HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN

February 23, 2005 // by admin

The Wall Street Journal’s John Lippman related the bad news last Friday:  Hollywood is preparing Iraq war movies.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love war flicks (although, since I returned from Iraq, I can no longer endure violent or overly-suspenseful movies)–preferably along the lines of John Wayne’s Sands of Iwo Jima, or, more recently, Mel Gibson’sWe Were Soldiers.  Still, the thought of the same industry that gave Michael Moore an academy award filming the liberation of Iraq causes my heart to sink faster than Halle Berry’s career after Catwoman.

And indeed, since this is Hollywood, we can probably figure out the plots of most of these movies beforehand.  Let’s see… White House officials will always be portrayed as obtuse or corrupt or both–while Our Hero will invariably be an outsider who Knows The Truth but can’t get anyone to pay attention until it is too late…but wait!  That is the plot of Richard Clark’sAgainst All Enemies, the screenplay for which is being written even as we speak…

Lippman notes that the best-selling Jarhead is in production (but wait, wasn’t that Gulf War I?), along with something calledSyriana, about how the “U.S. underestimated the terrorist threat before 9/11.” (Hmmm, will the terrorists be Islamic, or pony-tailed white guys with vague central European accents?)  George Clooney plays a CIA agent, and Matt Damon an–oh Lord–oil company executive.  Do I detect the tar-pit smell of aconspiracy theory?

And landing like a laser-guided smart bomb in the “Oh God, Please Spare Me” category is “The Tiger and the Snow.”  According to Lippman, this will star Roberto Benigni as–oh the humanity!–a “love-struck Italian poet stranded in Iraq at the beginning of the U.S. invasion.”  Perhaps I’m too hasty, and this will be okay.  If so, I will gladly eat my copy of Orlando Furioso.

There is one possible bright spot in the Hollywood gloom, or glitz, as the case may be:  “Fallujah.”  Based on a book by Reagan-era assistant secretary of defense Bing West, the story focuses on the Marines’ involvement in the city from its liberation in April, 2003 to its re-liberation in December, 2004.  Harrison Ford is contemplating the project.  No production date has been set.  And that’s okay:  if they wait long enough, maybe the movie will have a happy ending

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