Thus, we watched Top Gun that year, as an illustration of my teacher's point. The sexy heroes shooting the nameless, foreign masked villains that talked weird. The army recruitment booths set up outside the cinemas on opening weekend.
Even though Apocalypse Now didn't exactly have army-recruitment-booth potential, I didn't enjoy it. I don't like movies about men in uniforms: can't keep them straight, can't care about them as characters. The battle scenes are disorienting, dark, miserable, and repetitive. I can keep track of battle scenes in LOTR mainly because the combatants are of so many different species. Even Star Wars battle scenes confuse me, as the clone armies switch alleagiances half-way through the series.
Maybe it is because war movies are always about MEN. I don't mind movies about one man, or containing several, but the central theme of war movies and the military in general is manhood. What is is or isn't, how it expresses itself, what an all male culture looks like, what relationships between men can be when the people are stripped to the bare minimum of who they are, when they are tortured, when they die or kill.
It just isn't INTERESTING to me anymore, this permanent study of males. As a theme, I feel it has been exhausted. Because war is always portrayed as riddled with dichotomies... right/wrong, good/bad ... there are only two ways you can go (or, four: it you count good but appearing bad, and bad but appearing good on top of the regular old good and bad guys). Even when the movie doesn't answer the question, the question is old.
I hate how Hollywood defines how we think of wars. It is the most horrible thing we humans are capable of, and we don't even know the truth about this part of our souls. But there is some sick cultural fascination with it.
I said yesterday I might give another war movie a chance someday if it weren't made by Americans (or Canadians). I only remember seeing one Polish movie, about pilots in WWII. And one French movie about Christmas in the trenches of WWI. But they didn't redeem anything in my mind, although they didn't make me sick to my stomach, at least.
I think it is the combination of love of country and pride in malehood that just make the war genre unsavory to me.
I can't put my finger on it completely. Any thoughts?