Religion And Politics In Films About The Vietnam War

29 06 2008

A looong thesis “RELIGION AND POLITICS IN FILMS ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR” with some new ideas. Starts to be interesting from the page 10 down.

QUOTE: The metaphor of motion pictures helps explain a two-sided emotion: the feeling of participating in events far beyond ordinary experience (blown up on a huge screen) yet being powerless to control the outcome of the story. He feels at once the heady self importance of the movie star and the helplessness of the moviegoer, impotent to affect the actions unfolding on the screen.

By the late sixties, soldiers turned against the war in droves. Many of them wrote UUUU on their helmets, representing the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful.

An Essay on The Deer Hunter

20 06 2008

Sidetracks: Tropic Thunder

14 06 2008

Hmmmm… after all I might go and see “Tropic Thunder” movie… only to watch Robert Downey Jr. playing a black soldier.   

Inquirer Entertainment


Two familiar names working on the movie




(…)he writing team consulted with famed military advisor Dale Dye to make sure the military action and jargon depicted in the film ?s war sequences were accurate. (…) Then to continue that authenticity throughout production, Warrior Inc. ?s advisors Mark Ebenhoch and Mike Stokey were on set as technical advisors for the first few weeks of filming the Vietnam battle sequences.

Sidetracks: Crazy me…

11 06 2008

Bought an MP3 player for a trip. One with a radio. And what happens? Was just learning the buttons when I heard “Camouflage” on one of the frequencies. After a few seconds I realized that it is the single version of the song, there is a slight difference in the background music, but knowing the piece so good I recognized it immediately. The single version is really rare, in the last 20 years I’ve heard it 3 times (included last night). The MP3 player has a record button and I was able to record so much of it that I at least have an evidence it exists at all.
I see it as a good sign for the little device. Crazy me.

Claymore: The Origin of the Name

10 06 2008

From Wikipedia, some source research:

QUOTE: The term claymore from Scottish Gaelic claidheamh m?r, “great sword”) may refer to one of two distinct types of Scottish broadswords. Originally it referred to a two-edged broadsword with a cross hilt, of which the guards were usually turned down, used by the Highlanders of Scotland. The name was then applied to the single-edged basket-hilted sword adopted in the 16th century and still worn as the full-dress sword in the Highland regiments of the British Army.

The M18A1 Claymore is a directional anti-personnel mine used by the U.S. military. It was named after the large Scottish sword by its inventor, Norman A. MacLeod. The Claymore fires shrapnel, in the form of steel balls, out to about 100 meters across a 60? arc in front of the device. It is used primarily in ambushes and as an anti-infiltration device against enemy infantry. It is also of some use against soft-skinned vehicles.

Cast & Crew: Tom Berenger Interview

10 06 2008

The Good Fight
By Betsy Model, September 27, 2007

from Cigar Aficionado
It seems that non film magazines make interviews with actors differently, and sometimes better. They seem to have broader perspective than the usual movie talk. And women write different than men, that’s for sure.

Quote: There may be all of those characters in the impatience Berenger can exhibit when discussing Hollywood, but the one you listen for — the one you half fear and half desire — is Sergeant Barnes from Platoon.

Berenger himself was certain he could bring Barnes to life on the screen, but there were some initial doubts by others.

Berenger managed on screen to define the notion of walking wounded, the kind of dull and incessant emotional pain that renders a man inhuman, to an extraordinary and chilling degree.

“I remember reading the script and thinking ‘whoa,'” says Berenger, “and I never doubted I could do it. I had a handle on it. I knew that Oliver had doubts and I knew that Dale [Dye] had doubts, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with [the role]. I could see them being worried, but I wasn’t.”

“Early on, when I first started in the movie business,” says Dye. “I barely knew one actor from another and certainly had no clue about things like heart, emotion, insight and talent that an actor needs to bring a role to life. So in my infinite wisdom at the time, I took a look at Tom’s head shot — a handsome, soulful, sensitive photo — and said, ‘There’s no damn way this weenie can play Sgt. Barnes.’ [Oh, my, I can literally hear Dye saying this words!]

“What I decided to do,” Dye continues, “was challenge him a bit, work some reverse psychology and tell him I didn’t think he had the right stuff. My hope was that he’d step up and try to prove me wrong and he damn sure did that. What I found was a guy who was not only a spectacularly talented actor but a tough guy for real, and someone who would have made an outstanding combat soldier.”

I think this is something I’ve never read before:

QUOTE: After graduating from the University of Missouri with a double major in communications and film editing, Berenger was lucky enough to immediately land a job working at a film production and editing studio in Kansas City. Specializing in training films, film footage of professional sporting events and documentaries, the little production company (which, interestingly enough, had also been the starting point for director and producer Robert Altman, years earlier) provided experience for Berenger in every facet of film production, except acting.

Berenger moved to New York to take acting lessons and within six months, he says, he was landing work.

There is also a little story about an influence his movie Looking for Mr Goodbar had on Berneger. Which somehow reminds me of strange chains of occurrences that sometimes happen to me… Maybe it is something about Gemini, like we are attracting weirdness or something.

Nick Wetherby’s blog

9 06 2008

Sigh. It’s always the same. One wants only to check facts for a quick replay on a forum, and gets carried away for an hour. Or two…

On IMDB Platoon site of movie connections I found following:
References: Pinocchio (1940) Moby Dick (1956)

While Moby Dick is clear (and recognized at last), what the **** Pinocchio has to do with Platoon?!? 


Actually I was checking something for IMDB discussion, but found Ric Wetherbee Public Journal instead. Good written stories in that blog, still have to check the other entries, but actually I shall be working now… anyway, some lines:

QUOTE: (…) when assigned to Vietnam as a spec 4, and instant squad leader, (for the first time) it was evident that my bag of tricks had to change for this setting. Just how does one motivate men to risk the ultimate sacrifice, day after day trying to do something they do not wish to do in a place they do not want to be? For me, this was going to require something I had yet to invent. The Army’s way of doing it was not going to be adequate here. We had to escalate to a higher plane than simply following orders. (…)

Nearly forty years later, I should not be surprised when meeting some of these same men, that they might still hold me in contempt. I believe that those for whom I had daily life and death responsibility, understood. Others did not, and likely never will. I didn’t’ need their approval then, and while it would be nice to move on and put it behind us, I still do not.

It was a horrible, nearly impossible task we were given. We found ways to make it work.

The 1986 movie Platoon was incredibly cathartic for me. It was the first realization that I was not the only person who had made inhuman adjustments in order to find ways to lead in that setting.

While I did not shoot any of my own men, I did all the other things of the Sgt. Barnes character in the movie. In the plot, he was easily percieved as the bad guy. For me, Oliver Stone did a marvelous job of recreating this almost mystical persona who successfully drove his men to get the job done.

We were not asked to win a popularity contest. But we were also not equipped with any sane, humane way to carry out the tasks. It required finding our own way, and that’s how some of us did it. I am not saying that my choices were right, and certainly, often were not popular. But when I was scrambling to find a way to do what needed to be done, these choices worked for me.

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