5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Christmas romance movies have become a 21st century holiday phenomenon, first on the Hallmark Channel, then on Lifetime and now Netflix. There are literally hundreds of these movies, with dozens premiering in 2020 alone.

Holiday filmmakers have started to add the military to their formula, and there have been a couple of high-profile releases this year. Those movies inspired us to try to figure out just what’s going on here.

These are assembly-line products made for an audience that expects every plot to follow basic rules: Two people meet and irritate each other, but they’re irritated because they recognize a fellow special soul who doesn’t quite run with the pack.

One of them thinks the holidays are a crock. After some sassy back-and-forth, the doubter learns the meaning of Christmas, and that allows their love to flower. There are cookies, eggnog, flannel shirts and pajamas, a spectacular tree, possibly some chopping of wood, family members who saw it coming all along and, usually, a dog.

Regular readers know that we typically write about movies that feature combat, patriotism, world-changing shifts in power or the chain of command, ass-kicking and explosions, so this was a totally foreign experience.

If you’re the kind of person who gets your kicks complaining about breaches of military protocol in movies, have we got a totally new genre for you! Christmas romance movies are produced on such shoestring budgets that they make those late-period filmed-in-Romania Steven Seagal cheapies look like a Marvel movie. There’s no money for a military adviser, so they’re mostly just winging it.

It’s like these movies exist in an alternate universe. Apparently, there are actors who’ve appeared in multiple Hallmark and Lifetime movies, and the channels promote their starring roles as if they’re Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence.

Let’s agree that these movies have a huge and devoted following because they make some people happy. If you’re one of those people, please continue to watch and enjoy.

This article is for the rest of us who find the whole thing kind of weird. Here are five of the most startling military Christmas romance movies we found during our investigation.

1. USS Christmas (2020)

Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, this Hallmark movie had the full cooperation of the Navy, so it features a few scenes filmed aboard a carrier and a lot of stock footage of planes taking off and landing. Did someone in the Navy Office of Information want to reach out to an audience that would never seen “Top Gun: Maverick” or “Hunter Killer,” two other movies that got full Navy support? Or was someone just a big Christmas fan?

This time, a sassy reporter who’s the daughter of an aviator gets convinced to join her mom and aviator sister for a holiday Tiger Cruise. The commander served with her late dad, and his son is also an aviator who hates the holidays, mostly because his parents divorced and he’s still mad at dad.

How much does he hate Christmas? Well, his call sign is “Grinch.” Yep, that’s how obvious everything is here. Grinch learns to love the holidays, forgive dad and appreciate an independent woman. Our reporter learns that maybe it’s best not to be so independent and that a military spouse‘s life might not be so bad after all.

Where these two will be in five years after a few deployments is hard to predict, but there’s reason to suspect that neither of them truly realizes what they’re getting into here.

2. Operation Christmas Drop (2020)

This 2020 Netflix movie had a higher-than-usual budget and was filmed on Guam with the full cooperation of the Air Force, so it looks a bit shinier than the usual fare. Since it’s set in the South Pacific, there’s no snow or hot cocoa or fluffy scarves.

A congressional aide has to cancel Christmas with her family to investigate just why the Air Force is wasting money on this “Christmas drop” every year. The congressional rep (played by Virginia Madsen, an actual movie star) is looking to cut budgets so she can save a base in her district. She sets her sights on Guam.

OK, they never call it “Guam” in the movie, but this is where they lose anyone with an interest in world peace. Why would we shut down an important strategic base in the South Pacifc to keep a base in some random U.S. state open? That’s a movie foul far worse than a sloppy salute.

Anyway, our aide Erika Miller (Kat Graham, “The Vampire Diaries”) doesn’t want to be there and knows her mission is to collect the dirt that will allow her boss to shut down the base. What she doesn’t expect is her encounter with Capt. Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig, “Recon”), the laid-back architect of the current mission to provide presents and supplies to remote Pacific islands during the holidays.

The two clash, she finds herself falling for the captain and his island spirit, and her boss mysteriously cancels her own Christmas to fly to the island to see why Erika’s reports aren’t negative enough. Everyone goes on the holiday flight and then sees the light: Operation Christmas Drop is exactly the kind military holiday maneuver the world needs!

