Archives for posts with tag: war

Grade B+


Near the beginning of WWII, hundreds of thousands of British soldiers and their allies were trapped by the German forces on the beaches of Dunkirk.  The ships to rescue the allied forces were few and far between, and those few that were sent were under attack from German bombers and U-boats.  The British, desperate to save at least a small portion of their trapped soldiers, decide to commandeer small, civilian boats to assist in the rescue.  This is the story of “Dunkirk.”

Told from three timelines that eventually intersect, “Dunkirk” will confuse the typical moviegoer who doesn’t fully pay attention.   One timeline starts a week before the civilian rescue; one timeline starts about a day before the civilian rescue; and the third timeline starts about one hour before the civilian rescue.   This is a complicated way of telling the story, but it is effective and absolutely necessary to keep the tension high throughout the movie and to get the audience emotionally invested in the major characters from the beginning.

Timeline one: Tom Hardy plays a British, Spitfire fighter pilot who flies to Dunkirk to engage German bombers and fighters.

Timeline two: Mark Rylance plays a civilian who takes his small boat to Dunkirk to save the soldiers trapped on the beach.

Timeline three: a young, British soldier spends days trying to escape Dunkirk in any way he can.

When I started seeing things that were familiar — the same parts of the movie told from different angles and with either more or less detail — even I was trying to figure out what was going on, but quickly figured out what Director Christopher Nolan was doing, and became very impressed with his choice of storytelling.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Dunkirk” was the scene when Hardy was still flying his plane that ran out of gas, providing air cover for the soldiers below him.

This movie would have been given an A rating had it not been for the confusing ending.  **SPOILER ALERT** Why did Hardy fly so far away from the British soldiers to land his plane, leading to his capture by the Germans?  Why not glide to an open spot on the beach close to the British?  I understand there were still tens of thousands of allied soldiers on the beach and he didn’t want to hit any of them as he landed, but come on!  Are you telling me the soldiers on the beach wouldn’t have gotten out of the way?  I am guessing Nolan wanted a dramatic ending — and it was dramatic — but that drama was ruined because it made no sense to me.  What better way to up the morale of the British and French troops by safely landing on the beach after downing several fighters and bombers despite being low on fuel and actually running out of fuel?  This man’s a hero!  Still killing the enemy with a fighter plane that ran out of fuel!  Still protecting his fellow soldiers as he glides over the beaches and shores!  And then he…keeps gliding far away from the allied troops and lands where the Germans are.   Huh? What?  Are you kidding?  Sorry, Nolan, you made a bad choice.

— M

Grade A


The life of one man intersects through several pivotal and troubling moments of American history.  Welcome to the very interesting life of “Forrest Gump.”

Playing the extremely likeable, title character is Tom Hanks.  Born slightly “slow” with a crooked back, he will face many challenges as a boy and as an adult.  Despite the mental and physical handicaps, Hanks is blessed with great strength and speed; and a warm and generous heart that will always lead him to where he needs to be.  His God given talents and the love of his life (played by Robin Wright) will see him through school bullies, the Civil Rights march, college, the Vietnam War and the protest against it, the loss of loved ones, and a floundering business venture.  This simple yet extraordinary man will seek his destiny as he goes through life, not knowing that he already fulfills it time and again since he was a child.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Forrest Gump” is the part when Hanks uses his speed and strength to rescue wounded members of his platoon during an ambush in Vietnam.

“Forrest Gump” deserves its place as one of the movies that should be watched before you kick the bucket.  It is funny, sad, uplifting, and very entertaining.

— M

Grade B+


Gal Gadot plays the title role in this retelling of the super hero’s origins and first encounters with humans.  Raised to be a super warrior on an island of Amazons, fearless Gadot trains with the expectation of one day fighting the god Ares, who is thought by the Amazons to come back one day and kill all the humans and Amazons on the planet.  When a soldier (played by Chris Pine) crashes his plane near the Amazons’ island, his story of a great and terrible war happening all over Earth is interpreted by Gadot that this is the doing of Ares.  Gadot follows Pine into the world of humans where her kind heart will be overwhelmed with the duality of humans (their savage and loving nature).

At first, Pine helps Gadot blend in with the crowd, trying to ease her away from what he considers her insane mission of going to the front line to seek Ares and kill the god of war.  But no one can tame her spirit; and when the innocent are suffering, Gadot’s disguise comes off and Wonder Woman comes out in all her glory.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Wonder Woman” is the scene when Gadot is in the trenches with the soldiers.  Upon hearing of civilians trapped behind enemy lines, she shrugs off her coat and goes into No Man’s Land alone, fully dressed in her Wonder Woman armor.  Beautiful, exciting, and dramatic, she charges forward ready to kick some serious enemy ass.

Stripped down to its basic essence, this is a love story between two very likeable characters.  The awesome special effects and thrilling, action set pieces are just icing to a substantial cake.

