War is hell but it sometimes provides the backdrop for great movies. The recent Blu-ray release of 1917, followed by the 50th anniversary, this week, of the Oscar-winning Patton, starring George C. Scott, is as good an excuse as any for cinephiles to hunker down in the trenches of an impromptu war movie marathon (especially if you’re stuck at home right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic).
With that in mind, here’s a mission for you, soldier: work your way through this chronological list of the best war movies of the last fifty years. “Best” is ultra-subjective, of course, but when you’re Alamo-ed up in a fort of pillows in your living room and there’s nothing good on television, few of these movies should disappoint.
Read More »
Artist Tim Doyle talks his The Vietnam War Movie Memorial art:
“I was asked to participate in an artshow that is also a fundraiser for a documentary about VHS art, and this is the piece I created for it. VHS will always hold a special place in my memory. … Recently I had to re-watch Full Metal Jacket and another Vietnam War movie for poster assignments (the second one is not yet released, fyi) and I got to thinking about how much of our understanding of war in this country is filtered through the for-profit lens of Hollywood. And frankly, I think it’s gross. Multi-million dollar star vehicles showing us all how awful war is, but still with a slight sense of humor and a moral at the end, and the star never comes home with a permanent brain injury or a lost limb. It’s these celluloid fantasies that help shape and sell the narrative of how we in America “understand” what’s going on in all those other countries we can’t spell properly. Many of us here don’t even personally know the name of a soldier serving now, much less one that has died in a past conflict. Do I hate war movies? Heck no. They can be great fun, great social commentary, and depress the hell out of you. They can also exploit, lie, and whitewash. But no one should ever mistake them for what they are- complete fiction. Even the ‘true’ stories aren’t really true. So all of the above was kicking around in my head when I created the above piece. I hope it offends the right people and the original intended message comes through. “
Nakatomiinc is selling a 18×24 hand printed silkscreen print of Doyle’s Vietnam War Memorial, signed and numbered in an artist’s edition of 50.
It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding Valentine’s Day starring every safe, boring white actor ever, that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.
In 1986, a supernatural moto-fantasy about a murdered bro who returns via a phantasmic, black stealth race car to kill his killers was released on Earth and no one gave a shit. More than two decades later, The Wraith, though forever without a wet ‘stache lick from Peter Travers, is cult-minted for being memorable-enough ’80s-ploitation. Next month sees the release of a Special Edition DVD that adequately recognizes and explores the movie’s legacy and history with commentary courtesy director Mike Marvin and featurettes on the film’s semi-iconic Dodge racer and co-star Clint Howard (who, if not semi-iconic himself, sported a semi-iconic wig inspired by Eraserhead for the film).
Revisiting The Wraith, what’s interesting is how this derivative hybrid of genres and classic revenge films—Marvin references High Plains Drifter and The Road Warrior—remains sublimely adolescent but in an inherently cold and detached way. Stranger still is how this suits the film’s undead hero, vehicle, and hints of an afterlife with a decidedly mechanical bent. And before viewing the S.E. I had no idea a crew member died and many others were injured in a chase scene gone awry. One stunt coordinator recounts how a grip fell 60-feet down a rocky embankment and was only found knocked-out but okay hours later. Nor did I know (or need to) that a sunbathing scene with lead star Charlie Sheen as the titular, ghostly hero and co-star Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart) was shot on a “near-freezing” day. Hearing these stories, I wonder now if the troubles of the production didn’t contribute to the overall tone. And looking back at the film itself, which was released the same year as Top Gun, Ferris Bueller, and Blue Velvet, might The Wraith, however unintentionally, deserve to be called Lynchian?
Read More »