Say Something Nice: GHOST SHIP

Sometimes, all you need are the first five minutes.

Movie fans know all too well that you have to wade through a lot of disappointment to find the good stuff. And it’s not always some binary pile-sorting of "good movies" and "bad movies"; sometimes there’s quality material smack in the middle of the muck. Say Something Nice is dedicated to those gems - memorable, standout, even great moments from movies that...well, aren’t.

I worked in a Cinemark box office the fall of 2002. I just wanted to watch free movies and make a little extra money to help pay for college, but I was given two incomparable gifts out of that short-lived job: 

I met my husband, and way more importantly, I met Ghost Ship

Now, one could argue that Steve Beck's tepid horror flick about a haunted cruise liner pales in comparison to meeting the love of my life, but you're not taking into account Ghost Ship's opening five minutes. Those first five minutes are great. And working at a movie theater meant that I could, and did, schedule my breaks around watching the opening scene of Ghost Ship every single time it screened during a day's shift. Even better: YouTube now means that we can all watch it any time our little hearts desire. Like now, for instance!

So good, right? Here's the bummer. After the credits, Ghost Ship jumps forty years into the future, as a boat salvage crew discovers the wayward SS Antonia Graza, and though that boat salvage crew is headed by America's early-2000s genre movie sweetheart Gabriel Byrne, the modern day action of Ghost Ship never quite lives up to the opening scene's promise. It's not bad - there's some legitimate atmosphere at times, and the characters are likable enough. But it's missing the style and elegance of that opening scene, the dread, not to mention the gnarly-as-hell bodily fractions. 

As a matter of reference, the opening scene of Ghost Ship is so much better than the rest of the movie that the movie even knew it, flashing back to that scene in its entirety in the final act. It's as if Beck is saying, "Look, we know. You miss the first five minutes of this movie. We miss them, too."

Say Something Nice has been an occasionally quite poignant column for Birth.Movies.Death., and I admit that my affection for Ghost Ship is somewhat less sentimental - but no less authentic. Sometimes, when I'm in a bad mood, when I'm feeling restless and nothing on the internet is entertaining me, I will watch this opening scene and be transported back to the Cinemark Tinseltown on South I-35, where I fell in love with a person, and more importantly with a ghost ship.