I might be writing these a bit too quickly, but then I have to get through a lot of these tonight so I can get the review for Back to the Future done before I leave for camping tomorrow.
My buddy, Roy, is a United States Marine. Like all Marines, he's very Semper Fi, which makes me very Semper Fi. But as much as I could ever support him, this movie will always do more. This movie is Super-Marine-Friendly. From the opening credits, blazing the image of the Corps to playing an epic score "From the Halls of Montezuma..." Really, you can't any more Marine than this.
Is the movie all that great? Yes and no. It's a classic and I can totally tell why. The only issue is that I've seen this movie time and time again. I'm not talking about the Iwo Jima story. Although I saw that in Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. This really isn't an Iwo Jima story. I mean, everything builds up to it and the end takes place at Iwo Jima, but this is a story about the Marines. It's a pretty traditional story with all the stock military characters. There's the gruff sergeant who doesn't take no sh*t from no strangers. There's the kid with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. There's the guy who can't wait to make a fortune the second he gets out. The brothers who fight. To coward. Really, everyone's here in one story. Luckily for us, the story is pretty good.
This is one of the movies that made John Wayne really famous. Sure, he's done a ton of other stuff and personally, I'm going to say that some of his other stuff is actually probably better. But he does his stuff in this movie. Perhaps he's not as conflicted as he is in The Searchers, but he's got some stuff going on here that you really have to respect. The main thing that you really have to see that you normally don't get is the fact that he's a father and a hard ass. Yeah, the conflict is there, but it doesn't really get to the heart of it. Sure, we touch on it, but the story is all over the place and primarily focused on the "becoming a soldier" aspects. I mean, the movie was made in 1949, so I don't know how much propaganda was made at the time (remember, we still had to deal with Korea and the Russians are around the corner, but I suck at dates) But this feels a lot like some of Cagney outings where we see the soldier who has to train, despite his bad attitude, only to learn that the toughness was really important.
Honestly, my big beef is that the movie isn't all that great. It's a fun war movie, but that's about as far as it goes. I've seen so many really great war movies that have a lot more substance. But this movie is a bit of patriotism. Sure, patriotism doesn't a good movie make, but I always seem to dig them a little bit. I mean, one of my favorite movie is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. That's really the draw of this movie. That and John Wayne. If you are a big John Wayne nerd, then you might really dig this movie. Heck, if you are a John Wayne nerd, then you've already seen it. It's a good time and it is not all that long. Take it from there.