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Comments

Rick

Even in We Were Soldiers, Hollywood attempted to show christianity in a tinted light. Not sure that they tried to portray heroism either. I was more taken by the almost suicidal singlemindedness of the Air Cavalry...at least in those first skirmishes.

But anyway, better pictures of the day to day grind of modern warefare can be found in episodes of Tour of Duty. That TV series played on the people aspect and barely touched drugs and prostitution.

Also China Beach, for a good update without the slapstick on the M*A*S*H idea. That show went into everyting equally. It appeared to have no bias over the total run.

Mickmac

Personally 90% of what comes out of Hollywood that we get to see here doesn't interest me.

I think it's interesting that PG and G movies make more money than x rated and R16 plus.

Anyone seen the weatherman with Nicolas Gage?
Can you tell me why you think it got the rating it did?

the language and violence was minimal compared to other film rated such as it was.

Rick

Perhaps the Americans thought that an average guy with a long bow was suggestive of terrorist activities. They're a funny bunch sometimes.

baxta

A movie based on James Clavell's epic "Whirlwind" would provide an insight into the turmoil in the Middle East. Although written as a commentary on Iran following the ascension of Khomeini, it seems clear little has changed and as always Clavell's research and analyses is impeccable...Most of his other novels have been made into successful blockbuster and it is hard to see how this one could fail.

Psycho Milt

"The cynics of today describe these films as propaganda - at the time they were considered morale boosters."
The Jerries made some pretty good "morale booster" movies during WW2 as well. Personally, I'd rather see something that wasn't trying to manipulate my emotions to promote somebody's war effort.

On the other hand, when did I ever see a Hollywood movie that wasn't trying to manipulate my emotions? Best not to watch.

Andrei

Even in We Were Soldiers, Hollywood attempted to show christianity in a tinted light. Not sure that they tried to portray heroism either.

I'm not sure what you are getting at here.

Two of the characters were portrayed as devout Catholics - as they were in real life.

One of them gave his life rescuing a wounded comrade under fire - as did happen in real life to that man, John Geoghegan , and that seems very heroic to me.

PM

In real life there are heroes and villains with most of us somewhere in between. It is good to laud our heroes and use them as role models.

For example I referred in my post to a 1943 movie "Action in the Atlantic" which bought attention to the hardships and dangers merchant sailors were facing at that time.

A little known fact is the the British Merchant service had the highest casualty rate of all British services in WW2 and they were officially non combatants.

Are you glad that those men risked and lost their lives crossing the Atlantic. Do you think that what they did and the hardships they endured were worthwhile. You are after all a beneficiary of their great sacrifice. Their story isn't glamorous, they were ordinary working men - you would begrudge them a movie, telling their story?

Why?

peter

Not sure of the point of this thread, but suffice to say, if you see one movie a year or so that is plenty.

Psycho Milt

...you would begrudge them a movie, telling their story?

Certainly not. But I'd begrudge a govt exploiting their sacrifice and heroism for its own purposes, which is what propaganda movies are. If there are no Hollywood writers to make more govt propaganda right now, that's absolutely a Good Thing.

Are you glad that those men risked and lost their lives crossing the Atlantic. Do you think that what they did and the hardships they endured were worthwhile. You are after all a beneficiary of their great sacrifice.

I'm not sure to what extent, if any, my present happiness is dependent on England having pursued a successful war against Germany. But that doesn't really matter - their efforts are neither magnified nor diminished by our attitudes, no matter what they might be.

For scriptwriters assigned to write about the Iraq War, there are more relevant facts: at the beginning of WW2 it was traditional to see your duty as being to assist your country's war effort. On this basis, large numbers of Germans also made great sacrifices and behaved heroically in the Atlantic to prosecute their country's war aims. After the war though, the victors set up war crimes tribunals, at which the United Nations retrospectively held the German and Japanese peoples to a higher duty - the duty not to participate in an aggressive war for national self-interest. If you're disappointed no writers have made propaganda for the Vietnam or Iraq wars, look no further than the lessons of Nuremberg.

Andrei

On this basis, large numbers of Germans also made great sacrifices and behaved heroically in the Atlantic to prosecute their country's war aims

There is a movie about that. And an exceptionally good movie it is.

Rick

I'm not sure what you are getting at here.

The catholic chapel scene borders on trying to show christianity in a brainwashing type of context. It was done brutally, as if the writer was saying:

"yep, it's all brainwashing. We were "crusaders"..."

A common theme for people who like to bash christianity. Had they done it correctly it would have highlighted the context more clearly, most importantly, these young guys were off to war with a fairly low life expectancy. They weren't going shopping after church on Sunday - but the impression you get is that suburban christians leave church every sunday with the same mentality.

