Monday, April 18, 2011

Best Picture Project 5, Platoon

Happy Monday everyone. Looks like we are still going strong with this Best Picture Project. Don't forget to look here for past posts. Next week we will be tackling both The Sound of Music and Chariots of Fire.

Platoon, 1986

Well we chose to go ahead and watch Platoon as part of our Best Picture Project series since it only had one day left on Netflix Instant Play! We have to take advantage of all the movies available on that.

This is probably not a movie I would see again, but I actually enjoyed it. Charlie Sheen (WINNING!) did a great job as did the other cast members, especially Willem Defoe. Defoe’s death scene, which has been spoofed in many films including the ever-so WINNING Tropic Thunder, was a bit over the top…however, cheesiness aside, you really felt his pain. He had just been betrayed and was doing EVERY thing he could to try and live. Quite sad really.

In fact, the majority of Platoon had a tragic, depressing feel… which is understandable because the Vietnam War is a very tragic/depressing subject. The movie really demonstrated how that war changed people. I have never been in the military so I do not know, but talking to many people who have, they say that war in general changes you. During the movie, you see Sheen’s character go from na├»ve in the beginning to completely broken of spirit at the end. Some scenes, like one where they go to a village and one of the U.S. soldiers basically assaults a retarded Vietnamese boy, was sickening to watch.

As with many Oliver Stone movies, however, this film was quite liberal in thought. After watching the movie, I read reviews from people who actually served in Vietnam. The VAST majority of reviews complained and said the only thing true about Platoon was the feel and look of the jungle scenes. Many complained that they did not like the characterizations of the soldiers as either hippies or ignorant bumpkins. I do think there could have been more characterizations, however, it is just a movie and isn’t meant to be a completely fictional tale of the Vietnam War. My complaints would be how the white soldiers were the only ones portrayed as “bad” or “stupid” in the movie, which seems a bit racist, but oh well.

I still enjoyed the movie whether it is historically accurate or not. It gives me an even DEEPER appreciation for all those who gave their lives and served in Vietnam as well as all those currently serving to protect our freedoms in the military now. I have the utmost respect for our military — without them we couldn’t live the way we do today. Whether you are for or against war, I believe respect must ALWAYS be given to our troops. God Bless you all.

So, was this film worthy of its Oscar? YES! Now I have never seen any of the other films nominated, but I still stand by my decision!

The Wife-

So I have very mixed feelings about the Oscar worthiness of this film. I'll start by saying I haven't seen a single other movie nominated in 1986 (I haven't even heard of any of the other nominees). So I really don't have any ammo to say this movie does not deserve best picture. However, something about Platoon just bothers me. Maybe it's a twenty year old Charlie Sheen not even trying. Perhaps it's how every character in the film is either a warmongering killer or a pot smoking hippie who just wants to go home. I'm aware Oliver Stone was in Vietnam, but I have trouble believing that everyone who fought in that war fits into one of these stereotypes.

Most of my fellow war movie lovers will probably hate me for this, but I really don't care for this movie. Sure, war is hell and it does a great job portraying that aspect. Maybe I'm getting old, but do they have to say fuck every other word? At what point did Hollywood decide everyone talks like that? But I guess Hollywood does know best, or so they tell us. It seems to me that Stone (who is know for being political) made a very political war movie during a time when vietnam movies were as popular as vampire movies are now. I guess the Academy had a pretty slim choice of movies in 1986 and gave the best picture to the one that fit their view of the world. I mean this isn't any better than Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket and neither of them won. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting bored of the same old same old. Probably I'm having trouble putting myself into the shoes of a movie goer from the eighties. I'm rambling, but I guess this movie deserves it's Oscar if not for any other reason than I'm bored of thinking about it.

Hobo Dan-

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