Memo: John Wayne is Dead, and Arnie Has a Day Job

To: Providers of our Movie & TV Entertainment
From: Sgt Mom
Re: Lack of Spine and Relevant Movies

1. So here it has been nearly three years since 9/11, two years since the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a year since the thunder run from the Kuwait border to Baghdad, and all we get from you is a TV movie, a couple of episodes from those few TV serials that do touch on matters military, and a two-hour partisan hack job creatively edited together from other people’s footage. Ummm… thanks, ever so much. Three years worth of drama, tragedy, duty, honor, sacrifice, courage and accomplishment, and all we get is our very own Lumpy Riefenstahl being drooled over by the French. Where is the “Casablanca”, “So Proudly We hail”, “Wake Island”, “They Were Expendable”? My god, people, the dust had barely settled over the Bataan surrender, before the movie was in the theaters. You people live to tell stories— where are ours? What are we fighting for and why, who are our heroes and villains, our epics and victories?

2. And it’s not like other media people have been laying down on the job: writers, reporters, bloggers have been churning out stories by the cubic foot: the brave passengers taking back Flight 93, the stories of people who escaped the towers, and those who helped others escape, as well as those who ran in, the epic unbuilding of the Trade Center ruins. What about the exploits of the Special Forces in Afghanistan, on horseback in the mountains with a GPS, directing pinpoint raids on Taliban positions, the women who ran Afghanistans’ underground girls’ schools? What about Sgt Donald Walters, Lt. Brian Chontosh, the 3rd ID’s fight for the strong points at Larry, Curley and Moe and a dozen others. There’s enough materiel for the lighter side, too: Chief Wiggles, Major Pain’s pet turkey, the woman Marine who deployed pregnant and delivered her baby in a war zone, the various units who have managed to bring their adopted unit mascots back from the theater. (Do a google search, for heaven’s sake. If you can’t handle that, ask one of the interns to help.) The shelves at my local bookstore are pretty well stocked with current writings on the subject, memoirs, reports, thrillers and all. Some stories even have yet to be written; they are still ongoing, and even classified, but I note that did not stop the movie producers back then: they just consulted with experts and made something up, something inspiring and convincing.

3. Of course, actually dealing with a contemporary drama in the fight against Islamic fascism would mean you would have to actually come down out of Hollywood’s enchanted world, and actually, you know… speak to them. Ordinary people, ordinary, everyday people, who don’t have agents and personal trainers and nannies, and god help them, they don’t even vote for the right people, or take the correct political line. Some of them (gasp) are even military, and do for real what movies only pretend to do… and besides, they have hold to all these archaic ideals like honor, duty, and country. (Ohhh, cooties!)

4. And since even mentioning the Religion of Peace ™ in connection with things like terrorism, mass-murder, and international plots for a new caliphate is a guarantee to bring CAIR and other fellow travelers seething and whining in your outer office… ohh, best not. Drag out those old villainous standby Nazis, or South American drug lords, even the odd far-right survivalist for your theatrical punch-up, secure in the knowledge that even if you piss off what few remains of them, at least they won’t be unleashing a fatwa on your lazy ass, or sending a suicide bomber into Mortens’. Just ignore the three large smoking holes in the ground; cover your eyes and pretend it away. Never happened, religion of peace, all about oil, la-la-lah, fingers in my ears, I can’t hear you.

5.To make movies about it all, is to have to come to grips with certain concepts; among them being the fact that we are all potential targets for the forces of aggressive Islamo-fascism, that it is not anything in particular which we have done to draw such animus, and that we are in this all together, and that we must win, for the consequences of not winning are not only unbearable for us all… but they would be very likely to adversely affect you, too. I would expect an industry dependent on the moods and fashions amongst the public at large to have a better feel for what would sell… but I guess denial is more comfortable, familiar space, Sept. 10th is what you know best.

6. Still, if you could pass a word to Lumpy Riefenstahl, about getting signed releases, for footage, interviews and newsprint. It would be the courteous gesture towards all the little people for whom he professes to care, and save a bit of trouble in the long run.

Thanks
Sgt Mom

5 thoughts on “Memo: John Wayne is Dead, and Arnie Has a Day Job

  1. Eh, they’d screw it up, per your post about Hollywood & the Military. I mean, do you really want a movie that will portray military folk as either Uberhuman Saviors of the World or Pathetic Victims in Need of a Hug? Viet Nam cornered the market on pussy vets, and I’m sure there’s a few veterans who resent that the only thing they and their war are known for are skanky college kids and screwy vets who couldn’t cope with the world.

    People give old WWII movies a bad rap, but I see layers of complexity and good characterizations that aren’t found in a lot of entertainment today. Hell, my psuedonym’s character in Sands of Iwo Jima isn’t some two-dimensional joke. The guy was an alcoholic, a bad father, and a guy who had problems of his own, but he managed to carry-on and do his job anyway. I don’t think you’d see anything like that come out of a writer’s head today. They’d have to explore Stryker’s nuerosis’ and make him into some sort of tragic hero instead of a guy who was just trying to get by in the world and keep his guys alive at the same time. Or, they’d make him into a tortured soul who can barely deal with everything he sees. Either way, he would be a weak character if the movie were made today and the flick would probably suck.

    As far as recent history goes, the only big movie to come out of the Gulf War was Three Kings, which was pretty good, but there had to have been more stories to tell than that.

    The only other military movies of note have been SPR, Band of Brothers, and Kelly’s Heroes. They all dealt with WWII. Just about all of the Viet Nam movies have been Platoon remade over and over again, and from a pure film standpoint, Platoon was a so-so movie.

  2. You may be overlooking the obvious. Hollywoods HAS MADE one movie about the current war in Iraq. It’s called Farenheit 911. Maybe Hollywoods doesn’t think that anyone else could top that one’s box office.

  3. You must have overlooked paragraphs 1 and 6.

    And as far as I know, Hollywood didn’t make that film, Lumpy did.

  4. Well, as far as the quality of a movie goes, compare Tora! Tora! Tora! to Pearl Harbor

    Some of the film-making choices, such as the hospital material in Pearl Harbor, are different ways of showing the same event. But overall it’s a terrible film.

    And add to that the time needed to make a film. It’s a much longer process these days.

    Finally, while there may be something in production, I’d be surprised if anything were released before the Election. And getting the political overtones of the movie wrong could be a killer.

    Even “Casablanca” had the luck of being released at the time of Operation Torch, so people had heard of the place.

  5. Firstly I will take your comments re loonie vets as coming mainly from the SVN campain as the dribble of someone who has no clue. Yes there are those morons who clamber around the likes of Kerry however how dare you sully the memory of the 58,000 or so who gave thier lives in that godforsaken place by your ignorant generalisation. The percentages of loonies I would dare to say is no higher or lower than that of WW2, Korean or any other veterans.I would suggest that you keep to the facts-if you cant go join up with the Kerry brigade

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