Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘France’

EW’s List of Memorable Antiwar Films

In Activism, Celebrities, Entertainment, History, Media, Terrorism, War on April 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Entertainment Weekly has come up with a list of memorable antiwar films, listed below.

Would you add other films to this list? Do you believe that any don’t belong on the list? Have antiwar films helped form your present views? What is the greatest and/or most memorable antiwar film of all time, in your opinion?

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
The Hollywood adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel is one of the earliest anti-war films, and still stands among the most haunting. As naive young German troops fight and die in World War I, their devotion to their homeland comes to seem cruelly meaningless.

LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1937)
French auteur Jean Renoir looks at WWI from the other side of the trenches and arrives at much the same conclusion. Three captured officers (Pierre Fresnay, Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio) bond in a German POW camp and learn that nationalism and class divisions are less important than the things all humanity has in common. Such a damning statement that the Nazis seized its negatives when they invaded France three years later.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
Call it the Stop-Loss of its day: Midwestern war heroes (Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Frederic March) struggle to ease back into their small-town lives after World War II. A rare look at the long-term challenges faced by ”the Greatest Generation” once they defeated the Axis.

PATHS OF GLORY (1957)
Director Stanley Kubrick’s first big box-office success was also his first foray into the anti-war territory he would return to again and again. Kirk Douglas stars as a compassionate French colonel defending troops who have been accused of cowardice by their brutal superiors during WWI.

DR. STRANGELOVE: OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)
Kubrick’s approach is considerably lighter in this mordant Cold War satire. As the U.S. and U.S.S.R. hurtle toward nuclear apocalypse for no particular reason, Peter Sellers pulls off a hat trick, playing the psychotic rocket scientist of the title, the ineffectual American president, and the lone sane military man. A masterpiece of weapons-grade gallows humor.

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966)
Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo delivers a still-searing portrait of Algeria’s mid-20th-century war of independence against its French colonial government. As both sides trade escalating acts of terrorism and brutality, the Western occupation is revealed as an exercise in gory futility.

CATCH-22 (1970)
Yossarian lives! Mike Nichols directs an all-star ensemble (Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, Orson Welles, Anthony Perkins, Bob Newhart…Art Garfunkel?!) in an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s tragicomic WWII novel. The characters may have been Allied bombers stationed in the Mediterranean, but the theme of senseless violence amid a bureaucratic tangle could hardly have been more relevant to the ever-deepening Vietnam disaster.

M*A*S*H (1970)
Before Hawkeye and Trapper John were primetime-TV staples, they featured in Robert Altman’s dark Korean War comedy. Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, and Tom Skerritt star as wisecracking Army doctors in a chaotic base camp south of the DMZ in the 1950s — another thinly veiled stand-in for the situation in Vietnam.

COMING HOME (1978)
Three years after the U.S. withdrew from Southeast Asia, American audiences finally got a great film that explicitly addressed Vietnam. Jane Fonda and Jon Voight both took home Oscars for their roles in a love triangle involving a paraplegic veteran and his nurse…

THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
…and that same year, the Academy voted this intense Vietnam movie Best Picture. Robert De Niro, and Christopher Walken star as Pennsylvania steelworkers turned soldiers; we watch the war’s inhuman violence tear them apart as they proceed from a pre-war hunting trip through the battlefield and back home. You’ll never forget those Russian roulette scenes.

APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
In a loose re-telling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) journeys up a Cambodian river to find and kill the unhinged Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). It’s since become one of the most iconic Vietnam War films — quotes don’t get more quotable than Robert Duvall bellowing, ”I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

DAS BOOT (1981)
Back to World War II: Director Wolfgang Petersen takes us inside a claustrophobic German submarine, revealing the grueling realities of undersea battle for a young crew whose members are beginning to question Nazi ideology.

PLATOON (1986)
The first and most affecting of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam films. Charlie Sheen, standing in for Stone’s own wartime experiences, drops out of college and ships off to the Army. Caught up in the violent rivalry between two superior officers — a brutal authoritarian played by Tom Berenger and a warmer sergeant played by Willem Dafoe — Sheen’s ideals are shattered.