Erika finds her Christmas spirit. Will she find long-term love with Andrew? We’ll have to wait for an “Operation Christmas Drop 2” to find out.

3. Home for Christmas Day (2017)

Everyone knows that many civilian parents don’t want their daughters falling in love with a soldier. Long-distance romance is hard, and there’s usually a neighbor boy named Jody who’s willing to step in and help with the loneliness.

The single mom in “Home for Christmas” has an even more powerful reason to discourage her daughter. The big reveal is that her late husband was killed in combat himself, and she doesn’t want her child to face the same heartache when her new love is deployed.

To explain just how manipulative this one is, we have to go deep into spoiler territory. Our young lover learns that her mom is right when she hears her boyfriend’s name on a list of troops killed in action read aloud at a Christmas concert.

The girl is devastated, but mom realizes she was wrong to discourage her daughter’s true love and they reconcile. Have we reached a breakthrough moment in Christmas romance movies, when the harsh realities of real life must be addressed in the happy holiday world?

No, we have not! Those boobs at the Pentagon mixed up the dead troop records, and our hero is actually alive. He shows up on the doorstep, unannounced and on crutches, and everyone enjoys the best Christmas ever!!

4. A Welcome Home Christmas (2020)

This Lifetime movie takes the ethics manual, sets it on fire and throws a party in the town square. Chloe Marquee (actual character name) is working as a counselor for troubled veterans, and she’s assigned a particularly tough case named Michael Fischer.

She learns that Fischer led a toy drive while stationed overseas and recruits him to start a new one for military families here in their tranquil, picture-postcard, Christmas-loving town. What should be a great project turns sinister when Chloe starts having romantic feelings for her patient.

Well, that’s not how the movie sees it. Chloe heals Michael’s wounded soul through the power of love, and all the kids get some excellent toys after they overcome a few scheduling obstacles. Could a little eggnog and some smooching under the mistletoe be the miracle cure for PTSD that we’ve all been searching for? Lifetime says maybe!

5. Christmas Homecoming (2017)

This Hallmark movie answers the question, “What are the best cures for a grieving military widow and a wounded warrior recovering back home?” The answer may surprise you if you haven’t been paying attention. Why, it’s a little Christmas romance, of course!

Julie Benz (“Dexter,” and kind of a big star for one of these things) plays a military widow whose loss has destroyed her faith in Christmas. She rents a room in her house to an Army captain (Michael Shanks), a wounded warrior whose injuries have not shaken his love for the holidays.

The two team up to raise money to save the town’s failing military museum with a Christmas fundraising event, and these two self-described “wounded birds” find that the holiday spirit kindles a new romance.

Will both get the counseling and support they need going forward? Let’s hope so because both are coming into this relationship with a cartload of baggage. For now, though, tune in and enjoy the spell of mistletoe and twinkling lights.

Of course, there are more of these Christmas movies that try to work in military themes. If you haven’t picked up on it so far, look for titles with “home” or “homecoming” in the title, and you’ll go a long way toward finding what you’re looking for.

Of course, true fans of the genre will also be tuning in for the book editors, real estate brokers, high-powered attorneys and other assorted type-A personalities who need a little holiday spirit to help them get over themselves and fall in love.

If you want to watch them all, one movie a day, make a note on your calendar for Memorial Day 2021 and maybe you’ll have caught up by Christmas next year.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 of the top reasons ‘Cobra Kai’ is the same as Marine boot camp

If you’re a veteran and you’ve watched Cobra Kai, then you already know what we’re talking about. The new series premiered on YouTube Red earlier this month and we cannot be more excited for an inside look at the training that goes on in the infamous karate dojo. But Marines who watch this may see some lessons similar to what they learned in boot camp.


Johnny Lawrence re-opens the karate dojo that taught him so much to teach the current generation the brand of karate he once learned — and the life lessons that came with it. As the series progresses, he teaches his students each of the three main lessons of the dojo and we can’t help but see the similarities between his lessons and the ones we got in the Corps.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

You also learn to not be a coward.

