October 13, 2008

America proven frivolous.

At least as far as movies are concerned:
Warner Bros.’ Leonardo DiCaprio-Russell Crowe starrer “Body of Lies” and Universal’s “The Express” were sacked at the weekend box office as moviegoers once again resisted Middle Eastern terrorist pics and sports dramas.

Instead, Disney holdover “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” stayed at No. 1 in its second sesh, declining a slim 40% to an estimated $17.5 million from 3,218, while Sony Screen Gems’ horror title “Quarantine” came from behind to place No. 2 in its opening, grossing an estimated $14.2 million from 2,461 runs, according to Rentrak....

Ridley Scott’s big-budget “Body of Lies,” about a conflicted CIA agent tracking terrorists in the Middle East, grossed an estimated $13.1 million from 2,710 to come in a disappointing No. 3. Many thought the pic, sold as an actioner, would win the sesh based on its star power alone.
Or do you think it's decidedly not frivolous of us to eschew serious messages from Hollywood and use movie-going mainly as a lightweight escape? (That's basically the insight achieved by the protagonist in "Sullivan's Travels.") One thing is obvious: People do not want dramas about the Middle East.


Salamandyr said...

I think it would be more accurate to say, America does not want dramas about the Middle East where America is the bad guy.

Simon said...

Ann said...
"One thing is obvious: People do not want dramas about the Middle East."

Too general. One thing is obvious: people do not want thinly disguised attacks on our policy in Iraq from hollywood liberals and foreigners. We can't assess your more general statement ("dramas about the Middle East") unless we have some examples of dramas that are more supportive of our efforts there.

LarsPorsena said...

Let's see "Valley of Elah, Redacted,
War Inc., Stop Loss, Grace is Gone,
Lions for Lambs", etc., etc.; Hollywood just can't decide who they should root for in this war.

Salamandyr said...

As far as I know, none of those films are doing all that well overseas either, where supposedly they would find more fertile soil.

Perhaps what this really says is that people don't want turgid moralizing from immature hypocrites in what they properly consider to be an entertainment medium.

mcg said...

Movies are entertainment. That doesn't mean they have to be funny or shallow, but it does mean they have to be entertaining. That also doesn't mean they aren't allowed to preach to me or try and teach me something, but it does mean they have to be entertaining. Get it yet?

Doug Winship said...

Looking like you are going to get a choir-like response to that last point, Ann.
There have been no serious dramas about the Middle East which allow themselves to straight out depict the enemy for what it is, and the US as the good guys.
The continuing point made in the press that the public doesn't want movies about the region PERIOD, has never been tested. What has been tested and proved is that the public will not commercially support anti-US dramas.
Yet those are what continue to be made, and millions continue to be lost.

Pogo said...

It appears that anti-American sentiment doesn't pack them in like they'd hoped.

Better to blame the crowds for being frivolous, and greenlight a few more anti-US epic failures, so their hollywood friends know they're in the One Party.

All this will change of course, with Obama's presidency. Suddenly the sun will rise again , and America -though still the source of all evil- will be treated to ever fewer of these polemics.

Chris Wren said...

@ simon,

Agreed, too general, and yet....I really am bored silly of the Middle East. Iran, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Syria, even Brangelina's quadrillion dollar home on World Island in Dubai...I'm tired of the entire region. I just don't want to hear about it unless it's an absolute five-alarm emergency.

SteveR said...

They are better off funneling money to Obama and the DNC or the 527 of their choice than trying to make movies espousing their views. Even barbra 's not dumb enough to do an album of anti war songs. People will pay to hear her sing the stuff she is famous for not a bunch of crap.

Kirk Parker said...

"serious messages from Hollywood"

Attention Ann: you forgot the mega-oxymoron tag on this post.

mcg said...

Look, even if you happen to agree with the political foundation of some of these films, do they still make for fun entertainment? I mean, American Carol did OK, likely as a response to all of the angry lefty films out there, but reviews I've seen were mostly along the lines of "eh. wish it were better."

Original George said...

And today we learn that Sen. Obama's favorite movies are "Godfather I & II" and "Lawrence of Arabia."

