Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

January 15, 2010

Hurt Locker

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 3:03 pm

Michael and this young guy that I lnow from Church go to see The Hurt Locker. Really a good movie, lots of subtleness as relates to the Iraq war. And, the first modern day war movie which is all about soldiers as opposed to these subtle or not so subtle sidebars. There was a little of it but not much. And, even had some Brits in it. The movie has been nominated for a couple of Golden Globes, I think (didn’t win). Since I have been totally opposed to the Iraq war and think that increasing troops in Afghanistan is “one” stupid thing the president has done, seeing a movie like this is very painful. Anyway, Michael joins Eric and me. We leave the movie and go to discuss it. Eric is maybe 28, never had a job, has been in school all his life. Michael savages poor Eric who takes it good naturely. Melnekoff is incorrigible. Where is Larry with a few MFs when you need him.

The movie shows some of the intracacies of a soldier’s life in Iraq like we have not seen in other movies, i. e., how he lives in Iraq. On the surface not a bad life, nice living quarters as opposed to sleeping on the ground like Vietnam. Calling home, email, good food. But, then, he gets up in the morning and goes off to war where he is confronted with danger around every corner; a hostile civilian population that wants to kill him. It is a type of environment that would have to get to the psyche of the most emotionally sophisticated person and we can just imagine what it does to a young soldier who is not emotionally sophisticated. What we are doing to this small percentage of our soldiers is criminal.

I am often absolutely amazed at how the potential for the military to be broken exists and yet the institution soldiers on. It Is somewhat like the military found itself at the end of Vietnam: drug use was rampant, racism was bigtime problem and to look at it, we would say, “how can the military make it?” They do somehow and soldier on.

There were a few things in the movie which might be questionable. The three guys of the bomb disposable unit had the three prototypes of combat soldiers: a crazy, a very rational type and one like a “deer caught in the headlights.” The movie, meaning the director, was very clever. In using the rotational dates of the 3 person team to introduce the action, it kept you on the edge of your seat. This can’t be understood unless you actually see the movie.

And a last thing that was evident to me or that I believe: the movie presented soldiers as being very aggressive in pursuing the enemy. I don’t think so. Soldiers grasp quickly what they are dealing with and subtlely adjust. Ok, go out on patrol and make it through the day. Not go out on patrol and pursue suspicious activity and chase the enemy. Nobody talks about this but if it is a questional situation that might get you killed, ignore it. The Marines appear to be more aggressive though and Special Operations soldiers who are older seem to treat war in more or less as a bigger strategy. I think. Anyway, very good movie. I doubt you are still with me here but a very good movie. Amen.

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December 22, 2009

BROTHERS

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 5:29 am

Brothers is one of those movies that I expected to have trouble sitting through. However, it really wasn’t. I think that mainly I had read so much and talked to those who had seen it that I was not the least bit surprised. The brothers, one the epitome of the good son and the other a perpetual “F…” up. However, they loved each other. The theme of the movie had already been done in The Valley of Elah. War simply plays hell with the warriors. Tommy, the n’the well younger brother shapes himself up when his brother Sam is killed or they think he’s dead. All the while he is being tortured and eventually forced to kill one of his own. I’m not giving away too much because even this had been done before. The toll on families is a given. Natalie Portman, playing the wife is very good. Jake Guillenhaul and Toby McGuire are also very good but one of the small daughters stole the show. Her facial expressions and attendant actions overall are simply precious. A good movie which should, along with many war themed movies, have more impact but not so. In Brothers, the movie never really hit on any opposition or even asking any sort of basic question of “why are we there” The one brother did briefly. Being a good Marine was more the philosophical tone. There are so many more themes that are lightly touched which could have been but not in 2 hours I guess. For instance, Sam Shepard, playing the straight arrow retired Marine father, Vietnam vet, who tries but wrestles with his own demons and mostly fails.

A last view. Why are these movies not box office successes? My view: the 50% of the American population that “thinks” is in whoping denial that we are in two unwinnable, untenable wars which are draining us in every single way. Thirty five percent of our fellow Americans don’t think at all: they support a position such as war and having their minds made up, also prefer denial. The other fifteen or twenty percent are simply “out to lunch.” They don’t care one way or another and take little or no interest beyond their own narrow limits. And, they don’t go to movies, not war movies anyway.