(Sony Pictures Television)

You learn how to fight

Obviously, when you go to a karate dojo, this is what you go to learn. In the Corps, you’ll also learn a form of martial arts. Their applicable uses may vary, however.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

He even makes his students clean the place before they leave.

(Sony Pictures Television)

“Incentive” training

Sensei Johnny Lawrence treats his students like recruits (which they are) and acts like a drill instructor — minus the frog voice and screaming in someone’s face. He punishes his students the same way a DI would their recruits, by subjecting them to increased physical training until they learn their lesson.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

He’s that really tough father figure who will constantly call you names and make you feel like crap.

(Sony Pictures Television)

The instructor is tough

He’s unrelenting in his rigid attitude, going as far as denouncing the existence of things like asthma and peanut allergies. At no point during the series does he ever lighten up on any of his students. He may become demonstrate compassion with some, but only after they’ve earned their place in his dojo.

There is a slight difference, though. Drill instructors never stop hating you, even after you’ve earned your title of “Marine.”

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Pretty much sums up the whole experience of Marine boot camp.

(Sony Pictures Television)

The lessons are essentially the same

Cobra Kai teaches three lessons: Strike hard, strike fast, and have no mercy. Sound familiar? These are almost generalizations of lessons you learn in boot camp. You learn all of these things, even if your drill instructors don’t directly say it. You learn to take initiative, never give up, and always give 110%.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

He’s unmistakably tough in this picture.

(Sony Pictures Television)

Turns nerds into total bad asses

One of our favorite scenes in the entire show is when the character Eli is verbally berated by Sensei Lawrence for his nervous personality. He attack’s the kid’s appearance, mocking his surgical scar and sending him running from the dojo. You think he quits, but he comes back – with a mohawk.

After this, he turns into a total carefree badass. That’s exactly what happens to the nerdy, reserved recruits in boot camp who can handle the drill instructor’s mind games: They evolve into fearless badasses.

Articles

Nic Cage takes command of the USS Indianapolis in the real world story of nukes, subs, and sharks

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis was the greatest single loss of American lives in the history of the U.S. Navy. The story of how it ended up at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean started with the Manhattan Project and wouldn’t end until her captain, Charles B. McVay III, was exonerated in a court-marital.


5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

In the first official trailer for “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” (directed by Mario Van Peebles!) we see Nicolas Cage as the skipper of the Indianapolis, given a highly classified mission and then surviving the sinking of his ship. We also see his court-martial, which, as mentioned, is part of the ship’s real world story. In fact, much of what we see in this trailer really did happen to the ship’s crew.

The Indianapolis served with campaigns in New Guinea, the Aleutians, and the Gilbert Islands. As the flagship for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, she not only supported the Gilbert invasions but also Tarawa, Marshall Islands, Western Carolines, Saipan, Okinawa, and fought in the famous “Marianas Turkey Shoot.”

Her most famous mission sent her from San Francisco to Hawaii, carrying the bomb components for the atomic bomb Little Boy which would be dropped on Hiroshima. The ship also left port with half the world supply of Uranium-235. It departed San Francisco on July 16, 1945, delivering the parts ten days later. Because of its top secret mission, the Indianapolis had no escort and few knew the ship’s location.

On its way to join Task Force 95 for its next assignment, it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sunk in 12 minutes, with the loss of 300 of the 1,196 crewmen. The rest were adrift in the open water. The ordeal wasn’t over for the crew. For days, they fought exposure to the elements, dehydration, and extreme shark attacks – the most in human history. Only 321 of the surviving 880 were recovered alive.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

In November 1945, Captain McVay was court-martialed and convicted for hazarding his ship with his failure to follow the Navy’s guidelines for avoiding submarines and torpedoes. McVay said he moved the ship in a zig-zag pattern, consistent with those guidelines. The star witness at McVay’s trial was Hashimoto Mochitsura, the commander of the submarine that sank the Indianapolis. He testified that zig-zagging would not have saved the ship, whether McVay followed the regs or not. McVay was the only captain in World War II to be court-martialed for the loss of his ship.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Some families still blamed McVay for the deaths of their sailors. McVay retired in 1949, but the guilt of losing the sailors stayed with him until the end of his life. He committed suicide in 1968 at age 70, found on his front lawn with a toy sailor in his hand.

