Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Which Vietnam Movies Should I View?

Logo of MMU fall series, which I am organizing and speaking in. We have 15 public events planned--check out www.mtmercy.edu later in August for more information.

Early in September, as part of the Fall Faculty Series at Mount Mercy University, I will be speaking with another professor in a forum on how Hollywood has told stories about Vietnam through movies.

So I’m spending a few weeks in my own private Vietnam film fest. It started with Oliver Stone weekend, in which I borrowed “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” from the U library.

Sign in MMU University Center lists series events.

Of the two, I’m not surprised that “Platoon” won best picture. It’s a gripping story that keeps you on edge. I felt that the “good sergeant” was a bit more artificial than the “bad sergeant,” and some of the soldier characters seemed too two-dimensional. But it was a powerful movie, well worth watching.

“Born,” on the other hand, while watchable, was a bit more tiring. Honestly, that might be mostly because I don’t always enjoy watching Tom Cruise. The movie was interesting, but I wish it had explored its main characters change of heart a bit more—I know that’s internal and mental and hard to portray, but I didn’t ever understand what changed inside the character.

So, the Vietnam film series is off to an interesting start. I’m sure I’ll slip “Apocalypse Now” in. I might even do something I’ve never done before—watch a Rambo movie. I have seen “Ballad of the Green Berets” before and have no reason to review it again.

But, what do you think? What are some “must see” Vietnam movies that either offer some interesting rumination on that war and its time, or are just worth seeing for their own sake? Please comment with your suggestions.

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