Archives for posts with tag: Taylor Kitsch

In 2005, a four man team of Navy SEALs are sent on a mission in Afghanistan to find and capture or kill high-ranking members of the Taliban. Problems with their communications equipment and encountering 3 Afghan, goat herders compromise the SEALs’ mission, producing a brutal fight that lasts for days.  This is “Lone Survivor,” based on the book by Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of the four man SEAL team.

The opening of the movie shows real footage of Navy soldiers going through the hell of SEAL training.  It’s a great way to show the audience how tough these soldiers are early in the movie, which ties in well with how hard the team fought when the mission went sour.  It also shows the strong bond these men form early in their training.  When you’ve been through the same crap together in training, and then in combat, you become brothers, risking your life and willing to die so that your brother may live.  There are many instances of that in the second and third acts of “Lone Survivor.”

One example of the SEAL team’s brotherhood and sacrifice is my most memorable, movie moment of “Lone Survivor.”  That would be the scene when Taylor Kitsch (playing team leader Mike Murphy, who was soon to be married at the time) tells Mark Wahlberg (playing Marcus Luttrell) that Kitsch will climb to a higher and open area to make a call for help using a satellite phone while they are under heavy, enemy fire.  Wahlberg, knowing that the chances of Kitsch getting killed by doing this is very high, disagrees with the decision; but Kitsch has already made up his mind, and begins to give the few magazines of ammo he has left to Wahlberg.  Wahlberg says, “Sorry Mike.”  Kitsch replies, “For what?”  Wow.  Just think about that reply for a minute.

Coming in second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when the SEAL team discuss what to do with their 3 goat herder prisoners (a boy, a teenager with hatred in his eyes, and an old man).  Various options were mentioned: let the prisoners go and they’ll probably go back to the Taliban village and rat out the SEALs; tie up the prisoners and the SEALs scrub the mission and go to the extraction point, but the prisoners could freeze to death or get eaten by a wild animal, therefore making the SEALs responsible for civilian deaths; or kill the prisoners and keep going with the mission, but that would violate the rules of engagement, and make the SEALs murderers.  It’s a hell of a discussion, and many of you will probably wonder what decision you would have made.  What the SEALs do decide regarding their prisoners is something they will pay a heavy price for.

Third place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Lone Survivor” is the speech given by a new SEAL member during his hazing ritual.  It is an affirmation of living life to the fullest, going for it balls out, and wanting more.  I admire people like that.  I wish I could say that speech and actually mean it; but I live a hum-drum life and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

As far as action movies go, “Lone Survivor” delivers what you would expect of it.  But it’s more than a movie, it is a testament to the courage, toughness, sacrifice, and bond of these special men of the Navy’s Sea, Air, and Land forces.

–M

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I have to be careful of my assessment of the Oliver Stone movie, “Savages,” because I watched it while hanging out with 4 of my best friends; and it was the first movie we watched that day, and we were all pretty chatty at that point.   And we all know what happens when there’s a lot of cross talk during a movie: some of the subtleties and nuances of the movie are missed, as well as some of the dialogue that can be critical in the true understanding of the movie.  With that said, here we go.

“Savages” has Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing pot growers/dealers in California who have the same lover played by Blake Lively.  The business and pot of Kitsch/Johnson are so good that it attracts the attention of a Mexican drug cartel, headed by Salma Hayek.  Hayek wants them all to be partners, but the two Cali white dudes say no, so the cartel kidnaps Lively to force the white dudes into making the deal.  Kitsch, being the balls out, Iraqi/Afghan war vet, eventually decides that a war with the Mexicans is inevitable since he believes there can be no happy ending to the mess they find themselves in.  So, Kitsch/Johnson and their crew of ex-military guys take the fight to the Mexicans; and that’s when things get really messy and brutal.

I decided to watch “Savages” based on the trailer and the Oliver Stone name.  First, the trailer makes you think that this is mostly an action flick. It’s not.  “Savages” is in the realm of drama/suspense/thriller, with a bit of action thrown here and there.  Second, this is not Oliver Stone’s best movie.  But it is an okay movie.  I like the way Stone shows us the private lives of the Mexican cartel members, so that we see what makes them tick, and not just see them as mindless thugs.   One cartel member is played by Benicio Del Toro; and all scenes with him are memorable, movie moments of “Savages,” as he looks like an evil, Mexican, Brad Pitt!  It is…very disturbing…and funny.  You know, like the way the Catholic church likes to talk about how we should strive to be good people, and yet the church has used its powers to shield child molesters within their ranks from prosecution.  Sure, sure, the Catholic church are making strides to come down hard on child raping priests; but only after the wrong doings of the church were revealed over a period of decades.

Speaking of wrong, Oliver Stone gives us a “what the hell?” moment at the endings of “Savages.”  Yes, endings.  We get two endings.  I won’t go into details in order not to spoil it for you; but the ending sequences takes the first prize for the most memorable, movie moment (or should I say moments?).    I will say that it ruined “Savages” for me.  Despite the trailer fooling me into thinking that this movie was going to be an all out war between two guys and a Mexican drug cartel, I was able to find the numerous merits of this movie regarding the acting, script, pacing, structure, direction…but those endings…

There is such a thing as being too stylish…and smoking too much s#*t.  If someone eased back on those two things, “Savages” may have been a very good movie, instead of just being okay.  At least I didn’t have to pay for seeing this movie (thanks, Library!).

M

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