MIGHTY MOVIES

There’s a ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie…and we’re speechless?

A trailer dropped today for a Sonic the Hedgehog film and honestly I don’t know how to feel about it.

The Lego film proved that anything is on the table with regards to nostalgia and storytelling. There’s no reason not to make a Sonic the Hedgehog film — 9/10 90’s kids agree that game was radical — and yet…I just don’t know if these guys can pull this one off.

Check out the trailer — and then let’s discuss.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvvZaBf9QQI
Sonic The Hedgehog (2019) – Official Trailer – Paramount Pictures

www.youtube.com

Watch the trailer:

Now, the best thing they did was use Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise in this trailer. Coolio was both a firefighter and a crack addict and this song evokes that exact combination. It always has. It always will. When Gangsta’s Paradise plays, sh** is about to go down (which reminds me: who else was today old when they learned that there’s an entire Sonic fetish subculture? Don’t look into it at work).

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The film is a live-action adventure comedy about Sonic and his new human friend Tom Wachowski (played by Cyclops James Marsden, the hero gets Jody’d in every film he’s in) as they take on Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik.

In the trailer, our fast friend captures the attention of the U.S. military when he causes an energy surge that knocks out power across the entire Pacific Northwest. They team up with Dr. Robotnik to track down the little fella, presumably unaware that Robotnik is one of the most notorious 90s villains out there.

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You can’t trust anyone with a mustache, but I wouldn’t expect a room full of brass to understand that.

Sonic the Hedgehog premieres on Nov. 8, 2019.

MIGHTY CULTURE

This is Hollywood’s deadliest action star

Hollywood is really, really good at killing the bad guys. And even though they haven’t quite gotten to ISIS just yet, there is a trail of bloody, dismembered evil in the wake of action stars like Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, and everyone else who may have been considered for a part in The Expendables.

Despite Hot Shots! Part Deux and Charlie Sheen’s claim to the contrary, there is an undisputed number one deadliest action star in the annals of Hollywood military history. That title goes to the Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger.


5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Who was also in the Expendables. Three times.

(Lionsgate)

Big Data is back to settle the debates about everything we love. Just like the time a statistical analysis settled who was the best general in history, another data enthusiast set out to determine who was the deadliest onscreen action star in cinema history.

Granted, this is before the Expendables 3 and the newest Rambo movie, but unless Rambo kills an entire Colombian drug cartel (which I admit, he might), the winner should still be pretty clear.

Randal Olson, a data scientist at Life Epigenetics, merges cutting edge epigenetics research with advanced machine learning methods to improve life expectancy predictions. He put data collected from MovieBodyCounts.com to put together data visualizations for the deadliest action heroes. At the top, was the star of Predator, Total Recall, and my personal favorite, True Lies.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Thank you, sir.

As of Olson’s 2013 writing, Arnold was at the top of the list with 369 kills. His highest single movie record came in Commando where in the final island scene alone, he managed to off 74 guys, mostly using firearms but featuring the best use of a toolshed. Hey, Alyssa Milano ain’t gonna rescue herself.

Of the 200 actors listed in the data, the top ten include Chow Yun-Fat in second, Sylvester Stallone in third, and then Dolph Lundgren (thanks, Punisher!), Clint Eastwood, Nic Cage, Jet Li, Clive Owen, and Wesley Snipes. In fourth place comes Tomisaburo Wakayama, who got 150 of his 266 onscreen kills in a single movie, 1974’s Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

The top 25 deadliest actors, visualized.

(Randal Olson)

Olson notes that the deadliest woman onscreen is Uma Thurman, who has 77 kills because remember: the Crazy 88s only had 40 members.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Check out amazing DCS World recreation of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ trailer

A few weeks ago I posted a video by DCS player Forest Rat who recreated the aerial scenes in the very first minutes of “Top Gun” (when the two F-14s piloted by Mav and Goose and Cougar and Merlin are vectored by the aircraft carrier to intercept the incoming aircraft that will turn out to be MiG-28s) using the famous Digital Combat Simulator World combat flight simulator.

Forest Rat did it again.