— M

Grade B+


Manny’s Movie Musings: “Letters From Iwo Jima” is one half of a two movie set about the World War II battle on the island of Iwo Jima. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie focuses on the Japanese soldiers’ perspective; and is based on the letters the commanding officer of Iwo Jima wrote to his family.  “Letters…” shows the hopes, fears, and struggle of the island’s defenders in a way that humanizes them.  Strip away the combat and uniforms, and what you have are mostly young men who love their families and just want to go home and live ordinary lives.  Sounds like most people, right?  My most memorable, movie moment of “Letters From Iwo Jima” is the scene when an officer commands his men to commit suicide, and one by one, each grabs a grenade, pulls the safety pin out, and holds the small bomb close to their chest until it explodes.  This is the rare scene in this movie that shows a drastic difference between American and Japanese soldiers in WW II.

— M

Grade B-

If you set aside the fact that our military cannot be duped so easily as to believe that the enemy on the radio is a U.S. soldier, you may find this movie very entertaining.

“The Wall” is about a sniper team (Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the spotter, and John Cena as the shooter) who are sent in to investigate the killings of a pipeline crew and their security force by a possible sniper.  Having watched the area for almost one full day, Cena decides the enemy is long gone, and takes a walk toward the killzone.  Cena is soon shot in the stomach, Johnson tries a rescue and gets shot himself; and Johnson takes cover behind one crumbling wall.  With Cena a possible KIA and Johnson’s radio broken from being shot, Johnson is stuck where he is.  If he makes a run for it, the sniper will kill him.  If Johnson stays put, he’ll either bleed out from his wound or die of thirst.  Making matters worse is that the enemy sniper is on the same frequency as Johnson’s and Cena’s radio headsets, setting up a tense, psych warfare that will test Johnson’s will to keep fighting.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Wall” is the final scene that reveals what happened to the enemy sniper.

“The Wall” is a decent suspense/thriller that is undermined by the writer and director who chose to ignore realism in order to move forward with the story they wanted to tell.  But as I wrote earlier, if you choose to ease up on your critical thinking of the story, “The Wall” will be worthy of your time.

— M

Grade A

Manny’s Movie Musings: a tale of love, grief, loss, and redemption that spans three generations.  Set in Montana before the start of World War I, the lives of a father and his three sons (played by Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn, and Henry Thomas, respectively) are forever changed with the arrival of Thomas’ fiancée (played by Julia Ormond).  The secret passions and a tragic death will threaten to tear the family apart.  Love can heal many things, but will it be enough for this family?  “Legends Of The Fall” is a romance story on steroids.  Great acting, amazing scenery, beautiful cinematography, expert direction, a memorable score and a script filled with drama — in some instances melodrama — makes this movie a romance/drama fan’s dream.  My most memorable, movie moment is the prolonged, trench warfare scene, which gives us a glimpse of the brutal and gory nature of that war.  It was unexpected in my first viewing, but the scene was necessary to set up the spiritual/emotional journey of the main character, played by Pitt.

— M

Grade B +

1945, Germany.  The Americans are pushing hard toward Berlin.   Hitler has mobilized every German he could get his hands on (old men, women, children) to try to stop the American advance.  At the front lines is a Sherman tank crew headed by a tough Sergeant played by Brad Pitt.  Short one crewman who was killed in action, Pitt receives a completely green, teenaged soldier (played by Logan Lerman) who specializes in typing and never had one minute of training in a tank.

Knowing that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, Pitt forces Lerman to grow up much faster than the kid is able to.  With a huge push deeper into enemy territory coming up fast, Pitt’s crew must work together as one, cohesive unit if they are to have even a small chance of staying alive.

My most memorable, movie moment on “Fury” is the scene when Pitt’s platoon of tanks line up side by side and fire at a treeline ahead of them where German soldiers have taken a defensive position.  With all guns firing (main cannons, .50 Browning heavy machine-guns, .30 machine-guns) the Germans are slaughtered within seconds, with many bodies blown to pieces.

The outer shell of “Fury” is a vicious, gruesome tale of WW II combat.  Within this shell is the story of Pitt, a veteran warrior who is near his breaking point, and is further burdened with a boy he must teach to be a hardened soldier; and in doing so, risks further dehumanizing himself as well as the boy.

“Fury” is one of the best war movies made in the last 20 years; and had it not been for the slight — I’m being kind here — unbelievable nature of the final battle, “Fury” would have been destined to become a classic.

— M

Grade B +

 Based on the true story of Private Desmond Doss who single-handedly saved dozens of U.S. soldiers on Okinawa in a place nicknamed “Hacksaw Ridge”…all without using a weapon.

Andrew Garfield plays Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist who has made a vow not to kill nor handle a gun, yet volunteers to join the Army during WW II to serve his country in a way that doesn’t conflict with his religion, i.e. he will be a combat medic and save the lives of his fellow soldiers.  Basic training in the U.S. Army becomes a nightmare for Garfield because his Conscientious Objector status makes his unit think that he is a coward, and that Garfield will just stand by as his comrades get attacked by the enemy.  For his refusal to pick up a weapon during training, Garfield is ostracized, beaten, and court-martialed.   But with Garfield’s faith and inner strength, and the help of his fiancée and his father, Garfield’s C.O. status is upheld and allowed to finish his training.  The bloody battles in Okinawa await.

