'Assault on VA-33' director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Christopher Ray is a Navy veteran film director behind the new action movie ‘Assault on VA-33.’ He was a Deck Sea Man, Quartermaster and photographer during his active duty years. Ray made the film with hopes of opening a conversation on veteran issues such as PTS. People can experience an emotional or mental health crisis due to a wide range of situations. For veterans, these crises can be heightened by their experiences during military service. If you or someone you know may be in crisis or need support, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line. The Veterans Crisis Line provides free, confidential support and crisis intervention — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Simply call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

To learn more about Assault on VA-33, We Are The Mighty had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Ray for an exclusive interview.

That scene where the main character is retelling his experience overseas at his VA appointment was so authentic, so raw. What was it like to direct that?

RAY: You know, two of those guys are vets. One is a vet who just got home and it was something he needed to do. We asked him if he was going to be okay with it because he’s going to be the guy missing the arm. It was one of those situations where you just have to step away for a minute. What we did was very authentic; the smoke and you can’t really see anything. We actually got the rest of the crew out while we filmed two of the actors together. It was definitely unnerving to say the least. It turned out really well.

One of the first thoughts I had watching the movie was ‘Wait a minute. That’s Conner from Boondock Saints!’ Veterans love the hell out of Sean Patrick Flanery, how did you end up casting him?

Sean Patrick Flannery during filming of Assault on VA-33.
Sean Patrick Flannery during filming of Assault on VA-33. (Courtesy of Paramount & Saban Films.)

RAY: A good friend of mine, Richard Gabai, is good friends with him. Looked at the script, thought this actor would be great. I looked him up and it was amazing. Working with Sean was great. He would show up and everything he added helped the film. He is an amazing actor and an amazing person.

How did you navigate the redtape of the VA for filming?

RAY: It was one of those things where since the VA-33 doesn’t exist and we’re bringing attention to something people forget about it was easier. Even though it is an action film, we try to focus on this often enough where we had signs that said ‘If you have a problem, reach out’ and actual hotline phone numbers throughout the film. It was important to have that message along with the action film.

The movie is filled with action stunts. What was your favorite moment during production with the crew?

(On set image courtesy of Paramount & Saban Films.)

SRAY: ean Patrick Flanery vs Mark Dacascos. The actors were having a good time, the crew was having a good time. That fight sequence was a major highlight.

Are ‘Red appointments’ a real thing?

RAY: It is. We change the name so we didn’t have any [OPSEC] issues with it. The evaluation of different soldiers are sometimes done by private psychiatrists is a real thing.

What’s next for you as a director?

(On set image courtesy of Paramount & Saban Films.)

RAY: I produce a lot of films for lifetime and hallmark. I also have a series coming out called FraXtur. We’re finishing that now – two other films in the works [too]. To vets, look us up, we’re hiring veteran cameramen. We try to bring in as many vets as we can. If anyone is interested. I have no problem with anyone emailing me or seeking me out. Come out! Work hard! That’s how people get going in this business.

Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of We Are The Mighty?

RAY: Give it a run and have a good time with this. It was a fun film to work on and make. We also want to make sure that we bring enough attention to the need, different actions one can make, and how to do it. There’s help out there and even though it was fun filming an action movie, we are not making light of what the film is about.

Paramount and Saban Films’ ASSAULT ON VA-33 arrived in select theaters April 2 and On Demand and on Digital April 6. The action/thriller is directed by Christopher Ray (“FraXtur”) and stars Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints), Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite”), Mark Dacascos (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), Rob Van Dam (“WWE Raw”), Weston Cage Coppola (“NCIS: Los Angeles”) and Gina Holden (Final Destination 3).

MIGHTY GAMING

How these guys make the weapons from our favorite video games

Video games are known for over-the-top weaponry. In the universe of games, a seemingly tiny blonde dude can easily swing around the giant Buster Sword (see: Final Fantasy VII) and a kid with a mask is given free reign to swing around a ridiculously shaped, dual-bladed sword (see: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask).

