrange a VIP screening.

Mon Jul 06, 07:57:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous jbushkey said...

I cry foul! After the first few paragraphs I was pumped up to see this movie. I figured it would be as easy as searching google and loading some streaming video. No luck :( After an extensive search and heading over to your brothers page I was unable to find it online. Any chance you could talk your brothers into putting it online temporarily for the tillerman fans? I really want to see this movie.


Mon Jul 06, 08:06:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

jbushkey, I'll have to come up with another writing project, so you can contribute and earn a New Mexico beer plus a VIP screening of Pirates.

Meanwhile, I'll see whether the Seeger Brothers might make some limited online availability possible ... there are some issues involving the fact that the Duke City Shootout holds some copyrights. (The film-festival cut used to be available on the Shootout's website; I don't know whether it still is.)

Tue Jul 07, 09:29:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

The good news: Fuego now has a link on his blog, although you have to hunt for it. Scroll down past the cute pix of my nephew, to the LA Daze post, and look in the comments.

The bad news: It's a relatively rough cut, and it's been dubbed in Czech with English subtitles. The green chile cheeseburgers have been replaced with goulash, and the dubbing means that much of the subtlety of Miguel Martinez' performance is lost. Still, it's something.

The better news: A final, polished version without any copyright encumbrances will be available soon. Fuego says to look for it at local film festivals. Maybe the Netflix deal isn't so far away after all.

Thu Jul 09, 12:43:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous jbushkey said...

Very Entertaining ,loved the music, and now I am thirsty for some grog! Time to pick up a bottle of Sailor Jerry Rum.

Carol Anne IOU one writing project :) Tell your bro I said thanks for putting it up also.

jbushkey at mac dot com

Sat Jul 11, 09:04:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

jbushkey, you're welcome. Look for the final version soon.

Sun Jul 12, 12:54:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Philee said...

Never Drink Sailor Jerry Rum!

We tried it here in Prague, and even Jerry couldn't stomach it! It is truly horrible!

About the film, we will try to keep folks posted as it is entered into festivals. And, yes, Pat is right. Anyone want to finance a film?


Sun Jul 12, 11:21:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Jbushkey said...


Sailor Jerry is one of my favorites hahahaha. Perhaps you'd like Cruzan Single BarrelI. They make a bunch of flavored stuff I won't touch, but the single barrel rum is very smooth.

really liked Pussers Rum for awhile. The last bottle I got was 85 proof instead of 95 proof. They changed the formula here in the US and it just isn't the same. I was heartbroken after not having any for a long time. Some countries get a 105 or 108 proof Pussers that I would love to try.

Since your disparaging Sailor Jerry I think it only appropriate that you recommend an alternative.


Mon Jul 13, 06:48:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous jbushkey said...

Thats Single "Barrel" Rum. Why can't I spell anymore?

Mon Jul 13, 07:37:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Philee said...

I am partial to the Havana Club personally. Nothing too fancy, but gets the job done. Now, of course there is Barcardi 151 - we got a bottle from the video crew while editing Pirates. Their cameraman stepped on our power cord, cutting of power to the computer.

And just a note to CA: I agree completely on the bomb drop thing. The only thing worse than the prop is that action. Trying to get rid of it in the new version.


Tue Jul 14, 04:43:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

From my perspective, the main issue with the bomb drop gag was that the time spent on it dragged, so it disrupted the flow of the story.

Fri Jul 17, 02:24:00 PM MDT  

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