Skip to comments.Jarhead Cheapens Vets' Heroism
Posted on 11/11/2005 12:14:48 PM PST by neverdem
Jarhead Cheapens Vets' Heroism
by Oliver North
Posted Nov 11, 2005
San Antonio, Tex.—Yesterday, November 10, was the 230th anniversary of the founding of the United States Marine Corps. Today, November 11, is Veterans’ Day. Lance Cpl. Aaron Mankin, USMC, observed both celebrations from Brooke Army Medical Center here in San Antonio. He’s been here for months—recovering from burns and wounds he received earlier this year near Al Qaim, Iraq. I was there, covering his unit for FOX News when the Assault Amphibious Vehicle he was in was blown apart by an improvised explosive device. This week, I was privileged to spend part of this year’s Marine Corps anniversary with him here in San Antonio. It would have been nice to have introduced him to some of the fools in Hollywood.
It’s pretty clear that those making movies in Tinsel Town don’t know any real men like Aaron Mankin. They apparently prefer cowardice over courage; witless whiners to real patriots; gutless wimps and hollow phonies to men who know the meaning of self-sacrifice and integrity. That’s the only conclusion one can draw after seeing Hollywood’s latest anti-military travesty: Jarhead.
The newly released film is loosely based on an anti-Marine screed crafted by Anthony Swofford, who purports to be a “veteran” of Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-91. Mr. Swofford maintains it is an accurate depiction of his military experience, from boot camp—where he claims to have been abused and belittled by a maniacal drill instructor—to his mutinous “tour of duty” in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.
"A witty, profane, down-in-the-sand account of the war many only know from CNN, this former sniper's debut is a worthy addition to the battlefield memoir genre," says a book review by Publisher's Weekly. But this is no “Battle Cry”—by Leon Uris—a real battle memoir by a real Marine. The plug for CNN could easily have read, “ABC,” “CBS” or “NBC” – for all the so-called mainstream media have covered war and warriors with equal disdain. And just in case the reader is dense enough to misunderstand what the work is really about, the reviewer helpfully notes that Mr. Swofford "questions whether the men are as prepared as their commanders, the American public and the men themselves think they are."
One might conclude from the book and movie reviews that this is simply another antiwar epic. But this isn’t Red Badge of Courage or All Quiet on the Western Front—two great books and films that accurately depict the horror and carnage of war. Nor does Jarhead contain any of the cutting, satirical humor of “M.A.S.H.” or “Catch-22”—both of which portray war’s futility.
It’s not that Hollywood has always failed those who fight our wars. During and after World War II, every studio produced films that encouraged a war weary nation—and showed American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines as committed, courageous and compassionate. But that was the “good war”—and as the fictional Saving Private Ryan proved—both in critical acclaim and at the box office—decades after it ended, Hollywood remains comfortable making movies about the great crusade against fascism.
But clearly, “winning” a war isn’t a prerequisite for a positive portrayal on the silver screen. Though the Korean War ended in stalemate—the first war we didn’t “win”—film-makers were still able to show the Americans who fought there in a positive way. The Bridges of Toko-Ri—based on Michener’s novel—has a tragic ending like the war in which it was set—but it is still a saga of bravery and self-sacrifice.
Even the much-maligned Vietnam War has a small handful of films accurately depicting the valor and perseverance of those who served there. We Were Soldiers Once, based on the account of Gen. Harold Moore and reporter Joe Galloway, of the events of November 14-16, 1965, when 450 U.S. soldiers were airlifted into Ia Drang Valley and immediately surrounded by elements of the North Vietnamese Army's 66th Regiment is an example.
Other “losing campaigns” have been chronicled by cameras without denigrating those who served. The magnificent film, Blackhawk Down—depicting the true-life story of Rangers and Army Delta Force operators who were sent on a disastrous raid into the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, is a case in point.
