‘The war movie version of ‘Mommy Dearest’ ’:
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill is on the warpath. He thinks Hub Blog and a friend, Christophenberg, who was briefed on the general’s Greatest War Movies of All-Time List (see yesterday’s post), ambushed him by later bringing up movies that he says he distinctly rejected. Savin Hill lashes out at his low-brow critics:
-- A fair, two-star movie that's more travalogue than war movie. We get to see the Australian outback, we get to see Egypt, and of course... a sliver of Gallipoli, at the very end of the movie. The dramatic build-up to the final scene is great, but really -- yawn -- oh-my-futility-of-war-isn't-it-horrible-officer-bastards, blah blah -- yawn. Also, I never really cared that much about the characters. So they were, uh, good runners, so it was particularly tragic that they die? Give me a break. I cheered when the boring blonde runner got shot….
-- A very good, two-and-a-half star movie. The entire movie is a character study of Patton with an absurdly over-the-top, scene-chewing performance by George C. Scott. Who is amusing. In fact, he's so amusing, take him out of that role, and how good is that movie? Not very. It's the war movie version of "Mommy Dearest" -- the scene-chewing holds together the whole movie. You can't look away. The battle scenes all look like they were stock footage pulled from other movies, and aren't particularly realistic. Shooting a donkey doesn't make a war movie. …
-- God how I hate this movie. Take out the POW Russian roullette scene -- and ... oh my, we have "Days of Our Lives" set in a Pennsylvania coal town. Half the characters walk around in the movie sullen, inexpressive and on the verge of tears -- except when they are wildly drunk, which is when they are happy... It's like the director, at every scene said "OK, in this scene you are drunk and happy....and in this scene you are sober and morose" ... Dreadful, dreadful movie. And the ending -- good God. Vietnam vet goes back to rescue his friend -- WHO HAS BECOME A MORSOSE, SULLEN ZOMBIE! But he's a star in the Russian Roulette business (wonder what health benefits are like?). This movie manages to be both improbable AND sappy. Oh ... and he (*sniff*) can't shoot that deer anymore (*sniff*). This would make my list of top 20 WORST war movies.‘My honorable Mom will applaud your selection of 'Zulu'’:
Reader No. 1 also weighs in on The Greatest War Movies on this noble Super Bowl Day, the unofficial American Male Holiday:
“Good topic. And my honorable Mom will applaud your selection of 'Zulu' as #1. Some thoughts:
“1. Private Ryan is a deserving film, but maybe we are a little close to it right now. I agree on Battle of Britain. I enjoyed it (in a theatre!) when I was 10 but it's not in the same league as these others.
“2. How can you leave out Full Metal Jacket!? That would be in my top.
“3. Band of Brothers was fabulous but it isn't really a movie - it was an HBO series. So I'm a nitpicker...
“4. Hamburger Hill (1987) was greatly underappreciated when it came out 9 months after Platoon, plus it was written by a conservative. It's awesome.
“5. Both versions of Henry V - Olivier and Branagh - are worthy.
“6. I would bump up Glory in the listings. The battle sequences are incredible and of course, we always know what we are fighting for.
“My list is too slanted towards newer films, probably because seeing them in theatres leaves a strong impression...”Update
has his own thoughts. Hmmm. Dr. Strangelove. Interesting. ... Full Metal Jacket seems to have been a big oversight, at least on my part. Armchair Gen. Savin Hill doesn't like it. He's very picky.A possible non-hiatus forced hiatus:
Hub Blog is suffering massive spyware problems and may be out of it for a while. … I barely got online to make these posts today. It’s outrageous. I’m plotting to put as much distance between me and anything Microsoft.