It is in combat that all soldiers are ultimately tested; and Garfield proves his worth in every way when the bullets fly, charging in when a soldier cries “medic!” despite the dangers all around.  As the men in his company fall from their wounds, Garfield is there to help save their lives; but with only a helmet for protection, how long can Garfield survive the enemy’s onslaught before he is killed?

My most memorable, movie moment of “Hacksaw Ridge” is the scene when Garfield’s Company reaches the Ridge and sees the landscape before them: torn bodies of soldiers everywhere, black sand, sharp rocks, trees splintered by the shelling, and smoke that hides the Japanese soldiers that are waiting for the Americans to walk into the killzone.

Taking second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Vince Vaughn (playing a Sergeant in Garfield’s squad/platoon) addresses the new recruits for the first time.  One recruit is completely naked, but Vaughn ignores him and instead hurls insults at other soldiers who are more presentable.  It’s a fine example of comedic writing.

Director Mel Gibson did an excellent job with “Hacksaw Ridge,” taking his time to tell the background story of Garfield’s character to show us why he believes in what he believes.   And once we are on board with what this humble, C.O. is all about, the second half of the movie throws him into the meat grinder, where the audience will see what the man is truly made of.

— M

Grade A

Director Ang Lee has a knack for packing a serious, emotional punch in even the most quiet moments of a movie; and he does that again with “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a mostly quiet movie that contemplates the craziness of war: started by the rich; fought by the poor and young; the physical and emotional damage it does to the soldiers and their families; the lies that are told to keep the war effort going; the lip service that most civilians give to the soldiers as life goes on as if there is no war happening, etc.

After his heroic actions during the second Iraqi war are captured on video for all of America to see, Joe Alwyn (who plays the title role) and his infantry squad are paraded throughout the U.S. to be used as living propaganda for America’s war against Iraq.  On the last day of their “vacation” in the U.S. before being shipped back to the war, Alwyn’s experiences in Iraq and his first days of coming home are told in flashbacks.  He clearly suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, and he finds a way out of going back into combat duty thanks to his loving and tenacious sister played by Kristen Stewart.  But he must make a tough decision whether to take care of himself and take the way out, or take care of his squadmates and go back into combat with them.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is the scene when a civilian starts making fun of soldiers during a football game.  One of Alwyn’s squadmates puts the loudmouth in a sleeper hold, silencing his big mouth in seconds.

Ang Lee does a great job with “BLLHW,” focusing on Alwyn and allowing the audience to see what this soldier has seen and what he is thinking.  I especially enjoyed the unpredictable nature of this movie, as it could have gone in so many clichéd routes in the third act under the guidance of untalented directors/producers/writers; but the filmmakers chose to take the road less travelled, and produced a relatively quiet ending that is still emotionally powerful.

— M

Grade A

Somewhere in Africa, a boy (played by Abraham Attah) and his family are caught between warring factions in their country.  Most of Attah’s family are killed, and the boy barely escapes, running into the jungle until he is lost and alone…but not for long.   Attah is found by a rebel faction led by a brutal and charismatic leader played by Idris Elba.   Instead of being killed, Attah is offered to join the rebels and fight the soldiers who killed his family.   Not having much of a choice, Attah joins the rebels who are mostly children.

With little training, Attah is thrown into the fight, first as an ammo bearer, then as a full-fledged fighter armed with an assault rifle.  He experiences combat on a regular basis which desensitizes him to the brutality of warfare; but somewhere deep in his heart, a bit of goodness remains…a goodness that may be extinguished when Attah discovers a terrible secret of Elba.  Like his fellow child soldiers, Attah will find himself trapped in constant battle as Elba goes rogue against his superiors.  Not part of the main rebel force, and not part of the nation’s army, Attah and his group are “Beasts Of No Nation.”

My most memorable, movie moment of “Beasts Of No Nation” is the scene when Attah is given a machete to make his first kill: a man on his knees, pleading for his life, telling his captors that he is not a soldier but an engineer who is going to build a bridge.

Taking second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when we see one of Elba’s soldiers, a fully naked man carrying a light machine-gun.   No, he wasn’t taking a shower; no, he wasn’t sleeping and got caught off guard in a surprise attack.  This dude went into combat naked with his weenie proudly swinging back and forth as he engaged the enemy!

“Beasts Of No Nation” is a terrifying look into some of the horrors that still go on in some African nations.   No solutions are given, just a glimpse of what is.

