In the fascinating documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, from Peter Jackson dives deep into World War I. This is a topic that as an American I am not that on top of since the United States wasn’t really as involved in this one so it’s typically glossed over in history classes so as to get to the second one. This was a wonderful film that colorized a film of soldiers and looks at the brutal nature of the war. It also has narration from WWI Vets recalling the events. This seems like the odds on favourite to win an Oscar for Best Documentary at the 92nd Oscars, if it’s eligible.
As today is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing it felt that mentioning these heroes fighting men from the World War who gave of themselves so that we all could live. If you haven’t had a chance to see this film I know it had a brief run, it is worth the time to go watch it.
This past weekend Full Metal Jacket was on television and I had some time to sit down and watch it. From what I’ve heard it is one of the better Vietnam War movies, and it was on an AFI list and I am trying to make my way through all those movies. It is also a Stanley Kubrick movie and he made many great films in the past. Be prepared for some Spoilers below
Full Metal Jacket could really be considered two separate films, one at boot camp and the other in Vietnam. I really liked the first part as R. Lee Emery was brilliant as the Drill Instructor, and I read somewhere that he ad-libed most of his lines. This had been the extent of what I’ve seen of the movie R. Lee Emery shouting at people. Jame “Joker” Davis, our narrator, is one of the recruits and we watch him go through boot camp with a group of mostly other qualified individual with the exception of Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence who is overweight and can’t do anything right. It is a lighter fare as you can get in a movie about war until the end of boot camp. I was shocked as this section ended, with Leonard going crazy.
The movie then jump about a year and Joker is in Vietnam and working for Stars and Stripes the newspaper for the military, despite being in Vietnam for a while Joker hasn’t see much combat. The Tet Offensive begins soon after we join them in Vietnam. There is an interesting dichotomy here in the movie it is a War movie but also kind of an anti-war movie as symbolized in the Jungian disposition of Joker who wears a peace symbol and have Born to Kill scrawled upon his helmet. This second half was more difficult to watch as we hear from many of the characters they weren’t sure what they were doing in Vietnam or if it was for any good. There were a lot more people dying and things like that as well. The biggest question that remains is will we have a similar depth of films about the current wars in Iraq/Afghanistan.
It was a decent film but I wouldn’t say it was the best movie about Vietnam although many of the films have colored our own understanding of what happened in Vietnam. This like the other Vietnam movies is based on a novel, this time The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford about his experience in Vietnam. If you are a history buff then you are bound to like the movie as it offers a first hand account of life in Vietnam and leading up to it as I don’t remember much being typically said about basic training in most other movies about war.
Apocalypse Now: Redux- I have wanted to see the Directors Cut of Apocalypse Now for year and It finally came up on my Netflix cue. It was a decent movie but those added scenes really slow down the pace of the film. So from now on I am sticking with the Original. Apocalypse Now, is one of the great film about the Vietnam War, I haven’t gotten around to Full Metal Jacket or Platoon yet but Coppola’s masterpiece is great examination of the cost of war. I doubt that we will get any films like this in the year after our current military conflicts as it seems that the military is put upon a pedestal in the United States and the most recent war movies that have come out have all been about World War II and even the couple of war movies about the current war seem to just glamorized it and are self congratulatory.
On the other side of the spectrum a rebirth.
Homestar Runner lives: One of my favorite sites will be back to adding content after a 4 year break this fall. For the uninitiated, Homestar Runner is a flash animation that is wonderfully absurd. It features the antics of Homestar Runner, The Brothers Strong (Mad, Sad, Bad), Marzipan, Bubs, The Cheat, Pom Pom, Coach Z, The Poopsmith and The King of Town. Homestar Runner was huge in the early 2000s. It has a bunch of toons and some great games as well. One of the coolest things about it is there are easter eggs galore. One of the most popular things were Strong Bad Emails. Since the news came out I’ve re-watched some things and they are still funny and the game are still great. If you haven’t see any of this before click on over to Homestar Runner and watch a bunch.