Sam Neill Update: Prime Minister, Soviet Sub Captain, Master Criminal

Sorry I couldn’t think of an overarching theme for this week. It was going to be “Sam Neill: Action Guy”, but I couldn’t really make this first one fit with that. And then I thought maybe “Sam Neill: Forgettable Minor Character” but he’s the main villain–well “villain”–in the last one, so that didn’t work either. Deal with it. Current status of this project: 86% complete, 105 hours.

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999)

Sam Neill's head has no business being the second biggest on this cover

The Movie: This film is based on the true story of Father Damien, a priest who selflessly worked for 16 years in the leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, petitioning the government and church for funds, helping to build houses and plant crops, and eventually dying of leprosy himself.

Sorry I didn't get any pictures of leprosy for you

The colony is a pretty terrible place to be, especially when Damien first gets there. People are forcibly sent there, taken away from their families, and it’s underfunded and lawless, with the few strong less-sick people stealing all the rations. With Damien’s help, global awareness grows, and the government is eventually forced to send them things like beds and a doctor. I was surprised to read that people were being moved there as late as 1969, and some of them are still there. Also, in 2009 Father Damien was made a saint!

The Character: Sam Neill plays the prime minister Walter M. Gibson whose wikipedia page pretty much reads like a ridiculous adventure novel (gunrunning? excommunication? buying a newspaper to tell everyone how great he is? a Pacific empire?). Unfortunately, the version of him Sam Neill plays is much less exciting, mostly limiting himself to weaseling out of giving Father Damien anything, and insisting that leprosy is just a form of syphilis, so clearly those people deserve it for being skanks.

But, hey, sideburns

What I Learned: All about leprosy! Which we are now calling Hansen’s disease. Apparently sufferers stop being contagious after 2 weeks of treatment and about 95% of people are naturally immune.

You should watch this if: you aren’t planning on eating breakfast while watching, unlike me

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

You’ve probably already seen this one, right?

I bet this was a lot more exciting in 1990

The Movie: I know it’s weird that I’ve never seen this, but you know I’m not a huge fan of war movies. I also managed to somehow live 22 years without knowing the basic plot, so I was pretty curious at the outset if Sean Connery was going to be a bad guy or not and how one-dimensional evil the Soviets would be, since this was made during the Cold War. If, like me, you somehow don’t know this plot, let me fill you in. Sean Connery is a USSR submarine captain who, along with his officers, has decided to defect to the US with their super cool awesome new submarine, the Red October.

According to imdb, that hair piece cost $20,000

In the process, he has to keep the US from just firing on him, keep the Russians from sinking the ship so it doesn’t fall into US hands, and save the rest of his crew who don’t know anything about this secret plan. Luckily, the CIA has Alex Baldwin, who can basically read his mind.

Also, Tim Curry is his doctor?

I don’t really understand all of what happened (I admit to completely spacing out during the “dramatic” submarine maneuvers at the end), but after getting the rest of the crew to evacuate because of a fake radiation leak, Sean Connery tricks the pursuing USSR submarine into blowing itself up. Somehow? I don’t know, the point is, he totally makes it to America and the government doesn’t want you to know about it.

Sean Connery/Sam Neill??? I ship it

The Character: Sam Neill plays Captain Vasili Borodin, and he seems to be Sean Connery’s second in command. At one point, he asks Sean Connery if the Americans will “let him live in Montana”, and that his plan is to marry a “round American woman” and raise rabbits and winter in Arizona with a pick up truck and just drive around from state to state, because they let you do that. And I was like “Russian Accent Sam, I will be your round American woman any day.” I would maybe even learn to cook rabbits.

Oh, but you've got to give me that hat. Important part of this deal

Unfortunately, our dreams could never be, since he’s killed by a cook/saboteur right before the submarine version of a Western shoot out. He dies saying how sad he is to never get to see Montana.

What I Learned: Apparently the sonar guy in the US submarine can hear the men singing inside the Red October at one point?? I had no idea sonar was so precise.

You should watch this if you like: war movies; not knowing what’s going on

Framed (2002 TV movie)

Rob Lowe with a New York accent was the main character of this movie, which was super distracting

This cover pretty much says it all

The Movie: Rob Lowe is vacationing with his family in the Bahamas when he happens to run into Sam Neill, famed money launderer. So he catches him! Yay! Then Sam Neill turns state’s evidence, or whatever, to help them get some Russian mob boss, but is convinced that the New York state attorney is crooked and out to get him. Rob Lowe is tricked into helping him escape? Or maybe it was their plan all along? Something like that.

I'm mainly used to Rob Lowe from Parks and Rec, so it was shocking to see him eat a candy bar

A lot of the plot hinges on Rob Lowe’s attempts to get Sam Neill to give him a “secret zip disk” with lots of incriminating data on it. lulz 2002

The Character: Sam Neill is like amoral James Bond, basically.

Just chillin on my boat with my wife and girlfriend. What?

He teaches Rob Lowe’s character about cloth napkins and fancy cooking, and, to make sure he’s not wearing a wire/being tracked, forces him to change clothes into this fancy schmancy suit he bought him.

"Are you giving me fashion tips at gun point?" "Someone has to"

Eventually Sam Neill gets away to live on his boat in the Caribbean with the two beautiful ladies that are right for him, and Rob Lowe gets his precious zip disk. After turning down a handful of diamonds for some reason. Sometimes being the good cop sucks.

What I Learned: In Brooklyn, using cloth napkins is grounds for your wife cheating on you.

You should watch this if: you want to see Sam Neill being ridiculously nonchalant about how fancy he is.

Previously: Dad Edition
Next: Losing My Mind Edition

7 responses to “Sam Neill Update: Prime Minister, Soviet Sub Captain, Master Criminal”

  1. […] Previously: Creepster Edition Next: Prime Minister, Soviet Sub Captain, Master Criminal […]

  2. Uncle Bill says:


    How did you grow up with Commander Ron Ladd (SSBN 630/Blue) for a father and not know about “The Hunt for Red October”?

    If I’m not mistaken, Karol and I might have babysat you while your folks went to an exclusive USN sneak preview/premiere of the film, when they were still living in Charleston.

    And suddenly that thought makes me feel very old……

    But, not as old as Ron Ladd…….

    ; )

  3. mom ladd says:

    You did babysit Trish, while we went that the movie! What a great memory you have Uncle Bill! By the way, we own that movie, and it has been shown several times in the Ladd House. It just goes to show Tricia’s amazing ability to tune anything out around her that she wishes.

  4. Uncle Bill says:

    mom ladd,

    Easy to remember that one. I had read the book years before the movie came out, and I was a bit envious that all y’all got to see it before me – especially given my background working in movie theaters.

    Screening a new “print” always provided the best picture and sound quality – something that is now being rendered meaningless by digital projection technology.

    And now I’m feeling old again……..

  5. Dad Ladd says:

    Bill, you may feel older now, but you did not have a keginator back then. So being older is better in some ways.

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