Flags of Our Fathers

For whatever reason I headed out last night to catch a friggin 12:45AM showing of this flick. I got there at 12:45 on the dot and headed into a theater with like six people in it. I brought in combos and water and twizz. I find a seat right in the center of a row by myself. But even though it's 12:45 nothing was going on on the screen. Music on. Lights up. I looked around at the other people and nobody seemed to notice that it was 12:45 and weird that nothing was going on. I usually wouldn't get mental impatient but for a late late show making it later is no fun. At 12:50 I headed out to find some help. We were on the 9th floor of this place multiplex place where they shut off the down escalators at night for their own stupid reasons. I didn't want to walk down so I started yelling for help. I stuck my head over the railing and yelled, 'Helloooo! HELLLO! ANYONE! Start the movie up here please!!' Dead silence. I decided to head back inside wait it out for another five minutes and hope for the best. When I walked back in the people in the theater didn't even look at me for a sign that everything was ok. It seemed they just didn't care that the movie hadn't started! It was like 12:55AM! How were they not concerned?!

12:57! I was officially grumpy and got up and headed out again all huffy. I yelled once more for help. Literally yelled. HELLO!!!! HELLO!!! PLEASE START THE MOVIE UP HERE! (It was weird yelling in a building and hearing an echo.) I headed back into the theater again and they finally started up previews. Phew.

After like four previews this guy in a big orange coat comes into the theater in a hurry. I assumed he was concerned he had been missing the movie. He looks around the place and then at me straight in the eye and starts starts walking toward me. He's not an usher or anything and he was looking crazed. He's looking at me like he knows me. I definitely didn't know him. And he turns and starts heading down my row! Right at me! He looked wild eyed! Stomping down my row! In an empty theater! I was like! OMG! I'm about to get murdered! I was totally not in the mood! He sits down one seat over from me and leans in to talk to me....

Here's how the conversation went:

Crazy Guy (whispery): Hey! Scuse me...

Me (please don't murder me please don't murder me): Yeah?

Crazy Guy: How many previews have they showed?

Me: Umm.. I don't know. Umm... four maybe?

Crazy Guy: Which ones?

Me: Umm... They just showed one for some Russell Crowe thing.

Crazy Guy: The one about his dad?

Me: Maybe... I wasn't really...

Crazy Guy: What else?

Me: Umm... Dreamgirls?

Crazy Guy: What else?

Me (please don't murder me please don't murder me): Umm... I honestly don't remember.

Crazy Guy then stared at me.

Me: I wasn't really paying attention... sorry.

Crazy Guy continued to stare.

(please don't murder me please don't murder me)

Then finally.

Crazy Guy: Ok, man... thanks man.

Me (please don't murder me please don't murder me): No problem...

Then Crazy Guy went and sat down in the front row to watch the movie. Super front row. Like under the screen basically. As the rest of the previews played out I tried to analyze that guy's particular brand of crazy. Why were the previews so important to him? If he was concerned about missing one specific preview why would he grill me to find out which one's they showed? Why not just ask if they showed that specific one? And why did he have to sit in the front row? I spun my wheels on analyzing that guy and then gave up on it. I couldn't track the logic. Weird.

Oh wait! This is a movie review! Right! First off the title sort of sucks. Flags of Our Fathers? Yawn. Terrible. But whatever, the movie opens up and for the first ten minutes I was totally lost. I didn't know who anyone was nor who I should be paying attention to. People looked similar and I couldn't connect the 'old guy' modern interviews with whoever they were as young guys. No idea. This happened on and off for the whole flick. Being a little clueless. And I didn't like the washed-out color of the film. Too blue or silver or greenish something. The blood not red enough. It looked weird. I slunked down in my seat and got concerned about feeling sleepy.

Then the action kicks in and I sat up straight. The massive fleets and operations! Planes and guys! Tons of boats! Then the boats started firing the big guns! BOOM! And boats started heading to shore. It totally was Private Ryan-ish when they landed on the beach but I didn't care. It was Iwo Jima so it was different enough. There's was a longggg string of action that was pretty awesome! Flame throwers! Dudes yelling into radios then catching a bullet in the head! Machine guns totally hidden in the grass firing at everything! Big guns on land firing and blasting the ships! So many ships! (Was there really that many ships?) And the action just kept coming! I was like, 'OMG! War porn! Coolio!' It wasn't as tight as Private Ryan. No amazing catch-your-breath moments like Ryan had. (Like the silent moment of the stunned dude picking up his own arm). But whatever! Keep shooting! Move! Move! Move! I thought about Clint at the helm of this and was amazed by his level of old man awesomeness! I could have watched that for two hours....

Unfortunately most of the two plus hours wasn't action packed. It was about following three guys around who were 'possibly' in the famous picture of those dudes pushing up the flag. We learn the whole thing was sort of bullshit. They sort of just grabbed some random dudes in the vicinity and put them on tour as "heroes" to get people to buy bonds to support the war. (Weird to think about how people used to reach into their own pockets for a war...) And yadda sure it was interesting to see how these dudes got sucked and snagged into the government propaganda machine. And what life was like at war time back then. But there was a side of me that wasn't really interested in having my thoughts about that photo changed. Truth be told. I like the government story. And understood the lie.

Ok this is all going way long so I'll just leave it at this. There's good news here and there's bad news. The good news is this is a really good movie... in theory. But it never clicked in for me. It seemed offbeat and unfinished. Like this wasn't the final cut or something. As for the 'drama' aspect. I was sort of like who cares, really. Ok so the guys who pushed up the flag didn't feel like real heroes? War is hell? Men are boys? The government lied? Shocker? That lie is nothing in comparison to other lies today. And for the most part the non-action 'drama' scenes looked like they wandered out of a friggin cheesed up TNT mini-series. With fake tears etc. And as much as I appreciated the effort here... this flick is how it looks in previews. Boring. Self-important. Humorless. There was nothing to really hate about it but nothing here to love. No one to love. I guess it bubbled up feelings about how much things have changed at war time and how much things haven't changed. But personally I left the movie unchanged... except for my thoughts about that photo-- which I used to love.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- The main action scene did make my mouth drop and I said, 'Hah!' It makes the movie.
- I love the fact that Clink is suited up and still on the mound of the movie world.
- I actually thought Ronald Phillipe did a good acting job.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- I think the color palette was a mistake.
- I didn't feel anything real when anybody died.
- It actually probably would have made a better mini-series than an actual movie.

All in all, this movie is a dvd rental. You can probably fast forward through much of the drama scenes and just get to the action. If I had a remote control in the theater, toward the end I would have just pointed it at the screen and kept zooming through to get back to the action. Yadda, I understand the moral goodness about telling the truth. And why a filmmaker would want to tell this story for 'history'. And how honesty is important no matter how it comes out. And the definition of a hero. Fine. So why was I so bored and eyerolly when the gunfire stopped? Maybe because I started to resent the jading up of such a memorable photo... by a film that was so friggin forgettable.