Let us pray that he does not see himself as a family-destroying Michael Corleone character. The 'Godfather' movies were favorites of another politician: Saddam Hussein.

'Lawrence of Arabia' is about a stranger in a strange land, a man who is a misfit in two cultures, who says he can only be killed by a gold bullet, who is sold to the world by foolish reporters, who allies himself with the Wahhabi Sauds, and who orders a massacre.

Most weirdly, Lawrence burns himself with a match to prove his mental discipline. "The trick is not minding that it hurts."

Here is Obama writing in 'Dreams': I fell back on the couch and lit a cigarette, watching the match burn down until it tickled my fingertips, then feeling the prick on my skin as I pinched the flame dead. 'What's the trick?' they always ask. The trick is not caring that it hurts.

In the end, Lawrence fails to unite the Arabs.

Obama says his other favorite movie is 'Casablanca.' Its hero is yet another tough-guy outcast. In none of the three movies does the male lead have a good relationship with the female lead.

McCain's favorite movie is Viva Zapata. It's about a man who "gives everything for his country and what he believes in."

Dark Eden said...

People don't want to watch middle east movies from Hollywood that invariably lecture us about how awful and evil America is. They probably wouldn't want a movie that lectured us about how super awesome fantastic America is either but Hollywood would never make that movie so the point is moot.

This is not complicated. Pick a Medal of Honor winner from the Iraq war. Tell his or her story without dwelling on whether the war was justified or not. Just show, here's this real medal of honor winner, here's what they did to earn it, roll credits.

You would make hundreds of millions of dollars but Hollywood will never ever make that movie, at least not until a Democrat is in office.

dpent said...

My family will not watch those type movies if they were offered for free. We do not watch Left wing wacko movies that depict America as the bad guy, over and over and over again. My local Blockbuster never has anything to watch, except those damn type movies. No one else wants to watch them either in the neck of the woods.

I am guessing on Jan,21st 2009 will see no more of these type movies if Obama wins. American movies then will be John Wayne, apple pie and the good 'old Red White and Blue.

Dark Eden said...

I wish I could say that is the anti American angle that is torpedoing these things, but there just aren't enough center-right people for that to be true. The fact is, no one is going to pay 20 dollars plus to see poorly acted political propaganda. People want escapism and an interesting story that makes you think not polemic rammed down your throat but holier than thou 'stars' that no one gives a damn about anymore.

Simon said...

Chris - well, for example, Transformers was partially set in the middle east and it did good business. I don't think it's sand that moviegoers are allergic to, it's being preached at.

AllenS said...

The last really good movie about the Middle East, was Beau Hunks. This is where Laurel and Hardy join the French Foreign Legion, and save the garrison from an attack by scattering tacks on the ground. Movies have went down hill since then.

William said...

Just recently I saw The Chicago Ten, a documentary about the trial of the '68 Chicago protesters. Abbie Hoffman is more or less the hero of the movie. He is shown as a combo of stand-up comic, revolutionary, and philosopher. Abbie Hoffman was clinically a manic depressive who later committed suicide. This interesting facet of his personality was not shown in the movie....We have seen many movies about the damaged, twisted psyches of those involved in defending our national security. I have yet to see an honest examination of the twisted motives of those who act out leftist causes with such extemism. Patty Hearst claimed that she was locked in a dark closet and periodically taken out and gang raped by her captors. What mixture of pretension and commitment, savagery and idealism leads to such behavior? Don't go to the movies to find out.

Bob said...

Andrew Klavan's post in the Washington Post says everything I want to say about Hollywood.

al said...

If Hollyweird made a move, say based on Michael Yon's stories about The Deuce Four in Iraq or Marcus Luttrel's Lone Survivor I'd be at the movies. So would millions of others.

It's sad to see Ridley Scott, who did such a great job with Black Hawk Down, doing crap like Body of Lies.

Smilin' Jack said...

Movies and television have exchanged cultural roles over the past few years. Movies are now just entertainment for kids; adults stay home and watch "Madmen."

Here is Obama writing in 'Dreams': I fell back on the couch and lit a cigarette, watching the match burn down until it tickled my fingertips, then feeling the prick on my skin as I pinched the flame dead. 'What's the trick?' they always ask. The trick is not caring that it hurts.

