Shimmering waters! A breath-taking sunrise! Lens flares! Yachts floating across shot the size of The Falklands! Alan Silvestri shitting a synth led soundtrack about as subtle as Rick Wakeman’s King Arthur On Ice!!!! EXCESSIVE EXCLAMATION MARKED OPENING PASSAGE!!!(?)!
Fuck me it must be the eighties and Ash has only gone and smashed it out the park for this week’s Sunday Club with his selection of the (potentially biographical) story of when Rusty Met Goldie more commonly known as Overboard!
ASHLEY SAYS:: Old school Kurt Russell crate digger bidniz this week with amnesia / kidnapping rom-com ‘Overboard’.
1987: A time when male chauvinism was jovial and fun and definitely wouldn’t get you forced to resign as CEO of Uber. ‘Overboard’ is so mischievously jovial it’ll make you want to punch Kurt in his perfect face.
The first thing that jumped out at me with this film was the soundtrack; it sounds like it was scored by Crash Bandicoot after just having his Art’s Council grant revoked.
In an attempt to perpetuate as many gender and class related stereotypes as possible Goldie Hawn’s character is wife to a wealthy business man and, alongside her inheriting large amounts of wealth from her family, the super-rich couple spend their days living on a yacht whilst soullessly attempting to keep up with the Joneses. She spends all day doing her hair and organising her wardrobe: What an anti-social mobility typical bird. We hate her… I bet she’s a fem-bot too (Eye-rolls).
Enter the stonewash, jeans clad, vest wearing dreamboat Kurt Russell playing the role of an all-American blue collared carpenter who’s presumably from a republican dust cavern in the deep-south, ready to build your wardrobe and slag off the client all during the same forty-five-minute tea break. Total lad.
Staying in line with the wealthy person stereotype of looking down on anyone who isn’t as rich as them Goldie is really mean to Kurt, saying he smells and is stupid. Goldie then throws him overboard and his tools subsequently get thrown overboard too. Total feminazi.
Thankfully minutes later Goldie goes overboard too and subsequently catches amnesia from the water (take that you higher rate inheritance tax paying, do-nothing numpty!)
1987 was an interesting time for mental illnesses: it was widely accepted that illnesses existed and based on the plot of this movie, it was perfectly acceptable to exploit them so what follows is truly abhorrent: Her husband sees Goldie’s sudden memory loss as a way of leaving her without getting divorced (so he can still dip into her inheritance pot) and Kurt abducts her from the hospital telling the police she’s his wife despite not having any ID or acceptable proof of their relationship. The police are happy for this ridiculous carry-on to carry on and send them on their way.
They head to Kurt’s family home feat. his four kids where Goldie will now have to live up that other classic stereotype: the housewife. At one-point Kurt even refers to her as his slave. This is problematic as she’s rich and therefore bad at domestic duties because the butler would normally do everything for her. To make matters worse Kurt’s place has been a mess for ages because he’s a man and is therefore incapable of cooking anything that isn’t on a barbecue and don’t get me started on cleaning… At least the scriptwriters aren’t only unfairly stereotyping one gender. I guess.
She gets really into the housewife routine eventually, primarily by attending the kid’s school to threaten one of the teachers; the teacher comes across as a proper Daily Mail reader saying single parents are bad, etc, etc. Goldie is having none of that… She even gets a washing machine for her birthday. As no doubt practical as that is it’s a bloody terrible gift when you think about it.
Surely when the amnesia wares off she’ll call Kurt a dick and have him arrested? Goldie getting back with her actual husband in the movie would be bad but if she stays with Kurt then it’s truly appalling. To be fair to Kurt, even though he is a mental abuser, they are Hollywood’s hottest couple so perhaps I’ll let it slide. It would also make Kurt a top lad.
The morals in this are so wrong, it’s impossible to imagine this to be a PG rated movie. It’s a money can’t buy you happiness story told in the most unsavoury manner. With all this said, it is enjoyable family fun, it seems really light hearted despite this horrible undertone of upfront sexism and classism and would never get made today – Oh wait, there’s a 2018 remake coming sigh.
This majestic fairy-tale ends with Goldie saying she’s going to keep dropping sprogs until a girl pops out… Good work Hollywood!