In real life, getting your hands on these incredible weapons is a much more painstaking endeavor than simply showing up at a store and dropping a few rupees or a couple hundred gil. Tony Swatton of Burbank, California’s Sword and Stone and the crew over at Baltimore Knife and Sword take pride in forging authentic, legitimate versions of pop-culture’s finest weaponry. Together, they formed the web series, Man at Arms: Reforged, which you can find on YouTube.

Let’s set the bar extremely high right off the bat with a look at their work on a Warhammer 40K Chainsword:

Swatton is a self-taught blacksmith who got his start working on Steven Spielberg’s Hook and has been creating weapons and armor for film and television ever since. His work can also be seen on the official World of Warcraft channel in a series called Azeroth Armory.


The show expanded to Maryland and added Baltimore’s Knife and Sword crew at the start of the second season. Since then, the channel has achieved internet stardom by bringing the viewers along for the ride as they create some of the most interesting weapons from film, television, and gaming. Behind each weapon is a very long, methodical process. Each weapon takes as long as 200 hours to forge, which is distilled down into a single 10-minute video segment.

They’re also not afraid to take on historical recreations, such as a 400-year old Chinese Dandao:

Each project requires a unique approach but, in general, they employ plasma cutting to get the desired shape out of steel, mold the intricate details out of clay for a bronze cast, spend days perfecting every minute detail, and then finally assemble, sharpen, and test their new weapon.

They create content based off of YouTube comments, so if you can think of an awesome weapon that isn’t in their nearly 150-video-long catalog, leave a suggestion!

MIGHTY MOVIES

A stray dog named ‘Stubby’ was the most decorated dog of WWI

If your battle buddy fought in 17 major battles, saved an entire regiment from a chemical attack, and then pulled everyone out of an artillery barrage before he went back to find the missing and wounded, you’d probably feel pretty good about having him around. 


No wonder he was the only dog to ever receive a combat promotion.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Yes, the aforementioned heroic NCO that saved upwards of a thousand American GIs on World War I’s Western Front was a bull terrier mutt named Sgt. Stubby. There was even a movie made about him in 2018, just in time for Stubby’s 100th anniversary of becoming a soldier. 

A private in the U.S. Army’s 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division named J. Robert Conroy smuggled Stubby to Europe along with the rest of the American Expeditionary Forces in 1918. Though not specifically trained to fight the Germans, Stubby was like any other soldier. He learned the bugle calls, the drills, and even a sort of pup-salute when called to attention.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
We couldn’t find a photo of that salute. It might be the only thing that’s too adorable for the internet.

Stubby was more than a mascot. His unit fought in four major offensives that are now enshrined in history books as pivotal battles of World War I: Aisne-Marne, Champagne-Marne, Saint-Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. With 17 battles total, Stubby and the 102nd fought for a total of 210 days – more than any other American division during the war.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

He was able to sniff out mustard gas before it became a danger to his fellow troops – especially when they were sleeping. He earned his first combat promotion to Private First Class for just such an action. He even had his own gas mask when needed. Not to spoil the ending, but Stubby survived the war. That doesn’t mean he escaped unharmed.

At St. Mihiel, Stubby was wounded by shrapnel after an artillery barrage decimated the 102nd. He wasn’t out of the fight for long. During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, he chased down a German spy hiding in nearby bushes and dragged the man back to the American lines. For his effort, his fellow soldiers awarded Stubby the Iron Cross – removed from his captured prisoner’s uniform.

After the war ended, Stubby was a hero. He was invited to the White House many times and met three Presidents: Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, and Calvin Coolidge. As a soldier, however, his greatest honor was the gold medal awarded to him and his fellow soldiers from the 102nd from Gen. John J. Pershing himself.

Since Stubby was a stray, no one really knows how old he lived to be. But he died in Conroy’s arms in 1926, a life member of the American Legion, YMCA, and the Red Cross. After he died, his body was preserved by a taxidermist and sent to the Smithsonian Institution. You can see the actual Stubby at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., in uniform – along with all his medals and awards.

Watch the trailer of Stubby’s movie below, or see the whole movie on Hulu Premium.

