It’s been said that truth is stranger than fiction, but a combination of both can certainly be interesting as well, and sometimes provide a smile or a chuckle during difficult moments.
As I was surveying local damage from the recent storm and lamenting my non-call back from DPW and town officials on my snow inquiry, I pondered the real-life drama of this snowstorm and how the events that unfolded would look as a feature film or made-for-TV movie.
I pictured a pre-storm meeting of Emergency Management Officials, with Judge Reinhold holding court as Town Manager Julian Suso, coordinating efforts in anticipation of the “Snow Apocalypse,” the aptly named movie. As the able but tentative Chief Executive issues directives for the storm response, defiant DPW Director Ray Jack, played skillfully by Gary Oldman, protests that he doesn’t want to send plows down roads where people have disagreed with him. Chairman of the Board Kevin Murphy (Louie Anderson), who is on-hand to observe the CEO in action, reasons with the wily DPW Chief, and ensures him that “the world is round for a reason,” and that dissenters like Marc Finneran (Jeremy Irons) will get their just desserts in time.
As the storm begins to swirl around and power goes out, the harried pace of the first responders begins to take its toll. Although Emergency Management Coordinator Shardell Newton (Sally Struthers) attempts to open a shelter at Falmouth High School, she quickly gets distracted by a parade of demonstrators led by State Rep. David Vieira (James Remar) who are incensed that former Selectman Melissa Freitag (Sean Young) did not say the Pledge of Allegiance before the storm began. Police Chief Eddie Dunne (Nicolas Cage) quickly and deftly quells the budding protest, instead convincing State Rep. Tim Madden (Alec Baldwin) to deliver an impassioned and motivational pep talk for the plow drivers, led by DPW Highway Guru John Lyons (Mike Starr).
Chief Dunne then pairs up with some of his best men in blue to foil an effort to take over the airwaves at Channel 13. In an attempt to overthrow the local government by influencing the viewing public, a disgruntled but brilliant and crafty Joe Netto (Joe Pesce) has stormed the channel 13 offices and held FCTV leader Deb Rogers (Goldie Hawn) captive and takes to the small screen to air his dissent. Led by veteran Officer KC Clarkson (Dennis Franz) and a strike team of local crime fighters including Lt. Jeff Smith (Jason Alexander), Sgt. Chris Hamilton (Dolph Lundgren), Det. Bob Murray (Ron Perlman) and Officers Ruben Ferrer (Antonio Banderas) and George Cabral (Bob Newhart), the officers successfully diffuse the situation by convincing Joe that the administration of local affairs will be returned to the Halcion days of Falmouth Town Government by bringing back the winning team of Eddie Marks (Wilford Brimley), Matt Patrick (William H. Macy) and Pat Flynn (Estelle Getty) to lead the community. Joe gladly stands down, and heads to Winston’s for a drink.
Meanwhile, the storm rages on and an anxious public looks to their current leaders to respond to the lack of plowing, as the DPW Director is now holed up in his office on Gifford Street. A delegation from the Board of Selectmen, including Brent Putnam (Crispin Glover) and David Braga (Randy Quaid) attempt to reason with the public works chief to no avail. Instead, Town Clerk Michael Palmer (Tommy Lee Jones) is deputized to oversee the town’s storm response, and takes command, delegating and managing like a pro, restoring both the town’s infrastructure and the peoples’ confidence to suitable levels.
For his efforts, Palmer is awarded a gold deputy’s badge by the team of former Police Chiefs Anthony Riello (Dominic Chianese) and Dave Cusolito (James Gandolfini).
At the conclusion of the storm, life slowly returns to normal, as a weary but grateful public takes to the pages of the Enterprise, under the steady and trusted hand of Publisher Bill Hough (David Strathairn), for a reliable recap of the whirlwind event.
What a movie that would make.