Wick's Memorial Day Movies (9) Alert-me-btn

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Created May 25, 2013 11:33PM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 06:28PM PST

9 movies that honor the men and women who wear the uniform of our country.

2 are on Netflix Instant, 3 on iTunes


  • Great
  • 63 Points
Title Released Trust Weighted Summary Viewable
1st Act of Valor
2012 Great 83 Points

Think of Act of Valor as real US Naval Special Warfare come to cineplexes, not as a normal war movie. Thus the valor is certain, the acting not so much.

Directed by a couple of former stuntmen and starring a bunch of active duty SEALs, it is earnest in the extreme and often wooden in its non-firefight scenes. So what, given how exciting and enlightening it is.

Before going on, let’s quibble with the title’s misleading first word: It should be Acts of Valor. Valor at home but mostly valor down-range, up to and including several acts worthy of the Medal of Honor.

Heroism is ra…

Full Review »
Added May 25, 2013 11:33PM PST • Updated May 25, 2013 11:33PM PST
2nd Where Eagles Dare
1968 Perfect 13 Points

Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood lead a group of Allied Soliders on a mission to infiltrate a Nazi Fortress in one of the greates war and greatest action films off all time. The last hour is solid action and puts basically anything recent to shame.

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Added May 25, 2013 11:36PM PST • Updated May 25, 2013 11:43PM PST
3rd Saving Private Ryan
1998 Really Great 37 Points

Do war movies get any better than this? Puts you right there, in all the graphic realism that comes with war. But not just any war movie, this story spins a great tale that follows Hanks and his crew looking for and saving Ryan (Pitt). If you like war movies, this is a must-see.

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Added May 25, 2013 11:37PM PST • Updated May 25, 2013 11:43PM PST
4th Zero Dark Thirty
2012 Really Great 83 Points

Zero Dark Thirty tells the truthy tale of the deadly hunt for Osama bin Laden, making it one of the most potent political movies of all time. The certain reverberations are hard to predict. Wikileaks? Wikiflick.

It starts with a dark screen, then a title card. September 11, 2001. Screen still dark, radio chatter fills the air, capturing the desperate last words between al-Qaeda’s doomed victims and feckless 911 operators.

It ends with a statement that any character, characterization, dialogue and – you know – most any “fact” can and may be bullshit. Any resemblance between a…

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Added May 26, 2013 03:02AM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 01:07PM PST
5th Restrepo
2010 Great 83 Points

Into the Valley of Death rode the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company, ultimately riding back out with their dignity, humanity and honor intact, a trial by firefight that this important documentary shows in vivid detail. Well, given the ferocity of the fighting, not all rode out. Killed early on was PFC Juan Restrepo. His brothers-in-arms named their forward operating post after him. Now the movie about their mission also bears his name, a worthy honor.

Boys enlist as soldiers for many reasons, though service to country is always in the mix. Restrepo reinforces that once in battle it is…

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Added May 26, 2013 12:06AM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 01:07PM PST
6th Patton
1970 Great 83 Points

Essential though Patton may be – as war movie, as American history, as biopic – it’s not the epochal statement the Academy thought they were canonizing with seven Oscars in 1971, including Best Picture. Back then Frances Ford Coppola’s script seemed subversive, undermining American militarism during the trauma of the Vietnam War. Today it seems like a rudimentary evocation of the Greatest Generation.

Thank God for the Greatest Generation. General George S. Patton was one of their foremost exemplars, even if his distinctive flamboyance marked him as something of an anomaly.

The bi…

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Added May 25, 2013 11:38PM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 01:07PM PST
7th The Hurt Locker
2008 Great 83 Points

Finally, a USA friendly Iraq War movie, the novelty of which shows how far Hollywood has drifted from objective reality and obvious movie subjects. Wonder of wonders, a show of fellow Americans resolutely and professionally pursuing their liberation mission offers a tremendous adrenaline rush, a flush of patriotic pride and more than a little empathetic emotional resonance. Thank goodness Hollywood finally stumbled upon this verity. The air musta cleared in L.A. Or something.

Don’t mistake this great Kathryn Bigelow movie for cinéma vérité however. In particular, Jeremy Renner’s Sgt…

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Added May 25, 2013 11:38PM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 01:07PM PST
8th The Pacific
2010 Great 17 Points

One thing is for sure: There’s nothing tougher than a WWII South Pacific Jarhead. Spielberg and Hanks do an admirable job creating the Pacific version of ‘Band of Brothers’. The South Pacific version is much grittier and gut-wrenchingly raw. As someone commented in the movie – those Army guys had it easy in Europe compared to the blood and guts mud stomping marine experience. It is easy to form a bond with the guys that this mini-series follows. Recreations of all the famous Marine battles, as well as R&R In Australia, and the eventual troubled experiences after the journey home. The …

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Added May 25, 2013 11:41PM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 01:07PM PST
9th Glory
1989 Very Good 83 Points

Old fashioned and reverential, Glory shines in its rendering of an important bit of Americana, its vivid recreation of several Civil War battles, and via Denzel Washington’s Oscar-winning performance. The important Americana consists of free black volunteers fighting in the Union army, ultimately going down to defeat in their final battle, but distinguishing themselves as tremendous soldiers. Thus they paved the way for almost 200,000 additional black Union soldiers, a surge that President Lincoln credited with helping turn the tide of the war. Glory indeed.

Nominated for five Oscar…

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Added May 25, 2013 11:42PM PST • Updated May 26, 2013 01:07PM PST


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