125. The Hunley (1999)

Hunley

*Neyzor Blades opens the door to the lair. She’s wearing a black and white striped dress and sandals*

Neyz: Welcome to the lair. I’m your host Neyzor Blades.

*Neyzor Blades walks inside*

Neyz: Tonght we’re doing a movie from MY childhood. After putting up with The Warlock’s choices, this time its my turn.

*The Warlock is in the middle of the couch with his arms folded. He’s wearing blue jean shorts, NCIS t-shirt, white sneakers and gargoyle shades*

Warlock: What are doing today Zuul?

Neyz: We are watching The Hunley.

Warlock: What on earth is that?

Neyz: Its about one of the US Navy’s first submarines.

Warlock: Ready when you are.

*Neyz sits in the recliner*

Neyz: Its time for The Hunley.

 

*Neyzor Blades reads the tag-line*

Neyz: “CSS Hunley tells the incredible true story of the crew of the manually propelled submarine CSS Hunley, during the siege of Charleston of 1864. It is a story of heroism in the face of adversity, the Hunley being the first submersible to sink an enemy boat in time of war.”

Warlock: Civil War submarines, this should be interesting.

 

*Graphic read Charleston, SC 1864. The Federal blockade is choking the city. Union warships shell Fort Sumter and downtown Charleston day and night. The city will not surrender.The city is dying*

Warlock: You know….nevermind.

 

*TNT presents*

Warlock: Ohhhhhh I get it now, this is going to be a Confederate story. TNT was owned by Ted Turner in GEORGIA.

 

*The crew of the Hunley is drowning. Captain Hunley (Cal Johnson) going down with it*

Warlock: This is gonna be the shortest movie ever.

 

*Sub sinks, everyone drowns*

Warlock: I don’t think they made it.

Neyz: Nope.

 

*Redhead guy appears*

Warlock: Shaemus!

 

*General Pierre Beauregard (Donald Sutherland) gets a telegram, all hands lost*

Warlock: Well if that don’t beat all.

 

*Lt Dixon (Armand Assante) is at the bar drinking. He talks to a woman (Caprice Benedetti) asking where he can find her again. He’s interrupted by a soldier and its revealed he’s talking to himself*

Warlock: Hahahaha.

 

*Soldier says Captain Hunley is dead, Dixon breaks the drinking glass in his hand and bloodies himself*

Warlcok: Wowwww.

 

*Dixon downs a bottle of whiskey and leaves the bar. Meanwhile soldiers march through the streets of Charleston*

Warlock: Its the confeds.

 

*General Pierre and Dixon are leading the confederate troops. Pierre wants to know what the hell Dixon was thinking taking the boat out. Dixon says the boat is fine, Hunley made a mistake.  Pierre hits on Mrs Driscoll and anything that moves. Dixon says Charleston is going to fall, its only a matter of time. Pierre says to watch his words. He says the submarine boat is their only chance*

Neyz: What?

Warlock: The sub is their only chance to repel the Union navy.

 

*The Hunley is brought to shore and Dixon is apart of the crew fixing. Lt Alexander (Alex Jennings) says Hunley had no chance. Dixon asks if she’s sea-worthy. Alexander doesn’t know*

Neyz: He looks confused.

 

*On board the SS Indian Chief, Dixon gives a speech that the Hunley has sank twice but its been repaired. He and Alexander need a crew of 7. Most of the sailors laugh at them*

Warlock: I’d laugh too, that ship sounds like a death knell.

 

*Alexander pukes over the side*

Warlock: Mind if I eat?

 

*Dixon asks for volunteers, the Captain (Jon Huffman) taunts Dixon and asks why army boys are trying to take his job. Dixon asks if he wants HIS job and Pickering says no thanks*

Warlock: He wants no part of that.

 

*Back in Charleston, Dixon and Alexander hit the bar and it gets shelled. The bartender bites it*

Neyz: He dead.

 

*Dixon staggers out of the bar as shells continue to fall around the city. Everyone runs for their lives but Dixon continues to drunkenly stumble about*

Warlock: Modern day liberals want to say the Confederates and southerners were the bad guys. Look at this, this is what the Union was doing. Shelling innocent people, yeah….real heroes.

 

*Dixon saves a lady and her husband. The husband says he’s in Dixon’s debt. The USS Housatonic is shelling the shit out of Charleston*

Warlock: That’s a Union ship.

 

*Next day Charleston tries to pick itself up. A bunch of people volunteer for the Hunley. Fred Collins (Sebastian Roche) is one of them. A montage of Collins beat up a bar. Carl Simkins (Chris Bauer) is next. He’s born in Memphis and just got married. He’s as dumb as dirt but strong as an ox. Arnold Becker (Michael Dolan) wears a ridiculous hat*

Warlock: I want that hat.

