Watching Richard Dreyfuss ham it up as a salty old sailor in the lifeless Lifetime-style period drama "The Lightkeepers" makes you wonder how much he was thinking about his old "Jaws" cast mate Robert Shaw while making the movie. If Dreyfuss was going for Captain Quint's whole fingernails-on-a-chalkboard effect, then he has succeeded, though his overacting may make you wish his ornery old-timer had ended up in the belly of a great white shark too.
But you can't really hate "The Lightkeepers." You can only wish that writer-director Daniel Adams had invested the movie with equal measures of originality and quaintness … and maybe told Dreyfuss to tone down the whole sea captain thing.
Dreyfuss plays Seth Atkins, who tends a lighthouse all by his lonesome in Cape Cod in 1912. One day, an English fop (Tom Wisdom) washes ashore. He claims to have fallen overboard from a steamer. He resists telling Atkins anything more, but the old-timer likes him enough to hire him as an assistant, even though the young man can't crack an egg or use a broom.
What Atkins and John Brown (that's what the mystery man calls himself) share is a hatred of the fairer sex. "Consarn all women!" Atkins says. (Yes, he talks like that all through the movie.) "Amen!" echoes Brown, and the scalawags make a pact that there be "no sparkin' on these premises."