Yes, the Big Zero totally lifted that from "Lawrence,", and it's one of the most pretentiously phony things I've ever read.

El Presidente said...

Several at the Ministry of Propaganda are puzzled by these failures. We are working with out contacts in the hollywood industry to determine the causes and several additional pieces will be placed in the next year.

Chris Wren said...

A friend once recommended "Three Kings" to me, on the basis that: "It's actually really good - it's very anti-American". Who are we little people to argue with that logic?

Oligonicella said...

I love serious movies. Serious movies are written with the purpose of watching one or more well-rounded characters as they deal with situations which seem ready to overpower them. They are about the characters.

What you're mentioning is propaganda flicks. As they are not written for the purpose of the story, but for the purpose of political posturing, they are not serious movies.

That is, unless by serious you simply mean grim.

I'd rather watch the dancing chihuahuas.

Robert R. said...

People don't want to watch serious, turgid, retellings of things we're already bombarded with 24/7 on news channels. The Sullivan's Travels example is exactly right. People have no problem with a Middle East/Afghanistan centric story when it's named Iron Man.

Original George said...

Smilin' Jack--

No, no, no, no.....It is who he is.

The point is that, like Lawrence, he does not feel.

He has trained himself to not feel.

That whole cool otherworldly aloofness of his. It's because he does not 'identify' with his surroundings.

You can see why he feels some kinship with Lawrence and Michael Corleone. They straddle irreconcilably different worlds and cultures. Neither can overcome their fatal flaws: The cultural conflicts of the idealist caught between the secular, modern West and the religious, traditional East, the idealist who can only find success in a corrupt world with corrupt mentors. They steel themselves against feelings because each knows he does not fit in either world. Nature/the stars/circumstance will not permit it. Their foreknowledge of this is their tragedy. I hope it will not be ours.

Joe said...

Or do you think it's decidedly not frivolous of us to eschew serious messages from Hollywood

These are not serious messages, they are bullshit messages and movies. A conflicted CIA operative? How original. What's next, a movie about evil oil?

People go to movies to see a good story (along with hot babes and explosions--hurray James Bond!) not to be slapped in the face by some juvenile "message" that even insults the intelligence of my fourteen year old.

If you want to preach, become a preacher.

(Here's a basic idea; how about a movie about a secret agent who believes in his country and puts his life at risk to save it? Oh yeah, James Bond again. Unless, of course, Barbara Broccoli decides to become preachy with it.)

PatCA said...

You don't have to be right-center to avoid these polemics. Even liberals I know avoid them. Like Syriana, their plots are all so confused (because it's really tough to frame every narrative where the US is the bad guy) that they are just incomprehensible.

save_the_rustbelt said...

For every movie we see in the theatre we rent 20 and watch at home.

I think the over 40 (and maybe over 30) crowd avoids the noise and expense of the cinema for a quiet evening at home.

Joan said...

Gee, Iron Man had Middle Eastern bad guys and an American hero. I seem to recall it did OK.

I (mentally) tripped reading the quote: sesh? Seriously? They can't write out the word "session"? Ick. Stuff like that is the reason I don't read much Hollywood (or should I say Ho-wood?) reporting.

(I'm probably taking my kids to see the chihuahua movie later this week. They're on fall break.)

Salamandyr said...

Chris Wren,

I've always thought it was ironic that "Three Kings" was largely an attack on Bush Sr. for not invading Iraq, and leaving the rebellion we had helped foment to their own devices.

The people who thought America was horrible for not invading in 1991 are the same ones who think we were horrible for invading in 2003. I guess it doesn't matter what you believe as long as we can all agree that Republicans are evil.

goesh said...

I'm going to see Appaloosa, always liked a Western and with Viggo Mortensen present it should have some degree of quality to it. His performance in Eastern Promises was stunning.

JAL said...

One thing is really obvious: Ann needs some instruction in Logic 101.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

We watched Love is a Many Splendoured Thing last night on Fox Legacy. My wife had never saw it and was interested. Besides the cool fashions, the funniest thing is that they played that stupid song every two minutes in the movie. Jeeezz.