Articles

7 of Hollywood’s most legendary female military roles

Over the last few decades female service members have been allowed to join (or attempt to join) a number of warfare specialties that were once only available to men. Some would like to credit the political winds in the wake of the Tailhook Scandal in ’91 or the DoD Sexual Harassment Report a couple of years ago, but — as with most things in the Free World — the biggest influence to shaping attitudes about a woman’s ability to serve is how she is represented on the Silver Screen.


Here are seven of the most iconic and groundbreaking portrayals of the military female experience in the history of cinema:

1. PATRICIA NEAL as Lieutenant Maggie Hayes in “In Harm’s Way” (1965)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Patricia Neal’s reading of Lt. Maggie Hayes is pitch-perfect. She’s tough but understanding as the head Navy nurse at a Pearl Harbor installation during the high optempo days of World War II. She’s also a great girlfriend to Capt. “Rock” Torrey (played by John Wayne in maximum swagger mode) and presents a model of how to navigate the fine (and potentially messy) lines of work-life blending and differences in rank.

2. DEMI MOORE as Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill in “G.I. Jane” (1997)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

The powers-that-be are thinking of opening up Navy SEAL training to women these days? Thank Demi Moore. Her portrayal of never-say-quit Lt. O’Neill is gritty and honest.  And she also delivers a classic line where she tells one of her instructors to do something to her that’s anatomically impossible.  HOO-YAH, bitches!

3. DEMI MOORE as Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway in “A Few Good Men” (1992)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Demi Moore tackles the part of Lcdr. JoAnne Galloway with gusto, and in the process she emerges as a role model for female officers stuck in prosaic support specialties like Navy JAG. She handles the ever-whiney Lt. Dan Kaffee (played by the ever-whiney Tom Cruise) with aplomb and only cries a few times over the course of their time together. Her sense of justice is laudable. Her choice of hairstyles is less so, but let’s blame director Rob Reiner for that. Actually, skip that. He got that absolutely right.

4. GOLDIE HAWN as Private Judy Benjamin in “Private Benjamin” (1980)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Although it’s a comedy, Goldie Hawn’s reading of her character is really a procedural for using the U.S. military as a means of getting your shit together, female-style. Benjamin is a spoiled rich girl who becomes a widow at a young age and is tricked (you know how they do) by a recruiter into joining the Army. She weathers sexual harassment at the hands of her lesbian DI as well as her special ops CO (Col. Thornbush), but ultimately (after a tour at SHAPE and great Paris RR) she emerges stronger and more courageous than before she donned the uniform.  (And how about those veteran’s benefits?)

5. Kelly McGillis as Charlie in “Top Gun” (1986)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Hey, in case you haven’t noticed, contractors are a big part of the military, and no actress has ever represented those proud patriots as well as Kelly McGillis does while holding down the role of Charlie in the all-time military classic “Top Gun.” As with Demi Moore in “A Few Good Men,” McGillis gets points for playing opposite whiney Tom Cruise, this time whining into an oxygen mask a lot of the time, but beyond that she exudes strength (the government gave her a top secret clearance, lieutenant) and sweet surrender (everybody: *take my breath awaaaaaayyyy*).

6. CARRIE FISHER as Princess Leia in “Return of the Jedi” (1983)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Because she had the strength to outlast the ick of lusting after her brother for all that time and because she’s a princess, which must make her the commander-in-chief of the rebel forces (or something) and therefore a military person. *Hand salute*

7. SIGOURNEY WEAVER as Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley in “Alien” (1979)

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

Few characters, male or female, in the history of cinema have jumped off the screen with as much moxie and brio as Sigourney Weaver managed while playing Ripley in the sci-fi epic “Alien.” The movie is basically a one-act play where Weaver’s character has every chance to freak the hell out but doesn’t, and therefore she survives (because if she hadn’t there wouldn’t have been a sequel). Ripley is a model of strength and calm under pressure, and her BS meter is way dialed in.

Articles

This is how US troops help spread ‘Americana’ throughout the world

There aren’t many places in the world where you can’t order a glass of American whiskey, sing along to the latest Top 100 song, or watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Hell, North Korea may be the only country in the world where you can’t easily buy a Coke.


American culture made its mark throughout the world, for better or worse. And it turns out, American troops are some of the country’s best cultural ambassadors.

