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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Watching Jarhead with a crackhead
I went to the last screening of "Jarhead" at the Lloyd Cinemas on Saturday. I learned a valuable lesson that night: watching war movies with a veteran experiencing flashbacks is a lot of fun.
Actually, no it isn't. Among other things, it's scary and irritating. I have no idea if the guy talking back to the screen was a traumatized vet, high on crack, or starring in a sketch for an upcoming "Jackass"-spinoff. Here's a rundown on what happened. I'll let you decide but, be forewarned, there's spoilers below. And for the sake of clarity, from here on out he'll be referred to as "Max Cady," after the movie-ruining sociopath Robert DeNiro portrayed in "Cape Fear."
As for the film itself, the reviews have been mixed but those who criticize it for being "boring" or "shallow" have completely missed the point. While the ad campaign may paint "Jarhead" as another "Platoon" or "Apocalypse Now," this isn't a full-fledged war movie. It's two hours of soldiers slowly buckling under the weight of extreme heat, boredom, stress, their destroyed personal lives and a dire lack of alcohol. "Jarhead" isn't a film that future Marines are going to cheer ala a scene in the first act but one that may keep them from signing up in the first place. And it has a trippy sequence in a burning oil field.
I read the book and, while the film adaptation leaves out a lot, I think it remains true to the source material. While "Jarhead" may not have earned the approval of the vet/crackhead/performance artist sitting up front, I'd have to say I dug it.
Still, maybe I should have seen "Saw II" instead