Trooper York said...

Appaloosa is from a novel by Robert Parker so it is really just Spenser and Hawk on horsey's.

mcg said...

Oligonicella, you've made the right distinction quite clearly.

Freeman Hunt said...

The entire beginning of Iron Man took place in the Middle East. People like seeing terrorists defeated. They don't like seeing terrorists depicted as good guys.

A Rambo-type movie set in the Middle East with the Rambo-esque character killing Al Qaeda terrorists for a full 90-120 minutes would do blockbuster business today.

Freeman Hunt said...

Now I see Joan also mentioned Iron Man. I guess that makes me late to the cinematic killing of terrorists reminiscence party.

Christy said...

And they actually allow those frivolous people to vote! So wrong on so many levels.

Same ole, same ole. The usual liberal dismissal and disgust that non-progressives don't know what is good for them.

Original George said...

'Iron Man's plot and characters were carefully constructed. Its pits a good family-man Muslim who helps the hero against a bad Muslim of non-Middle Eastern Central Asian origin in an unspecified location.

Meanwhile, the weapons-manufacturing hero literally gets a new heart and has a turn of heart about his profession which he denounces.

Something to please everyone.

bleeper said...

We will attend those movies starting next month. It will be required in our reeducation camps. Americans bad, swarthy terrorists with funny names good. I hear, I obey. Arbeit macht frei!

dualdiagnosis said...

Is this the really "The" Ann Althouse blogging here the past couple days?

Not seeing the unhinged left and never taking notice that the past 5 years of movies about the United States from Hollywood have been agitprop?

I must say that my view of you Ann has been deflated.

Kirk Parker said...

"A Rambo-type movie set in the Middle East with the Rambo-esque character..."

Ok, for a moment there I thought you were describing Hot Shots Part Deux--none dare call that priceless work "frivolous"!

Titusbackintownok? said...

Hello, Happy Columbus Day fellow republicans and lovers of the Bush Doctrine.

I don't think people want to see these movies because people like to escape when going to the movies and these movies are a drag.

I see American Carol totally bombed too but I went to it and can say it is the best movie I have ever watched-kidding.

Seriously, I have not been to a movie in months.

I have been getting into TCM. Watching old movies. This weekend they had many of Paul Newman's old movies and they were great. Rachel, Rachel (Joanne Woodward tour de force); Hud (Patricia Neal sassy and wonderful); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Liz Taylor one fucky hot sexy cat..who is alive!).

This weekend I also watched Suddenly Last Summer, Bonnie and Clyde and Rebecca.

I absolutely love Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. Did you know that she was also the mother in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Don't know her name but she was an amazing actress.

Tennessee Williams writing is amazing. I love some of the words he uses; sister, woman; mendacity; lying liars; all the bird references. I absolutely love the women in his movies. They are strong, independent and major divas. What happened to great writers like that? Are any around anymore?

I love the southern gothic style of writing. It makes me horny.

Titusbackintownok? said...

Burl Ives was amazing in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Poor Brick he blamed himself for Skipper's death. Brick liked Skipper a whole lot, if you know what I mean.

And the women that played the wife of the brother was amazing.

Kirk Parker said...


Nice to see you back, but:

"Tennessee Williams writing is amazing... I absolutely love the women in his movies. They are strong, independent and major divas."

I take it you're not familiar with Glass Menagerie then?

LarsPorsena said...

"What happened to great writers like that? Are any around anymore?"

Now days they go to college and after intensive multi-culti, PC, neo-marxist, lit-crit, women ,and LBGT studies indoctrination, they are purged of every creative impulse or original idea. What's left in their skulls is agitprop or fart-jokes.

Titusbackintownok? said...