Given these profitable precedents, why do the power brokers and financial geniuses in Hollywood choose to make a movie such as Jarhead and release it coincident with a Marine Corps birthday and Veterans’ Day? The film has absolutely not one character or scene containing any redeeming virtue or value. It is an excessively vulgar movie without a moral or a point. With our nation at war—this film is not just antiwar—or rotten to the Corps—though it is certainly that. “Jarhead” is anti-everything that is good and decent.
During a week when Americans honor the Corps and thank their veterans, Jarhead cheapens and distorts the heroism, warrior spirit, superior intellect and selflessness of America's fighting forces. Those who participated in making this nihilist flop deserve nothing but scorn in return.
He's absolutely correct. Of course, the only people "killed" in this version of the war are civilians. Though the part played by Jamie Foxx is actually good, the template is that the war was not worth it...that they were upset because the brass wouldn't let the sniper get the "kill" and that the only dead people were those who were innocent..DON't bother seeing it.
This makes it even easier to never go see this movie.
I refuse to see this movie as I already knew that it was nothing but politically correct BS. Hollywood does NOT make pro-military movies because they are anti-military. I like Jamie Foxx but this movie BS.
I'm sorry to read that this movie is another anti-America picture. The previews (evidently falsely) portray it as pro-Marine Corps. I'll be sure not to see it. Kudos to Oliver North for alerting us.
I will take you at your word Sir.
Thanks for the reviews, FReepers.
Dang it, if Col. North says it, I believe it. I was hoping this was going to be a positive movie.
Saw it and wish I had not wasted my money.
They keep making movies knocking the Corps, but the Corps lives on and even exceeded enlistment goals for this year.
I guess this is another one I'll pass on. Thanks for the heads up.
"REenaissance Man' is a GREAT movie. I teach English, and the young men in my 12th grade class LOVE that movie! It goes to show that students will relate to great films that highlight and bring out the heroic if provided; unfortunately, they also are brought down by the dregs of much of the Hollywood fare.
Like the Catholic Church, the Corps attracts people who are hungry for the REAL thing. Everything else is just a cheap facsimile. (Sorry Army, Navy, AF)
We honored our fallen comrades last night and offered a prayer that He look after and protect our fellow Marines in harm's way. The film "Jarhead" will not see a minute of time or a single penny from me.
For the most part HOLLYWOOD doesn't see my time or money. Certainly not in a thug filled theater.
My daughter bought me the book for my birthday a few years ago as she thought I'd enjoy reading it. Turned out to be the usual anti-war crap. Don't waste you bucks on the movie!
One year ago: http://www.fallujah.us
Thank you United States Marines and Army, for keeping us safe.
Hollywood, bite my old crank.
Jarhead = Hollywierd. When was the last time Hollywierd did anything positive for the troops since WWII or the Korean war time?
Remember those black and white WWII movies...They might not have been realalistic in terms of the "feel of war" (which I cannot attest to), but at least they were pro-militiary and pro-America.
Hollywood has sh1t for brains and they disregard most of "real America." Some enterprizing filmmaker will someday make a pro-militiary movie about this struggle, and it will be enormously successfull. (Just like they said "passion of the christ" would do poorly and were completely wrong, they're making a the same mistake here).
Most people just don't watch movies anymore, or rarely. You can tell all the movies stink, because "critics" always talk about them now in terms of "dollars drawn," and never in terms of substance.
Ping to a bad review of "Jarhead"...
I will never see it because the trailer reeks with hip-hop, rap crap, so the movie must contain the same garbage.
You need a caveat to your question. With the exception of Bob Hope and those of the entertainment industry that work with the U.S.O. what has hollywierd done for the troops.
I had the priviledge of seeing Bob Hope and Raquel at Danang (freedom hill) during the Christmas tour of 1967. He was telling some of the same jokes he told the troops in WWII with some minor variations to the then current war. Semper Fi.
Green Beret was probably the last movie made by Hollywood that praised the military. Havent seen a decent hero since John Wayne died. Willis is a nice guy but the roles he plays are sometimes a lot over the top.