December 17, 2009

Live In Afghanistan

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 1:38 pm

What can the average Afgani farmer look forward too? He can’t feed his family unless he grows poppies as he has always done. Now the government won’t let him. Maybe they will if he pays off officials. There is aid for him possibly if he will not grow poppies. But, it is iffy as most of the government aid designed for him is siphoned off to some government official. Then there is the whole network of drug trafficers who profit big and live rich at every level.

The above is the review of the late nineties British miniseries, Traffick. It is more relevant today than when first shown. And, an absolute concrete example of why there is no “winning” in Adghanistan.

September 29, 2008

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 12:58 am

Mrs Paltrey at the Claremont is a more sane and slightly acceptable film than one it is compared too: Harold and Maude. Joan Plowright is a terrific English actor: superb is more like it. She shows up at the Claremont, a hotel for those getting old, put put to pasture and out of the way mostly by family. In a happenstance (this is the great thing about the movies, they can put together a good story: nor so easy in real life), she has a fall just as a young Renaissance guy happens by. They have instant rapport. He becomes her “make believe” grandson, replacing the nonrespomsive one; and, the adventure begins. Great characters and good story and a chance to think about getting older and our responses to our own older loved ones.

September 26, 2008

Snow Cakey

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 1:57 pm

Snow Cake is one of those movies that went straight to video and you can’t figure out why. It does everyhing a movie is suppose to do: great acting, good and quirky characters, a compelling story, serious subject and informs.

On some levels, the movie is very funny. Sigorney Weaver gives, in my opinion, an academy award performance as well as Alan ? And, the movie teaches, how could you possibly want more?

The basic story revolves around the death of a young girl in an auto accident and the utter shock of the one driving the car. His feeble attempt to say he’s sorry plunges him into a world of autism, which in a quirky sort of way redeems him and frees him. Good movie, deserving of 2 parachutes.

September 19, 2008

TWO WEEKS

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 12:51 am

Two Weeks is the second movie I’ve seen recently that deals with death and dying. Let’s face it, we all die.

Two Weeks attempted to convey how four siblings dealt with the death of their Mother. Having seem the
movie, I am still trying to figure out how well they did. With such a weighty subject, a director would have to be unusally talented to do justice to it.

This movie would be ideal to have student discussions around, all the way from undergraduates to med school. Not only the subject but the characters and their depth or lack thereof, would lend itself to much discussion.

As this family struggled to come to grips with the Mom’s death, the family dynamics left something to be desired. And, of course, as observers, we get a chance to observe the dysfunctional nature of who they are. Sometimes, you just wanted to say, “grow up.”

It is hard to say exactly what made this picture so unsatisfying. Unappealing characters? To be fair, I think the movie tried to do too much in two hours. Americans are so impatient and have the attention span of a tree.

Sally Field was great. She pretty much carried the movie. I liked the way they did these little vignettes with her on camera, not penetrating enough, however. I’m glad she’s back at work in TV. I’ve felt that she got way too much negativity from the”they really love me” parody when she won an academy award. Oh well.

Even with reservations, I still recommend this movie. See it, two parachutes.

September 18, 2008

Righteous Kill

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 2:35 pm

Rightous Kill is one of those movies where everybody gets killed but the director. Al Pachino and Robert DeNiro play themselves. And, to me they are always delightful. And, in this movie, they are. A good story with a twist or two. I think that the basic premise of the movie is something all of us mull from tell to time. We would like to see the bad guys really get it. Those heinous crimes where the evilness of man emergers: the college student kipnapped and killed, the drug dealers who destroy lives, on and on–they get to court and get off or slapped on the wrist. Well, in Righteous Kill, there’s a final justice for these low lives. Kind of reminds me of then TV show Dexter, a righteous serial killer who has his own way of taking care of the bad guys. In stead of saying, the person should be killed, we say, they should be Dextered. See Righteous Kill, it, at least, will take care of your vicarious need to see the bad people get it. 2 parachutes.

TellMe A riddle

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 3:22 am

Tell Me A Riddle is a movie mostly about growing old and how to do it. However, there are so many nuances that cannot be conveyed in a two hour movie. Hands down, however, if you are someone like myself who loves movies to have some redeeming purpose. This one did it.

The story is about an old Russian emigrant couple at a stage of their lives where decisions have to be made about their future. Selling their house is kind of symbolic of change. The wife doesn’t want to it and move to an assisted lining facility. The husband is gruff and comes across as a patriarcal insensitve type but not really. The family: children, inlaw seem a little flummoxed about the whole thing. In a kind of peculiar happenstance, they end up with a grandaughter in San Francisco, every visitor’s favorite city for it’s beauty at least. The granddaughter is a nurse and I guess this drives the story. The dying mother has flashbacks to her time in Russia, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) type flashbacks. Interesting movie. Two parachutes.