Maggie: Why can't you lose your good looks, Brick? Most drinkin' men lose theirs. Why can't you? I think you've even gotten better-lookin' since you went on the bottle. (As she caresses the brass bedframe) You were such a wonderful lover...You were so excitin' to be in love with. Mostly, I guess, 'cause you were (pause)...If I thought you'd never never make love to me again (pause)...why I'd find me the longest, sharpest knife I could and I'd stick it straight into my heart. I'd do that. Oh Brick, how long does this have to go on? This punishment? Haven't I served my term? Can't I apply for a pardon?
Brick: Lately, that finishin' school voice of yours sounds like you was runnin' upstairs to tell somebody the house is on fire.
Maggie: Is it any wonder? You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Brick (offering a solution): Then jump off the roof, Maggie, jump off it. Now cats jump off roofs and they land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
Maggie: Jump where? Into what?
Brick: Take a lover.
Maggie (angrily): I don't deserve that! I can't see any man but you. With my eyes closed, I just see you. Why can't you get ugly Brick? Why can't you please get fat or ugly or somethin' so I can stand it?
Brick: You'll make out fine. Your kind always does.
Maggie: Oh, I'm more determined than you think. I'll win all right.
Brick: Win what? What is, uh, the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?
Maggie: Just stayin' on it, I guess. As long as she can.

Titusbackintownok? said...

I haven't seen Glass Menagerie. I was just speaking of how I viewed the women of the movies of Tennesse Williams that I had watched.

Christy said...

Kirk, I think the mother in 'The Glass Menagerie' is a major diva, don't you?

Somebody, shoot me now. I just accidentally read an entire Titus comment, four, in fact.

Michael_H said...

I no longer attend movies in theaters. Netflix costs less.

No one in my living room feels the need to narrate the entire movie to his/her friends, no one yells "whoop! whoop!" during the action sequences, the popcorn is fresher and costs nearly nothing, three thousand strangers with unknown grooming habits have not used the seat before I do, I can pause the movie when I want, nudity among audience members is perfectly acceptable, and the whiskey is good.

Cedarford said...

Hollywood is run by Transnationalists that operate on simple principles:

1. Make money, except on vanity projects and political statements that come as proper due to Moguls, actors, directors with a good track record.

2. Though America-bashing makes for bad box office, we sell to the world and eventually the world will make a highway to our product.

3. Whenever possible, recycle - and dumb down the morality and plot. People are stupid. Always insert a few societal outcasts like hackers or street-smart minorities as principle characters. Dreck sells! And when dreck and dumb stuff like hackers wiping out a dozen commandos armed with machineguns with hacker karate moves doesn't work - maybe next time...

3. Always pick the villains from the approved list of Neonazis, WASP corporatists, and Catholic priests and corrupted ministers as behind every evil. Corollary to that is Hollywood's iron rule: "Never make any movie or TV product that has Jews as villains. Never fuck with the Jews". Modified slightly in recent years to never have a black or a Muslim as villain unless they are defeated by hero blacks or Muslims...

That The One likes Godfather and Lawrence is not diminished by Saddam liking the 2 Godfather flicks and Lawrence being considered by some to be an outcast and failure.

Hitler's favorite film was King Kong. He also loved Wizard of OZ and Lives of a Bengal Lancer. Goebbels was a huge Disney fan, his favorite being Snow White. Does the fact a baddie likes a good flick diminish the film or make present fans or the Great Ape or the Corleones- "Just Like Hitler",or "Just Like Saddam"? (Or is it a perverted Godwins Law that discussions of which bad guys also like the films you like inevitably going to lead to Hitler and how much he enjoyed Rin-Tin-Tin shorts?)
Dark Eden - This is not complicated. Pick a Medal of Honor winner from the Iraq war. Tell his or her story without dwelling on whether the war was justified or not. Just show, here's this real medal of honor winner, here's what they did to earn it, roll credits.

You would make hundreds of millions of dollars but Hollywood will never ever make that movie, at least not until a Democrat is in office.

Unfortunately, since Vietnam, there have been no living Medal of Honor winners. Of the 7 dead ones, none would make for a good movie, I fear.

There are the two Spec Ops Delta gunmen of Mogodishu, who each went to certain death - but filming what they did is problematic, as each whacked about 50-75 armed Somali men, women and young kids before being cut down.
SGT Smith is credited with saving 50 Americans by manning a .50 cal and holding off 40-50 Iraqi fedayeen - but Smith was also a career, by the book hardass.