— M

Clint Eastwood directs another winner with “American Sniper,” based on the true story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.  Bradley Cooper plays Kyle, a natural-born soldier and hero who racked up the most confirmed kills of any American sniper.  Cooper fights a war on two fronts: the Middle East where he takes to combat like a fish to water, killing so many of the enemy and saving countless lives of American soldiers that he earned the nickname Legend; and the home front where, in between his four combat tours, most of his problems emerge (PTSD, keeping to himself and shutting out his wife, feelings of guilt because he’s not in the war killing the enemy and saving his fellow soldiers).  In his quest to do more than his part in the war against terror, he alienates his family, and risks losing them for good.  A hard choice has to be made, or it will be made for him.

And now for my choice of my top three memorable moments of “American Sniper”: third place goes to the scene when Cooper is holding his baby while having a fight with his wife, played by Sienna Miller.  The baby is clearly a doll.  This entire dramatic scene is ruined because of this plastic, rug rat.  Once you notice the doll, it’s all you can concentrate on.  Cooper even tries to give life to the doll by using his finger to move the doll’s arm!  Supposedly, both baby actors weren’t available.  Okay, I get that things don’t always go as planned in filmmaking…but why the hell did Eastwood use angles that would clearly show the baby was a doll!  This is clearly a master f*#k up from a master director.

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper and a few American soldiers were on a rooftop, and Cooper shoots an enemy sniper over a mile away and kills him.  Unfortunately, this gives away the position of the Americans to the terrorists below, who swarm the building and begin to surround the outnumbered Americans who were quickly running out of ammo.

Taking first place for my memorable, movie moments of “American Sniper” is the scene very early in the movie when we see Cooper providing cover for Marines who are doing a sweep of the enemy.  Through his scope, Cooper sees an Iraqi woman and a boy (maybe seven-years-old) come out into the street.  She hands the boy an explosive device, and the boy takes it and runs toward the Marines.  Cooper reluctantly kills the boy, then kills the woman when she picks up the explosive and runs toward the Marines.   This is probably the most powerful moment of this movie, inviting debate over many subjects.  However you feel about this war or any war, keep in mind that according to Chris Kyle, he never killed a child, nor would he ever.  He did kill that woman, but a child was not with her.  I understand children get killed in war all the time; but assigning the death of a child to Kyle for dramatic effect tarnishes Kyle’s heroism and legacy.

Some viewers would see Chris Kyle as a war monger, a racist who would call Iraqis savages.  Based on my research, the “savage” term was used against the terrorists, and not the civilians who were just trying to live out their lives as peacefully as possible.  Some people who watch this movie would think of Chris Kyle as a coward for killing people from a long distance.  To those people, I say do your research.  In real life, Kyle was out in the streets many times risking his life to help Marines who were pinned down and taking fire from the insurgents.

“American Sniper” is a great movie about a patriotic American who risked his life countless times to protect fellow soldiers, Iraqi and Afghan civilians from insurgents.  I know we all have our views on war and killing; and some disagree strongly with why Chris Kyle did what he did.  Forget all that…no one can deny this man’s numerous acts of valor.  For this, Chris Kyle deserves to be respected and remembered.

— M

Russia is in a state of Civil War.  A politician with extreme, anti-western views has taken control of some of the Russian armed forces, including attack submarines and nuclear missile silos.  Surrounded by the Russian military that is still loyal to the government, this rebel threatens to fire nukes at all his enemies — the U.S. being one of them — if the Russian government doesn’t back off.

Enter Gene Hackman, who plays a captain of a U.S. nuclear submarine; and Denzel Washington, who plays the X.O. (Executive Officer, or 2nd in command) of Hackman.  Together, they will lead their team of submariners to the front lines of this nuclear stand-off, ready to fire off their own nukes should the madman rebel decide to make good on his threats.

But civil war isn’t happening just in Russia, it’s also occurring in Hackman’s sub.  Washington is a newcomer to the boat, and right from the start he and Hackman are not in sync; and when orders come to launch the nukes inside the sub, Hackman and Washington have differing views on how to deal with the orders. ­ It escalates into submariners choosing sides and pointing guns at each other…while they are being chased by a Russian hunter/killer submarine.

I first saw this movie in the theaters and I was awed by the intensity of “Crimson Tide.”  After multiple viewings over 2 decades, that still holds true for me.  Director Tony Scott has done another great job helping to create a movie that grabs your attention from the beginning, moving fast from scene to scene and highlighted by a kick-ass soundtrack provided by the extremely talented Hans Zimmer.

One of my most memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Washington takes command of the ship, citing laws in the US Navy universe for his reasons for relieving Hackman of his command.  At the same time Washington is doing this, Hackman barks orders to his men to have Washington arrested for mutiny.  High drama in deep seas!

My most memorable, movie moment of “Crimson Tide” has to be the scene when Hackman — showing a bit of his prejudiced nature — tells Washington of the famous Lipizzaner horses, highly trained and obedient animals that can do amazing feats of acrobatics…and the horses are all white.  Washington, smiling, says he is aware of the Lipizzaner; and that when they are born, they are black.   Ha ha!  This exchange of dialogue is amazing.  Oh, Lipizzaner are not white, they are gray…something I found out while doing a bit of research.