August 6, 2008

The Dark Knight

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 1:10 pm
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The Dark Knight with all it’s hype is simply another Batman movie. Everybody but the director gets zapped– the graphics and sound effects, car crashs, buildings blown up– if you are into that stuff, you are in hog heaven with this pic. Keith Ledger is good as the Joker. I’m not sure about all the accolades for him whether they are following the good old North Carolina admonition, “do not speak ill of the dead” or whether he was truly that good. Since I an not into this genre of movies, hard to know. My grand daughter gave it a six and a half on a ten point scale. So…

There were some issues of morality if one could find them among the car crashes; Good and evil played their part and for most of the movie, evil won. The basic story revolved around the Joker, acting on the mob’s behalf trying to zap the white knight type DA who was putting the mobsters in jail and taking their money. Along the way, he might also zap Badman, who has a love/hate relationship with the city The Joker, however, has a separate and slightly more complicated plan: to prove that evil could best good.

With thousands of car crashes, to include people getting zapped, Batman riding his super motorbike, explosions, I frankly had a heck of a time keeping up. There’s Bruce Wayne’s support team of butler and R/D guy, of course.
The showdown comes when the Joker has staged the ultimate test between good and evil in the form of two competing casts having to choose self preservation or death. Can’t tell you how they choose? You might actually like this stuff. The Joker does finally win the argument but on a bit of a twist.

Although the movie is not my thing, obviously it is for many, based on receipts. But, then again, if we judge strictly on money with the love of money conceived as the ultimate choice between good and evil, the Joker (there is a fascinating scene toward the end where the Joker makes a bold moralistic statement about the evil of money as he is burning this huge pile of it while accusing the mobsters of being only interested in money) might always win, afterall, if the movie receipts are the final criteria.

August 4, 2008

The New Scapegoat

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 1:43 pm
Tags: , , , ,

When I was in the Army at Fort
Bliss, Texas at El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, we use to regularly get lectures about the pitfalls of crossong the border, especially if we drove:, the possible accident, the laws of Mexico, the mordita, the payoff. In fact, when you went to Mexico, you regularly took a handful of dollars to pay off anybody who resembled authority. I have a great war story but will hold it.

The intrusion of politics in what to do about Mexicans crossing the border illegally, the numbers here, etlc. have become big political issues There’s the intrepid vigilanty group, the Minute Men and let’s not forget the National Guard, confronting and on occasion making news. .

You would think according to some folks, all our problems stem from south of the border. Well, hardly. I do readily admit that when you are not directly involved, it is easier to at least talk about. And, one way to inadvertantly dialogue is through movies and books.

One is the movie, Bordertown, and it does what movies are suppose to do, at least what I like, instruct and tell a good and compelling story or confront a societal problem. Bordertowm does all of these. It is about the murders of young women working in the factories on Juarez, going home alone at night, being attacked, murdered and their bodies buried in the desert. Bordertowm took on NAFDA, Mexican profiteers working these poor women, often young, for pittance in wages, no protection at night–naturally the rich getting richer on the backs of the poor.

As movies go, there are a few implausible things but the movie does its job in bringing the problem to light. Jennifer Lopez, as an actress, is good I think. I don’t know why she gets panned so much, probably reviewers can’t separate singer/lifestyle from her job. Damned if I know.

This is the third movie I think which does a good job with issues of immigration from Mexico and highlights problems. Jack Nicholson’s, The Border, was one: Three Burials of Estrada was another one. A book called The Reapers Line, absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read in highlighting the real border problem which is DRUGS. Although about drug interdiction, it hit the migration issue and hard. One of the best statements on the subject, something like, “The probleml with our immigration policy isn’t the poor Mexicans trying to gain a better life for there families but those who are profiting from them like the drug lords,etc.” What we may need to root out corruption is Denzel Washington in Men On Fire, dealing with kipnapping in Mexico where he kills everybody but the director.

The final hit has to be our own lack of common sense in our approach. If we took a fraction of the money we have wasted in Iraq to root out corruption in Mexico, improve the possibillites for the workers, they wouldn’t need to come to the U. S. as life would be better South of the Border. Will we do anything. I
Doubt it but movies like Bordertown keep trying. 2 parachutes

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