It’s a time honored tradition for soldiers to “Americanize” Local Nationals where ever they go. The ice cream man in Baumholder, Germany, never failed to get a laugh out of my unit whenever he would use our slang through his thick German accent. The carpet salesman in Afghanistan kept up with the latest superhero films far more than any of us did. And Kuwaiti workers would clean out Porta-Johns, rocking blue jeans.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

The nations that U.S. troops have partnered with have had their economies grow drastically. One of the best places in the world to see this is in post-war Japan.

America provided a “Security Umbrella” to its former enemy, letting the island nation to focus more of its GDP on manufacturing and reentering the international marketplace. Today, Japan is the fourth largest export economy, with it’s top export going to the United States.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Flyer for the Hell Fighters Band

As America shed it’s isolationist ways and entered World War I in Europe, the world got a glimpse of what we’ve been up to on the other side of the ocean. When stationed in Paris, African American soldiers brought with them jazz, swing, and ragtime music.

The soldiers, between conflicts, would perform their new style in music halls. French crowds went crazy for it. Lieutenant James Reese Europe and his Harlem Hellfighters traveled all across France and quickly became one of America’s first international celebrities.

Related: Here are 5 things the ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ did that cemented their place in history

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
U.S Army photo by Staff. Sgt Kwadwo Frimpong

One nation that had plenty of American influence is South Korea. South Korean technology has boomed in recent years and has helped spawn K-Pop (The genre of music that gave the world Gangnam Style) and Hallyuwood (Korean film industry).

This East Asian country had U.S. troops stationed there since the ’50s. All males between age 18 and 35 have been conscripted for a mandatory two year obligation. With this, many of the Republic of Korea Army soldiers are also sent to train and serve with the U.S. Army.

KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) soldiers form strong bonds of friendship with their American counterparts. Through this program, many Koreans learn of American culture and vice-versa.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Guerra

No matter where US troops are sent, they are sometimes the first actual interactions locals have with Americans. Some places refuse to serve Americans, others welcome them with open arms.

As long as you’re not a jack a–, you’ll be embraced. Even if you are brash, just be funny.

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 ‘Game of Thrones’ spin-offs we want to see next

As the dust settles on Game of Thrones, and the wheel is broken with the new king unable to sire any children, the four remaining Stark siblings went their separate ways. Arya, Sansa, Jon, and Bran moved decisively toward the future, with Arya traveling to the edge of the universe, Sansa becoming the queen of an independent north, and Jon traveling beyond the wall, likely to never return to Westeros. The Stark siblings arguably had the most satisfying narrative arcs in the entire show, and so be it, considering the first season they lost most of their living family and were separated and scattered across Westeros itself. So, now that they are going their separate ways, it’s easy to want to stay with them forever. Here are the spin-off shows we want to see the most.


‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

(HBO)

1. The Arya Stark Road Show

Arya Stark’s final scene of the series is her facing the great unknown as she looks towards new adventures and a new life. Wouldn’t it be great to follow her into worlds unknown, and to see what wacky adventures she gets into? Would she ever do some more face-swapping? Would she become a freedom-loving pirate? Would she find love, or would Gendry come after her, renouncing Westerosi culture and choosing to be her adventurous life partner? We’d love to watch it and find out.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
(HBO)

2. Sansa Stark the Queen

It’s arguable that Sansa Stark won the Game of Thrones. After all, her major motivation for the past two seasons, ever since being free of the shackles of Ramsay Bolton, was to secure a free and independent Winterfell and north kingdom for her people. Now that she’s done it and is officially a Queen — maybe even the Queen that Cersei was warned about in Maggy’s prophecy. What wacky hijinks will she get up to in the North? Will she find a stable romance? Will she secure grain for Winter?