The traditional view of heroism is that the hero is resigned to his destiny before it begis, he lives with death under fire, gives of himself and returns alive to celebration and praise for his deeds. None of this was followed in that film. The example you give, the "hero", while he may display gallantry, seems to court death rather than live beside it. It sounds a subtl difference but the difference is huge. the "hero" has suburbanitis, no awareness of his soul or desire to live. That is a commmon twisting of the hero theme in modern films: you're good enough till you're dead. A traditonal war hero lives after his ordeal.

Rick

cont,

...the modern hero is reluctantly caught up in events outside his control and does reconcile himself before hand. Too late he realises that he is a lost boy in a big world. His path is not his own. His reluctance changes to loss, sadness and desire for death.

The old hero prayed with his god and found peace before entering battle. The suggestion is his god guided and carried him through safely. Big difference.

Rick

that should read:

" the modern hero...does not reconcile himself before hand..."

Rick

first post should also read:

"...you're not good enough till you're dead..."

I'd use preview but something's up at my end and if I click to preview the whole site times out. Clear as mud? LOL

PhilBest

Actually, the currently prevailing political correctnesses that Hollywood subscribes to have a common denominator. They are "anti Christian". If it undermines Christian values or the place of Christian nations or leaders in history, they will do it.

Rick's quote above "we were crusaders" is appropriate. Apparently Christianity is at fault for picking a fight with the peace-loving Muslims around about the year 1098. The preceding 300 years of Muslim invasions and conquests, extending to territories like Spain, and France, and Constantinople, has been airbrushed out of the history as taught in our institutions today. This is just one extreme example.

Psycho Milt

"There is a movie about that. And an exceptionally good movie it is."

Agreed. What makes it a good movie? Not least is the fact that it doesn't eulogise a group of heroes, but portrays what a bunch of poor sods with no real choice in the matter had to go through in wartime. That kind of movie I can appreciate.

peter

The motives of Hollywood houses are known to be questionable.

For example, do they still promote the habit of cigartte smoking in their movies? I have read that the prevalence of smoking in movies has exceeded that in society for some years now. Some "voluntary" controls were to be agreed to..

Sam Finnemore

Wait - so serious-minded films about the consequences of violence aren't pulling mass audiences? Could this be the hottest story of the year??

People still pay plenty to watch Hollywood actors saving the world with big explosions (a handful from this year: Die Hard, Transformers, The Shooter, and so on). It's not exactly as if we are starved for flag-waving fare at the cinemas, but people don't seem to mind that as long as plenty of things are being blown up, so those films do fine. And why not? I paid good money for The Bourne Ultimatum, which is basically just a series of car crashes glued together with jerky cameras in small rooms, and wasn't disappointed.

But serious gritty films are never going to dominate the box office. Above all, people want escapism out of their movies, and given the blanket coverage of Iraq and the war on terror, I can fully understand why audiences decide that they want to spend their money on something else. And of course, people don't go for politics, they go for entertainment and acting, and not all of these movies are good in those respects - in the words of the famous internet law, 95 percent of everything is crud. Bad word going around further reduces the audience for these more thoughtful films, which isn't huge in the first place.

So I think your connection of the two trends is very weak, because one of them - small audiences for politicised films - has been going on just about forever, and only a fraction of the writers on strike produce this kind of thing anyway. Many of them write completely apolitical sitcoms and escapist drama series such as Heroes, which I will definitely miss if (as planned) they end up cutting their season storyline short because of the strike.

But yeah. Incidentally, Paul Verhoeven's Black Book is supposed to be a very good WW2 entry as well... not political, but an entertaining thriller/spy romp. Now that I will pay money to see.

Danyl Mclauchlan

And heroism will be back in fashion.

The film critic Pauline Kael wrote in one of her reviews (I think it was for Schindler's List) that all war movies are fundamentally dishonest; she argued that the only honest war movie would be one that showed vast numbers of helpless civilians being murdered for no rational reason, with no justice or salvation at the end.

That's certainly what most of the conflicts that have occurred during the 20th century consisted of: such a film will never be made, of course, because it would be unwatchable. People like Andrei still cling to these childlike notions that warfare is about heroism - in reality its almost always about senseless mass murder dressed up as moral justice.

peter

Quite correct Danyl. Andrei is not on about 20th/21st century warfare.

Iraqis and Afghans won't queue up to witness an honest portrayal because that would mean huge "collateral damage" - i.e. deaths of mothers, daughters, children.

If heroism is your thing Andrei, you should be able to get a copy of "Camelot" or one of the many "Robin Hood" movies. Now there is real mythology for you.

Andrei

Perhaps Danyl someone should make a war movie about this then.

It would fit Pauline Kael's narrative perfectly.

While airbrushing this from our collective conscience.

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