You have 3 grenade-floppers, something that wasn't MOH-worthy until Vietnam as it was thought to be a suicidally impulsive act. In war, from Banzai charges to Taliban charging armor on foot to suicide bombers certain people have an impulse in combat to "take one for the team". Grenade-floppers are another category.

Then you have the one that could well have been made into a movie - the tale of how SEAL Michael P. Murphy did not do what SEAL Bob Kerrey did - take out enemy civilians who could betray their presence. And got himself, all members of his team but one and 8 other SEALs and 8 Army Spec Ops sent to rescue his surrounded ass killed as a consequence of his decision. But he died heroically when the two Talibani he spared came back with 50 fighters.....

The only survivor, Eric Lutrell, survived because of a tribal dispute between Pashtun leaders in the area. He wrote a book about his survival and his guilt about urging Murphy to spare the enemy civilians.

THAT is movie-worthy!..but Hollywood may not ever do it because MOH Michael Murphy and the deadly fiasco his decision caused contradicts the Hollywood Vietnam morality tale that killing enemy civilians was NEVER necessary to save your own men..Senator Bob Kerrey was bad!!! to kill people who could betray his squad's location.


LoafingOaf said...

One thing is really obvious: Ann needs some instruction in Logic 101.

Or, she was just trying to generate a lot of comments!


I was gonna go see "Body of Lies" but Ebert's review (though thumbs up) didn't make it sound that great. So, I'll rent it down the line.

Revenant said...

People do not want dramas about the Middle East.

Simon got it right, above. I have no idea what the actual storyline of "Body of Lies" was, but it was marketed as yet another movie where the bad guys work for the American government. Even folks I know who opposed the Iraq war rolled their eyes at the commercials. The whole "the CIA is the real enemy in the Middle East" thing was already kind of old and creaky when Robert Redford made "Three Days of the Condor".

If someone made an honest-to-goodness film where American soldiers or agents are the good guys and the bad guys were Arab terrorists -- with none of the now-mandatory bullshit about how the whole thing is somehow America's fault -- I bet it would do pretty well at the box office. People like those kinds of movies.

Bob said...

Cedarford: You have 3 grenade-floppers, something that wasn't MOH-worthy until Vietnam as it was thought to be a suicidally impulsive act.

I'm not certain about this. I seem to recall that grenade-flopping was very common on Iwo Jima, and some MOH's were awarded for it.

Original George said...


If I were running for President, I wouldn't say my favorite movie was about a terror gang (the Mafia) whose leader buys off judges and politicians and whose goal is to insert his seemingly above-board son into national politics.

On a deeper level, it's sad that any candidate answers such childish questions, so pathetic is their fear of offending any potential voter.

How much more stirring it would be if McCain said, "I don't have a favorite movie. Sen. Obama says his favorite TV show is "SpongeBob." I don't watch cartoons. I'm a serious person running for a serious job. Ask me about tax policy, education, or Afghanistan. Don't you know we have a financial crisis? I'm not running for drama critic. Don't waste my time. Out of my way, you scurvy knave, whoreson dog, cream faced loon..."

The Drill SGT said...

This is not complicated. Pick a Medal of Honor winner from the Iraq war. Tell his or her story without dwelling on whether the war was justified or not. Just show, here's this real medal of honor winner, here's what they did to earn it, roll credits.

Americans will go to see a film with blue collar regular hero's foghting for the god ol' USA, even if there is a tinge of incompetence at the command level. Witness for example, "Blackhawk Down" or "We were Soldiers".

I'll give you a simple multi-million dollar Story line:
Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, from Patchogue, NY. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Redwing, June 28, 2005. Murphy lead a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. Mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire, Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters. While being shot at repeatedly, Murphy calmly provided his unit’s location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to his wounds.

The team was taking heavy fire in the close-quarters battle as Taliban fighters continued to close in, firing weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. At one point, Murphy took his mobile phone and “walked to open ground. He walked until he was more or less in the center, gunfire all around him, and he sat on a small rock and began punching in the numbers to HQ,” according to Luttrell, the surviving SEAL, who wrote a book called “Lone Survivor.”

“I could hear him talking,” Luttrell wrote. “My men are taking heavy fire ... we’re getting picked apart. My guys are dying out here ... we need help.