This time he’s recreated the first official trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick”, the sequel of the original 1980s blockbuster that will hit theaters in June 2020, released on Jul. 18, 2019.


Once again, some details are not exactly the same as the trailer, but the work Forest Rat has done is remarkable and shows the realism that DCS world is able to offer.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

A comparison between the official trailer (below) and the one recreated in DCS World (top).

(Image credit: Forest Rat/Youtube and Paramount Pictures)

Noteworthy, the new clip is split into two parts: the first one shows the trailer recreated in DCS World except for the last few seconds, when the F-14 (in CGI) makes a cameo flying over snow-topped mountains; the second one, from mark 02:27, provides a scene-for-scene comparison too. At the end of the second part you can also see the final Tomcat scene. To be honest, I enjoyed very much the very last scene of the trailer, the one that shows the somewhat mysterious F-14 Tomcat (04:39 mark), that in my opinion looks better the way Forest Rat has recreated it in DCS World than it appears in the official trailer…

Enjoy!

Top Gun: Maverick – DCS Trailer

www.youtube.com

Here’s what I wrote about DCS World in the previous article:

“DCS World is fundamentally a deep, authentic and realistic simulation designed also to offer a more relaxed gameplay to suit the user and his particular level of experience and training. The ambition is to hand hold users from novice pilot all the way to the most advanced and sophisticated operator of such complex weapons systems as the A-10C Warthog or the F/A-18C Hornet. The only next step is the real thing!” says its official website.
DCS is expandable through additional modules as well as user-made add-ons and mods and this is one of the reasons why the are hundred websites, forums, Reddit Communities and Youtube channels dedicated to the “the most authentic and realistic simulation of military aircraft, tanks, ground vehicles and ships possible.”
Just Google “DCS World” and a microcosm of interesting content (that can also be useful to learn more about combat aircraft!) will appear in front of your eyes.

As pointed out by some readers, while baseline DCS World is technically free, additional stuff (including aircraft, maps, etc.) has to be paid for.

This article originally appeared on The Aviationist. Follow @theaviationist on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Rise of Skywalker’ will answer two big questions about Rey and the Force

If you’re a parent, you probably know exactly where your child is and if they are strong with the Force. But for Rey, the questions of where her parents are and who they are remain, after two Star Wars movies, a giant mystery. Chris Terrio, screenwriter of “The Rise of Skywalker,” says important information about Rey’s parents will be revealed in the next big Star Wars film. In fact, he says two questions will be addressed. Will we be happy with the answers? Maybe not! But, that’s not what counts right now.


On Oct. 2, 2019, a new excerpt from an Empire magazine story revealed that J.J. Abrams’s screenwriting partner, Chris Terrio, says there are two big questions that will be answered in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” And those questions are:

  1. “Who is Rey?”
  2. “How strong is the Force?”

In terms of the first question, Terrio made it clear that this question is literal as well as philosophical.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker | D23 Special Look

www.youtube.com

“‘Who is Rey?’…is a question that people not only wonder about quite literally but wonder about in the spiritual sense,” Terrio told Empire. “How can Rey become the spiritual heir to the Jedi? We kept coming back to, ‘Who is Rey?’ and how can we give the most satisfying answer to that not only factually — because obviously, people are interested in whether there’s more to Rey’s story — but more importantly, who is she as a character? How will she find the courage and will and inner strength and power to carry on what she’s inherited?”

In regards to the other question — “How strong is the Force?” — Terrio says that “It sounds a little simple, but actually, when you get down to it, that is a sort of Zen Koan that we would really meditate on.”

Right now, it’s totally unclear what Terrio means by this, but if you’re placing bets on the answer to “How strong is the Force?” is simply: “about as strong as my toddler when they are resisting bedtime” you’re either very wrong or very right.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is out everywhere on Dec. 20, 2019.

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

MIGHTY MOVIES

How ‘Saving Private Ryan’ could use a sequel, but not in the way Hollywood thinks

There’s no doubt about it. Steven Spielberg’s 1998 war epic, Saving Private Ryan, was a masterpiece in every aspect of filmmaking. It won five of the eleven Academy Awards for which it was nominated. The immense scale of the invasion of Normandy was expertly recreated for film in a way that hasn’t been replicated since — and likely never will be.