And now, here are a few honorable mentions in this movie: 1) there is a young and relatively svelte James Gandolfini before he became a huge star of “The Sopranos” (it’s very strange to see him without all the extra heft); and 2) Ricky Schroder is present in his first, big budget, Hollywood movie as an adult (it’s good to see child actors grow up and continue to have success in the business, and not get caught up in all that b.s. that many child actors get into).

Movie fans should know there have been many movies about submarine warfare going back to the 1940s as far as I know.  But there are only a handful that stand out: these are movies that are high intensity and bring to the audience a sense of what it must be like for those men in the submarines as they seek and evade the enemy.  “Crimson Tide” is one of those movies.   It’s not the best, however.  That honor goes to “Das Boot.”

— M

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.


Gerard Butler plays the title role in “Machine Gun Preacher,” a true story of an outlaw biker who changed his life for the better, and finds himself on a crusade to help orphaned children of war-torn Sudan.

The stakes for the children and other innocent villagers in the Sudan are laid out clearly for us at the beginning when we see a village invaded by a small group from the militant organization called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  The LRA are bloodthirsty savages who murder, rape, pillage and cripple villagers whom they believe do not share in the LRA’s political beliefs, or simply because the LRA just wants to hurt and abuse people.  The opening sequence comes to its most graphic, sickening point when a little boy is forced to kill his mother.  This is my most memorable, movie moment of “Machine Gun Preacher.”  It is a brutal reminder of how evil people can be, and how many of us have it so good.  Complain about gas prices and the cost of bridge and tunnel tolls all you want…your problems most likely are insignificant compared to what these villagers in the Sudan go through.

This movie is also a reminder of how good people can be; and how the need and the actual work done to help people can turn into an obsession that threatens the life and spirit of the one who is doing the good deed.  Enter Butler, who we first see coming out of prison.  He is a fearsome ex-con with a red-hot temper and a taste for drugs and alcohol.  His life is one big, downward spiral, but a night of violence forces him to seek help, and he gets it in the church that his wife and child attend.

Years later, successful in every way, Butler hears a Missionary’s tale of people in Africa who desperately need help.  Butler, being the good Christian that he is, goes to Africa to do God’s work and help those who are crying for help.  He sees first hand the damage that the LRA have done, especially to the children.  Butler raises money from donations he gets from the church he built back in his home state of Pennsylvania — along with money from his savings and construction business — to build a church, a playground, and an orphanage for children in the Sudan.  The threats of attacks from the LRA are constant; and Butler turns from a preacher/missionary into an assault rifle-carrying preacher who will kill any two-legged animal who tries to harm his flock.  Amen.

It’s a bit hard to take, but “MGP” is worth watching.  Technically, it falls a bit flat when it comes to pacing, and that’s due to the constant trips Butler takes back and forth to and from Africa.  I know why it was done — the movie has to show us the strain on Butler’s relationship with his family in the U.S. — and it may have happened that way in real life; but real life is unstructured, and movies have a basic, three act structure.  Any “based on a true story” movie that follows too closely to the structure of what really happened usually fails at holding a pace that keeps the audience riveted to their seats.

“Machine Gun Preacher” is a movie that lowers and uplifts your spirits, in some cases at the same time.  Knowing that the violence inflicted on the Sudanese civilians as depicted in this movie is still happening gives “Machine Gun Preacher” a greater importance.  We are not just watching the past, we are also watching the present and the future.   A real downer, huh?  Ah, don’t worry.  If you’re like most people, soon after viewing this movie you’ll be back to being preoccupied with your daily worries and forget that every day tens of thousands of people all over the world are being brutalized.  I’m ashamed to say…I’m like most people.


The 2012 version of “Red Dawn” has North Korea using EMPs (electro-magnetic pulses) and cyber-warfare to weaken America’s defenses in order to drop their troops onto U.S. soil and finish the job using conventional warfare.  Chris Hemsworth, playing a U.S. Marine Corps vet on leave to spend time with his family, turns his brother and other High School kids into an irregular, fighting unit that puts a serious kink into the invading force’s operations in Hemsworth’s home town.  The name Hemsworth gives his unit?  Wolverines!  Cool, huh?  I think I would name my unit Ladybugs.  Imagine the morale problem my enemies would have if they got their butts kicked by a group called the Ladybugs!

For those of you young enough to not know that cell phones used to be the size of bricks, “Red Dawn” (2012) is a remake of a 1980s movie of the same name.  Which is better?  The original, but not by much.   I was surprised that I liked the remake as much as I did; but hey, I have to give credit to the 2012 version: it’s entertaining, moves at a fast clip, and it had one big, dramatic moment that got me really emotionally involved in the movie.

That dramatic moment is my most memorable, movie moment of “Red Dawn” (2012).  It is the scene when Hemsworth’s father has been captured by the North Koreans, and is being used to tell his children to come out of hiding and turn themselves in to the invading soldiers, who supposedly will give them fair treatment.  The father is handed a microphone, and he tells his children that he loves them; and that he wishes for them to do what he would do: to fight and kill the enemy.  The unexpected direction of the father’s speech is not taken well with the North Koreans, and the father suffers for it.