“And right then Mikey took a bullet straight in the back. I saw the blood spurt from his chest. He slumped forward, dropping his phone and his rifle. But then he braced himself, grabbed them both, sat upright again, and once more put the phone to his ear.”

Then, Luttrell heard Murphy say, “Roger that, sir. Thank you.” The lieutenant continued to train fire on the enemy fighters.

“Only I knew what Mikey had done. He’d understood we had only one realistic chance, and that was to call in help,” Luttrell wrote. “Knowing the risk, understanding the danger, in the full knowledge the phone call could cost him his life, Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, son of Maureen, fiancĂ© of the beautiful Heather, walked out into the firestorm.

“His objective was clear: to make one last valiant attempt to save his two teammates.”

Murphy was killed while phoning in for reinforcements. The tragedy continued when enemy fighters shot down one of the transport helicopters carrying the rescue force, killing eight more SEALs and eight Special Forces operators. The 11 SEALs killed marked the largest single-day loss of life for the tight-knit community.

The Drill SGT said...


Joe said...

Drill Sgt, you forgot the part where it was all a plot by the president to distract people from economic turmoil at home and the hero is a divorced lawyer with a drinking problem who exposes everything.

Joe said...

Oh, dammit, I thought this was Grisham worship week.

Revenant said...

"You have 3 grenade-floppers, something that wasn't MOH-worthy until Vietnam as it was thought to be a suicidally impulsive act."

I'm not certain about this.

You're right to be skeptical. Cedarford is, as usual, completely full of shit.

Original George said...

And here's John James Powers who FDR praised for sinking six Japanese ships (with some help), including one but two Japanese aircraft carriers. ""He sacrificed his life when he deliberately dove his plane from 18,000 feet to an extremely low altitude before release in order to insure a direct hit on the Japanese aircraft carrier, making good his words to his pilots prior to takeoff: "Remember—the folks back home are counting on us. I am going to get a direct hit if I have to lay it on the flight deck."

blake said...

I couldn't talk the boy into Body of Lies so we saw Appaloosa. (Executive summary: Great chemistry between Mortensen and Harris, Zelwegger does a fine job, too, even if you don't normally like her. Recommended.)

I thought Lies might do okay with the Scott pedigree and because they were playing down the Iraq thing. I still don't know--can't really tell how big a factor that is. (From the movie's materials, I see little about Iraq, but I saw a headline about "Will 'Body of Lies' Be The First Successful Movie About Iraq?" which made me think I didn't want to see it.)

Scott also made the tepidly received, murky Crusade film Kingdom of Heaven. So he's obviously trying for something.

It should be pointed out that Berg's The Kingdom did okay, not great. It was a pretty good movie that presented anti-American viewpoints, but not exclusively and in the eyes of characters who would, in fact, be anti-American. (In other words, anti-Americanism as one POV, not necessarily the correct POV.)

I also saw American Carol, just because it was a unique movie in my lifetime. The political parts are often very clunky, but it ranks in the middle for a David Zucker movie (between, say, BASEketball and Top Secret!). But that audience for ZAZ-style films is pretty limited these days, and the movie would seem to prove that you can't make money if you're perceived has having a particular axe to grind, regardless of what that axe is. (Though I see Carol as less anti-left and more anti-anti-American.)

Every time one of these movies fails, though, the media is there to tell us how bad we are for not going to see them.

Oh, and I liked Three Kings. It was an anti-GHW Bush piece, though I think deserved. Salamandyr nails it, though: Just as Bush Sr was attacked for not invading, Bush Jr was attacked for invading.

Larry J said...

Too bad the current crop of Hollywood losers forget the old dictim:

"If you want to send a message, call Western Union." (Sam Goldwyn).

Had they paid attention, they would've saved themselves a lot of money wasted on these garbage movies.

rcocean said...

Cederford's "grenade flopper" remark loses him almost all his credibility.

Go to Wikipedia and look up the Marine MOH winners on Iwo Jima. A lot of medics and Marines who gave their lives to save others.

If you delve into some of the MOH winners background & stories they'd make a good movie.

Cedarford said...

I though awarding the MOH for flopping on a grenade started in Vietnam. Apparantly, some grenade floppers in WWII got the award, too.

