‘An Unlikely Weapon’ was good at explaining aspects of the war from what I remember watching it.
I’ve only seen The Deer Hunter once and it was about ten years ago but it didn’t do much for me. Coming Home was ok but not nearly as impactful.
“Uh, not for all the Vietnamese that were killed……”
Well in that case I would point to docs like The Betrayal. (or Enemies of the People about the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge).
The point here is not to dismiss the country that was decimated by an unnecessary war or the lives that were lost (both Vietnamese and American) but to say that what differentiated Vietnam from past conflicts was how unpopular it was at home. That was a big difference from WWI and WWII and I think that element is really what helped to define Vietnam and that era. When you think of “Vietnam”, you think of a war that was a waste of time and really divided the country, not a war where we gotta beat the Vietnamese and win and persevere! You know what I mean?
I agree with Brad on The Deer Hunter. I won’t make excuses for Tom Cruise but he has given worthwhile performances on occasion (Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut) and in Born on the Fourth of July, while it’s not a great performance, him being in the film didn’t bother me the way he usually does.
Full Metal Jacket, and it’s not even close. Whereas FMJ was a suberbly crafted and visually striking masterpiece, I found Platoon to be somewhat dull and boring. Obviously I also thought Kubrick’s film did a much better job at portraying the horrors of war.
Hearts and Minds (doc) and pieces of the other films mentioned. The first half of Full Metal works better for me than the second.
Platoon, FMJ and Apocalypse Now are all fine, each with different views to present.
Fucking fan boys…
Full Metal Jacket is the shit. Platoon is a solid film, but nowhere near. As for the actual question, I think the answer would be Platoon, as Stone was trying to recreate Vietnam and the war, whereas Full Metal Jacket could be any war.
Pretty much all US Vietnam movies have been wildly inaccurate for long stretches in each film. At least the boot camp portion of Full Metal Jacket is worthwhile.
Back to the original question …
I prefer the opinions of those who were actually there. While I was not in the war, I was a 21-year-old college student in 1986, and I was doing stringer work for the Wall Street Journal to make some extra coin. Platoon, while an exceptionally good film from the outset, became a social phenomenon because it was widely viewed as the first film which got it correct. Veteran after veteran came forward, and many were actually provided a catharsis to a better place, a more-healed existence, because of the film. I witnessed this firsthand, and I can’t concede there’s even an argument.
Kubrick’s film … and Coppola’s, and Ashby’s, and DePalma’s, however brilliant as films they may be … are fantasias – Stone’s is as close to document as narrative can get. And, as the only filmmaker mentioned who is a veteran of that war, one hopes Stone was able to exorcise some of his own Southeast Asian demons.
I also think he did one hell of a follow-up – his own Coming Home, if you will – with Born on the Fourth of July.
I’ve felt closer to Stone’s Platoon, and he also goes on to explore more issues of the war in Born On the Fourth of July (the aftermath of coming home), and in Heaven & Earth (from the point of view of a Vietnamese girl subject to the abuses and tragedies of growing up during the war, as well as marrying an American soldier and coming overseas).
Only recently have I began to find greater appreciation for Full Metal Jacket, which when I first saw I also found the first half on Paris Island to be unique to most films on the subject of war but assumed the rest was rather generic, which is far from the truth but easy to understand regarding the string of films on the war that came out up to that point. Kubrick has his own ideas to express in that medium of the war and that war in particular. Another interesting note is that two of Stone’s favorite films are Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and Dr. Strangelove, so the comparison is not without merit on the basis of film influence.
Somebody should make a film called Platton. Shave George C. Scotts head and feed him hot dogs for a few months and you’d really have something. The horror…
Platoon seems to have better technical values but i prefer Full Metal’s cast, Sheen wasn’t very convincible in the role.
Anyway, Dafoe steals the show!
George C. Scott going Brando…whoa…the horror, indeed…
Full Metal Jacket is a pretty good experiment as a war film but Platoon convey’s the vietnam war better in my opinion even though I was never there. But I do believe that Oliver Stone was at vietnam…so that should probably count for something.
“Shave George C. Scotts head and feed him hot dogs for a few months and you’d really have something. The horror…”
Considering Scott’s been dead since 1999, yeah that would be pretty horrific.
“Considering Scott’s been dead since 1999, yeah that would be pretty horrific.”
Maybe Campbell Scott could play the role?