Movies: Hurt Locker

This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t watch the Academy Awards as they aired and treat it like a national holiday. Part of the reason for that was A) I hadn’t seen many of the nominees and B) The ones I had seen were not spectacular.

Tonight I watched the Hurt Locker, because I thought, hey — Best Picture. It’s a must see. I have to admit, I’ve had the DVD from Netflix lying around the apartment for weeks. I watched the first half hour a few weeks ago and wasn’t hooked. So I kept it hoping I’d hear something that would amp up my interest. The Best Picture Oscar definitely did that. So I finished it tonight.

It was good. But in my opinion, it was not Best Picture material. It may have been an honest look at the Gulf War situation (who knows?), and that is valuable historically. But. In watching it, I didn’t feel much. This is saying a lot because I am one of the most emotionally sensitive people on the planet. If there was something big to get, I would have gotten it and probably cried.I felt numb.

Even during the most emotional parts of the movie, I felt numb. And perhaps that was part of the point. That these guys get so desensitized that they are numb. I kept wanting to feel the same type of thing I felt when watching Full Metal Jacket or even Good Morning Vietnam. But what I felt overwhelmingly was detachment. I think that’s unfortunate, because I want to understand this war on a level that is beyond the evening news. I want to know what they’re going through. I want to sympathize. But maybe they also feel detached and that was part of the point of the movie. I don’t really know.

I think one’s perspective rests on your political view. I personally think it’s a pointless war, waged on the notion of the U.S. needing oil and anchors in that region. I think we really were not all that concerned with the way Sadaam treated his people. It was a happy coincidence that us invading helped some of them. I would bet that the years long occupation has not been all that much better. And I would bet that we are fostering a hostility that will come back to bite us in the ass. And this is common sense type of thinking that doesn’t even require intelligence knowledge or any real super powers of deduction to figure out.

I’ll admit that I”m as much in the dark as everyone else as to the conditions over there. What people must go through. I think one of the big differences in this war is that we have not had a draft, and everyone who is there is there of their own accord. I know as well as most people that there are certain segments of the population who are more likely to enlist than others. And I think it’s unfortunate that some people are made to feel that’s their only way out of American society where they come in close to last.

I had a conversation once with a dear friend in Asheville who lived through Vietnam and also had a child in the military currently. I asked her why she thought people were so much more adamant about protesting that war than this one. She said she thought, simply, it all boiled down to the number of casualties. In Vietnam, so many people participated and so many died. It was hard to find someone on this continent who had not been affected by it. She said we simply hadn’t lost enough people in this war yet for the nation to be up in arms. That’s partly due to technology.

But at what point is it enough to matter? I personally know people who have fought and died. They thought they were helping to defend their nation. But does that really have anything to do with it? I pleaded with one friend not to enlist, holding on to him in the parking lot of the grocery store when he told me he was leaving. I said, “So many people are dying over there. Please don’t go.” He said, “I have to do something. I have to go.” I can’t fathom what makes people think it’s a winnable situation or that we can really accomplish anything.

At any rate, The Hurt Locker was not what I would have voted for for Best Picture. There were at least six movies I would have chosen over it.

At the very least, I thought they should have included a disclaimer that we are not at war in Iraq over 9-11. Unfortunately some of the best 9-11 movies about that day have falsely alluded to the notion that we invaded Iraq over the World Trade Center. Not true. They had nothing to do with it. It was all about the oil. It’s usually about a commodity. Nowadays people are too stupid to put two and two together unless someone else (Brian Williams, Glen Beck) does it for them. And they won’t.

I guess one of the overwhelming things about the movie was that watching it, you’d have no idea why we were there. And that’s pretty accurate.

Personally I would have voted for District 9. I thought it had way better things to say about society and how we react to those who are different from the norm. And how we think we’re on the right side until we aren’t.


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