MATTHEW SAYS:: We set sail, as most eighties pictures do, with a (probably) cocaine rich white bloke (Edward Herrmann) telling his overprivileged, whingy, white bitch wife (Goldie Hawn) that he doesn’t care what she’s doing with her day / life as he’s off to have a well good time doing do lads stuff (coke). What a throwback fuckwit he must be. It wasn’t anything like that come the nineties.
But our entitled white heiress Goldie Hawn is having none of that: She doesn’t want a bullshit, coked up yacht owner. She wants an eighties carpenter to knock her up… A shoe cupboard.
Presumably that original eighties Carpenter John was otherwise engaged making the last few genuinely brilliant films of his career but it’s all good as it appears Goldie’s ship has come in: the only carpenter on hand is Kurt Russell in the (early) prime of his life complete with Sullet (sensual mullet), toolbox AND sleeveless puffer jacket. What an eighties rollover weekend of a touch!
Being the entitled white monster that she is Goldie proceeds to be a complete shithouse to our man Kurt, but we all know that won’t last long: Even an over-privileged, alabaster Kardashian prototype couldn’t possibly resist the untamed charisma of Kurt’s box cut mullet and dazzling smile cranked to maximum eighties!
We see multiple shots of Goldie dressed as either the third member of Outkast or a Libyan war criminal… I’m not sure which is which but she looks almost as ravishing as Kurt.
Kurt gets to work on that much sought after shoe cabinet whilst Goldie prances about in a myriad of costumes occasionally stopping for drinks and / or to flash Kurt and the audience some flesh. At one point she lays naked, chatting on a Kong sized eighties “mobile” phone with nothing covering her (literal) arse but a giant bow… She basically still looks like the third member of OutKast or a Libyan war criminal.
Our working-class carpenter Kurt bumbles in on Goldie in the buff and director Garry Marshall basically attempts to take Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory into literal territory and good on him: this is the eighties. There’s no place for subtlety / equality here.
It subsequently all chips off (that may be a tenuous carpentry pun) because the requested closet is made of oak not cedar. That’s the final straw of oppression for Kurt and he decides he is no longer prepared to be a victim and spits that real shit about Goldie being a complete moneyed rotter. There’s a cutaway to the Mexican galley staff cheering which I really don’t know whether is racist or not.
Both Kurt and his tools then get thrown overboard by an irate Goldie. Bloody feminazis.
Kurt arrives back at his ramshackle home dejected and sans tools. It turns out his kids are a pack of little Disney Club shithouses that he can barely afford to pay for but it’s all gonna work out fine because Kurt’s a cool dad and lets them burn shit / torment babysitters.
Oh Kurt: You rascal.
In titular fashion Goldie then has a bit of an accident and goes Overboard herself. Her husband is busy watching a yacht rundown on TV / generally being rich and couldn’t give a fondant fancy of a fuck.
There’s another potentially racist bit involving Portugese fisherman who don’t spikka dee language but we’ll breeze over that: Long story short Goldie Hawn has lost her memory and her husband decides he definitely doesn’t give a four kilo, uncut fudge and utilises her sudden amnesia as an opportunity to abandon her.
Kurt spots the news story on TV about the missing memory lady, there’s a swelling of mischievous banjo music, a potentially inappropriate joke about Buddism and Kurt then decides the best course of action is to lie to the authorities, convince Goldie she is definitely definitely the mother of his children and force her into a life of servitude… It’s not creepy in the slightest though because Kurt has an almost immeasurable volume to his hair and that banjo music.
After a somewhat less than plausible series of questions from the police Kurt sweeps Goldie off her feet (metaphorically) throws her in the back of a truck (literally) and takes her to the family home where Kurt’s four children are all leering at some tits in a Playboy they’ve discovered in an old charity shop dress intended for their kidnapped amnesia patient… Blimey PG certificate films were just far more wholesome in the eighties.
Goldie turns out to be a useless housewife and blows up a fried turkey. Kurt hits the bar to wax-chauvinist with his mates (who are all in on the grift) and generally lout about a bit. God bless a good romcom.
In further classic romcom fashion there’s then a really weird dream sequence in which Goldie imagines she’s at a snow-covered Christmas ball with a cast of total strangers… It’s all a bit Twin Peaks to tell you the truth but Alan Silvestri’s score implies light humour so that’s all fine.
After a few more scenes of what can at best be described “domestic back & forth” and at worst short range sex trafficking Goldie comically chops up the entire garden patio set with a chainsaw. There’s no explanation as to how this physically works but it’s a nice display of Hawn’s comic abilities… She then nearly falls into a coma so Kurt shouts “what’s for dinner” at her a bit.
