Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND NO-NO: HACKSAW RIDGE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I believe that art transcends time, place, and even its creator. If it doesn't, then it must not be art. Mel Gibson, a misogynistic anti-Semite who would feel right at home in the White House, has created yet another piece of non-art with the movie Hacksaw Ridge (2016, Rated R, Available On DVD and HBO).


I was appalled––appalled I tell you––when Mel Gibson received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. A nod from the academy tends to mean "we forgive you for being a drunken asshole because you have created true art." Ha! In Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson uses stock characters and clich├ęs to explore the paradox of a non-violent person in the middle of great violence. In other words, the theme is that one brave man working alone can become a Christ-figure during the hell that is war.

I did not add Hacksaw Ridge to my Netflix queue because I detest and despise Mel Gibson. But Hacksaw Ridge did receive quite a few award nominations, and won some, including two Academy Awards (thank God one was not Best Director for Mel Gibson). When it turned up on HBO a few nights ago, I thought, Okay. I'm not paying extra for it. I'll watch it.

I'm sorry I did except for the opportunity that it provides me to warn you that it is a hideous movie. Here are some examples of its stupidity:

  • Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is the son of a drunk Virginia hillbilly who served in the Great War and deals with his PTSD by beating his wife and kids
  • Desmond follows his mama's example and becomes a devout Seventh-Day Adventist
  • Desmond falls in love at first sight with a nurse
  • Desmond feels he must enlist during Dubya Dubya Two
  • Desmond is a conscientious objector, whose commanding officer won't assign him to be the medic he was promised he could be
  • Therefore, the sergeant makes it clear to his men that they should beat the crap out of Desmond
  • He's about to be court-martialed when Hillbilly Daddy shows up in his Great War uniform and saves the day
  • Desmond goes off to the Battle of Okinawa and saves a shitload of men
  • Before the men go into battle a second time, they wait for Desmond to finish praying
  • Desmond saves a metric fuck-ton of men while running like Secretariat toward the finish line as glorious movie music plays and he chants, Please, God. Let me save one mo' (thick Virginia accent)
  • Desmond is finally appreciated
Some critics have called Hacksaw Ridge the first great war movie since Saving Private Ryan. No. It's not. Saving Private Ryan made me feel as if I were in the boat preparing to storm the beach. It made me care about its characters and what they experienced, no matter how awful it was. Hacksaw Ridge made me think about throwing up everything, including my toenails. It is repeatedly grotesque to the point that I would place it in the horror/slasher genre.

Tomorrow I hope to tell you about the real Desmond Doss, who was a true hero. Other than saying that Andrew Garfield gives a decent performance in spite of the dreck that surrounds him, I grant no Janie Junebug Seal whatsoever to Hacksaw Ridge.

View at your own peril.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. And what about the hair on these "soldiers"?


For a movie that supposedly goes to such pains to be realistic, why don't these guys have regulation haircuts?

37 comments:

  1. I have heard a lot about this movie and it refreshing to read a review that points out all the stupid things in the movie, it is not a movie I am keen on seeing because I would likely think things like "what rot" or "that wouldn't happen".........

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    1. I thought "what rot" many times while watching this movie.

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  2. I don't watch war movies. The real thing is such a misery and I won't willingly put myself through the fake.

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  3. Well I was going to watch this movie. Now I don't have to. Thanks for that. Saving Private Ryan is indeed one of my favorite war movies. And I love war movies, in general.

    I did learn a new word here: dreck. I had to look that one up. I love adding new words to my vocabulary. Thanks Janie!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. This movie goes too far. I love the word dreck and should use it more often.

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  4. Thanks for the review, looks like I'll be giving this film a miss. Saving private Ryan was excellent.

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  5. I am yet to watch this, not that I watch a lot of movies these days. I truly understand where you are coming from and thanks for the heads up on the movie. Warm greetings to you!

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  6. Andrew Garfield really likes to play extreme characters. Or perhaps more accurately, characters caught up in extreme situations. Did you see him in Scorsese's "Silence" about Jesuit missionaries to ancient Japan? That movie's take on religion was more morally ambivalent.

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    1. I have not seen Silence and will probably add it to my queue.

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  7. That is what I would expect from Gibson. Take a true story--exaggerate it, twist a few facts, and gore it up to high heaven. From what I read about the real Doss I think he would have been embarrassed by this movie from what you said and the previews I have seen. I'm sure a lot of people will love it.

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    1. Desmond Doss wouldn't allow a movie about his experiences to be made while he was alive. Desmond Doss, Jr., thought that Andrew Garfield captured his father perfectly.

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  8. I liked Mel Gibson in "What Women Want"!!

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    1. I haven't always detested and despised Mel Gibson. He had to get arrested and reveal his true character before I turned against him.

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  9. Ouch! I actually love this film so I am polar opposite to your review. I also dislike Mel Gibson intensely and I actually never cared for him since the 80's when I saw an interview. Him done by Barbara Walters and feel he had and has big issues with women also. I agree the praying incident was a bit much and yes, the hair should have been cut. It reminded me of many 60's movies where women, especially, had 1960's haircuts but it was supposed to be from another decade ( Dr. Zhivago). The violence shown did not bother me in the slightest because it is about a huge battle. I read more about this man who would not carry a gun. He actually was a medic during that battle and that was shown in the film and he did save 75 men as it was shown in The film. I thought the film's battle scenes were well done but one has to step away from the fact the Mel Gibson was the director. I don't know about the man's childhood other than that his mother was a devout Christian. I wish I could find out about his father some more and would like to know if his dad was actually abusive. I do agree that if his dad was abusive and that was due to his PTSD, that still is no excuse. These might very well be typical poetic license that many film makers do. Oh well, despite who directed it and the points made about the haircuts and his dad, I feel that most of what occurred really did happen. This man, Desmond Doss, deserves to be recognized for his amazing work during WW2 and that he suffered afterwards as well from TB where he lost a lung. If anything, I hope more people learn more about this man

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    1. And for tomorrow I shall write a post about the real Desmond Doss, who was a kind and devout man. I've reached the point of being unable to separate the movie from Mel Gibson, a nasty creature if ever there was one.