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
(HBO)

3. Jon Snow Goes Solo

Jon Snow’s punishment for murdering his girlfriend and Queen Daenerys was to be returned to Castle Black to serve out his life on the Night’s Watch. Although there may not be a reason for Castle Black anymore given that the wildlings can more or less move freely throughout the North and beyond the wall, and the threat of the wights and White Walkers is exterminated, Jon’s return to where he began the show is a sort of divine justice, and may have actually been what he wanted. After all, his final scene in the series shows him smiling just a little bit as he rides his horse out beyond the wall with Ghost, his beloved direwolf, his best friend Tormund, and a group of wildlings that he helped save from the Long Night. Seeing him beyond the wall for the next decade or so would be really thrilling stuff. Will he find someone to talk to about all of his girlfriends dying in his arms? Will he find love again, or will Ghost find someone to make babies with? Will he and Tormund star in their own buddy comedy?

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

(HBO)

4. Drogon 24/7

Poor Drogon. All he’s known is a life of pain and war. When he was born to his mother, he had two siblings, Rhaegal and Viserion, and both of them die within a few months of one another. He also has to deal with the fact that he’s a weapon of war and, given the fact that he is deeply intelligent, might have known the destruction he was razing on a city of half a million Westerosi citizens. That must have hurt. To top it off, all that sacrifice and his mom dies like five minutes after the battle? Let’s see a spin-off of wherever the hell Drogon goes with his mom’s body after her death. Is it to Valyria? Does he return to his birthplace? Does he take her body to dragonstone? Even King Bran wants to know! And that’s why we deserve a spin-off!

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

(HBO)

5. Grey Worm Relaxes

Grey Worm reveals in his last scene of the series that he is going to liberate Naath with the Unsullied. Naath is the place that he and Missandei discussed going to after their less-than-friendly reception upon their arrival to Winterfell. The beaches, Missandei said, were what she missed the most. That he and the Unsullied are going there is a fitting end to his character arc, but most importantly, it’s a new land to explore and it would be great to see Grey Worm find happiness after being trained from birth to be a soldier and then finding love and a purpose and losing them both in about one week. He deserves better! Will he finally put his toes in the sand? Will he get to relax and take off the armor? We’ll never know, but it would be nice too!

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

HBO finally addressed that dumb ‘Game of Thrones’ petition

It would be incredibly impressive if you somehow managed to exist in 2019 without hearing about Game of Thrones; specifically, about the show’s controversial finale. People were, um, displeased about the way creators decided to bring the series to end, and it got pretty intense. Fans were so upset that over a million of them signed a petition on Change.org to convince HBO to remake the final season. Now, the network is finally addressing the plea.


This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

Articles

Clint Eastwood casts Paris train heroes as themselves in film

The three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris will be playing themselves in the upcoming film “The 15:17 to Paris,” directed by Clint Eastwood.


According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone will be acting alongside Jenna Fischer (The Office), Judy Greer, and Ray Croasini in the film.  Eastwood, whose films Sully and American Sniper both garnered Academy Award nominations, is producing the film with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier. According to Variety.com, filming of the project began on Tuesday.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Defense Secretary Ash Carter awards the Soldier’s Medal to Spc. Alek Skarlatos, Oregon National Guard, the Airman’s Medal to Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and the Defense Department Medal for Valor to Anthony Sadler, at a ceremony in the Pentagon courtyard Sept. 17, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez)(Released)

TheTrackingBoard.com had reported that Eastwood had initially wanted to cast Kyle Gallner, Jeremie Harris and Alexander Ludwig as the three heroes in the film, which is based on a book by Sadler, Skarlatos, and Stone.

On August 21, 2015, Skarlatos, an Oregon National Guard soldier, Stone, an Airman assigned to the 65th Air Base Group, and Sadler, a high school classmate who was attending college, thwarted an attack being carried out by a “lone wolf” terrorist who had an AKM assault rifle. Skarlatos, Stone, and Sadler tackled the gunman, whose rifle had jammed, then Stone, a medic, treated a passenger who had been shot in the neck by the jihadist, despite being wounded himself. Skarlatos received the Soldier’s Medal for his actions that day, while Stone received the Airman’s Medal and Purple Heart. Sadler was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal of Valor.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Master Sgt. Tanya Hubbard, 60th Medical Group, left, and Staff Sgt. Roberto Davila, 60th Medical Group, right, tack staff sergeant stripes on to Spencer Stone.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken Wright)

The casting of Skarlatos, Stone, and Sadler is not the first time a military hero portrayed himself. In 1955, Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy portrayed himself in “To Hell and Back,” based on his 1949 memoirs. It should also be noted that in 2012, the movie Act of Valor starred Navy SEALs as themselves, but in a fictional scenario. The SEALs were not formally credited in the movie directed by Scott Waugh and “Mouse” McCoy.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

7 holiday classics you should send to deployed troops

Being deployed during the holidays can put a damper on the season’s celebrations. Great holiday movies tend to relieve and mentality transport your loved ones back home, even if only just for a few hours.


