Veterans Day was yesterday so I hope you paid your respects, to those who’ve fallen and those who still have fight in them. Since I’m lacking any semblance of originality, the movie of the day is going to be Saving Private Ryan. It’s a look back on the grim realities of war and all its horror and tribulations without the façade of heroism blinding the audience, but still retaining the sense of honor and brotherhood that permeates those brave enough to be in the military to this day.
A group of nine soldiers are tasked with the mission of traveling across the country of France after D-day to find a soldier whose three brothers died at Normandy, in order to relieve him and get him home. What follows is a systematic destruction of their spirit and their squad in the chaotic landscapes of battle through every kind of warzone in France, from the beaches of Normandy, to the open fields and farmland, to the debris laden streets of once beautiful towns and villages. The hardships they endure and the sacrifices they make are severe and painful, all the way to the core. It stars Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper, and Adam Goldberg. And of course it was directed by Steven Spielberg.
You could watch a John Wayne movie, and you could even watch The Hurt Locker, or Jarhead if you want to get into the gritty psychology of soldiers. But all of that, while important, isn’t the point of Veteran’s day. Yes, you should have an understanding of the psychological toll of being a soldier even if it’s from the movies you watch, but the point of Veteran’s day is to remember the comradery, brotherhood, and respect you should feel for those who decide to dedicate themselves to the protection of the country. Saving Private Ryan captures that perfectly, without turning into a propaganda piece about the honor and greatness of going to war, like a John Wayne movie, or going too far into the mind shattering struggle, like Jarhead and The Hurt Locker. Also, Saving Private Ryan is better than both of those movies. If you haven’t seen it, you should. And if you have, watch it again.