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    2. Yes, he is not a nice man overall and I would never want to know him actually. I also think he has major mental issues

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    3. Addicts usually have major mental issues.

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  10. Geez, now I'm almost afraid to say it, but I... liked this movie. Didn't love it or think it was the best movie ever, but I certainly didn't feel the need to regurgitate while watching it, either. Admittedly, before the movie was released, there was an article in the Atlanta newspaper about Doss, and the idea of seeing what was supposed to be a fact-based account of an amazing man who served his country on his own terms probably made me inclined to like the movie before the opening credits even rolled. Even so, both my hubby and I liked it.

    As for the haircuts on the soldiers, the all-but-shaved-bald "induction haircut" wasn't part of regulations in the forties. Back then, soldiers were expected to keep their hair short and their nails clean, which left a lot of wiggle room. My father's hair was longish and curly...

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    1. I'm shocked––shocked I tell you--that men didn't have to get the buzz cuts in the forties. My father's hair was very short while he was in the Army Air Corps, and he kept it that way the rest of his life. The basic story of Desmond Doss is true, but Gibson twists and turns it. You must have a very strong stomach if the corpses and rats in this movie didn't bother you.

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  11. I thought this was a fabulous movie. Violent? Yes, but it's a true story.

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    1. Like most true stories made into movies, it plays with the facts.

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  12. I did a very brief post about Mel Gibson seven years ago, where I called him "bigoted, abusive, [and] misogynistic." One of my commenters said that "when the William Morris Agency drops you as a client, your career is over," and another said he had "basically committed career suicide." But unfortunately, they were both wrong. Hollywood has evidently forgiven him for being an asshole. But then again, we Americans also seem to have forgiven convicted rapist Mike Tyson, and look at the self-serving, disloyal loudmouth who's occupying the White House.

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    1. That loudmouth's speech to the Boy Scouts provides further evidence of his mental problems. Other people might think Mike Tyson is fine. I don't. I'm glad we're in agreement about Mel Gibson. When The Passion of the Christ came out, all the old women in my neighborhood Bible study looked at me with big sad eyes because I wouldn't go to see it. They thought it was wonderful. I said I wouldn't pay a dime toward anything that had to do with Mel Gibson. They didn't seem at all bothered by his horrendous statements and behavior.

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    2. I bet they all voted for the loudmouth for president, too.

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  13. My husband is retired military and he wants to see it. We both like historical war movies, if done right. War is hell and he always tells me, if it's accurate or BS - I'll watch it and will look out for all that you mentioned.

    My FIL served in the South Pacific in the Navy, and they often grew beards. The military became stricter during the 60's - due to the long hair being worn by the young men.

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    1. War IS hell. That can be conveyed the way that Spielberg did it in Saving Private Ryan, or it can be conveyed with repeated grotesque shots. This movie is about twenty minutes too long. I could have understood what it was about without seeing the same things over and over.

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    2. I'm not talking about beards. I'm saying that the men have a lot more hair that I think most men had in the forties. Susan already told me that the buzz cut wasn't yet required at that time.

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  14. Well okay, one fewer movie I need to watch.

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    1. If you haven't seen it by now, then you can probably live without it. I'm sorry that I watched it.

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  15. I used to like Mel Gibson once upon a time. Seems like a lifetime ago :)

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  16. Well, I told you I was working backwards! I'm thinking now that I won't get the movie through Amazon! I have zero respect for Gibson. He's supposed to be a Christian, but it is not anything I associate with Christ.

    The bit about lowering injured men over a cliff reminded me of my favorite WW2 true story. It's not well-known, but it is a spectacular story about raising injured men up over a cliff after an American naval disaster in Newfoundland in 1942. The historical account of the naval disaster was written by Cassie Brown and called "Standing into Danger." Yes, that is the name of my blog, but the reason I chose it has nothing to do with Brown's book. If you are interested in WW2 history and an amazing, heroic true story I highly recommend Brown's book.

    I first heard the story from the grandson of one of the Newfies who saved so many drowning Americans. He and I were lying at the top of the cliff and peering over it. I'm scared of heights, so I couldn't stand at the edge. When I finish my memoir, then I have a novel in the works that includes the story. I started my novel years before Brown's book came out, because I could not forget the haunting story. No one was under enemy fire, but the stormy North Atlantic can be more deadly than a barrage of bullets.

    Have a good one, my friend!

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    1. That'a great bit of information about Newfoundland. I hope I get a chance to read the book. Thanks so much for telling me about it.

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  17. I, too avoided this movie because of my extreme dislike of Mel Gibson and I am not terribly forgiving when it comes to bigots. BUT just like you, I came across it on HBO and got interested enough to watch.

    I didn't think it was a bad movie. I was inspired to order the book about the real man. As for the movie... there were parts that I questioned the accuracy from a historical perspective but that is true of any movie based on actual events.

    Overall, I thought it was worth watching because of the story behind the film. I love that someone had such moral conviction related to their beliefs that they would of taken such extreme measures to actually stick to them. I am not sure if I thought I would die that I wouldn't cave like house of cards. I can call myself a pacifist but if someone was shooting at me, I might pick up a gun and fire back.

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