As I watched this movie, I wondered if I could do what the Wolverines did: live out in the forest, starving, freezing, no bathrooms, no hot showers, risking getting shot or blown up with a grenade…ummmm, no.   I like to be comfortable.  I freak out when I get a little chip on my sports car.   I like doing my business in a clean bathroom, with four walls and a roof, and plenty of toilet paper and clean, running water.   So…if the North Koreans want NYC, they can have it.  I always wanted to move out west, anyway.


“We Were Soldiers” is the true story of the first major battle between the Americans and the Vietnamese during the Vietnam war.  An Air Cavalry unit (helicopters are used to transport troops instead of horses) led by Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson) are sent to an area to find and engage the enemy.  The problem is that the Americans are severely outnumbered as they have landed at the base of a mountain fortress holding thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers.  What follows are several days of brutal fighting that is almost non-stop, giving the audience a taste of what combat is like.

One unexpected aspect of this movie is that we get to see the battle from the perspective of the Vietnamese soldiers — why they fight, their convictions, their pain and suffering.  But mostly we see the war the way Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson) and his soldiers of the Air Cavalry unit have seen it.  Adding more depth to this work are the scenes involving the housewives of the U.S. soldiers: their day to day activities that make their lives seem so normal; and the dread of not knowing when that letter from the government will come to let them know that their husbands have been killed in combat.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Gibson is praying to God, asking for protection for his men.  Gibson acknowledges that the Vietnamese will also pray to God, asking for victory; but Gibson asks God to ignore their heathen prayers and allow the Americans to blow the little bastards to hell.  Ha!  Now that sounds like my kind of prayer!

My most memorable, movie moment of “We Were Soldiers” is the sequence when Gibson, awake before dawn and dressed in his combat gear, kisses his sleeping children and wife, then walks out of the house.  One look on his face and you know that he’s thinking there’s a chance that may be the last time he’ll see his family.  He walks alone, in the dark, to the rally point where he and his men will board buses to take them to the airport.  He stands alone, face filled with troubling emotions, and he lowers his head.  Then he slowly looks up and smiles, seeing one soldier after another walk to the rally point.  From here on, this is his family, and they will have to take care of each other if they want to survive the nightmare that they are going to.

I’ve read a short interview of Lt. Colonel Moore where he was discounting Vietnam movies like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now” because those movies had elements of U.S. soldiers committing murder and rape, and doing drugs; and that Moore never saw such things during his time in Vietnam.   Fair enough.   But keep in mind that just because you haven’t seen something happen, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.  I’ve never seen anyone get murdered, but I do know it occurs.


If you like action movies that has elements of government conspiracies and corruption, I think you will like “Shooter” very much.  Mark Wahlberg plays a United States Marine Corps sniper who was betrayed by the US government during a mission in Ethiopia.  After getting payback at the ones who crossed him and his spotter, he retires from the USMC and lives a solitary life — except for his large dog — up in the mountains somewhere in the US.  The peace in his life is broken when a high level, government agency visits Wahlberg and asks for his help in foiling a possible, assassination attempt on the US President during an upcoming speech.   Wahlberg accepts the mission, an assassination attempt is made on the President, and Wahlberg is set up to take the fall for the shooting.   This leads us to fast paced scenes from the second to the third act where Wahlberg is not only trying to evade capture and death from cops and government spooks, he’s also trying to piece together who framed him and why.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “Shooter” is the scene early in the movie where Wahlberg, with the help of his spotter, snipes at moving targets hundreds of yards away in order to help with the extraction of US forces from the killing zone.  This is the most intense sequence of the movie.  The enemy has no idea of exactly where Wahlberg is, they only know the general direction.  So they shoot and lob mortar rounds at Wahlberg, who keeps shooting at the enemy despite all the bullets and explosives hitting all around him.

My most memorable, movie moment of this movie is the scene when the FBI agent who believes in some government conspiracy regarding the assassination attempt on the President has been captured by government spooks.  The spooks install a rig on the FBI agent’s right arm, shoulder, back and head in order to make him shoot himself in the head and make it look like a suicide.   Very wicked s@#t!  I wonder if such a rig does exist.

Antoine Fuqua has done a fine job directing “Shooter,” and I expect nothing less from this man, as he is fast becoming one of the best action/thriller/suspense directors in Hollywood.

“Shooter” gives the added benefit of showing us how complicated sniping is.  It’s not just about putting your target in your crosshairs and pulling the trigger.  The sniper and his spotter have to factor in things like: the weight, composition, and shape of the bullet; the powder that’s in the cartridge; wind velocity and direction; distance; humidity, etc.  I like guns so I love all this stuff.  What!   You’re shocked that I like guns, what with all the mass shootings going on?  Well, about 11,000 Americans die each year due to drunken driving, and I still enjoy cars and booze; just not both at the same time.  If we’re going to be afraid or hate anything that can kill us, then we should also hate knives, water, air, electricity, airplanes, etc.

