No man, really. Fuck this movie. Fuck watching the trials and tribulations of two young good-looking White people in a city full of minorities who have some real shit going on and it's only going to get shittier and that's not counting the piece of human garbage -- Human Nature incarnate! -- who is going to run this fucking country in a few weeks. I don't need and I don't want. Not this fucking movie.
And I'm sure it's great, this movie. And I'm sure it will win Best Picture. It might even deserve it more than the last magical Oscar-winning film that had people come out of the cinema tiptoeing on air after having seen it: The Artist. I do not believe in words like "overrated" and "underrated", at least not in a serious manner, because they are douchebag words. Yes, I am a douchebag too but even I have my limits and those words are among them. Because those words, what they really mean is "everybody else is stupid for liking/disliking this, but not me" and I'm not down with that kind of belief. So I would not use "overrated" to describe The Artist but I would definitely say that I wish I experienced what everybody else experienced upon watching that non-experience of an experience.
ARGH! I'm being irrational but I'm letting it happen. I don't want to watch White People Fall In Love In Browntown. So sue me. Then there were other trailers, but the last one was for Passengers starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence and again, I'm supposed to give a shit about two good-looking honkeys -- in the future, no less! -- FUCK DAT CHIT MANG FUCK EM ALL I BURY THOSE COCK-A-ROACHES ALL THE SAFETY PINS IN THE WORLD WILL NOT MAKE ME FEEL LESS FLOWING OF FIRE WITH YOU MOTHERFUCKERS no sir I will not see that movie either.
The worst part is knowing I would've been so down to see this movie had it come out last year.
But then the movie started, this movie I paid to see: Hacksaw Ridge. Because what I needed to see was lots of White people from the days when America Was Great die horrible fucking deaths in a war of which one of the major players was a cunt who convinced a country that he would make it great again if only we got rid of certain people who were bringing it down. Thank God that we learned from that and we will never make that mistake again because human beings are good that way.
And oh my brothers, it was beautiful. Guts and severed heads and flaming bodies and entrails and limbs and tears and plasma and morphine all over the place and BLOOOOOOOD so much blood it got my dick hard but because I'm not Mel Gibson I did not have pre-cum form at the tip. I suspect with Mel, it goes a little farther, he probably went a little gooey with all this violence.
Yeah, Mel Gibson directed this and I wish he hadn't been born with the trifecta of mental illness + alcoholism + being raised by a father with fucked-up beliefs and the eagerness to upload them. Then maybe I wouldn't have to wear a hat, sunglasses, and raincoat with the collar up just to work up the nerve to buy a ticket to his works nowadays. I mean, Mad Max aside, I really don't give a fuck about seeing him act in more movies but holy shit I want him to keep directing because the motherfucker knows how.
So this movie is about a real life guy named Desmond Doss -- and not once in this film does anyone call him "Double D" which I sure would had I known him. He's played by Andrew Garfield, who I only know from The Social Network and Never Let Me Go, because I sure as fuck wasn't going to waste my time on those fucking non-Raimi Spider-Man movies, no sir-fuckin-ree.
He's really good in this film, playing a kind of aw-shucks sometimes goofy sometimes creepy simple bumpkin-esque Seventh-day Adventist who is big of heart and strong of faith. His beliefs are so strong, that he takes that commandment about not killing seriously. Doss will run far away, as far away from the concept of taking life as possible, all the way to becoming a combat medic so he can save lives in the war.
This poor dumb son-of-a-bitch signs up to go overseas for some WW2 non-killing only to find out that the United States Army doesn't take kindly to the idea of him serving his country Conscientious Objector style. The funny thing is, neither does Doss; he prefers to call himself a "conscientious cooperator", because he doesn't object to the war -- a war that he agrees is one against Evil -- he just won't touch a rifle. His fellow recruits show their understanding of his beliefs by beating the fuck out of him.
I guess I can try to see where these guys are coming from because they're looking at it, like, if this goofy-looking motherfucker won't pick up a rifle there's no way he can watch my back. A motherfucker like him is a motherfuckin' liability and I'm tired of these motherfuckin' liabilities on this motherfuckin' plane!
But goddamn, you really want to convince this guy by hurting him enough to change his mind? Well, what can you do? We're talking about a generation of boys who grew up getting whippings every day for even looking at their old mans the wrong way -- and that's probably right after the old man just smacked dear old mom for overcooking the pot roast. This is what they know.
(And in the old man's defense, this is the second time she burned dinner.)
Doss' drill sergeant is played by Vince Vaughn, who appears to be having a good time playing, because that's what it comes off as: playing. I mean, his ability is evidently not ability enough to convince me. I'm sorry, Mr. Vaughn, you're fun to watch but really the only thing you can convince me of is that you're probably in real life a charming quick-witted type who can turn into a hot-tempered asshole in a second, and you're lucky this wasn't made fifteen years ago because then Tom Sizemore would've been playing this part and he would've been a hell of a lot better at it.
On the other hand, you also have homeboy from Avatar here as Vaughn's superior and it's probably the best performance he's given yet.
Since this is some real life true story shit, I am confident that I am not spoiling shit by telling you that Doss was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving 75 soldiers during the battle at the titular ridge -- and he did it without even firing a single bullet. (It gets even crazier; in real life, Doss claimed he saved 50 while his superior said it was 100, so they compromised with 75 -- which says a lot about a guy like Doss and the rest of us credit-inflating assholes.)