That ought to perk her up.
Things drift back into psychedelic territory again when Kurt’s home closet turns into the closet he built for Goldie in the film’s opening scenes and comes to life. Goldie has a mild moment of recollection and begins to question her reality. This rattles Kurt’s plan a bit so he gets his mate to Photoshop (or whatever the eighties equivalent was) Goldie into his old wedding photos. Meanwhile Roddie MacDowell is answering a mobile phone off a solid silver sandwich platter. Fucking hell the eighties were good. I bet I could even have afforded a mortgage back then.
Anyway after finally being beaten down by endless cooking, drink requests and generally living like Whitney when Bobby was hitting the pipe Goldie finally decides enough is enough and attacks Kurt Russell with the family’s low-pressure hose. They realise being a family is fun and smash up the house together.
They do say love is always in the last place you look.
As if she wasn’t already the perfect wifey Goldie follows this up by marching down to the kids’ school and slamming the children’s teacher with an emotionally powerful speech from the heart about the unmeasurable potential of young children and how the teacher is basically totally shit and / or state funded.
After a brief bicker / storm out combo from Kurt about how he should raise his kids he returns home again (probably shitfaced) and faces up to his negligence as father and generally being an oaf and offers to make it up to Goldie which is lovely… In a slightly darker moment Kurt tries to help Goldie to bed to which she screams “please not back in the water barrel!”
… But this is the eighties and Alan Silvestri’s score is mischievous so that’s probably fine.
Turns out there’s been a subplot the whole time about Kurt and his mate starting a crazy gold course. Who knew? After a brief planning sesh Kurt has a flash of inspiration from Goldie’s minted, world travelling past and decides to do a seven wonders themed golfing extravaganza. Apparently, money is good for something after all!
Goldie follows Kurt out one night (instead of trying to escape) and literally sees him shovelling shit for the money to pay for the golf dream. Obviously this only makes her love him even more, proving that money isn’t everything but it does help already rich, kidnapped women understand your potentially sinister motives.
There’s also a restaurant called Crabs R Us. Teehee.
Narratively we then get to crunch time: it’s big pitch day for the seven wonders golf course! Kurt comes straight home afterwards and tells his family / the audience that they got the money which instantly disarms the only real tension this picture attempts.
Kurt is about to be honest about his dastardly kidnap plot but then bottles it and takes Goldie out on the piss instead. She gets seduced by a bottle of $7 fizz (probably Babycham) and a tale of some drowning Portugese folk. Hopefully not the ones from earlier in the film. Oh Kurt. You charmer.
He sweeps Goldie off her feet once more (this time literally) and takes her home. It gets a bit creepy when, post-sex, Kurt tells her “everytime with you is like the first time.” If it wasn’t for the endless buoyant performances of the main cast and generally good-natured score by Alan Silvestri this could really be dark as pitch right now…
In case you were still morally conflicted the director then chucks in A CRAZY CHUFFING GOLF MONTAGE because… eighties baby! What could possibly be wrong?
It all wraps up neatly when the moneyed coke wanker returns to claim his wife, Goldie leaves with him then realises she’d rather be necking beers in a shed with Kurt than quaffing champs on a yacht with the son of Bilderberg. Roddy MacDowell gets to kick him Overboard too which is great as it only makes the title more relevant than before.
In contemporary context this film is just awful. If looked at as a bizarre time capsule of days gone by it’s a borderline psychedelic experience. Partly because it’s imbued with such a ridiculous sense of mischief and a magnetic set of leads but also because this film literally couldn’t exist in the quasi-fascist tolerance of 2017. It’s the sort of plot that would make the PC brigade shit blood all over there Fairtrade brogues but, either because of or in-spite of its ropey morals, this film is now closer to a retrograde art installation than a mainstream comedy.
There’s multiple eccentric subplots ranging from a manically depressed and somewhat obsessive psychiatrist to a liberal butler living under the yolk of his moneyed employers (MacDowell on fine post- Planet Of The Apes fettle). It also happens to have a couple of completely hilarious and impeccably timed jokes about saluting Spaniards and a fat guy blocking some binoculars that would be more at home in a Zucker Brothers picture than a gentle, Stockholm Syndrome flavoured rom-com from the creator of Cheers.
And it’s probably worth recommending sheerly on the basis of that last line of this review alone.