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War- what is it good for? Absolutely noth-…
Actually, probably entertainment, now that I think about it... This is “Movie Night”!
*theme song plays*
Hello, and welcome to “Movie Night.” I'm your host, Jonathan Paula.
On tonight's episode, per your suggestions from Facebook and Twitter last week, we will be highlighting two classic war films...
the first of which is the 1979 Vietnam epic from director Francis Ford Coppola, "Apocalypse Now."
Martin Sheen stars as Special Forces officer Captain Willard, a disenchanted and troubled Army vet...
who is tasked with heading down river into the Cambodian jungle to find Colonel Kurtz...
played by Marlon Brando, a Special Forces officer himself who is feared to have gone rogue.
This is a movie with a tremendous reputation. Brando showed up late on set, unprepared and drastically overweight.
Sheen himself suffered a heart attack and had to be replaced by his brother for some long-shots and voice overs...
and Coppola struggled for years to edit the film, after shooting over 200 hours of footage for just a three-hour movie.
"Apocalypse Now" is as epic as it is iconic. The film opens without any titles or credits of any kind to an impressively edited montage of Willard's face...
superimposed over images and the unearthly sounds of slow-motion helicopters bombing a tree-line in Vietnam...
with the sounds of The Doors' "The End" echoing ominously in the background. Visually speaking, this film is beyond astounding.
Every shot is meticulously framed, focused, and lit, beautifully capturing all of the sights and sounds of a real war zone.
It's no surprise then that, of its eight Oscar nominations, the two that it took home were for Best Sound and Best Cinematography.
Scene to scene, this film is engaging, thought-provoking, disturbing, and yet, it remains entertaining.
An early and now-famous scene in the movie features Robert Duvall as Colonel Kilgore and his fleet of helicopters...
as they launch an attack on a Vietnam-held beach, blasting to the sounds of Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" as the bombs drop on the small village.
The imagery is impressive and well-executed. Unfortunately, though, when these individual scenes are glued together into a 202-minute film, they begin to lose their effectiveness.
The all-star cast also features appearances by Harrison Ford, Lawrence Fishburne, and Dennis Hopper...
only further solidifying that this movie's parts are indeed greater than its sum.
There are a number of sequences that, although fascinating, linger on for much too long, and fail to forward the plot in any capacity.
When the third act finally does arrive, the characters that we're left with are so beaten-down and apathetic about their situation...
it is difficult to really empathize with their position or motives. Coppola takes us from an inspiring high to a delusionally self-serving low...
where the movie just drags on with slow-paced scenes of character babble that are beyond boring.
There is certainly something to be said about a director who sticks to his artistic vision without trepidation...
but, in this instance, it only serves to ruin a masterpiece of war-inspired cinema.
"Apocalypse Now"- "Impressively epic, but dreadfully pompous."
Well, those are my thoughts on the film. Now, let's see what you had to say about it in the YouTube comments.
Here's the Rate-o-Matic now, to show us how we both scored "Apocalypse Now."
A “cool” and an “awesome”! I really appreciate this film for what it is attempting to accomplish, but that isn't an excuse...
for its egotistical and bloated scenes towards the end of the movie that really hurt its effectiveness. I had to give it a “7.”
While some of you agreed with me regarding this film's slow pace, many were able to overlook that fact...
praising the film for its visual style and iconic imagery of the Vietnam War, scoring it a “9" out of "10."
Our second film tonight is the World War II story from director Steven Spielberg, "Saving Private Ryan."
Tom Hanks stars as Captain John Miller, who, similarly to Sheen's character in “Apocalypse Now"...
is assigned a team of soldiers and tasked with venturing into hostile territory to find a single man.
As the title suggests, that man is Private Ryan, a young soldier who recently lost all three of his brothers, fighting elsewhere in the war.
Fearful that Ryan's mother will get all four death notices for her children at the same time, Miller is dispatched to bring Ryan home safe and sound, to prevent such a tragedy.
The film opens with a now-famous 27-minute scene that faithfully and rather ambitiously recreates the Allies' Normandy invasion on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
The scene is a visceral experience to behold, truly implanting the viewer into the horrors of a war zone, especially so if the scene is watched with surround sound.
From there, we follow Miller and his team through war-torn France, as they search for Ryan while attempting to stay alive.
Tom Sizemore, Ted Danson, Jeremy Davies, Matt Damon, Nathan Fillon, and Paul Giamatti are some of the names in this mammoth cast...
who, unfortunately, are rarely developed to any emotional satisfaction. Scene after scene, our heroes are risking their lives and dying in battle...
but only a select few of them actually receive any back-story, making the middle of the film feel more like a video game than an Academy Award-winning drama.
The last act, however, brings together the survivors in one final battle against the Germans...
in an amazingly impressive sequence that combines all of the incredible editing and camera work of the beachhead assault...
with the emotional development of Miller's character from earlier in the movie, making for a gut-wrenching and entertaining battle.
In a present-day setting that bookends the film, it's difficult not to well-up as we witness a veteran thanking the graves of his friends who died in battle over 50 years ago.
As always, Hanks is the embodiment of talent and class, bringing to life a nuanced solider...
who must struggle with his thoughts of returning home and keeping his company alive.
Spielberg won his second Academy Award for directing here, which is, of course, more than well-deserved.
Everything from the chaotic battle scenes to the quiet moments of dialogue are carefully choreographed and filmed...
ensuring the audience never feels lost during the movie's 169-minute run time. If you ever wanted to understand or appreciate...
the glory and disaster of war from the comfort of your own home, you need not look any further than "Saving Private Ryan.”
"War personified, an emotional quest."
Well, those are my thoughts on the film. Now, let's see what you had to say about it in the YouTube comments.
Back again, the Rate-o-Matic, to score "Saving Private Ryan.”
A “9” and a “10”! This film is perhaps the very best war movie ever made, but, for me, it was lacking a bit of cohesion...
in the first half of the movie for me to really score it a perfect “10.” But it was most certainly a solid “awesome.”
Few of you had anything negative to say about this film, praising the movie for its effects, characters, and battle scenes, rating it an “amazing.”
But that does it for tonight's films. So, now, let's take a look at what's currently playing in theaters, with some Tweet Critiques.
Remember, if you're going to the movies this weekend, make sure to submit your Twitter review, using the #JPMN hashtag, to have it featured on an upcoming episode.
Next week, to close out the second season of “Movie Night,” we'll be once again examining the greatest films of all time, as I highlight yet another ten of my personal favorites.
But I'll need your help to update our list for the best movies ever made.
So, if you didn't leave a comment last week, please leave one below with your top-5 favorite films.
I'll tally the results and reveal our most popular selections in next week's episode. But, until then, my name is Jonathan Paula.
Thank you for watching “Movie Night.” I hope to see you right back here next Friday!
*end credits play*
*Be sure to check out the latest microwave episode, where new girl Gabriele gives the first "bad idea" for a produce experiment!*
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The Best War Films Ever

5194 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on December 13, 2012
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