Saturday, December 5, 2009


I am having a hard time with this movie.

When I first saw the previews I was.... egh... generally turned off. I kind of recent our military being used as dramatic fuel for movies. Furthermore, I have yet to see a movie post 9-11/OIF/OEF which portrays our military as anything other than mental degenerates. I'm frustrated and concerned that the respect (I assume) the majority of people have for those that have served will (or has already) been replaced with fear, thus making our Soldiers, Marines, Guardsmen, Airmen and Seamen social misfits.

Maybe I'm the only one who jumps to that conclusion?

I don't think so though. November 5th, Army Major, Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at the SRP on Fort Hood, killing 13. I remember a comment a friend of mine made on facebook: "hopefully this opens up the debate about the well being of our soldiers...too bad it had to come from this."
The assumption being Hasan had been deployed to a combat zone, possibly suffering from PTSD.

Later we learned that wasn't so much the case. In fact he was doing everything he could to avoid deployment.

This is when it first occurred to me people (possibly) viewed soldiers/military as individuals that are destined to be slated, dangerous, mentally-unreliable. While I can't deny the effects war has on those who have seen it, I think the assumptions can be unfair. Based on the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and former Seamen that I know all of their careers consist of different experiences (duh); just as their deployments have all been different. I think we can all agree some long-term effects deployments are going to be more intense and noticeable than others; based upon their actual experiences.

My point, being that some deploy to Kuwait for 6 months and don't see the kind of combat the Marines faced in Fallujah in 2004. Some soldiers never leave the FOB, others patrol or support missions to disarm road-side bombs. It's too bad the broader public doesn't know the difference. Not all who deploy are infantry... they don't all have the same training or specialty, therefore they don't all see or experience the same things while in country.

This is the source of my frustration and concern. Those who don't know better assume everyone comes back completely jaded and "messed up", as a friend so eloquently put it. I'm sorry but that isn't the case. I wonder why Hollywood has yet to portray (or if they have, please tell me) our military in a positive light?

Another example: In The Valley of Ellah; 2008 staring Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron. "This is a thriller that is both surprising in its development and inexorable in its conclusions and the less I say of the plot the better. The movie is about the terrible things war does to people and the terrible things people do in war. The central thrust is contained in a piece of symbolism. Early on, the national flag is accidentally flown upside down, officially an appeal for help in a situation of danger. At the end, Old Glory is hoisted upside down on purpose."

For those of you who haven't seen this movie, it's DARK. I found it rather unsettling. Kevin and I watched the end of this one together, even he cringed.

With all of my concerns (don't laugh) and frustrations because of movies like Brothers (you remember, where this whole post started???) I am oddly drawn to it. I was originally pissed at the preview and just sick of the implications.... after hearing more and more reviews and of the fantastic performances I'm more and more interested in seeing it.

I guess I really want to see how Toby Maguire portrays returning Marine, Sam Cahill. Maybe it's not as bad I assume it will be? Maybe I've jumped to unwarranted conclusions.....


Sound off!

What are your thoughts???


hmb said...

Kind of unrelated....but have you heard anything about the movie 'the messenger'? I kind of wanted to see it, but I was afraid I would freak the eff out while Josh is gone. So I may see it later....

Lauren B. said...

Well deployment affects everyone differently. Aaron came back from his last and has never been the same person...he's not crazy or anything, but he's just not the same. Being in combat does things to people. Then theres me, a sailor never deployed and who would've likely never been in combat even if I was. But I do think that the mental stability of service members coming home from war isn't taken as seriously as it should be. Some problems go untreated because the person is too embarrassed to say anything. I think there should be way more counseling/screening for them when they return. And I also think there should be a limit as to how many times a person is deployed...I mean guys leaving for their seventh tour? That's a little much, especially when some people serve their 20 years without ever even leaving the United States.

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I've seen the valley of elliah and I was completely appalled by it. I thought the whole thing was horrible and ridiculous. Real life is not exactly as they portrayed it. Have you seen the previews for "Dear John" I'm boycotting it hard core. I have no problem never seeing another military movie ever again.

Samantha the ArmyWife said...

Hil: I haven't seen that preview. I'll have to Youtube it...
LB: You're absolutely right I think the mental effects of war aren't taken as seriously as they should be in some instances. My fear is that the masses will only view those who've deployed as unstable bc that's all the media shows them. And I'd hate for someone to judge my soldier based on a movie. You know?
Jenn: Have you read Dear John? It's written by Nicholas Sparks. It's not what you'd think. I can send it to you if you're interested?
All I have to say for Dear John is CHANNING TATUM. Really, you can't deny that man in uniform. Just go and watch... plug your ears if you must... lol just oogle his "goodies". LMAO!

jenn said...

sam when i first saw the preview it intrigued me.
after seeing the preview over and over again i thought to myself what the is hollywood trying to say?

it really ticks me off that our soldiers get this portrayal when the ppl producing these movies has NO CLUE what its like to be in a war!!!

so, i'm torn on this one in particular.


yes, that picture was of chili -- sorry, it was so small :o)

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I'm thinking I'm still going to pass on the movie. He did look good in the preview though....