The first half of the film focuses on Doss' life back home; everything during this part of the movie has a kind of cheap-ish nostalgia-glow that made me feel like I was watching something on ION or UP or Hallmark. I kept expecting Lacey Chabert or Lori Loughlin to show up somewhere, as some kind of career gal on the rise who discovers there's more to life than making money, there's also the spirit of Christmas or something. (Instead there's Teresa Palmer as Doss' sweetheart.)
I think the filmmakers decided to use up most of the budget on the second half, because gore and explosions ain't cheap, son. I gotta give it up to Gibson, he might be the last horror filmmaker around to keep it real with the violence. I mean, there is some CGI blood used here and there but I swear it seemed like mostly old-school prosthetics were used. I stuck around during the closing credits looking for Tom Savini's name somewhere, but nope, nothing.
That "horror filmmaker" part is only partly a joke; the second hour is a horror movie that can stand tall with Fury and Saving Private Ryan when it comes to imagery that would get an NC-17 in a slasher or zombie joint but because this is Real Life somehow it gets a pass from the ratings board. There's also one moment among the moment-filled battle that gave me a jump scare in such a way, man, scary movies haven't made me jump like that in forever. That part kinda reminded me of something that happened in Mad Max 2, leaving me to wonder if that was some kind of weird shout-out to George Miller. I wouldn't put it past Mel, the fuckin' nut.
As for how the Japanese are presented here, well, they were the enemy back then and so they're the enemy in this film. This isn't Letters from Iwo Jima, but the gruesome violence and its after effects seem to be dwelled upon the Americans more than the Japanese, and Doss appears to -- as it has been documented -- find all life precious, not just Yankee life. So I guess that's as even-handed as it was ever going to get in this film.
Unlike fellow two-act war movie Stripes and like fellow two-act war movie Full Metal Jacket, this one maintains quality from beginning to end. It's kind of fascinating the way it veers back-and-forth between hokey gosh-gee-willikers sentiment and dark-as-the-dickens grim imagery. It feels like constantly changing the channel between two different war movies on television -- a dated red-white-and-blue rah-rah joint from the 50s and a cynical war-is-Hell movie made today. It's that inconsistency of tone that keeps Hacksaw Ridge from being Apocalypto levels of Fucking Awesome in the Gibson auteur oeuvre but it's still Pretty Fucking Good.
Oh, real quick before I wrap this up: Agent Smith from The Matrix is in this and he plays Doss' papa. His character served in WWI and the experience left him a drunk who never hesitated to whip his sons or give his wife shit in the following years, and yet he's not a complete son-of-a-bitch. There are moments where you see how much he sincerely loves his family (well, his sons at least - don't know where he stands on the missus) despite his overwhelming manner of being a Fuck. My favorite is his reaction to Doss' brother signing up for the military; he responds with some hard asshole-type words while struggling not to cry because it's absolutely breaking his heart. It was heartbreaking for me to watch.
I don't know about Doss' dad, but I gotta give total absolute props and respect to a guy like Desmond Doss. I hate to admit how much of a cynic I am, even when it comes to men who serve in the military but this is one of those cases where I would love to shake the hand of someone like Doss, but I'm not going to because Doss has been dead for ten years so who knows what the fuck I'd be shaking by now. A skeleton hand?
But here's a man whose faith in God was capital-L legit and with zero leeway for hypocritical actions. He didn't think he was better than others despite what the other soldiers thought, there's even a moment where he kinda freaks out at the possibility that his refusal to touch a weapon might come from pride rather than his love and respect of a higher power. Even after fact-checking and separating the Hollywood bullshit from reality, you'll see that this man put up with a lot of shit and did not buckle once. And he didn't deserve it, he put himself up for some genuine abuse before even getting to the action in Okinawa. Motherfucker was already under attack before going to war! I'm not that strong a person; if that were me, I probably would've given in and picked up a rifle -- which I would then use to fire rounds into every asshole who fucked my shit up during Basic Training.
I don't know. All I know is that in the end, when they showed real life footage Desmond Doss and others who served with him, I got teary eyed -- in particular when they showed one guy talking about how he had judged Doss wrong. This guy, he was talking about how he thought Doss to be worthless as a soldier but in the end he did more and showed more courage than anyone with a rifle could. Tears roll down his face as he says this, and I saw myself in this dude, in the way he was being judgmental and in the way he felt bad for being that way. Because I know I have those instincts and I'm finding myself fighting what feels like 20/20 vision when it comes to reading what looks to be the clearest writing on the biggest wall when it comes to my fellow humans.
But then you have guys like Doss who took so much shit and still had the goddamn magnanimity to risk his life for every one of these bastard-asshole-cunts. It made me think that maybe there are still people like that out there. And if they are still out there, then maybe we're not so fucked.
I'm still not going to see La La Land, though.
After it ended, I walked out of the auditorium and down the main aisle towards the nearest exit. I passed the concession stand where walking the opposite way were a group of girls in their late teens. One looked me over and then smiled and began giggling, then she leaned over to her friends and said something I couldn't hear. They then looked at me and began giggling and smiling. It felt great, to be honest with you. I then walked into the restroom to use the facilities. When I went to wash my hands of excess popcorn butter and salt before touching a sensitive area, I took a look at myself in the mirror. "Maybe you're not so bad looking", I thought to myself, "at least the teen girls dig you in a 'they don't know any better' kind-of-way". I then upgraded that hope into a sincere belief that "maybe the old man still has it". A couple fresh drops of water had splashed on my shirt, so I began drying them off with a paper towel. And that's when I noticed that my fly was wide open and a tuft of underwear peeking out of it. If I hadn't been blessed with such a small pecker, I'd probably have been locked up for indecent exposure. So I should at least be grateful for that.