Blog Post 4 - Movie Stuff
War Dog Movies
This week we’re going to touch base on movies and TV shows that involve the military. We’ll start off with a movie I just watched because it was recommended by a couple of my Marine brothers. Triple Frontier on Netflix is about Veterans stealing a butt load of money from the cartel. The movie is action packed the whole way through and the story is fun and easy to follow. There are scenes involving death, but it leans toward the cinematic rather than gut-wrenching brutality.
In Triple Frontier you also get your typical scenes of closeness and brotherhood intended to depict the bonds that warriors form. The movie does a pretty good job of that; scenes are never too cheesy or unrealistic. The soundtrack is all right as well. I know there’s a Bob Dylan song in there somewhere because I Shazamed it specifically for this. You’re welcome.
I did notice occasional forced use of military lingo. There is a consistent use of phrases like “roger that” or other armed forces buzzwords. It’s important to remember that these movies generally cater to the masses – not the less than ten percent of the United States population that has served. According to the PEW research center, “There were around 20.4 million U.S. veterans in 2016, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing less than 10% of the total U.S. adult population.” Other than that, it was genuinely a fun watch. I give it an entertainment rating of 6/10 and a realistic rating of 4/10.
Let’s peep some other movies. Lone Survivor and American Sniper both have to do with true stories from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They’re good movies. Most of you have probably seen them so I’m not going into detail because they’re probably fresher in your memories than mine. I give them both entertainment ratings of 9. I give realistic ratings of 8 to Lone Survivor and 7 to American Sniper. I never served as a SEAL, or on a sniper team, so my realistic ratings are probably off but there you go.
Major Payne sets a lighter tone. It’s funny as hell and I knew a Marine Vet who couldn’t get enough of it. Damon Wayans portrays a stereotypical battle-hardened Marine Veteran officer. His portrayal is hilarious and it’s heart-warming to see him train a group of misfit young adults. One of my favorite scenes involves the Major telling his version of the well-known bed time story, The Little Engine that Could. According to him, the engine made it through battlefields and railroad tracks painted with severed body parts. Entertainment rating 9.
Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks. Matt Damon. You know the rest.
Band of Brothers and The Pacific go hand in hand. Both are depictions of WWII. In Band of Brothers we see the United States Army fighting the enemy in Europe while The Pacific portrays the United States Marine Corps fighting on the front lines in the islands of the Asian Pacific. Both series are entertaining and realistic. Entertainment ratings of 7 for both of them and realistic ratings of 7 as well. This one gets a nostalgic rating of 10 to pay tribute to our brothers and sisters who paved the way for a prosperous America in those battlefields almost a century ago.
Restrepo is probably the most realistic movie I’ve seen documenting the conflict in Afghanistan. If you want gut-wrenching brutality this is where to find it. For anyone who has never experienced combat, this film puts the viewer as close as it can to the phenomenon from the comfort of his or her couch. It’s a surreal feeling as a Veteran watching it like that, wondering if your brothers and sisters are out there living that in real time. Which they probably are. Realistic rating of 11 and entertainment rating of 6.
Generation Kill. I have a personal fondness for this one. All my Marine brothers agree, it’s probably our favorite. I think it does the best job at depicting what things were like at the beginning of the Iraq War.
The thing that really hit home for me was the way that the Marines were made to be within regulations at all times during their invasion, as if that was one of the most important tasks required of them. This is something that young Marines complain about regularly, and it’s captured almost to a T in this series. “Hitler stash is reg homie.” This is a common phrase meaning, “brother, the Hitler-style mustache conforms with the regulations that we must abide by.” Basically.
It made be cringe at the thought of being obligated to shave my face again. This series is a genuinely good watch and a very good insight into the lives of today’s Marines, over-seas and in general. If you haven’t seen it; watch it.
That’s it for this week everyone. If I didn’t mention your favorite movie or series, stay tuned because I may be writing about them soon. Thanks for reading!