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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

Alternate Jarhead review
Topic by: artifex
Posted: November 16, 2005 - 5:03 PM PST
Last Reply: November 21, 2005 - 5:27 AM PST

author topic: Alternate Jarhead review
artifex
post #1  on November 16, 2005 - 5:03 PM PST  
An interesting alternate review of Jarhead is here.
Cinenaut
post #2  on November 17, 2005 - 9:53 AM PST  
Good article! Have you seen the movie? It certainly didn't come across to me as a typical coming-of-age war movie and you also don't particularly want to run out and join the Marines after seeing it.

underdog
post #3  on November 17, 2005 - 12:12 PM PST  
> On November 17, 2005 - 9:53 AM PST Cinenaut wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Good article! Have you seen the movie? It certainly didn't come across to me as a typical coming-of-age war movie and you also don't particularly want to run out and join the Marines after seeing it.
>
>
> ---------------------------------


Interesting. Yeah, although the film does have some typical elements, overall it's anything but. It manages to be apolitical and yet disturbing, definitely not a good recruiting tool for all but the most dimwitted.

You could also check out a piece by yours truly about Jarhead, and two other films set in the tumultuous Middle East.
Eoliano
post #4  on November 17, 2005 - 1:04 PM PST  
> You could also check out a piece by yours truly about Jarhead, and two other films set in the tumultuous Middle East.

Thanks Craig! Will make a point of seeing Jarhead this weekend. Paradise Now will have to wait until it arrives at my local artouse, while Turtles Can Fly is in the old Q. Another mainstream film that takes place in the Middle East and might be interesting is Syriana. Here is an article about the film at Time.com.
underdog
post #5  on November 18, 2005 - 1:36 PM PST  
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to Syriana (without trying to get my hopes up too high...) Could be this year's Three Kings, except perhaps even more complex.


Eoliano
post #6  on November 18, 2005 - 1:47 PM PST  
> Yeah, I'm really looking forward to Syriana (without trying to get my hopes up too high...) Could be this year's Three Kings, except perhaps even more complex.

Heheh, good idea, nowadays it's better to lower your expectations in the hope that you might be happily surprised!
dpowers
post #7  on November 19, 2005 - 6:05 PM PST  
i think all movies about war encourage us to think of war as a narrative. since everything that takes place in a movie is bound to happen, as an event in a fixed story, everybody who dies in a movie is dying for a purpose, in service of the story. nobody dies by chance, nobody dies by mistake, etc.

because of this i don't think you can demonstrate killing in a film without encouraging people to think of death as something that people are free to do to each other, under the right circumstances.

there really isn't a right to live hanging around in opposition to a right to kill. both of these things are imaginary i think. the trouble is that we're a little too dumb to change instead of resorting to murder. it's too hard to walk away from what we know and "love."
pooja
post #8  on November 19, 2005 - 6:27 PM PST  
> On November 19, 2005 - 6:05 PM PST dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> i think all movies about war encourage us to think of war as a narrative. since everything that takes place in a movie is bound to happen, as an event in a fixed story, everybody who dies in a movie is dying for a purpose, in service of the story. nobody dies by chance, nobody dies by mistake, etc.

Well, isn't the same true for books about war or plays about murder or songs about suicide? Killing and dying happen anyway, even in the absence of narrative, but how would we know about that or appreciate living if we weren't able to tell stories about it? We could all sit around singing John Lennon's Imagine but that song wouldn't be so meaningful if we didn't know that reality exists in a way that is quite opposite.
dpowers
post #9  on November 19, 2005 - 7:24 PM PST  
>isn't the same true for books about war or plays about murder or songs about suicide?

i don' t know. i think books don't reach the same parts of the brain. even when i read something which is a first person account of an event, i don't feel as though i'm witnessing it myself, or that there is pressure to agree that the thing in front of me is real. books and plays both allow me to maintain a distance from the events that allows critical thinking.

songs i have other theories about, but i do think they reach very deep, maybe deeper than movies. it's possible that music in movies is what allows the storytelling to reach that part of us that is held apart from books and plays. this is really loose, sorry.

> Killing and dying happen anyway ... but how would we know about that or appreciate living if we weren't able to tell stories about it?

oh, you're afraid we'll forget about death and accidentally live forever and get bored until the sun burns out and it all goes kablooie.