And for those reading this and are getting very upset with me because I’m not showing the proper amount of “let’s ban guns” yada yada, let me ask you this: where is your outrage regarding the 11,000 Americans who are killed each year due to drunk driving?  Where is your outrage regarding the over 100,000 Americans who die each year due to hospital/medical errors?  Where is all the media coverage on those?   Where are all the tough talk from the politicians?  Where are the quickly enacted laws that will help to prevent all those deaths?   That’s what I thought.

Now sit your $5 ass down before I make change.



The American people were duped into invading Iraq with tales of Saddam Hussein having Weapons of Mass Destruction, and it was up to us to stop this madman from using the WMDs against the world.  And so, after hundreds of billions of dollars — if not trillions — spent, and many U.S. soldiers killed and maimed, and countless Iraqi civilians killed, no WMDs were found.  “The Green Zone” is a movie that deals with this subject.

Matt Damon plays a U.S. soldier leading a unit to hunt for WMDs.  Risking his life and those of his men, he goes from one spot to another that supposedly hides the WMDs.  He finds nothing on every occasion, and starts questioning the validity of the intelligence reports regarding the WMDs.  Eventually his curiosity leads him to the person who gave the U.S. government intel regarding the WMDs, as well as the dirty, backroom dealings among the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA.

“The Green Zone” is a highly entertaining, extremely intense, very suspenseful movie.  There are many combat sequences that are raw, gritty, and in your face.  It gives me an idea of the hardships our soldiers go through during urban combat: not knowing if, when and where the enemy will pop up to take a shot at you.  And it’s not just the fighting that’s stressful and scary, it’s also dealing with the crowds of people on the street as you drive to go to and from a mission.  This movie made me feel as if I was there, and it got my heart pumping and my mind wondering how I would’ve handled the situations our soldiers deal with on a regular basis.

The direction and pacing of “The Green Zone” is top of the line.  Even the scenes with just dialogue demands your attention.  And the scene that received the most of my attention is my most memorable, movie moment: when Damon’s Iraqi informant — after being abused many times by U.S. soldiers — asks Damon what more does the informant have to do in order to prove to the U.S. soldiers that he just wants to help.  The informant tells Damon that he doesn’t want money; he wants to do his part to bring about a better future for Iraq.  It makes sense.  Americans are just visitors.  This man has to live there.

“The Green Zone” is a reminder to us all that we should not blindly trust our government officials.  The greater someone’s power, the more that person should be distrusted.  Power corrupts.  You know the rest.


Very loosely based on the Battleship board/electronic games, “Battleship” surprisingly gives an entertaining and suspenseful story of U.S. Naval forces and a few civilians fighting an alien invasion.  The movie stars Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, and Liam Neeson; and is directed by Peter Berg.   There’s nothing deep or complex about “Battleship.”  It is your standard, action/adventure/sci-fi flick that has big, loud, action sequences, a few dramatic moments, and many b.s. parts.   “Battleship” is nowhere near as engaging as a Michael Bay movie — no, I’m not being sarcastic here, as I like Michael Bay movies — but it’s good enough.

The movie opens with silly humans sending an electronic hello to a planet that is believed to hold life, perhaps intelligent life.   Oh, there’s life all right; and the aliens are about as vicious and warlike as we are.  So, the aliens decide to send 5 ships to scout out the planet that gave them an invite; but one of the alien spacecraft hits an Earth satellite and crashes. It turns out the crashed spaceship was the communications ship.  Huh?  The aliens weren’t intelligent enough to avoid a satellite?  And they didn’t have some kind of force field to protect their ships?  They used a super duper force field when they landed; but they didn’t have it for their precious ships?  B.s.

Kitsch starts off as a loser living with his brother, Skarsgard, who an officer in the Navy.  Kitsch is intelligent but has no ambitions and no self control.  He’s a stoner dude.  Skarsgard forces him to join the Navy.  Fast forward a few years later and Kitsch is a Lieutenant in the U.S.N.  But he’s still reckless and has no self control.   How the hell did he become an officer?  B.s.

When the U.S.N. ships that are trapped within the alien force field first come into contact with the alien ships, instead of sending low-level grunts to investigate, they pull a “Star Trek” and send higher ranking soldiers who should be manning other posts to do the dirty work.  B.s.  Yeah, I know, they want to give Kitsch and Rihanna more face time — still, b.s.

So you’d think all these b.s. moments (there are more than what I wrote about) would ruin the movie?  Nope.   There are plenty of good moments that salvage “Battleship” and turn it into a good flick, relative to the movies in its class.   Case in point: the sequence when Kitsch maneuvers his Destroyer so that he takes advantage of the sun at his back in order to blind the oncoming alien attack ship.  It echoes those brilliant moves Capt. Kirk makes to turn a losing situation into a victorious one.  It’s also my most memorable, movie moment.

