Blake’s Commentary –
5. A League of Their Own: “There’s no crying in baseball!!” This still pretty much sums up this movie for me. The only actor/actress I really liked in this film was Tom Hanks. Considering I never cared for any of the other talent in this film, it is surprising that I still enjoyed the film overall. That being said, I am going to argue–much like you did with my In Bruges selection for Christmas films–that this film really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with WWII. It really is just a setting for the film and plot. Nothing more.
4. Flags of Our Fathers: Nowhere near as good as Letters from Iwo Jima. Period. The only interesting element of this film was the Ira Hayes storyline. But, then again, why watch a subpar WWII film when you can just listen to Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian. Sorry, dude, this ain’t gonna cut it.
3. Captain America: The First Avenger: I admit, I have liked all of the Captain America films so far which is funny for a guy that generally shuns any kind of real patriotism, but Chris Evans is undeniable as Cap. I appreciate your attempt to think outside the box here, but I still don’t think this would come close to my list even then. Sorry, Cap.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth: I love this film so much and it was the first film by Del Toro that I ever saw and convinced me that LOTR should have been given to him instead of The Director Who Shall Never Be Named. I had forgotten about this film and, once again, I appreciate your thinking outside the box. This one, unlike Cap., might have a shot at, at least, my top 10. The scene in the dining hall with the creature with eyes in its hands still creeps me out to this day and is one of the only truly frightening moments in fantasy film for me. Good pick. Maybe a bit too high, but I am okay with it.
1. The Thin Red Line: Yessir. Matt knows what’s up. If only Jeremy had not dropped the ball then we might have had our second Unarguable, but, alas…
5. A League of Their Own: Huh. This is an interesting interpretation of the topic. It’s like Matt’s throwing a curve ball at us. It’s like he’s challenging our expectations of what constitutes a war film. It’s like he’s putting forth a distraction so that we don’t focus on the difficulty of the task at hand. Brave choice, sir.
4. Flags of Our Fathers: Eastwood has, for a long time, been interested in the meaning of heroism, or, more accurately, the American conception of heroism. He tackles that head on in this movie. Whether or not he succeeds is the question. I remember being struck by the comparison between heroism and celebrity in this film. I remember that Ryan Philippe is in it. I don’t remember much else about it.
3. Captain America: The First Avenger: Because looking at the struggles and triumphs of normal soldiers is so blasé, we (apparently) need a genetically-modified super soldier to kick some Nazi ass and satiated our urge for some patriotic bloodshed. If you’re going for some fantasy revisionism, why not just go with Indiana Jones? Raiders of the Lost Ark is finely made film, and Jones gives it good to the Nazis. Or why not go full balls-to-the-wall crazy with Inglourious Basterds? Why do you know a superhero? I actually haven’t seen this film, so I can’t comment on it’s merits. Even so, I say, Marvel Universe, Shmarvel Universe.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth: I wish I had thought of this pick, because it’s a good one. War as seen from the eyes of a child who has the imagination to see a world beyond the conflict. This film reminds me of another film, which could have made my list: The Spirit of Beehive (another Spanish film, even). I prefer Beehive just a little, even though both are very effective. Like my number 1 pick, these films look at violence through the eyes of the innocent.
1. The Thin Red Line: I’m sorry I “ruined” your little Unarguable list, guys. I really am. I love this movie, but, as great as it is, Grave of the Fireflies is just a tad better. You just have to watch it. You’ll see what I’m talking about.