During my regularly scheduled Sunday visit to the local Wal-Mart, I was surprised to find the 1970 film Catch-22 in the discount bin and quickly threw it in my basket. Despite an all-star cast, it's far from a great movie. However, it is based on one of my favorite novels. Having read one-hit-wonder Joseph Heller's book three times now, I figured I could get a little enjoyment from the film rather than investing time into reading the book yet again.
I've long considered MASH to be one of my top three favorite films. Directed by Robert Altman and starring the likes of Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall and that guy who played Odo in Deep Space Nine, the movie has some of the greatest scenes and subtle humor of any film made.
[a gun goes off at the football game]
Hotlips O'Houlihan: Oh my God! They've shot him.
Colonel Blake: Hot Lips, you incredible nincompoop. It's the end of the quarter.
But after thinking about Catch-22 and MASH, it suddenly occurred to me that one of my favorite films and one of my favorite books are both "anti-war." So I started to think about some of the other war movies I've enjoyed over the years: The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Longest Day, Pork Chop Hill, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, The Big Red One, Three Kings, The Dirty Dozen, Saving Private Ryan, The Boys in Company C. And what I realized was that to some extent, all of these were anti-war films. In some way, no matter how subtle, and in spite of any sensationalism, glorification or heroism displayed, each of these films carried one simple message.
And in that sense, I'm "anti-war" as well.
But just because the idea of war is so unpleasant, don't think for a moment I think it unnecessary.
I'm not naive.
(I also picked up the 1979 Sean Connery flick Meteor. For the record, I am also anti-meteor)