So the next time you visit a department store that sells DVDs, make sure you toss these films into your cart and send them to your favorite troop serving overseas.

Related: 13 old school war movies every young trooper needs to watch

7. Bad Santa (2003)

Directed by Terry Zwigoff, the film focuses on an alcoholic con man (Billy Bob Thornton) who dresses up as Santa to rob the department stores who hire him during the holiday season.

The film isn’t considered your typically holiday movie, but the comedy perfectly fits our dark military humor.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Like, really dark. (Source: Dimension Films)

6. Elf (2003)

Directed by Jon Favreau, the comedy features a rambunctious and tall elf named Buddy (Will Ferrell) who grew up in the north pole and sets out on a mission to the Big Apple to reconnect with his long-lost father.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
It’s ridiculous and we love it. (Source: New Line)

5. A Christmas Story (1983)

This is the epic movie that plays for 24-hours straight on TBS every season (just in case you didn’t know). Directed by Bob Clark, this classic follows a young boy named Ralphie whose sole mission is to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas – even if he shoots his eye out.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Which he nearly does. (Source: MGM)

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

The Jeremiah Chechik-directed comedy follows ambitious family man Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his crazy family as they gather together under one roof to celebrate Christmas. Spoiler alert: a lot of things break and catch on fire — that’s why we like it.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
This image is a true depiction of a barracks Christmas in Afghanistan. (Source: WB)

3. Jingle all the Way (1996)

After a father vows to get his only son the incredibly hard-to-find action figure Turbo-Man, he embarks on the ultimate foot race across town to find the famous toy while competing with a hilarious mailman.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Shenanigans ensue. (Source: Fox)

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Directed by Hollywood icon Tim Burton, this animated feature film follows Jack Skellington — aka the Pumpkin King from Halloweenland — as he stumbles Christmastown and gains a new perspective on life.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
This film is magical and we’re not embarrassed about loving it. (Source: Touchstone)

Also Read: 6 epic movie moments that always make Marines pump their fist

1. Die Hard (1988)

Starring Bruce Willis as New York cop John McClane, this wise-cracking detective has to take down a group of well-armed European terrorists to help save his wife — while barefoot.

This late 1980s action-packed movie does take place during a Christmas party — so it’s technically a holiday movie regardless of how many people get killed.

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
And if you don’t love it, you can just go die…hard… (Source: Fox)

MIGHTY MOVIES

Russell Crowe got drunk and bought a dinosaur skull from Leonardo DiCaprio

If you have the money, do you hesitate when presented with the opportunity to buy a dinosaur skull for your children? The answer should be unflagging YES. YES YOU SHOULD. And yet, we think there’s a more important — very quick — follow-up question to ask before buying said dinosaur skull. It’s a question a child would ask, but a question that a well-meaning father (like the beloved star of Gladiator Russell Crowe, for example) might forget to ask. And that question is: What kind of dinosaur skull?


On June 20, 2019, Vulture reported that Russell Crowe has been telling the tale of the time he got shit-faced on vodka and bought a real dinosaur skull from Leonardo DiCaprio. “I bought it for my kids, and you know, cut myself a little bit of slack here, there was a bunch of vodka involved in the transaction and it happened at Leonardo’s house,” Crowe told Howard Stern. So far, so good, right? If you had the kind of income Crowe has, you’d do this for your kids, too, right? I mean, my kid is two-years-old, and she already loves dinosaurs. But, also relevantly, like all cool children who love dinosaurs, my two-year-old can already distinguish between types of dinosaurs. This is a super-power most little kids have, and it makes them all seem like they know more about the world than they actually do. My daughter can tell the difference between a stegosaur, a triceratops, and yes, even a pachycephalosaurus. Guess who probably can’t remember the importance of these distinctions? Yep, you guessed it, a shit-faced Russell Crowe!

