Jarhead Suffers Typical Military Movie Flaws
Donald Sensing and the Mrs. went out to see “Jarhead” yesterday and he has a review. He has the same lament I often do with military movies:
Perhaps as a retired Army officer I am at a disadvantage since I sat there mentally scoffing at some of the baloney.
I was only on active duty four years and have the same problem. Indeed, I can scarcely enjoy movies or television shows with military themes because they seldom get even basic things, like haircuts and uniforms, right. Don offers a ferinstance from “Jarhead.”
Example: sniper Swafford and his spotter, Troy, return at nighttime from a mission to find their entire unit blasting loud rock music in the night, whooping it up and dancing nearly naked around a huge bonfire of burning desert battle-dress uniforms. The four-day war had just ended and the Marines, including NCOs, are stripping their DBDUs and burning them. Ã¢€œDonÃ¢€™t need these no more! AinÃ¢€™t never coming back!Ã¢€ one shouts. (Ah, the ironyÃ¢€¦.) Then they all start firing their weapons on full automatic into the air.
Well, Ã¢€˜scuse me, but thatÃ¢€™s just crapola. In fact, there was no Ã¢€œend of the warÃ¢€ to celebrate in such a manner, there was only a cessation of offensive operations by US forces at the end of four days. Units remained on full combat readiness footing for weeks after the day the screen Marines go stupid. Fighting continued, some of it very fierce. In fact, the biggest battle of Desert Storm was fought by the 24th Inf. Div. (Mech.) the next month.
Sheesh. I was there and certainly recall no such festivities. For one thing, we still had our NATO woodland camouflage BDUs on. For another, soldiers don’t shoot off ammunition pointlessly (except at firing ranges to avoid the hassle of turning in excess) let alone in a war zone.
More than one reviewer has said that Jarhead is a Full Metal Jacket wannabe. Certainly itÃ¢€™s profane enough. Are NCOs and junior ranks prone to use coarse profanity? Of course. My ears have heard it all. But these guys, star Jamie Foxx included, are so profane all the time that it becomes caricature. It makes them cardboard cutouts of what Hollywood movie-makers believe audiences think military types must be like.
There’s little doubt war movies would be more accurate if more people involved in making them had served in the military. Still, even movies and television shows from the 1950s and 1960s, when virtually every able bodied male had served, perpetuated idiotic stereotypes of fat, corrupt sergeants and 40-year-old lieutenants.
Probably, like any other profession, the real life of a soldier, even in wartime, isn’t exciting enough for a movie. Certainly, mine wasn’t.