A young man leaves Ireland with his landlord's daughter after some trouble with her father, and they dream of owning land at the big give-away in Oklahoma ca. 1893. When they get to the new... See full summary »
As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.
The final movie in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy follows the true story of a Vietnamese village girl who survives a life of suffering and hardship during and after the Vietnam war. As a ... See full summary »
Hiep Thi Le,
Tommy Lee Jones,
Haing S. Ngor
The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band The Doors and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971.
The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
In the movie, Ron is visiting a leader of the 1970 Syracuse University strike. As students listen to speakers (among them the late Abbie Hoffman) an army of Syracuse policemen, identifiable by their shoulder patches, mass on campus. Wearing full riot gear, they rap their shields with their nightsticks, and, unprovoked, attack the student assembly. One even cracks wheelchair-bound Ron over the head.
New York State Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffmann, a Democrat, was a Syracuse student in 1970 who participated in that strike. "It was totally unlike the characterization in the movie," she says, describing the peaceful week-long strike. "There was no police presence even within sight. At no time was there any show of force, or any attempt to disperse students listening to speakers. It troubles me to see police officers maligned for Hollywood sensationalism." See more »
I'm a Vietnam veteran, I'm here tonight to say, this war is wrong, this government lied to me, lied to my brothers, the people in this country tricked us into going thirteen thousand miles to fight a war against poor peasant people who have a proud history of resistance who have been struggling for their own independence for one thousand years, the Vietnamese people, I can't find the words to express how the leadership of this country sickens me, people say "if you don't love ...
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You've heard the express "can't see the forest for the trees", right? It refers to someone who gets so caught up in details, they miss the big picture. Reading other comments on IMDb regarding "Born on the Fourth of July", I think people have the opposite problem with this film. So many people seem to get caught up in talking about Vietnam, war, Nixon, America, Communism, and hippies, that they totally overlook Ron Kovic.
Ron Kovic is the center of this film. In "Platoon", war was the center, and the central character (Charlie Sheen's Chris Taylor) was merely a POV character through whose eyes we could see war. Not so in "Born on the Fourth of July". Vietnam is the setting, the context, and the backdrop. But Ron Kovic is the story.
Oliver Stone really understands a character arc. Look at Kovic's life, where it starts, where it ends. The film is the journey, how he got from A to B. It is a dramatization of a life, as opposed to an actual life, but it still rings true. It feels true. It reaches an artistic level of truth, even if some literal truths are overlooked, distorted, or rearranged. That's what Stone is trying to do. People who quibble about the facts miss the point. (This is a theme I will take up again when I review some of Stone's other films, as Stone is constantly being bashed for historical inaccuracies.) The connections from one point to the next work admirably, and the progression is completely believable, which is quite a feat for such a dramatic change of attitude (compare to "American History X", where the main character goes through a similar about face with scant motivation).
Anyway, what impresses me about this film is the honesty and respect with which Stone presents the opposing views of the film. Say what you want about Stone's political beliefs, but the argument in this film is presented in a very neutral light. It's a story about Kovic's choices, Kovic's politics, Kovic's judgments. And the anti-Vietnam beliefs he finally supports in the final act are a very natural and believable outcome of the story. This film isn't anywhere near as didactic as some people like to imagine.
The tragedy of Oliver Stone is that, because he has been so edgy, so controversial, so deliberately provocative, no one can really just sit down and, with a neutral eye, watch his films. They have become so burdened by this giant, irrelevant, political squabble. The films have been subsumed by the very issues they sought to raise. And it's a shame, with this film especially, because it is excellent.
Tom Cruise gives possibly the greatest performance of his career (I can't think of anything that tops it, though his performance in "Eyes Wide Shut", for very different reasons, is just as remarkable). The script is fantastic, taking time where it needs to take time, but not overly deliberate in its approach. It's very economical with time. It knows what each scene needs to say, and says it without any excess baggage, wasted space, or dead time. The direction is excellent, as is the editing and cinematography. The supporting cast is excellent.
But this movie would be nothing without the remarkable, heart-rending, true story of Ron Kovic. So, while we admire the technical achievement of the film, while we debate the points raised, while we enshrine or excoriate the director (as the case may be), let's not forget the story. Let's not get so fired up about Vietnam that we forget Ron Kovic. He is the heart and soul of this film.
One final note: I bristle when people call this an anti-war film. That really diminishes it, I think. It's so much more than that. It's not just saying that war is brutal, nasty, and horrific. It's saying something far more specific about a specific war, and about the effect of that war on a specific man.
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