It’s Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means…

May 29, 2005

Memorial Day has always held a special place in my heart for one simple reason. Not because I’m necessarily patriotic, but because I’m a blood thirsty bastard of an American and I love war movies. I’m a war movie junky, a war monger if you will. I live and breathe for stuff like When Trumpets Fade, Das Boot, Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, Hell Is For Heroes… I could easily go on and on.

The reason I love these movies is because any “realistic” portrayal of war will run the complete spectrum of feeling. They show humans at a basic level just trying to survive and satisfy their needs. Happiness for having lived through the battle, guilt for not having died with their comrades, absolute despair for losing their only friends, absolute terror, elation, depression, insanity, rage, lust, love…they’re all present and they are raw and in their basic forms. When humans are desperate you get a good look at what composes them.

Of course, not all movies aired on Memorial Day are classics, at least not because of their realism. You have the action-war flicks which are, if anything, a mockery of human emotion and feeling, but are still incredibly entertaining and satisfying in some guilty-pleasure sort of way. These are movies like the The Green Berets, Rambo II, The Patriot, Uncommon Valor, the MIA series. Memorial Day wouldn’t be Memorial Day without these campy movies, what seem to be a uniquely American invention — completely unbelievable events and story lines pawned off to the public as the real deal.

Somewhere out there I must have kindred spirits, because people like those at AMC and TCM grace us with 24 hours of war movies every Memorial Day, airing everything from Missing In Action 2: The Beginning, a lame Vietnam flick — to Where Eagles Dare, a semi-cheesy special ops movie featuring Clint Eastwood killing Nazis in the alps — to Bridge On the River Kwai, one of the best WWII prisoner movies out there. Where else would you get to see Chuck Norris clad in communist regalia torching NVA soldiers alive? Where else would you get to see Alec Guinness in one of the best performances of his career? Memorial Day TV, that’s where!

So, as a tribute to Memorial Day and to all of the channels which air the war movies from cheesy to outstanding, I’ve created the following animated gif:

memorialday.gif

 

Thank you

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