 

*Becker can’t shoot a gun to save his life and he’s trying to learn French. He killed 2 officers with his bare hands. James Wicks (Michael Stuhlbarg) was a fisherman before the war, born and raised on the James River in Virginia. Charles Ridgeway (Jack Baun), CF Carlson (Kevin Robertson) and Patrick Miller (Jeff Mandon) are childhood friends. They are all leaving tomorrow. Alexander toasts to the Hunley and to victory*

Warlock: Cheers.

 

*Collins, Simkins, Becker, Wicks, Ridgeway, Carlson and Miller stand before Alexander and Dixon. Dixon gives them a welcoming speech. Its commanding by the army, not the navy and says once they’re in the sub, they’re his. He asks any questions, Collins says when can they get underway. The men starting going below, some fit, some struggle*

Neyz: Look how small it is, can you imagine?

 

*Collins tries to intimidate Becker. Becker moves out of the way. Down below Dixon says there is no margin for error. Everything is hand powered*

Warlock: That’s how it worked back then?

Neyz: I think so.

 

*Alexander says the smallest amount of water could make them sink to watch the hatch. He says Hunley sank because someone forgot to do his job. He says that’s not going to happen this time. Every life depends on one another. He says to take her out*

Warlock: Allll aboarddddd

Neyz: That’s a train you idiot.

 

*The crew rows to dive*

Warlock: That’s all the space they had?

Neyz: Yep

Warlock: How do they piss?

Neyz: They don’t.

 

*Montage of crew rowing, loading torpedoes, firing simulations, navigation charts. Alexander pukes and Becker taunts him. Collins then taunts him as well. Collins says he doesn’t take orders from an Englishman, Alexander says on this ship he is. Meanwhile Ronald White (Frank Voight) shows up and says he’s reporting for duty. Dixon says he has enough crew. White “That can’t be possible because you don’t have me sir.”

Neyz: Haha he’s so cute.

 

*White claims to be 21 but Dixon scoffs. He then says he’s 18 and Dixon asks when he’s turning 17. White “Next month sir”

Warlock: Hahahaha

 

*White throws himself in the water and swims around to prove he’s sea worthy. Dixon laughs and brings him aboard*

Warlock: You’re hired.

 

*Wicks catches a fish with his bare hands. Simkins has Collins write a letter to his wife. Meanwhile Becker says French is the language of love. Alexander is confused. Becker asks why Dixon carries a coin and Alexander says his wife gave it to him, she’s dead*

Neyz: Oooh.

 

*Collins “You’re breaking my heart.” Meanwhile Collins says he’s only there as a mercenary as Carlson, Ridgeway and Miller ask him to step outside. Alexander says to shut up but Collins yells at him too. Collins starts a brawl where he whips everyone by himself until Dixon takes him down. Dixon says the fighting is out there,. not in here. Collins says he’s not afraid of him, Dixon says that’s a mistake*

Warlock: He nearly wiped out the whole crew himself.

 

*Dixon and Alexander share character development on the shore. Alexander says Dixon should be a major or colonel by now but he says he’s right where he wants to be. Alexander speculates Dixon wanted to die when Charleston was shelled. Later we have a flashback of combat where Dixon was wounded*

Warlock: War is hell.

 

*Next day Dixon wants to run a test to see how long they can last underwater in case they can’t fight. They dive and he counts the fathom line*

Warlock: What the hell is a fathom?

Neyz: Every 6 feet.

Warlock: Ahhhhh

 

*Meanwhile at the dock, White waits for the Hunley impatiently. Meanwhile Collins pisses in a bucket*

Neyz: That’s how they did it.

 

*They run out of oxygen after 25 minutes. White continues to wait. The crew suffers as they struggle to breathe for hours until they all surface in unison, except Collins. He’s panicking. Collins freaks out and Becker consoles him. Collins snaps out of it and they escape the river floor. Dixon is the first one out of the hatch when they surface*

Neyz: Yeah, fuck that.

 

*At the speakeasy, Becker speaks French to a young callgirl (Laurie Beasley). Meanwhile Dixon is having more flashbacks. Simkins protests being in a whorehouse, he asks to go home. Dixon says sure. Ridgeway, Carlson and Miller and playing blackjack with Alexander when a rude sailor (Marty Lodge) insults them. Collins asks him to apologize when Becker comes up and knocks the guy down with punches. He chokes him as Simkins, Collins and Dixon look on. Dixon says not to kill him as Collins says this would be a good time to apologize. The crew staggers out of the bar and sings Way Haul Away*

Neyz: I know this song.

 

*At a confederate aid station, Dixon meets with General Beauregard but flashes back to when he was being treated by his wife*

Neyz: Awwww

 

*Beauregard confronts him about clearing out the bar the previous night. Beauregard gives him orders to sink all Union ships near Charleston*

Warlock: Now he’s got his marching orders.

 

*Captain Pickering (Gerry Becker) knows the Hunley is somewhere around there. Meanwhile at a campfire, Collins suggests if they’re done for, they’d rather drown quick than slowly suffocate. Dixon agrees*

Warlock: You know that’s gonna happen later.