FULL METAL JACKET (1987)
Another insanity-of-war polemic from Kubrick, this one focusing on a troop of Vietnam-bound Marines. First we see Vincent D’Onofrio as a young recruit driven insane by the brutal dehumanization of basic training. The film’s second segment follows the rest of the troops through a similarly hellish march into the city of Hue.

THREE KINGS (1999)
In director David O. Russell’s quirky examination of the (first) Gulf War’s aftermath, soldiers played by George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze happen upon a treasure trove of Saddam Hussein’s gold bullion in 1991 — and then things really get started. As they traverse the desert, gradually coming to realize the war’s effect on Iraq’s civilians, wry humor gives way to touching drama.

MUNICH (2005)
Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated epic takes place more than 30 years ago, but it’s still the only feature film that’s truly done justice to the profound ethical complexity of today’s ”War on Terror.” Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, and others are undercover Israeli spies, assigned to secretly track and assassinate the Palestinian terrorists who planned the vicious murder of Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Their mission seems entirely righteous at first — but as they travel through Europe, picking off the men on their hit list, anything resembling moral clarity soon vanishes.

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS/LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006)
Clint Eastwood directed not one but two dramas about the punishing Allied campaign to take Iwo Jima at the end of WWII. In Flags, the U.S. government forces the soldiers who hoisted the stars and stripes above the island in the iconic photograph into uncomfortable propaganda roles when they return home. And in the Japanese-language Letters, we see the same bloody battle from the other perspective, as Ken Watanabe’s Gen. Kuribayashi struggles to maintain dignity amid rising casualties.

I was surprised that they didn’t include “The War At Home“, a film which takes place after a soldier returns home from Vietnam, as he struggles to deal with the horrors he experienced; the film stars Emilio Estevez, Kathy Bates, and Martin Sheen.

Another antiwar film which I would highly recommend is “Jacob’s Ladder“. It stars Tim Robbins and Danny Aielo, and is kind of hard to explain. IMDB describes it as, “A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn’t what he believes it to be when he’s attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.” It seems like a horror film in many ways, but has a very interesting plot twist at the end, which still gives me goosebumps when I think about it. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Here is the trailer for “Jacob’s Ladder”:

Which antiwar films have you seen and would recommend to others?

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Candidates Gone Wild: Presidential Wackjob Edition

In Barack Obama, Children, Congress, Crazy Claims, Daniel Imperato, George Bush, Humor, Immigration, Iraq War, Libertarian, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Shine on you crazy diamond, US Government, War on March 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

We’re all familiar with John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. However, have you ever wondered what other presidential candidates are out there? Are you longing for a presidential candidate who is really and truly different? If so, one of these guys just might be your man.

Michael Jesus ArchangelUnlike most mainstream presidential candidates, God The Great Holy Spirit Saint Michael Jesus The Archangel doesn’t think he is God. He knows he is. This also ends the debate about the true name of God, since he quite clearly denotes his name as “Mike”. That’s a much easier name to spell and remember than “Yahweh”, for sure.

Apparently God/Mike runs a “modeling agency”, and if his website claims are to be believed, it’s quite successful as models literally flock to him. I’m not sure how lucrative that endeavor has become for him, but that’s okay because he also makes his own money. By that, I don’t mean that he works and makes money. No, I mean that he quite literally makes money, which he calls “Heavenly Banknotes”. Are you against the Federal Reserve? He’ll take care of that problem too, and replace it with his own “Cosmic Reserve Bank”.

Apparently God/Mike is an Old Testament kind of Creator, because he wants to arrest abortion doctors, judges who ruled abortions legal, and women who have had abortions, and execute them all within a year. He also thinks that smokers are both suicidal and homicidal, and he plans to arrest and execute, without representation or trial, all of the “tobacco lords”. He also has a problem with gay marriage, because the Bible (which he refers to as “My Holy Word”) speaks against it; for that reason, he plans to execute all gays and lesbians. On the other hand Mike/God is not quite so completely violent as it would appear, since he also thinks that nations should settle conflicts with a paintball war.

If you’re interested in contacting God/Mike, you can do so by telephone or email, since both are listed on his website. However, you can’t send him a fax, since his fax is listed as “CIA Top Secret Ultra-Grade.”

