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Friday Film Fest: Kurt Russell

Drew (Kurt Russell) and Karen (Meryl Streep) listen intently to their union rep regarding the safety of the company

Drew (Kurt Russell) and Karen (Meryl Streep) listen intently to their union rep regarding the safety of the company

Silkwood- 1983


Back in the 1970's, a work-life balance was never heard of and when you're working at a plant, chances are you're probably working more than you should be.

Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep) her boyfriend Drew Stephens (Kurt Russell) and roommate Dolly Pelliker (Cher) work together at the nuclear plant of Kerr-McGee Cimaron Fuel Fabrication Site near Crescent, Oklahoma. They put in long hours and when not working share a house nearby.

When Karen forgets to ask for the weekend off so that she can visit her three children in Texas, she asks her co-workers if someone will cover her shift. Her close friend at the plant, Gilda (E. Katherine Kerr) reluctantly agrees, even though her husband Curtis (J.C. Curtis) won't like it.

The three travel to Texas and Karen finds out that her common-law husband is moving to the other side of the state for work and taking the children. This shocks and depresses Karen and when she gets to work on Monday morning, Gilda tells her that the plant was shut down for the weekend due to a leak.

She tells her that their section was contaminated and the rumor is Karen was behind it since she wanted the weekend off. Angry, Karen goes to tell Drew where their union rep, Quincy (Henderson Forsythe) tells her that the company needed someone to blame for the closure.

Karen is soon transferred and works with Winston (Craig T. Nelson) who wants more than a working relationship with her as she begins to see how he's falsifying negatives.

One night as Drew and Karen are in bed, they hear Dolly come home with someone and they try not to laugh, but they don't know until the next morning that she's a lesbian and brings home local funeral home beautician Angela (Diana Scarwid) who's separated from her husband.

After Dolly and Angela leave, they tell each other that they're fine with the relationship and when they come home from shopping later that day, they see Angela moving into the house.

Following an impromptu birthday celebration for Gilda, Karen is reprimanded by their boss Hurley (Bruce McGill) and told that she has to stay after work to clean up the mess. As she's leaving the room and monitors herself, the radiation detector goes off and she's taken to the showers.

She starts to read union materials and becomes interested in helping the union by joining the negotiating committee since a special vote is coming up to possibly dissolve the union.

While she gets deeper into union business, she, Quincy and fellow co-worker Morgan (Fred Ward) travel to Washington, D.C. and meet with Paul Stone (Ron Silver) to air their grievances and also hold a secret meeting with the Atomic Energy Commission. She brings up her own issues to Stone and he tells her to get as much evidence as she can.

Back home, Quincy is showing off the slides of their trip and one which show her and Stone together gives Drew enough ammunition to leave her and the company. He's also unhappy with the situation at the house and decides to open up his own auto repair company since he's been helping people with their automotive problems.

The union is narrowly saved and Karen intensifies her work with them which alienates her from her co-workers. No one wants to be seen talking to her for fear that they'll lose their job.

During one union meeting, two doctors are brought in (along with Stone) and they tell those in attendance about the dangers of radiation.

Following another positive radiation detection, Karen has to bring in urine samples daily and after another positive detection, the company goes to her house and strips it of everything. They assure her that they'll help her.

Drew, Dolly and Karen make arrangements to travel to Los Alamos where they get tested and Karen finds out that she has been exposed, but not at a drastic level that the company has been telling her.

With what she thinks is enough evidence, she agrees to meet with a reporter from The New York Times following a union meeting goes to meet with the reporter but never makes it after being in an unexplained accident.

A year later, the company shuts down and Karen's death is ruled as an accident.

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Lucky, Kay (Goldie Hawn) and Hazel (Christine Lahti) welcome in the New Year as the war continues

Lucky, Kay (Goldie Hawn) and Hazel (Christine Lahti) welcome in the New Year as the war continues

Swing Shift- 1984


On the eve of December 6,1941, life was good for Kay Walsh (Goldie Hawn) and her husband Jack (Ed Harris) but the next morning everyone's lives would change following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Jack tells her that he's going to enlist in the Navy and will be able to send her $23.75 a month after she tells him that she can get a job. He won't let her go to work, but while he's gone, she does anyway.

After being hired at the MacBride Aircraft Company as a riveter, she bumps into her neighbor Hazel (Christine Lahti) and introduces herself. Hazel isn't impressed with Kay due to the fact that she and Jack would make fun of her when they saw he go to work.

At work, Kay meets Lucky Lockhart after she injures him. She finds out that he's the Leadman and he becomes attracted to her and always asks her out, but she refuses his offers since she's devoted to Jack.

As Kay's being pursued by Lucky, she misses her bus one night and sees Hazel ride off on her bike where she says something to Kay. Lucky offers Kay a ride home in his sidecar and as they pass Hazel, she waves to her.

But, Hazel has problems of her own, since her boyfriend Biscuits (Fred Ward) is busy playing the field and accidently runs her off the road.

When Hazel gets home, Kay sees that she's hurt and the bike is bent so she invites her in for a cup of tea. She finds out that Hazel isn't as bad as she thought and tells her that she's always been envious of her and imagined that she had an exciting career. Hazel tells her that she's a singer, but works most of the time as a taxi dancer.

The two begin a close friendship and eventually Lucky joins them on their adventures as he and Kay have started an affair.

Jack has come home unexpectantly for forty-eight hours and while Kay tries to hide it, he figures out that she's having an affair with Lucky. When he leaves, he tells her that he'll stay in touch while he tries to figure everything out and what their future might hold.

Lucky decides to quit MacBride and joins a band that's heading out east to tour.

When the war is over, Jack and Kay (both unemployed) try to make a go of their marriage while new opportunities have arisen for the country.

It's interesting to note that in this movie, Russell is somewhat reunited with Ward and Sudie Bond both from Silkwood and of course this is the movie that launched the real life love affair with he and Hawn.

Also, if that one singer looks familiar, it's Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go's fame. It drove me crazy trying to figure out who she was.

Jennifer Ramsey (Emmy Rossum) and her father Robert stare into the capsized ocean liner's lobby hoping to escape the fire

Jennifer Ramsey (Emmy Rossum) and her father Robert stare into the capsized ocean liner's lobby hoping to escape the fire

Poseidon- 2006


As an overprotective father Robert Ramsey takes his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel) on a holiday cruise. The cruise won't end for one of them as the Poseidon meets with disaster at midnight on New Year's Eve when it's capsized by a rogue wave.

Prior to the capsizing, Jennifer and Christian stop in the main salon where Robert's in a heated poker game. He's not happy with how she's dressed and before leaving blows his hand. Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillion) finds humor at the coldness she displays toward him.

The couple go to one of the nightclubs on the ship to welcome in the New Year and once the ship turns over, Robert's main goal is to find her and joins up with a small group who escape the salon before it eventually floods killing the survivors inside.

Upon finding Jennifer and Christian, the group must fight their way to safety when Robert and "leader" Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas) often bump heads on the route to safety.

While the group of rag tag survivor's race against the rising water, Ramsey makes a decision that will help them survive, but it could also cost him his life as he gives his permission to Christian to marry Jennifer once safely off the sinking ship.

Loaded with drama and some good special effects, this is a good entry as a remake, but of course nothing compares to the original.

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