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Reviews Comments: This "classic" is a real SNAFU Saving Private Ryan whole series review by Frankcawdah

Which is to say "Situation Normal: American & F'd Up".

There are spoilers in this review.

Ever watched Johnny Got His Gun? That big, plump middle finger erected to war and the hubris that drives it no matter who fights it? As C. Aubrey Smith's character in "Four Feathers" said, "WAHH WAS WAHH." Even in the most proud and glorious of victories came shameful defeats, like the one suffered by the main character.

In Saving Private Ryan, we get American flags, vengeful Krauts, and "Betty Boop, what a dish".

It seems that that the film primarily caters to gore-hungry tweens (Check the statistics on any Youtube video pertaining to it) and hairy lumps of American patriotism. In one particularly obnoxious scene, the squad's medic is grievously injured during a chaotic battle. The main characters' first reaction is to unleash their rage on the last surviving German (of course, they suffer only one casualty after obliterating all the Germans). Do these guys even realize that, assuming the German had anything to do with shooting their medic, it was obviously not intentional? The token "pussy", of course, frees him, but Spielberg only uses the scene as an opportunity to harangue his audience by insinuating that the only course of action should have been to ice the young fighter (and to show our useless infant morph into a soldier).

Of course, the Americans (Britons, Canadians, and French were not in Normandy, right?) rack up atrocities of their own. They happily immolate Germans to make them suffer more, shoot surrendering enemies, and generally conduct operations that cause more destruction than what we see the "other side" do. Do they ever get their comeuppance?

Here is a film that takes that old Truffaut saying and kicks it, shoots it, beats it with a rifle, sets it on fire, and finds out that it was actually from North Dakota and sets out to find the other one and do worse to it. In fact, its conclusion depicts nothing other than a gloriously fluttering set of stars and stripes. Wanna bet that half the guys at the Sioux Center, IA showing were drooling?

Stick with Johnny Got His Gun - it's an inglorious portrayal of war that paints with such broad, naked, and real brushstrokes that the viewer practically has to pick hirself up off the floor.


  • Scardoll
  • 10th Jun 12
It seems that that the film primarily caters to gore-hungry tweens (Check the statistics on any Youtube video pertaining to it)

Damn it, I thought The Goodfellahs was a more mature movie, but the youtube statistics proved me wrong.

  • Frankcawdah
  • 10th Jun 12
Can you show me where this is? I looked all over You Tube and couldn't find any videos displaying this.

For the record, here's what I'm talking about in the review:
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 11th Jun 12
@Frank, that shows that's it's popular with men of all ages, if I'm correct. Don't be misreading evidence.

And @Scardoll, I couldn't find any statistics on Goodfellas.

The idea that all films will get tween demographics is unfair and wrong however, Band of Brothers has a male 45-65 demographic (surprisingly? I wonder if the humour messed things up)

MeanG girls is popular with 13-25 females and 54-54 males ... okay that's a little creepy.

Okay fair enough, Youtube demographics unproven on the reliableness, but I still think it's a neat way to try to figure it out and probably better than doing things blind. (Incidentally can someone tell me, is there a pattern to statistics being available? It was really hard to find some)
  • Frankcawdah
  • 13th Jun 12
I'm not saying that everyone who likes SPR is a kid - just that a lot are kids, and that a lot are middle-aged NASCAR fans.
  • TycobRahe
  • 21st Nov 12
Dude, criticism is fine, but your criticism is hard to take seriously since you make straw arguments, create inaccurate caricatures, and dont seem try to understand the actual film. You seem to offer a very one-dimensional take on the film focusing on the gore and violence which ironically is the very viewpoint of "gore-hungry tweens" that you scathingly attack.

[for those who havent seen the film, SPOILER ALERT] The film had more to depth to it than how you describe. Yes there was violence, but it wasnt violence for the sake of violence (mostly), but rather more to portray the horrors of war. The "Krauts" werent vengeful, they were just on the other side of a war and actually the film portrayed the some Germans with some realism in that they scared to die just like anyone else would be. And I am sure that anybody that is in the middle of a violent war and suffering through scarring violence and loss of their friends would react like happy, logical thinkers when they face their enemy. The Americans do not act pretty, but the Translator character serves as a moral/innocent foil, however, you seem interpret him as being a "pussy", which sounds awfully like what a "gore-hungry tween" would say as opposed to someone actually trying to understand the film. And dont forget that there was lots of scenes in between action sequences that serve for chracacter building and for adding nuance and moral grayness. And I think the "comeuppance" was when everybody died except the "pussy" and two other soldiers.

All in all, Frankcawdah, your criticism is self-fullfilling, because you attack the film for its supposed narrowness, but you adopt a narrow violence-focused viewpoint yourself while disregardeing the nuances and other aspects of the film. You might have had worthwhile criticisms (i.e. I agree with you that other nations' soldiers arent portrayed, but the purpose of the movie is to be about the American soldiers), but they are lost in your summarily shallow review.
  • fenrisulfur
  • 22nd Nov 12
Johnny Got his gun is a terrible comparison. Saving Private Ryan tried telling a story about war. Johnny got his gun has the message of "Bad things happen in war, and the military keeps it under wraps." You can extend it to "Every military is evil in some way." Yes, the creator of the story (Dalton Trumbo), made the movie about Vietnam, but he wrote a book before that. Wanna know something interesting? He actually requested people not publish it due to the fact he was actually FOR American Intervention in WWII. The creator actually would be cheering on the soldiers you complain about. He was against the isolationists who said we should let Europe fend for itself. That violence you decry? That's a relatively realistic depiction of the horrors of war. Some veterans have issues watching this movie because of it. Johnny on the other hand? Not so much. Johnny could be paralyzed from the neck down and have all the same reactions and behaviors. His injuries are over the top to the point doctors literally say they don't know why he lives. In reality of course, both are overly dramatic stories that take fictional aspects and put them all together for the sake of drama. That said, one does actually affect people, and the other is Narmy. Secondly, you seriously are citing a fan trailer for appealing to males between the ages of 13-24 and middle aged men? Not the actual demographics for the film, or surveys? Statistics only matter if they come from a credible source. Youtube isn't a credible one, especially when most of the views are anonymous. Thirdly, The siege is at Omaha beach. American troops land on a primarily American theater from Overlord. Yeah, it's also an American-funded film, but they set it in the primary place where Americans actually could be in a large force.

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