Saving Private Ryan (The Iraq Remake)

In World War II, when America went to war, Hollywood went with her.  From Frank Capra to Jimmy Stewart to Clark Gable, America’s movie industry was firmly behind the nation in the war against the Nazis and their allies.  That same spirit is alive today — Hollywood is still firmly behind America’s 65-year-old war effort against the Nazis.

Of course, that was the last war that Hollywood tried to help win.  In Iraq and the so-called “so-called” War on Terror, Hollywood has mounted a major propaganda effort — against America.

Hollywood has done its part for victory, for the enemies of this nation, with a series of movies portraying America’s soldiers and intelligence agents as gullible, lying, murdering, raping, confused, and misguided idiots and psychopaths.

Surprisingly, these movies haven’t really done that well with actual American movie-goers.  Rendition, Lions for Lambs, and In the Valley Of Elah have underwhelmed at the theaters, despite big names in all.  Not even Reese Witherspoon, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Redford, Jake Gyllenhaal, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise could save these films from assisted suicide at the box office.

But the real Oscar for total rejection of an anti-war propaganda film by Americans (the ones who actually still love their country) has to go to Redacted — a dramatization of one of the rare outright crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq, a rape and murders.  The choice of subject matter is telling.  Why pay attention to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that have served with honor when you can cherry pick through years of war to find a story of the worst handful instead?  Rape always makes good propaganda too.  Anywhere in the world where you have 150,000 young males in one place, you will have rapes, so it’s an easy trick to ignore the statistics and play up the aberrations.

If all it takes is one crime to paint a whole group as dehumanized animals and argue for immediate surrender, then clearly it is time for the U.S. to get out of Detroit — as well as Los Angeles and Washington D.C. and Houston and every other city in America, all of which are just full of rapes and murders compared to the military. 

Try this thought experiment: would you feel better about the safety of your female relatives leaving them on a U.S. Military base, or leaving them among random civilians in any major metropolitan area in America?  For that matter, would they be safer on a military base or at a Hollywood producer’s mansion?

So how bad did Redacted do?  It’s big opening weekend gross receipts were almost  $26,000.  I’ve paid more for cars, and my cars are just boring.  Al Gore spent more that same weekend on jet fuel and pizza.  Larry Craig has left bigger tips for restroom attendants.  And that $26,000 figure is for the whole country, mind you.

The message for Hollywood is clear: Americans aren’t going to pay to see a movie baselessly attacking their country and their friends and relatives in the military.  Hopefully, however, Hollywood will ignore this message, and continue its decline in influence.  I’m all for Hollywood going to the dogs. 

In that spirit, and to help out the entertainment industry during this terrible writers strike, here are some ideas on how to remake a few popular war movies into politically courageous box office flops guaranteed to get an Oscar nomination.

Saving Private Ryan (From George W. Bush’s Hopeless Imperialist War for Oil): In this chilling tale of the gritty reality of war, Matt Damon (or was it Ben Affleck?) plays the hapless and gullible Private Ryan, who has been bullied into joining the military by his sexually suppressed Christian fundamentalist father and a devious military recruiter, played by that Hannibal Lechter guy, who was mistakenly allowed into his high school one terrible “Career Day.” 

Sent to Iraq with orders to support a Blackwater Security mission aimed at mowing down pregnant children outside shuttered abortion clinics, Private Ryan can only be saved by Lieutenant Tom Hank’s character, whose name escapes me.  Lieutenant Hanks is a complex character struggling to serve with gay pride, despite the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.  Both characters escape to Canada after a tearful moment of revelation in which they finally realize that the insurgents are people too and that the real enemy is Global Warming.

Patton — Bad, Bad Man: George C. Scott is dead, but that’s OK, because in this remake the whole story focuses on that one soldier that Patton slapped in the first jingoistic version.  The entire movie takes place in a single dark room, where Private Slappee has to deal with his post-traumatic slap disorder.  Helped through his 180-minute marathon of introspection and self-examination only by his courageous chain-smoking therapist, played by Jeanine Garofalo, Private Slappee finally has the courage to accept his cowardice.  The epic ends with the moving line, “The Military Industrial Complex can slap the tears from my face, but not the humanity from my bosom.”  “Director’s cut” version includes a 12-minute dream sequence in which Jesus is portrayed as a pedophile.

The Crying Leathernecks: Returning from a dehumanizing experience as members of the “cavity search” squad at a secret prison in Iraq, a group of gullible and disillusioned Marines find their civilian lives are now in shambles.  Made homeless by the subprime mortgage lending crisis, abandoned by their wives, and emotionally abused by rich Republican Doctors at the ramshackle Veteran’s Administration hospital near their homeless shelter, the group forms a special bond like those chicks in Fried Green Magnolias or the YaYa Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, only without the pants.  Inspired by an episode of Oprah, they then begin a whirlwind descent into discovery in which it is revealed that the real enemy is their own government, which has used the war as an excuse to test new drugs on soldiers, because they are actually cheaper than lab mice.

The Porn Ultimatum: Oh, wait.  That’s for a different article.

Anyway, you get the idea, Hollywood.  Americans want movies in which soldiers are victims and America is bad, or at least movies in which soldiers are bad and America is a victim.  Keep making ‘em!  Keep attacking the values of Middle America and most of all, keep spending millions to make thousands.   See you on Oscar Night!