Despite the massive war that characterizes the film, the movie’s primary conflict wasn’t between warring nations, but rather between Tom Hanks’ character, Captain Miller, and his duty to return Pfc. Ryan (as played by Matt Damon), who refuses to leave behind the brothers with whom he’d fought so far.


The film, being the masterpiece that it is, wraps the story up nicely, leaving few loose ends, but there’s that ever-burning question in Hollywood — how do you make that special lightning strike twice? How can you create another story surrounding the incomparable D-Day and find just as much success?

The truth is, simply, that you can’t. The story has already been perfectly told by one of the finest filmmakers in Hollywood at just the right moment. But that doesn’t mean that the story has necessarily ended…

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

What made this scene so great wasn’t the million put into it — it was Tom Hank’s reaction to everything happening around him.

(DreamWorks Pictures)

As stated by Jack Knight of War History Online, there is serious interest in following-up Saving Private Ryan by continuing the story of the Rangers at D-Day and the mission that occurred at Pointe du Hoc. What made the beach landing scene so spectacular wasn’t the battle itself, but rather how the battle was seen — through Capt. Miller’s eyes.

The audience felt the immense gravity of war in a truly human way. In one moment, we’re listening to a guy joke on the landing craft; one second later, his blood is splattered on Miller’s face. This is the essence of what made Saving Private Ryan so great. World War II was just the backdrop to a more personal story, but the sheer, raw horrors of war were still very much present.

The audience saw the enemy in the distance, but the focus was entirely on the Capt. Miller. Any spiritual successor (or direct sequels) should keep that in mind.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

It’s a grim reality, but it’s comforting in it’s own way.

(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Such a sequel, a movie that follows someone’s personal life after a major conflict, has been dreamt up before. One film, known as “the greatest war film never made,” that was to explore this theme was to be called The Way Back.

The 1955 film To Hell and Back was an amazing anomaly. It was the World War II experience of Audie Murphy, based on the autobiography of the same name that was written by Audie Murphy and David McClure, starring Audie Murphy himself. But this wasn’t the only film the war hero wanted to make. Everyone wanted to see his heroic stand on the back of the Sherman, but he never got the finances for the script that told the story of what happened after he was bestowed the Medal of Honor.

He struggled daily with post-traumatic stress. His family life was, to put it lightly, troubled. He turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the pain. He even famously locked himself in a dirty motel room to kick his morphine addiction. He was lost in a world that wanted “him,” but not the real him. But he knew countless children looked up to him, so he put one foot in front of the other with a forced smile on his face.

This movie, were it ever made, would’ve been a powerful piece. Audie Murphy, arguably the greatest soldier to ever don a uniform, would’ve told everyone that not everything is fine when the war’s over. There’s a pain there that nobody can see, but many of us feel.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

It’s not like there are too many war films out there specifically made for Post 9/11 vets. The bar is set kinda low…

(Summit Entertainment)

War films are a dime a dozen in Hollywood and rarely will they have any impact on the public because they’re just action scenes after action scenes until the credits roll. If Hollywood really wanted a powerful message to send to the world, they could make a grounded story following the life of one of the Rangers after D-Day. Use Saving Private Ryan’s personal approach and make it about one soldier. They could keep the action scenes, but make them a background to the story of just surviving. Then, as Act II rolls around, shift the story to show how a returning soldier survives this world he left behind to fight in D-Day.

Hollywood could have their cake and eat it to while also sending a powerful message to the countless returning veterans of the Post-9/11 wars, telling them that they’re not alone.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Steven Seagal is Russia’s new envoy to the United States

Many Russia-watchers are questioning or making light of the Foreign Ministry’s surprise appointment of Steven Seagal as a special envoy for humanitarian ties with the United States — but not the action-film actor himself.

“I take this honour very seriously,” Seagal tweeted late on Aug 5, a day after the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the appointment on Facebook.


Seagal, who has warm ties with President Vladimir Putin and was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, said he was “deeply humbled and honoured” by the appointment.