Sara said...

The one that angered me to the point of tear was stop loss. It assumes every soldier is stop lossed. Every soldier hates going to war. Every soldier wants to be out of the military and that the military high brass are assholes who don't care about their people. I could go on.

Honeslty, this one didn't offend me and here's why. I think the preface is that he was some sort of POW or MIA type of situation. Worst case scenario meant to be slightly unrealistic.

I might be thinking that though just because I'm "in the know" being part of the community and all. Perhaps you're right that people will come out of it thinking that all of our soldiers experience the same threat level and can all come back with mental issues. Worse still that all mental issues are created equal.

Erin said...

There are movies out there that honor our men as hero's. We were soldiers, is one. It shows an amazing battle that was fought by some of the bravest men who ever lived. They fought, against unknown enemies, in unfamiliar terrain. It also showed the wives and what they go through. At the time, wives received telegrams from a delivery man to tell them that their husbands had died, and one wife changed that. She began having the letters sent to her and gathering wives to go and support the families of the fallen. It shows the best side of our military and of their families.

This is just one example of the movies that depict our men as heros.

I admit that the recent trend of hollywood is to show them as draft dodgers who hate the war and come back broken. Its sad that they think this sells. It sad that they dishonor our men that way.

Every man who goes to war, whether he is at a desk on base or kicking down doors comes home changed. They all have the potential for PTSD, no matter what their job, but that does not make them damaged. It makes them human. And there are varying degrees of PTSD. Not everyone is a danger. It's sad that so many do not make any distinction. It's sad to me that most people don't even try to understand what our men go through. And hollywood is perpetuating that misconception lately.

Hopefully the tide will turn and they will, again, start making movies that honor our mens fight. That show how brave they are. Movies that show they are the best of the best. But lately, it is all been crap. And don't even get me started on the movie Stop Loss... UGH! My husband was so offended by that movie that we didn't even bother to go see it. He takes his job as a Marine very seriously and I agree that it's time that hollywood takes notice and starts honoring that.

lola said...

I had a similar concern when they brought Owen Hunt on to Grey's -- that everyone would see servicemembers as basketcases with flashbacks. Like you said, everyone has different experiences and different reactions. To assume that they all would be the same is ignorant.

Kayla said...

I refuse to see this movie. Outright refuse. But I will be the first to admit that I probably would have gone to see it, and maybe would have enjoyed it, before I was in this life. Now that I am, its too personal. It hits too close to home for me. So on the one hand I wonder if that's why I find it offensive? But on the other, I agree with you.
I do think Hollywood focuses on the negative aspects of the military, but I disgaree with you on the reasons. There's such an anti-war-let's-all-be-friends-I-donated-$3-mil-to-Afghani-children sentiment in Hollywood, that they do all they can to perpetuate this idea that the ONLY products of war are bad and unhealthy. We all know thats not necessarily the case, although too often it is. I think people make these movies to make some misguided commentary, because they think that's what people want to watch.
In the end, it just makes those of us who are in Natalie Portman's position cringe with mingled disgust for their ignorance, and a little twinge of fear that we may end up like her...

hmb said...

I just went through to see what peeps had said...I saw where someone above mentioned We Were Soldiers. The difference in many war-related movies and that that We Were Soldiers is a based off of a book 'We Were Soldiers Once...And Young' by Lt Gen Hal Moore---a fab guy that experienced those things firsthand. The characters, the wives...all based on real people. The bullshit that they are serving up today is just that...bullshit. It tweeks my melon!!!

*just wanna throw in that I'm not some crazy cat reading war books. Hal Moore is Josh's HERO! I think he would marry him if it all possible. And he came out with another book last year shortly before Christmas....I thought he was gonna throw 'bows at Borders to get his hands on the first copy.

Fox Family said...

I realize that people may take offense to this movie, and I find it a little farfetched myself. I think all that Hollywood is doing is trying to make money. Which, sadly, no one in the "real" world wants to pay to see sane, professional Military men do their job. Yes, they are depicted them in a bad light, but that is what everyone wants these days... The dirt, not the glory as sad as that is.

SabrinaT said...

I will probably not see the movie.
I live OCONUS and it amazes me how many "support our troops" commercials they show over here. Maybe Mrs. Obama needs to air these commercials in the US!