Most did not, as others that died in a suicidal split-second choice
did not. Military training is not to "do the flop" but kick or chuck the grenade as far away as possible - better odds, soldiers are taught for themselves and comrades - than the certain death of flopping down.

The MOH or other country's equivalent award was not typical for soldiers cut down charging machine guns, doing Bazai or "Allahu Akbar" charges, charging into the open despite commands to stay put to "rescue a fallen buddy" and being cut down instantly - in other conflicts.

"Taking one for the team" happens in wartime. Many impulsive acts of suicidal nature "for my Emperor, for Emir Osama bin Laden!", for all the lads of the 2nd Scots Dragoon marching over the dead bodies of all the 1st Scots Dragoon cut down to the last man in certain death at the Somme.

IMO, grenade floppers are little different than Muslim suicide bombers & jihadis choosing certain death to advance and protect their Islamic bud's odds or Kamikaze pilots..or soldiers "John Wayne-ing" their way to a dumb, unecessary, but glorious demise...And I don't associate MOH with other impulsive suicidal gestures. IMO, the highest award should go only to those showing exceptional and unique beyond all expectation sustained bravery under fire or someone who actually accomplished a great "military thing" while in combat but not becoming a "noble dead victim" in the process (See SGT York).

I will add that the Pentagon now seems to prefer dead heroes to living ones - The milblogs have reported on Marines in Fallujah and Spec Ops in Afghanistan and Iraq who collectively - of about 2 dozen cases cited - would have churned out 2-5 living MOH winners for sure in a WWII setting and criterion for making awards - but ended up with lesser awards because they didn't die..

One near-certain one everyone agrees on would have been Brian Chontosh with his Audie Murphy level bravery & assault of 50 entrenched Iraqis, single-handed. If he had only had the decency to die, Bush and the Pentagon would have cranked up a MOH.


Perhaps the next Administration will realize the morale benefits of also selecting living heroes as well as dead grenade floppers or a SEAL who caused a fiasco, but died bravely in his fiasco.
NO one wants to join up in combat arms to be a dead grenade flopper or a dead SEAL lieutenant who bravely died in consequence to a terrible decision he made, taking 18 other comrades with him.

They and the military recruiters, much prefer the recognized "living hero" sort. To admire and honor, and in worst circumstances, be like them.

veni vidi vici said...

Couple weekends ago I watched "The Best Years of Our Lives" again after several years. Beautiful film, 1946 Best Picture Oscar to boot.

It's apparently billed as a "love story", although I was more or less just taken into the film's "moment", and the incredibly effective manner in which it communicated longing and a strange sort of melancholy -- feelings I'd associated with the post-war 40's even before I saw this movie for whatever reason. The women in the film are all absolutely gorgeous, including the then-middle aged Myrna Loy.

See something as well-done as that film, and you marvel at how far Hollywood's art has fallen.

In Hollywood's rush to remake every piece of boomer culture, one would think that a true film buff among the climbers would discover the remake-potential of TBYOOL and work it hard. Within its story there's ample room for patriotic heroism (and an enterprising remaker could add flashbacks if an action bent were desired) as well as the Hollywood-de-rigeur "questioning authority" angle, which is plenty explicit in the original. They don't make 'em like they used to. Filmmakers, I mean. Oh, and movies, too.

veni vidi vici said...

To clarify, I mean that someone could remake that film set in the present, with Iraq or Afghanistan veterans.

Incredible that no one's greenlighted such a project.

veni vidi vici said...

With Iraq or Afghanistan...

Change to:

About Iraq or Afghanistan...


Kirk Parker said...


Regardless of what the mother might have been in days past, by the time you reach the setting of the play she's an ineffectual loser.

buttondickbuttons said...

in case anyone cares..[I do]
my fav middle-easren movies are 'TEAM AMERICA' and there are some good ones made by Middle Easreners like "Children of Heaven'- if that's the one I'm thinkn' of- two kids-one pair of shoes-I also watch the HBO series 'Generation Kill'- parts were ok- but I took parts of it w/ a grain of sand- always wondered if there was a place I could go to read about what real vets thought