“I hope we can strive for peace, harmony, and positive results in the world,” Seagal wrote.

Seagal, 66, starred in Hollywood action movies such as Above The Law (1988), Hard To Kill (1990), and Under Siege (1992). His films were popular in the Soviet Union and then in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics.

Seagal has vehemently defended Putin’s policies, including Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, along with criticizing the U.S. government.

Kyiv last year banned Seagal from entering Ukraine for five years, citing what it said were national security grounds.

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement said that Seagal’s task will be to “foster the further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including interactions in… culture, the arts, public and youth exchanges, and so forth.”

The position is not paid and will be similar to the United Nations’ goodwill ambassador positions, the statement said.

This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Follow @RFERL on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ trailer takes on the Reagan era

After defeating Ares — the god of war himself — during World War I, you’d think Wonder Woman’s job would be complete but luckily for us, mankind still needs a hero.

This time, it’s 1984 and the Cold War — and big hair — is at full max.

(Did you catch my Maxwell Lord pun there? No? Okay, let’s jump to the trailer.)


Wonder Woman 1984 – Official Trailer

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Wonder Woman 1984 – Official Trailer

The flawless Gal Gadot, a military veteran herself, returns as Diana of Themyscira, a warrior empowered by love. Wonder Woman 1984, directed by Patty Jenkins (the woman who helmed the highly successful 2017 film), also brings back Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor (who has been presumed dead since 1918).

This trailer also introduces Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal as classic DC villains Cheetah and Maxwell Lord respectively.

Set to a remix of New Order’s Blue Monday, the trailer gives us mystery, 80s glam, and plenty of badass Diana.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

“Nothing good is born from lies and greatness is not what you think,” declares Diana, probably to Lord, a power-hungry businessman known for tampering with questionable technologies and powers.

He should probably listen to her because that lasso doesn’t just force people to tell the truth — it can literally Spider-Man her across lightning.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Looks like she’s also upgraded her armor. I can already see the cosplayers gathering up their gold…

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

The long-awaited trailer premiered at Brazil’s Comic Con Experience and the film will hit theaters June 5, 2020.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines
Articles

Army veteran and filmmaker shows a different side of war in “Day One”

Any time someone sets out to make a war film, he or she risks getting swept up into the action, the combat, the inherent drama that comes with the subject. The truly great war movies recognize the smaller elements, the ironies and subtleties of life during conflicts. Day One, a short film from U.S. Army veteran turned filmmaker Henry Hughes, is such a movie.


5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines
Hughes at the 42d student Academy Awards

“We’re not having a lot of success in getting telling the soldier experience story,” says Hughes, an American Film Institute alum. “I don’t think we’ve changed much how we look at war and the stories that come out of it. Troops are portrayed as either victims or heroes. We still think war is ironic, that we go in and we’re surprised by the things that we find in war. Maybe there’s some bad things about it, and we’re like ‘oh that’s a surprise!’ But it’s not a surprise. War is a very mixed bag, but it can be spiritual and it can be fun and it can be dangerous and it can be morally wrong at times and it can also be one of the things you’re most proud of because you do some really good things.”

Day One is based on Hughes’ own experience with his translator while he was an infantry officer in 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The movie follows a new female translator’s first day accompanying a U.S. Army unit as it searches for a local terrorist in Afghanistan. Her job brings up brutal complexities as gender and religious barriers emerge with lives hanging in the balance.

“Having a female interpreter definitely changed my perspective of fighting, particularly having been on two deployments,” Hughes says. “The first time, it feels very new and romantic and exciting. The second time, you aren’t seeing a lot of impact in the way you would like and so you start wondering if you’re doing the right thing. In this instance, I had this Afghan-American woman with me at all times, and she was the person I communicated with locals to and she had access to the Afghan women in a way that I have never had before.”

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

“In my first deployment we didn’t even look at the women,” Hughes continues. “I remember that was a thing we did as a company. When we were on a trail and a woman came by, we would clear the trail, turn out, and allow them to walk by. Now all of a sudden, I mean I’m not face to face with these women but my interpreter would tell me she just spoke with a woman that would give us a very different perspective from what we would usually get. It’s interesting in that way.”