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one

From back to front: Ankylosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus, Triceratops, Struthiomimus, Pachycephalosaurus, and the unnamed dromaeosaurid and caenagnathid now named Acheroraptor and Anzu respectively.

The dinosaur skull Crowe bought from Leo was a Mosasaurus. A what? That’s right, it’s that underwater dinosaur that was a big deal in the first Jurassic World movie. Now, I’m not saying this kind of dinosaur isn’t cool per se, but it’s certainly not 30K cool, and I bet my daughter would be disappointed we missed some mortgage payments over this particular dino skull.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) – Mosasaurus Attack Scene (1/10) | Movieclips

www.youtube.com

A T-Rex? A Triceratops? I mean, I think anyone could understand. But, a dinosaur that looks like a glorified crocodile? This seems like the real mistake here.

The lesson here is very clear. If you’re making late night drunken purchases of the remains of prehistoric creatures, you should, by all means, think of your children. But, more importantly than that, if you want that purchase to matter, think like a child.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 of the best ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ songs by the jazz legend and veteran who just died

Bob Dorough was a prolific bebop and jazz musician whose popularity and talent earned him spots as a sideman alongside the likes of John Zorn and Miles Davis. But the talented jazzman got his start in music as a pianist, clarinetist, saxophonist, and arranger for the U.S. Army’s Special Services Band toward the end of World War II.

He died in Pennsylvania on April 23, 2018, at age 94, NPR reports.


‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
(Photo by Brian McMillen)

Though his jazz career blossomed after the war, what became his life’s work didn’t start until 1973, when he was first asked to take the musical reins of a show that was to “set the multiplication tables to music.” Thus began the decades-long, beloved show Schoolhouse Rock! A program that educated and entertained generations of American kids.

Dorough didn’t sing all the songs performed on Schoolhouse Rock!, but he did have a hand in the music and lyrics, either in whole or in part, for every iteration of the show. Multiplication Rock, Grammar Rock, America Rock, Science Rock, Money Rock, and Earth Rock are just a few of his best.

5. “I’m Gonna Send Your Vote To College”

“I’m Gonna Send Your Vote to College” was the Schoolhouse Rock! way of explaining the Electoral College system. The song’s music and lyrics were written by George R. Newall and Bob Dorough and it was performed by Jack Sheldon (of “I’m Just A Bill” fame) and Bob Dorough.

4. “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”

“The Shot Heard Round the World” first aired in 1975 and is part of Schoolhouse Rock!’s telling of the American Revolution, from Paul Revere’s ride to the shots fired at Lexington. Bob Dorough was responsible for the music, lyrics, and vocals in this gem.

3. “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here”

Dorough also did the lyrics, music, and vocals for this 1974 primer on the use of English adverbs. It was with this number that Sheldon and Lynn Ahrens became regulars to the series alongside Dorough.

2. “Conjunction Junction”

Jack Sheldon, Terry Morel, and Mary Sue Berry did the vocals on this catchy Dorough song about the many grammatical uses of conjunctions. To this day, Sheldon’s memorable voice plays in many of our minds when we think back to the rules of conjunction.

1. “Three Is A Magic Number”

Three Is A Magic Number” was the pilot for the entire Schoolhouse Rock! series. It first aired in February 1973 and led to Bob Dorough’s decades-long career of educating children like nobody else could.

MIGHTY MOVIES

A new, recut & restored ‘Apocalypse Now’ is coming to theaters

Francis Ford Coppola was originally worried his soon-to-be iconic Apocalypse Now would be “too weird” for audiences, so he made major cuts to his film. Now, you’ll be able to see it in all its wacky glory, including 300,173 restored frames of depth, detail, and napalm.

Turn on your sound and watch this epic trailer, people:


APOCALYPSE NOW FINAL CUT – 4K Restoration in Theaters 8/15 & on 4K Combo Pack 8/27!

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If Walkürenritt or Ritt der Walküren Ride of the Valkyries doesn’t get your juices flowing, I don’t know what will.

