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Aug. 18th, 2005 @ 10:52 pm full metal jacket
Current Mood: dizzy
Just saw. Good film. See it if you think the Vietnam War was a good idea. See it if you think the Vietnam War wasn't a good idea. See it if you really don't care.

There are definitely some anti-war overtones in there, which would offend some of you, but it's no wishy-washy hippie propaganda--the message is subtle and deliberately ambiguous. The soldiers of the film are not men of outstanding character or scared boys in helmets. They are human beings, and their experience is told with striking honesty. The protagonist, a soldier-journalist, wears both a peace-sign pin and a helmet with "Born to Kill" on it ("I like to think of it as commentary on the dual nature of man, in a Jungian sense," he claims). That pretty much sums up the movie's political stance. It may lean slightly more towards the anti-war side, but there are good reasons why modern U.S. soldiers love it so much. This movie is about them. Not War, not Heroes or Veterans or Freedom or Justice, but a bunch of dudes with guns.

My only complaint: Genuine profanity, fake blood. I know the movie was pretty violent for its time, which shocks me a bit--in real life we honor troops who get blown to bits, but show it in a movie and it's all oh no, censors, save our children's tender eyes from the horror! It's more than a little hypocritical how the movie is honest enough to have its Marines swear like Marines, yet has them trigger land mines and look like they stepped on a tomato. I guess Kubrick decided it was hard to have a tender death scene with the bigger half of a mutilated torso.

I am in favor of exposing kids to blood. Not brutality, perhaps not violence, but definitely blood. To hell with protecting innocent eyes. Kids need to learn early that blood is a natural part of death, or they never will (as is the case with many of the concerned mothers of America, who I am beginning to suspect never grew up). They were born in blood, and if they're less fortunate they'll die in blood. Show them a roadkill deer or something. Let them puke, get it out of their system. If they ever end up having to stuff their best friend's intestine back into his body while waiting for the paramedics to arrive, they'll thank you.

Interesting bit of trivia: R. Lee Ermey, the guy who plays the movie's infamous drill instructor, was an actual drill instructor in the mid-1960s, and went on to serve in Vietnam. Oddly enough, he was hired twenty-three years later to do the voice-overs for the mission briefings in one of my favorite computer games of all time, Fallout Tactics. I thought the game was merely parodying him, but no, it's actually him.
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Date:August 18th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
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Speaking of the drill instructor guy, my dad pointed out that the whole scene in the bathroom was pretty fake. Those guys are pretty mean, until you have live ammunition, at which point they get real nice and sweet. Nobody wants to distract or annoy somebody with a live hand grenade, that kind of thing.

I'm not so sure it is really necessary to expose kids to things early on in order to build up their ability to deal with them later in life. I'm a lot more squeamish than most, and doing that to me would have just been unpleasant and miserable. In my case, trying to desensitize me to it would probably have been worse than leaving it alone. I'd probably have developed some kind of gross-out complex or paranoia or fixation or something.

As for the handling emergency medical procedures, I think a simpler solution might be 'avoid riding motorcycles. Motorcycles are bad.'

- Will
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Date:August 18th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Hey now, you'll probably be even more traumatized if it happens to you in real life. I get sick of hearing from people, "This isn't supposed to happen! In the movies it looks so fake! You think it could never happen to you!" Part of the price we pay for America's high standard of living is that lots of people grow up used to it. Life isn't always this good, and the squeamish don't handle things well when it gets bad.

Plus, you don't need to be on a motorcycle to be in a motorcycle accident. Nor do you need to be in a motorcycle accident to have to perform, er, emergency wetware maintenance.

On a hypocritical note, I kind of wish I knew more about first aid. I know some really basic remedies for choking and drug overdose, and I know how to apply a tourniquet, but I can't stitch up a wound or apply a splint (things friends of mine have actually needed to do to themselves in emergency situations). I guess that's the price I paid for never having joined the Boy Scouts.
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Date:August 19th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
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really? wow. thats some interesting info.

Man...I only got to see half of the movie. I want to see the second half. or see the whole thing all over again.

my favorite line. "Sir, it doesn't matter what I say. Anything I say won't be the answer that you want." or...something like that...
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Date:August 19th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
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People seem to like the first half of the film best, so at least you got to see the good part. The second part is an entirely different beast, though I can't say it's any better or worse.