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

Hughes’ Army perspective spans more than just his time as an Army officer. He was also a military brat, following his dad with the rest of the family, living in Germany and Texas. As an officer in the 173d, he went to Airborne and Ranger School, Armor School, and Scout Leaders Course to prepare for his time in Afghanistan during 2007 and 2008 and then again in 2010.

I’m very interested in exploring the military stuff because it is such a hyperbolic life.” He says. “Things are just so condensed and so strange and powerful. It’s like the meaning of life is life hangs in balance sometimes. You get that moment in the military and most people don’t ever work in those types of absolutes.” 

Hughes has always been the artistic type. He went to a high school that had a TV studio, which inspired the creative side of his personality. He’s also come to believe that the military is the perfect place to start a filmmaking career.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

“You take so many lessons from your military experience and apply them into filmmaking because it is so team-oriented and team-based. The ability to communicate and draft up a single clear mission or objective. Those skills that I learned as a young officer are paying massive dividends now, being creative.” 

Hughes also believes a good storyteller must step out of his or her comfort zone to empathize with the characters and relate them to the audience.

“With trying to express yourself artistically, you have to be a little bit more vulnerable. ‘What is actually at play here,’ as opposed to ‘How do I accomplish this?’ I think you have to be a little bit more introspective whereas in the military, we’re very external and action-driven. It’s just analysis but we all do tons of analysis in the military too. I think it’s a good thing.”

Watch ‘Day One’ here.

5 best/worst Christmas movies with questionable military plotlines

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘South Park’ banned in China after most recent episode

The most recent episode of “South Park,” called “Band in China,” mocked Hollywood’s submission to the country. Now the long-running Comedy Central animated series has seemingly been banned in China itself.

Episodes, clips, and online discussions of the show have been removed from the Chinese internet, according to The Hollywood Reporter. THR reviewed the Chinese social network Weibo and found zero mention of the series; clips and episodes on Chinese streamer Youku didn’t work; and “South Park” discussion forums on Tieba had been closed.

“According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open,” a note on the platform says when you search for a “South Park” discussion thread, according to THR.


In the episode, Hollywood wants to make a biopic of Stan Marsh’s band, but must alter the movie to fit China’s regulations. Meanwhile, Stan’s dad, Randy, attempts to sell marijuana in the country after people in South Park stop buying his and start growing their own.

The Return of Fingerbang – “Band in China” – s23e02 – South Park

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China is currently the second-largest theatrical market in the world and Hollywood has increasingly relied on the country’s box office to give potential blockbusters a boost. A report from Ampere Analysis last year predicted that China would surpass the US as the world’s box office leader by 2022.

The “South Park” episode is heavily critical of China’s censorship and references the country’s crackdown on Winnie the Pooh imagery. After China’s ruling Communist Party announced it wanted to eliminate presidential term limits last year, photos comparing its leader Xi Jinping to Pooh popped up online.

Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” a live-action take on the Winnie the Pooh characters, was not released in China last year because the character was such a symbol of resistance, according to THR.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Articles

This Japanese war movie mixed three Hollywood blockbusters into one

The 2005 film Yamato, released by the Japanese entertainment company Toei, is one most Americans haven’t heard of. In fact, the movie’s production company is best known in America as the source of material for the various incarnations of “Power Rangers” — including a film that comes out in March.


Similarly, not many Americans know much about the battleship Yamato outside of those who follow World War II. Perhaps the biggest following outside those interested in World War II are anime fans, due to the connection with the 1980s cartoon series “Star Blazers” (A re-dub of “Space Battleship Yamato”) and a 2010 live-action-reboot of the Japanese source material.

A 2006 review of the film in Variety, though, may make it worth watching. The reviewer described the film as a cross between “Pearl Harbor” and “Titanic”, and compared the depiction of the air attacks that sank the Japanese super-battleship to the opening scenes of “Saving Private Ryan” According to CombinedFleet.com, it took less than two hours for the battleship, the world’s largest ever constructed, to be sunk by over 390 U.S. Navy carrier planes.

The DVD of the film is available on Amazon.com, if you are interested in buying it. For those who want to get a taste of this film, watch below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcBW2r8-abk