> We could all sit around singing John Lennon's Imagine but that song wouldn't be so meaningful if we didn't know that reality exists in a way that is quite opposite.

i always thought of "imagine" as a reminder that those things were already imaginary.
dpowers
post #10  on November 19, 2005 - 7:29 PM PST  
well i guess there's something else there too, huh. is a movie more like war than real life? there's pressure on characters in movies to kill or be killed. no way to escape.

this is hard for me. i don't want to be writing that simulations of violence are in and of themselves harmful because i don't know that i believe that. what i seem to think is that when people die in movies, it may not encourage us to kill in our own lives, but maybe to view violence in other places as part of a story.
pooja
post #11  on November 19, 2005 - 9:27 PM PST  
> On November 19, 2005 - 7:29 PM PST dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> but maybe to view violence in other places as part of a story.

Is it bad to view reality as a "story?" Isn't that how we make sense of the world? How could we make moral judgments if we didn't have some kind of framework to measure events and acts against? That framework is the "story" isn't it? A fictional narrative is another person's representation of the framework he uses.
pooja
post #12  on November 19, 2005 - 10:06 PM PST  
I think your worry is that most people who see movies might lack the ability to evaluate fictional narrative properly. That argues for increased media literacy, not censorship.

Violence in film is like salt in my food. People like the salty flavor, and it's really easy to make food salty. I can become a salt expert... I could judge and evaluate and appreciate the salt in this kind of cooking one way, and in that kind of cooking another way.

By accepting the salty world, though, I've become less aware of how flavor works, maybe. But look at all the different kinds of salt I have, sea salt, rock salt, kosher salt, and look at all the different shakers! No worries, I know how recipes work, how to make things taste good... it's SALT.

If someone thinks that, sure there's enough salty food around to keep him happy for the rest of his life. But he's a poster boy for recipe literacy. Sure salty is important, but so are sour, bitter, sweet, etc.

The answer isn't to cut out salt consumption totally. You want to teach that person so he says, Eww.. too much salt! according to his own judgment. Then he can learn about the other flavors too.

Okay, the "salt analogy" worked for Gandhi so I thought I'd try out my own version.... It's easy enough to blame the salty, yummy foods for all the salt in one's diet. But that's because we're too lazy teach people about the other flavors.
artifex
post #13  on November 21, 2005 - 4:49 AM PST  
> On November 17, 2005 - 9:53 AM PST Cinenaut wrote:
> Good article! Have you seen the movie? It certainly didn't come across to me as a typical coming-of-age war movie and you also don't particularly want to run out and join the Marines after seeing it.

Not yet. It's queued. I just saw GC's article and thought it would spark discussion. :)

> On November 17, 2005 - 12:12 PM PST underdog wrote:
> You could also check out a piece by yours truly about Jarhead, and two other films set in the tumultuous Middle East.

Nice. As I've said before in other threads, I really wish Bahman Ghobadi's A Time For Drunken Horses had made it to DVD. (Looks like it's finally on VHS, at least.) And what makes it all more penetrating is the knowledge that these stories Ghobadi tells are pretty much just slightly removed from reality. When the movie is over, these kids will still really be amputees, still handling deadly fragments of technology in order to stay alive, still regularly slipping past armed guards to sneak back and forth across the border in below freezing weather just to keep food on the table, etc. You just know the story will end badly, only this time you've already heard the guns in the distance, moving inexorably closer.

> On November 19, 2005 - 10:06 PM PST pooja wrote:
> The answer isn't to cut out salt consumption totally. You want to teach that person so he says, Eww.. too much salt! according to his own judgment. Then he can learn about the other flavors too.

In some cuisines, bitterness is a flavor. And yet, most of us can spend our whole lives avoiding it, and not missing it at all. Too much bitterness of a different sort alters our souls, and makes us intolerable to others.
pooja
post #14  on November 21, 2005 - 5:27 AM PST  
> On November 21, 2005 - 4:49 AM PST artifex wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> In some cuisines, bitterness is a flavor. And yet, most of us can spend our whole lives avoiding it, and not missing it at all.

I like tea, coffee and dark chocolate too much to do without bitterness, artifex!
:-)

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