Tuesday, July 07, 2009

All Quiet on the Celluloid Front

I always liked movies as much as the next kid growing up. I remember watching Batman Returns every Saturday morning until the tape nearly gave out. But I never moved beyond a general interest of film until I watched The Usual Suspects and The Godfather back to back one unforgettable afternoon. From them on I couldn't get enough of movies. Old or classic, color or black & white, foreign or domestic - I overtook my parent's Netflix account and drowned the queue in every film I researched. Pretty soon I was renting 25 to 30 movies a month. My high school grades were inversely related to the amount of movies I watched - Fellini and Kurosawa soon replaced Algebra and English. I didn't mind; I was still getting a good education.

Digging through my film library, you will find war movies sprinkled liberally among French New Wave and Quentin Tarantino movies. From Paths of Glory to Black Hawk Down, I cannot resist a good war yarn, which brings me to the question of the day: Why do the few Iraq-based movies suck worse than an asthmatic prostitute? Can a war movie be good without waiting for an honest historical perspective? It took three years after Vietnam for The Deer Hunter to come out. Based on what I've seen, it might take the end of the war in Iraq to produce a good movie about Iraq.

My grades have improved since high school, but unfortunately the time dedicated to watching (and reviewing) movies has been greatly diminished. But in anticipation for the release of The Hurt Locker on Friday, I will take one for the team and review a few of the currently released Iraq war movies in the form of haiku. It turns out the Japanese are good for things beyond tentacle porn.

Please come back tomorrow for the haiku review of In The Valley of Elah. As for The Hurt Locker, I intend to review it in more than seventeen syllables when I see it this weekend.


Kelsey said...

Just out of curiosity, have you seen Generation Kill? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. By far one of the best shows I've ever seen. It was brilliantly done in every respect, and from what I've read, even the accuracy is 100%. Not to mention that it often made me laugh so hard I cried.

The Gaelic Wife said...

Don't forget about two 1970 movies that were more about Vietnam than about either WWII or Korea - Catch-22 and M*A*S*H. Two good movies, IMHO.

Alex said...


Haven't seen Generation Kill, but it's on my Netflix queue.

Gaelic Wife,

Forgot about MASH, but I haven't seen it (also on the queue). Catch 22 was written in '61 before major involvement in Vietnam, but I've only read the book. It would be impressive if the movie was able to interject commentary about Vietnam into a WWII movie.

Doc said...

Why do the few Iraq-based movies suck worse than an asthmatic prostitute? cause all the movie makers are intrested in is making apolitical statement about how bad the military sucks and how we are doing nothing but bullying poor Iraqis.

Can a war movie be good without waiting for an honest historical perspective?
Yes, The Green Berets with John Wayne was made SURING the Vietnam War and it was pretty good and accurate for a movie of its day.

Kelsey, I have seen all of Generation Kill. It was entertaining and not bad over all (I watched it all unlike $%$^$ Battle for Haditha or the IMHO Terribly done Hurt Locker) I would rate its accuracy as about 80% compared to my two tours here. So far, its been the best of the lot though.

Jeff said...

What about "Taking Chance" that was on HBO in February, starring Kevin Bacon?


Alex said...


I don't have fancy pants premium channels. I'll have to rent it.

Jeff said...

Kevin Bacon has appeared in uniform in quite a few movies, most notably in his first effort in the genre, the classic "Animal House."


Alex said...

Which reminds me of my high school GPA. Zero point zero.

I remember when I got my class ranking senior year. They write your rank and then the total number of students in the class. I think we had close to 400. When I got the slip of paper, I wanted to ask the lady, "What the hell is this, my rank or my batting average?"

themorethingschange... said...

Glad to know you're going to see Generation Kill. Got the book after I watched the DVD's. First rate, from a civilian point of view. The good the bad, and the downright stupid.

The book explains that Capt America & Encino Man were Intelligence Analysts before being stuck with Recon Marines.

My father thought I was a little overwrought about Capt America until I sent him the You Tube clip. It totally depressed him to think the officer corps could be so inept. Dad used to use the term "mess up and move up" when talking about officers like Capt American and Encino Man. Don't know what happened to EM but CA got himself a plum job, probably at the Pentagon by now. Anyway, I sent him clips on Iceman, Person, Rudy, & Lt Fick to even things out.

I've always loved war movies, especially the British WWII B&W's. Yeah, I know, not too realistic, but ever so romantic ;)


The Usual Suspect said...

The captcha is "hortrod", which I may attempt at making your new nickname. FYI.

As for the shitty Iraq movies. Hmm. I'm shooting for a digital filmmaking major, and maybe another major that will actually get me a job. I've kicked around the idea of writing a script for an Iraq movie loosely based on my experiences and things I'd heard, without it being pure bullshit or full of cliches that the Army itself doesn't have.

Voicing it in this comment is the most I've done to actually formulate it though. If you want to collaborate ideas through email, I'm down. Think of it like a cattle truck ride or downtime at a JCOP. Gotta do something to pass the time.

Conversations like "Who Would Play Each Of Us In An Insanely High Budget Version Of This" come to mind. We'd also debate which cereal box mascots would win in cage matches.

Anyway, if you want to kick ideas around for shits and giggles, it's the.usual_suspect at the hotmail.

Alex said...


Not a bad idea. I can imagine an original storyline that takes moments from each deployment. We're on the same trajectory, after all. Idealists that get schooled real quick in a 15 month tour, then get their sorry asses back to school. When I space out in class I've thought of the beginning and ending scenes to the movie in my head. It's the middle part that gets me.