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Coming Home (1978)
Good film, but the Dern character has problems
26 December 2000
I agree with most of the comments about the overall quality of the film. It was definitely a teamwork political statement. The soundtrack is stunning,not only in the selection of songs from the period - by far the best film in this respect - but the subtle manner in which they are integrated into the film's soundtrack. The acting is good to excellent - Fonda, Voigt and Carradine in particular.

However, my one complaint is with the Dern character. In this I speak from some personal experience, as a vet with a tour of duty in Nam. This may be quibbling, but...perhaps his contract had a clause prohibiting cutting his hair, but the locks (for a Marine captain) are much too long. He would have received a direct order to get them cut . Also, the close relationship between Dern and the sergeant is out of character. Marine Corps Captains did not hang out with E5 enlisted men. This is even more blatant in the scene after Dern's return from Nam when he goes out drinking and brings home three enlisted Marines. A Marine Corps Captain would not be drinking in uniform with enlisted men on or near the base - let alone bringing them home. I won't go into the problems I have with Dern's apparent and largely unexplained repulsion at what his men did in the field. However, Dern aside, the film itself has a very authentic feel to it and there are unforgettable scenes such as those in the VA hospital and Voigt's final speech to high school students as Tim Buckley's haunting "One I Was" can be heard in the background. In many respects this film is the direct antithesis of Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket", which while visually authentic suffers from a lack of emotion.
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Route 66 (1960–1964)
I too hit the road
26 December 2000
I saw many of the 1960 and 1961 episodes while in the service. I was so taken by the show that in my mind (confusing reality and television), I decided to hit the road when I got discharged in 1962. I purchased a 1961 Vette and a buddy and I set off from Sacramento, California sometime in May 1963 a la Tod and Buzz to find adventure and romance at every stop. Unfortunately we only got as far as southern Utah when we totally ran out of money. I guess we forgot that Buzz and Tod took time out to work here and there. Anyway, it was fun while it lasted and my only lasting regret was having sold the Corvette. Back to the show: one fascinating aspect is in the scripts. Silliphant in particular was a great writer both serious and comedic - but what is amusing today is the amount of beat-era language, as well as existentialist philosophy. Sterling must have read his Sartre and Camus - or at least Tod did while at Yale. The show had at times a strangely schizophrenic nature: trite, even stupid story lines, but some very profound dialogue (at least for television). And the need for at least one fist fight in every episode gives the lie to any myth of a "kinder and gentler nation" before the counter culture invasion in the mid 60's.
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