 

*Beauregard goes to send off Dixon and the Hunley. White shows up and demands to be put on the Hunley. Beauregard asks why he’s talking to him. White throws himself in the water again and Dixon says he does that. Becker says in French it would be an honor to sneeze is in presence. Meanwhile Wicks hands Beauregard a fish and Beauregard politely declines*

Neyz: These guys are nuts

 

*Dixon takes the crew out to sea (no White)*

Neyz: You see that.

Warlock: What?

Neyz: They all put something in front of them to look at when they row.

 

*All but Collins has pictures or letters. Simkins asks why he’s got nothing. Collins says he’d a picture of his arse there if he could*

Neyz: Haha.

 

*Hunley hears a song off in the distance. Collins starts crying because he recognizes the song.  They try to sink the ship but they fuck up the rudder. They dive as the Union ship think they sunk it*

Warlock: Did they really think they sunk it with small arms fire?

Neyz: They thought it was a raft.

Warlock: My uncle is a raft.

Neyz: What???

 

*Meanwhile a symphony orchestra plays with no roof. Beauregard is confronted by Dixon who says they knew he was coming and their torpedo operation didn’t work. All of a sudden shells start going off and Dixon has the orchestra play to calm everyone down. Beauregard starts singing and everyone joins in*

Warlock: Yeah that’ll work now.

 

*The shelling stops and everyone is okay. Dixon saved the day*

Warlock: Ha! The city is on fire.

 

*Dixon and Beauregard discuss how they’re going to sink the Union ship. Dixon says they can’t win the war but they can win a battle or two*

Warlock: History is written by the winners.

 

*Beauregard has designed a new harpoon torpedo trigger. Meanwhile they share character development as Beauregard calls Jefferson Davis a sonovabitch for stripping him of his command*

Warlock: Ha, ol Jefferson.

 

*Beauregard reveals how Dixon’s wife died, she was on a ferry boat that was hit by a torpedo. Beauregard reveals his own wife died giving birth to his daughter. He says it helped get rid of sentiment because he’s just marking time. Dixon rubs his coin and agrees*

Warlock: Powerful stuff.

 

*Beauregard says they are alike in the sense they are romantics in the age of barbarians. Meanwhile a Union sailor shoots at a log and misses. “Yes, never know when we’ll be attacked by driftwood”

Warlock: Hahahha

 

*Next day the Hunley crew rigs up the torpedo for it to blow but Alexander gets orders to report back to Mobile tomorrow. Alexander goes to leave and Dixon wishes him well. Collins gives him shit on the way out. Alexander says Collins will not be remembered as a coward. Collins hands him an Irish cross for luck. Meanwhile Dixon says they’re going to attack the Housatonic tonight. He names Collins as new first officer and recruits White to replace Alexander*

Warlock: Hahaha

Neyz: Awww so cute.

 

*Dixon “White, stop shouting. Make me proud”

Warlock: BUT I ALWAYS TALK LIKE THIS!

 

*In the bathrub, Dixon had a flashback of when he found his dead wife*

Warlock:That’s harsh.

 

*Hunley goes to sink the Housatonic, they ram him and go back…but a gunshot shatters glass on Hunley. The torpedo blows away the Housatonic but the Hunley sustains major damage.  The crew desperately tries to plug holes. Meanwhile Collins tends to Dixon. The problem is they’re taking on too much water. Dixon says they’re not diving, they’re sinking*

Warlock: EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

 

*Hunley hits the river floor.  Dixon asks what to do. They remember their pact and they agree to flood the sub, go quickly instead of suffocate. Dixon has the sub flooded and they share last laughs*

Warlock: Say goodnight boys.

 

*They sing with each other as the sub floods*

Warlock: Why don’t they open the hatch and swim for it?

Neyz: They can’t, there’s too much weight.

 

*Crew all drowns and Dixon hallucinates his wife is with him. Crew all sees things as well*

Neyz:That’s so weird, it freaks me out.

 

*Alexander and Beauregard are apart of the burial ceremony of the Hunley crew. It starts to rain and Beauregard takes his hat off*

Neyz: OH cut the shit.

Warlock: Nice symbolism.

 

*One year later the city of Charleston fell, the blockade never broke and the Hunley ushered in a new era of submarine warfare. In 1995 the Hunley was found and raised  with the crew giving full military honors*

Warlock: Least they recognized their contributions.

 

*end credits*

Neyz: SIMKINS!

 

The Warlock’s Assessment: I give it a 8 out of 10

Neyzor Blades Assessment: I give it a 9 because of its historical significance.

Final Grade: 8.5 out of 10 – Awesome

 

*Neyzor Blades rises from the recliner*

Neyz: That was great, it was a historical perspective on how some of the first submarines operated in the early days. It had a wonderful cast and it was a great story. Definitely recommended, have a pleasant evening.

 

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