On Aug. 27, 2019, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the film, Lionsgate will release Apocalypse Now on a 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (4K disc, plus three Blu-ray discs and Digital copy) and on Digital 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever.

But more importantly, on Aug. 15, 2019, you can see it in select theaters.

Also read: 4 crazy things you didn’t know about ‘Apocalypse Now’

Ride of the Valkyries – Apocalypse Now (3/8) Movie CLIP (1979) HD

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This isn’t the first time Coppola has made changes to his film. In 2001, Coppola released Apocalypse Now Redux, which added an additional 49 minutes to the original film, and while Roger Ebert gave Redux 4 stars, Coppola still wasn’t satisfied. With Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, Coppola has finally released his vision (which will run 183 minutes, about a half hour longer than the original).

But it’s not just the visuals that are being remastered. Sound technology has advanced since 1979, allowing Coppola to achieve effects that weren’t available in the 70s, including low frequency sound design meant to create a visceral reaction during war scenes.

Make no mistake, this is a sensory theater experience fans of the original film should take advantage of.

Also read: The 12 best quotes from ‘Apocalypse Now’

MIGHTY MOVIES

Kevin Nash says ‘Magic Mike XXL’ cast reminds him of his Army squad


Kevin Nash went to the University of Tennessee for one reason: to play basketball, and for three years that’s pretty much what he did. Nash played center, and as a junior he helped the team advance to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. But one physical altercation with legendary coach Don Devoe later, he was gone. Who knew he would end up in Magic Mike?

Nash made his way to Europe to play professionally, but during a game in Germany he injured his anterior cruciate ligament, which immediately ended his basketball career. Out of any better ideas, he decided to try something he’d always wanted to do: He joined the Army.

After going through basic at Fort McClellan, Nash wound up assigned to the 202nd Military Police Company in Giessen, Germany and served in a secure NATO facility for two years.

“I enjoyed the life,” Nash said. “I was forced to be disciplined, and that was something I’d lacked to that point to a certain degree.”

‘Assault on VA-33’ director Christopher Ray understands veterans, because he is one
Nash hanging with Army buds in Germany circa ’82.

During his three years of military service, Kevin Nash rose to the rank of specialist.

“I liked it so much I thought about going to be a drill instructor,” he said. But ultimately he decided not to reenlist. Family matters – including his father’s failing health – took him back to his hometown of Detroit. After working on the assembly line at Ford Motor Company for a while, he decided to enter the world of professional wrestling.

Nash debuted in WCW as the orange-mohawked “Steel”, one half of the tag team known as the “Master Blasters.” His success right out of the gate was followed by more, adopting different personas and adjusting to changes in the organizations around him. He went from “Steel” to “Oz” to “Vinne Vegas” to “Diesel” before going back to his real name.

“The secret to being a pro wrestler, besides having physical abilities, is to pick a good personality,” Nash said. “The closer it is to you the better.”

And as he changed names he went from WCW to WWF and back again a few times before joining the WWE and, finally, signing on with Global Force Wrestling as a “legend” to help promote events and tours.  In the process he became one of the industry’s most popular wrestlers. His career culminated with him being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015.

Nash also has a host of acting credits on his resume. Beside appearing in movies and on TV, his voice has been used in video games and cartoons. Last year he appeared in “John Wick” with Keanu Reeves, and this year he reprises his role as Tarzan in “Magic Mike XXL.”

“Of all the things I’ve done, the ‘Magic Mike’ series most resembles the comradery of Army life,” Nash said. “Working with the other guys reminds me of being in a squad.” The producers even had the cast do weapons training together as a team-building exercise.

“Magic Mike XXL” was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, which worked out well for Nash as he now makes his home in Daytona, Florida. “Besides, I like to spend as little time as possible in L.A.,” he added.

Nash is happy with the results in the sequel. “It’s better than the first one,” Kevin Nash said. “There’s a lot more going on. It’s more of a road trip and not just hanging in the club.”

“Magic Mike XXL”  is available to rent here: 

Now: This 1970 training video shows how the Army used to be like ‘Mad Men’

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