Tom Hanks plays the title role in “Captain Phillips,” the true story of a cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, that was boarded and taken over by Somali pirates back in 2009.   Barkhad Abdi plays the leader of the four man, Somali pirate crew that goes after the Maersk for a huge payday; but Hanks and his crew do everything in their power to prevent the complete takeover of the Maersk.  Brains against brawn, and for the most part, the brains win.  Until the pirates kidnap Hanks and escape using the Maersk’s lifeboat, heading for Somalia so the pirates can ransom Hanks.

With the U.S. Navy in pursuit, the order is given to not let Hanks reach Somalia.  Navy SEALs are called in to intervene should a peaceful resolution not materialize.  But how can you rescue a man in an enclosed lifeboat with 4 kidnappers who are armed with automatic rifles, ready to kill their hostage if the negotiations go sour?

“Captain Phillips” is a very good thriller/suspense movie that ramps up the tension quickly in the first act and doesn’t let up until the end of the movie.  The moment when things really start heating up is one of my memorable, movie moments of “Captain Phillips.”  That would be the part when Hanks notices two small blips on his radar screen, rapidly closing in on the Maersk.  The feeling I got from watching this is the same when I watched all those nature shows where predators, hunting in packs, move in on their prey.  The hunted may get away, but you just know the hunters will keep coming.

Another memorable moment of “Captain Phillips” is the scene when one Somali pirate calls Abdi a “skinny rat.”  Huh?  That’s like me calling Michael J. Fox short.  With half the country starving and looking like stick figures, these guys need more creative insults.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Captain Phillips” is the first time we get a good look at the outside of the Maersk’s lifeboat.  The damn thing looks like half of a Twin Pod Cloud Car from “The Empire Strikes Back.”  And from the front, it looks like the head of a T-Rex!  What the hell?

My enjoyment of watching this movie was increased because I saw this on a kick-ass, home theater system owned by my friend, Tony.  The screen is so huge (maybe 150 inches diagonally) that you had to move your head sometimes to see everything.   Good movie, good food, better friends.  Life is good.

So, driving home after hanging out with my friends, I got into a situation that I thought may become my own “Captain Phillips” story.  I was at a stoplight, and this scruffy-looking guy walks across past my car, and then he stops and looks at me and holds up a few dollar bills and starts talking to me.  It’s cold, all the windows are up, I have the radio on…I have no idea what the hell this dude was saying.  I shake my head at him — whatever he wanted from me, my answer was no.  Can I get a ride?  Nope.  Do you want to buy drugs?  Nope.  Do you want a hooker?  Nope.  Can you roll down the window so you can hear me?  Nope.  Well, this guy is still holding up cash and asking me something again.  I wave my hand no at him, ready to mash the throttle of my car and run his creepy ass over if he tried to carjack me.  The guy walks away, and I asked my friend next to me what the hell he wanted.  She said he wanted to know if I had quarters for a dollar.  WTF!  Yeah, like I was going to roll my windows down in this shady neighborhood and let this weirdo exchange his dollar for quarters.  Not in this century.

— M