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Film / Biloxi Blues

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A 1988 film directed by Mike Nichols and adapted from the second play in Neil Simon's "Eugene trilogy", Biloxi Blues is set during the later half of World War II and follows the story of Eugene Jerome (Matthew Broderick) as he heads to the film's eponymous town for basic army training. There, he comes face-to-face with the kooky drill sergeant by the name of Merwin J. Toomey (Christopher Walken), and tries to get along with other soldiers in his platoon.

This film contains examples of:

  • From a Certain Point of View: Hennessey tells Wykowski he's part black to expose Wykowski's bigotry. He later clarifies he meant he's Black Irish.
  • Future Badass: In the film's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Eugene narrates that Epstein became a lawyer whom The Mob called "The most feared man in Manhattan."
  • Gallows Humor: Toomey talks about the steel plate in his head.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Rowena is very friendly and patient with Eugene.
  • Informed Attribute: For all his supposed intelligence, Epstein intentionally mouths off to Sgt. Toomey when they first meet, for no reason other than pure rebelliousness. He continues to not really grasp his situation and fights battles with his superiors he can't possibly win.
  • Informed Judaism: Jerome frequently mentions he's Jewish.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Toomey routinely punishes Wykowski whenever Eugene fucks up. Subverted in that Wykowski is not Eugene's friend, but the biggest, most ill-tempered soldier in the platoon.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: Selridge pulls this after he tries to take back his money and Wykowski threatens him.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Epstein, when it turns out to be Hennessy who's gay.
  • Physical Fitness Punishment:
    • The entire platoon is made to do two hundred push-ups for some soldier's impertinent comment.
    • Inverted in the end when Toomey is forced by the other men to undergo the same punishment.
  • Potty Emergency: Epstein is forced to do the two hundred push-ups while having to pee the entire time.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Eugene equates losing his virginity to growing up, and makes it one of his goals.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In the film, at least. After all the training and the problems and tensions resulting from it, the war ends with not one of the main characters seeing active service, since the atomic bombs are dropped on Japan one week before they're due to be shipped out to the Pacific Theatre.
  • Something Blues: The title.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Epstein. Maybe. The stage show reveals he went missing in action, and no one knows what happened to him, though Eugene holds out hope that he's still alive. The movie makes it clear that he survived the war and is now a lawyer.
  • Quest for Sex: Eugene makes losing his virginity one of the goals of his Army tenure.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end of the film, Jerome gives a closing narration about what happened to him and the other members of his platoon.
  • World of Snark: It's a Neil Simon play, so pretty much everyone really.
  • World War II: The film is set during the latter half of the Second World War.