The one I constantly laugh at is when the planes couldnt get into Dulles.Terrorists had shut down communications and the runway. LOL the funny thing is Richmond, National, Andrews, the Pax River Naval station, BWI are all within 50 miles which is nothing when you are in a plane.
I always thought it was a blessing that Bob Hope passed on between Dessert Shield/Storm and OEF/OIF. He would have been too frail to go, and it would have broken his heart that he could not go. Veterans of 4 wars have a special place in their hearts for Bob.
And of course each contingent has their own favorites among the ladies who went with him. I'm kinda partial to Ann Margret myself.
I too have fond admiration for Ms. Margaret. But the first American woman I ever saw in a "mini" skirt was Raquel. Gotta admit it set the bar to high for most of the women I saw after I got back.
See this article makes me wonder what his take on the movie "Annapolis" will be. Since I have a feeling it will be based on Jim Webbs novel "A Sense of Honor." However if hollywood does what they did with jarhead with annapolis there will be a lot of un happy grads. Among whom is Ollie North.
True. I forgot that Hope had entertained the troops in Veitnam.
Thank you both....I will rent that this weekend.
Sounds like Annapolis is a boxing movie set at the academy....
You made the only positive comment about "Jarhead", IIRC.
How does it compare to "Platoon"? BTW, I believe that "Platoon" was the first realistic movie about grunts in Vietnam.
Well, of recent war films:
1) We Were Soliders - Best film about the Vietnam War, IMHO. Mel Gibson. Wonderful, underrated film.
2) Gettysburg - Admittedly about the Civil War, but still a great movie, one of my favorites.
I agree that We Were Soldiers is a great film...it doesn't focus on the politics at all really...just the soldiers and their families. Plus..the soundtrack is wonderful. It has the song, "Mansions of the Lord" sung at Ronald Reagan's funeral. Very moving!
Thanks for the ping.
Didn't see the movie and won't. Did see some of the trailers on TV.
I could tell that it would be anti-USMC. I was there, we didn't talk like that. We didn't talk jive. We were all business.
I was fortunate to serve with some of the most supremely well-educated and thoughtful men I have ever known... and they are still good friends.
Platoon was half about boot and half about the war. The part about boot was as close to 100 percent as I've seen - the other half I didn't think was that great.
I think Jarhead was funnier than platoon and concentrates more on the time after boot. It is also geared to the young folks that are of military sign-up age.
Our priest last Sunday said he saw it (he's a former military man) and it should be re-named Air Head not Jar Head. He said it was the worst movie he had ever seen.
Aren't you describing Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick.
Here's Platoon with Tom Berenger.
Tears of the Sun is good IMO.
Yes, I think he was describing Full Metal Jacket. My dad was in the Marines in the 60's and thought the boot camp part was quite realistic. The latter part was more surreal and more subversive but still excellent IMO. I wish there were a movie maker out there with the skill of Stanley Kubrick and the patriotism of Mel Gibson. The closest you might get to that would be Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan. But I doubt Spielberg could be patriotic about any war other than WWII.
Yes your right. I guess that means that FMJ had more of an impression on me than Platoon. Saw them both though. Platoon had more small unit tactics for sure. Jarhead is more positive and funnier and very URRAAAHHesque.
One and a half thumbs up for Jarhead. Saw it liked it.
My eighteen year old son went to see the movie last weekend and he called it "full of PC BS".
I read the book. It was lousy. Guy admitted to stealing from his brother Marines in the book.
Guys were asking me if I was going to see the movie. I told them no way, it was going to be a PC piece of crap and the book stunk.
Wish they'd make a movie about Gunny Hathcock.
What's with the slap in the face of every non-Catholic here? I would hate to ruine a perfectly good thread with a flame war over denominations.....
unless you are comparing the US Marine Corps with an organization that has a history of ....well, I said I didn't want to start.....
So do I. But it would be some crap about, I waited until she was about to take a pee, and I ...
I too was disappointed in the movie. I thought the screenplay was written by a kid who had no idea of what Marines say and do. The scenes of the burning oilfields in Kuwait were good though.