Category Archives: Films

We Mustn’t Build It or They Will Come

But build it we did and the enemy did come.

As many individuals who served in the American military believed, building an outpost at the bottom of a valley in Afghanistan was an absurd and terrible idea.  Even when respectful apprehension at the plan was met with agreement, the commands from higher pay grades and ranks superseded all forms of reconsideration.  Jake Tapper’s book The Outpost opens with the lunacy of building an outpost in a valley and not atop a mountain when he relates a conversation between “a young intelligence analyst named Jacob Whittaker” and his “superior officer, Second Lieutenant Ryan Lockner” in the “summer of 2006” (3).  Lockner gave Whittaker an assignment to create a visual aid for a morning presentation detailing the location of a new outpost.  After verifying that he had the correct information for its exact location, Whittaker confirmed that he could make the requested Power Point, “But sir…that is a really awful place for a base…it’s located at the base of a mountain peak…and flanked by a river on the west and another river to the north?”

Lockner added, “And there’s no good road to get to it — they’re still building that…”

To which Whittaker responded, “And it’s an eternity away by helicopter if something goes wrong..Sir, this is a really bad idea…A. Really. Bad. Idea. Anyone we drop off there is going to die.”

Jake Tapper’s summary of the exchange between Whittaker and Lockner includes more information on the topography on the area that Camp Kamdesh (eventually renamed Camp Outpost Keating) would be built no matter how tactically nonsensical.  Orders were orders after all.

OTPST

I finished reading Jake Tapper’s book recently and loved it.  I experienced a substantial pang of sadness and “what the hell?!” afterwards because of current events.  So many lives lost, so many dollars poured into plans, projects, and good intentions that evaporated just like that.

I had wanted to write a blog entry about it after I’d rewatched the The Outpost (Rod Lurie, 2019) and re-read some of the passages in Clinton Romesha‘s account of being at Camp Outpost Keating when it was breached by the enemy….but, I didn’t feel like waiting any more.

If you’ve not seen the film nor read either of the books but would like to plunge into the triumvirate of texts, I recommend you watch the movie first, then read Red Platoon, and then read The Outpost.  Most of the book consists of establishing geo-political and historical contexts that preceded, facilitated, exacerbated what happened at COP Keating.  If you have seen the movie and read Clinton Romesha’s book (or have consumed just one of them) and you want a more compare-and-contrast reading experience of Jake Tapper’s book, then I suggest you read the final section, Book Three entitled “Enemy in the Wire: The End of Combat Outpost Keating”).

OutP  RPlatjpg

I do want to re-watch the movie soon and organize my notes and thoughts for a blog post.

And, the Atlanta Falcons were in merry ole London over the weekend for gridiron action against the New York Jets.  The Falcons moistened the Jets’ towelettes 27 to 20.  Final score.  Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL Films: 30 years ago in Atlanta

The year was 1991.  The Berlin Wall had fallen two years ealier; the Oscar winners from that spring included Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Bates, Jeremy Irons, and Dances with Wolves among others; Mariah Carey‘s Emotions album was released that fall; and Desert Storm was making news headlines.*

Such is all the prologue you need for what 1991 was like.  Just sit back and enjoy this NFL Films production.

DSAtlantaFalcons

Part of me wishes that I had watched more Atlanta football back in the day so that I could have relished all of that end zone celebration.  Alas.

Please enjoy these videos as well:

ditzy

*I was in fourth grade.  I remember the teacher bringing in a TV to the classroom for us to watch the news.  I didn’t understand the significance if what was happening, but I do remember many of my classmates began to worry about their fathers, who were in the military.

Pic cred: NFL Films YouTube screengrab

Pendant le Weekend

C’est pas ce WeekendJe veux dire ce Weekend.

LeWKND

 

As conveyed in my review of her film The Photograph, I adore Stella Meghie‘s writing and filmmaking style.  I saw her film The Weekend (2018) on Amazon Prime a year ago and recently realized that I need to have it on DVD.  I’ve rewatched it twice in the last couple of days and am certain that this film will be one of those movies I rewatch on a quarterly basis.  Rather than try to articulate why Meghie’s film appeals to me so much, let me point you to Lorry Kikta‘s review of it for Film ThreatThe Weekend resonated with Lorry due to similar life experiences.  Although I can’t make that claim to the same extent, I firmly agree with Lorry’s observation that the dialogue “seem[s] exceptionally real, and the dynamic of all the actors seems lived in and not fictional…The Weekend explores all kinds of relationships dynamics in its’ rather short run time, and also manages to have some great cinematography and production design (courtesy of Kris Belchevski and Cindy Chao & Michele Yu respectively) to boot.”

 


Watch it, watch this movie today if you’d like to get out of your head for a bit, laugh a little, and without being in denial regarding the complexities of human interaction.

Saving the Red Band Pacific Hawk Generation Flags

Also known as Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg, 1998), The Thin Red Line (Terence Malick, 1998), Band of Brothers (2001), The Pacific (2010), Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, 2001), Generation Kill (2008), and…

AcroWF

Flags of Our Fathers (Clint Eastwood, 2006).

FOOF

Ensemble casts, war films and TV series, so many actors poised for or in the middle of stardom.  How many have you seen and which are your favorites?

And I might as well throw in Memphis Belle (1990) and Hacksaw Ridge (2016) on account of the ensemble casts.

Pics creds: IMDB, Amazon

Wrath of Man I wanted more Josh Hartnett and Andy Garcia

I’d wanted to see Wrath of Man (Guy Ritchie, 2021) when it came out earlier in the year but was unwilling to see it at a movie theatre, so I was thrilled to see it out on home video this week.  I’m an admirer of Jason Statham‘s work and Guy Ritchie as an auteur and assumed that I’d be charmed by the script and editing.

WOM

To my surprise, however, I ended up wanting more Josh Hartnett and Andy Garcia and feeling underwhelmed by the film’s final sequence.

WOM_JH

WOM_AG

The film’s closing was such a ho-hum experience that it inspired a poem.
Spoilers ahead, turn back now if you don’t want to know more or less what happens:

wrath of jason statham

it was a bit
of a let-down
the ending,
i mean,
you got what you wanted,
you got your man
but did it feel good?

those actions aren’t meant
to turn back time,
nobody intends
to bring back the dead –
not in this genre at least –
blood will be shed
property will be damaged,
but wasn’t there the smallest
amount of lackluster
accomplishment

when you nailed your man
to the edge of the bed
a liver for a liver
a lung for a lung
a spleen for a spleen
a heart for a heart?

what was i expecting,
i’m not sure
but something that would’ve taken
a bit longer to finish.

– yiqi 24 July 2021 5:44 pm

The opening credits sequence is the best part of the film, which probably isn’t the best compliment.  I have no regrets watching the film, and now as I type these words, I wonder if I’d have liked it more if Mads Mikkelsen were in it instead of Jason Statham.

WOM2

pic creds: IMDB