Like any other non-mainstream candidate, God/Mike has run into some difficulties during his campaign. Most notably, he was charged with attempted murder, undoubtedly while “at war with the homosexual Satan and his leftist queer devils and demons”. That’s okay, though, because since he’s God, he has the power of prophesy. To that end he says, “I prophesy that I will win by a crushing landslide.”

Jonathan The Impaler SharkeyOn the other end of the spectrum Jonathan “The Impaler” Sharkey may not be a Papal Knight, a Knight of Malta, or a Knight of the Orden Bonaria like Daniel Imperato; or God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost like Mike, but he is an ordained Satanic Priest. Not only is he a Satanic Priest, but a quiz on his MySpace profile declared that he is Satan, so it must be true. He also promises to murder (by impalement, of course) certain people with his own hands as soon as he takes office; that list includes Osama bin Laden, George Bush, O.J. Simpson, and even Mike Tyson.

Jonathan is also a “Satanic Vampyre” as well as a “Hecate Witch”, and has some very serious military experience as a “Commanding General” of a vampire regiment known as the “Death Dealers”. He also has a great deal of previous political experience, having run for Congress in multiple states, for President during the last election as well as the present one, and he once also ran for Governor (of Minnesota). His campaigns have been unsuccessful, undoubtedly due to the media’s bias against third party candidates.

On the downside, he must be one of those shapeshifters David Icke warns us about because, while in Florida, he assumed the name “Kathleen Sharkey” and claimed that he is is his own half-sister, and also his own pagan wife. He sent a notice to the FEC under the Kathleen persona, implying that Jonathan is dead.

Not surprisingly, The Impaler does have an arrest record, including a record for stalking a former girlfriend, but for those who wish to support The Impaler, that could be easily spun into his being far more loyal than most people will ever be. He was also ordered to undergo psychiatric care since he believes himself to be a vampire, and of course that could be spun as his having had his right to practice his religion denied by the government. Despite The impaler’s shortcomings, there is always a way for a politician to spin anything into something positive.

John Taylor BowlesThen again, if God and Satan aren’t quite down-to-earth enough for you, there is also John Taylor Bowles. Bowles claims to be “the White People’s Candidate”. Dressed like a Neo-Nazi storm trooper, Bowles claims that it is “time for the white people to put a real white man in the White House”; apparently he believes that previous presidents weren’t really white.

Bowles wants to give us lower taxes, lower food prices, free health care, zero unemployment, no outsourcing of jobs, forgiveness of all credit card debt so all white people start with a fresh slate, a 5% flat tax on income with all other taxes abolished, no more foreclosures, and interest-free mortgages (though together those last two items are equivalent to free housing on a first-come first-serve basis) ….. but only after he has deported all non-whites in a “humanitarian” manner. He plans to give all non-whites a one-time stipend of $30,000 to make their involuntary move more palatable.

Bowles also wants to bring the white soldiers home, at which time he will position them at the southern border to help “stop the invasion”. He also believes that birth control is an invention of those who wish to destroy the white race, and to that end he suggests that whites take over the country by having as many children as possible (though if he deports all non-whites, we would have no need to out-breed anyone to maintain control). White families who produce four or more children will have their mortgage debt forgiven, though again, it doesn’t matter if the debt is forgiven, if there are no more foreclosures.

I’ve heard this particular line of thinking before. Former wacky Libertarian candidate Gene Chapman suggested that libertarians out-breed the non-libertarians, and even offered to store his sperm for any women interested in bearing his children. He also mentioned that both he and his webmaster Doug Kenline were single. Big surprise there.

So who gets to stay in the United States, and who will be forced to leave? According to Bowles, a white person (which he refers to as “Aryan”) is defined as “wholly of non-Jewish, non-Asiatic European ancestry, descendants of the autochthonous Peoples of the contemporary states of Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Many persons of Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Portugese, Romanian, Serbian, and Spanish heritage also qualify as Aryan, their ancestors being pioneers of Aryan communities in those lands.”

Now that we’ve reviewed the candidates, here is the interesting question. Given that the mainstream parties limit our choices to only three candidates at this point, soon to be only two candidates; and given that many Americans do not agree with any of the mainstream candidates on the issues …. if these were the only candidates from which you could choose, who would you choose, and why?