First runner up regarding the memorable movie moment of “Battleship” is the sequence when Kitsch and his crew are using buoys in order to “see” where the alien ships are.  Using an electronic grid in the weapons control room, they fire missiles toward where they think the alien ships will go next.  Some missiles miss, some hit.   Yup, similar to the board/electronic game!

A question to the eggheads out there who just can’t wait to make first contact with intelligent, extra-terrestrial life: do you go walking up to strangers and start conversations and invite them to come to your home?  No?  Why not?  Is it because those strangers could be looney tunes and they could chop your ass off to put in the freezer for a midnight snack?  Uh-huh.  But you’re okay with contacting alien life and inviting them here.  Aliens could be bigger whackos than us humans.  Put that in your pocket protector.


“Red Tails” is one of the best, mediocre movies you’ll ever see.   It is based on the struggles of the Tuskegee Airmen (black, fighter pilots during World War II) against racism, prejudice, and German fighter pilots.  The title is derived from the unit flying P-51 Mustangs that had their tail sections painted red to distinguish themselves from the other units.

A story so promising has been ruined by writing that comes off as a first draft, directing that is usually seen in movies from the Lifetime Network, the use of nearly every war movie cliche, and editing that seems to lack purpose.  I only watched it because my friend, Ed, told me the air combat scenes were good.  Well…yeah, but then you hear the pilot chatter and even those scenes are ruined, too.  Most of the dialogue is bad.  The pilots are whoopin’ and hollering and joking so much during the dogfighting that it destroys the suspense and drama in those aerial sequences.  This first viewing of “Red Tails” is most likely my last one, also.

Now that I’ve finished trash talking this movie, I’ll talk about some of its good points.  Terrence Howard is the sole, shining star of “Red Tails.”  He is given the best dialogue, and he delivers it with such intensity that it makes all the other actors — Gooding included — look like a bunch of stand-ins.  My second compliment of this movie leads me to my most memorable, movie moment.  There is a wide shot of two Tuskegee Airmen being followed by a German plane; the T.A. planes split, with one doing a wide loop to get behind the German plane in order to destroy it.  It is a beautiful shot that shows us some of the tactics pilots use in dogfighting.

If this was an MOW (Movie Of The Week) it would be a hit, because we have lower standards for them.  But “Red Tails” came out in the theaters, and we expect more for things we pay for.   Even though I watched this for free — thanks, Queens library! — I still feel cheated.  I should send the director, screenwriters, and producers a bill for the time I spent watching their movie.




To: Director Anthony Hemingway, Screenwriters John Ridley and Aaron McGruder

You owe me, Manny, a total of $20.83 (125 minutes of “Red Tails” x $10/hour) for the wasted time I spent watching your mediocre movie.
Please remit the stated amount within 60 days, or I shall use the services of bill collectors.
Manny, of



God damn, I like this movie!   Most of my favorite, action stars of the 70s, 80s and 90s in one, big, loud, bloody movie!  What Stallone did for the first movie was a minor miracle; doing it again is just plain magic.  For those of you who make fun of Stallone and think he’s this big idiot, you’re wrong.  After seeing the making of documentary of “The Expendables” and “Rambo,” I highly respect this man as a director, producer, actor, artist, and human being.  He deserves all the success he has and will continue to get.

In “The Expendables 2,” we lose Mickey Rourke, but we get Jean-Claude Van Damme!   And yes, he still can’t act!  We get Chuck Norris.  And yes, he still has the charisma of a $4.99 plank of wood at Home Depot!  Who cares, they are both in the same movie with Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold, and Bruce Willis!  Anyone growing up in the 80s watching these masters of destruction knows the relevance and improbability of all these men being in the same movie.  And I should just end my review here, as what I wrote should be enough to take your butts to the theater to watch this man movie.

But for those of you lacking testosterone, for those of you who still drink Zima, for those of you who think a broken down, old Honda Civic with a huge rear wing and fart can exhaust is cool, maybe a bit more explanation is needed before you ask your parents for money so you can pay for the ticket to see “The Expendables 2.”  Okay.  In this movie, the Expendables are forced to retrieve information that’s in a safe that’s in a plane that was shot down in some third world, European country.  Van Damme, playing the lead bad guy, robs the information from the Expendables; but he makes the mistake of leaving the Expendables alive — well, most of them.  Of course, the Expendables want some payback; and they are joined by Willis and Arnold to beat the hell out of Van Damme so bad that he might just start speaking English well.

It pains me to say that the first movie is better.  I know it’s rare for a sequel to be better than its predecessor; but I was hoping this would be one of the rare exceptions, if only for the bragging rights and financial boon to the aging, action heroes.   It’s still a very good, extremely entertaining movie.  Just not as awesome as the first.  Why?   I think it was the final action sequence, which was huge.  It seemed to me a bit unfocused.  It was also devolving into cartoon violence when Willis, Arnold, and Norris were in the shots.  You just knew those guys weren’t going to be in danger at all, whereas in “The Expendables” you didn’t know who was going to make it out alive.  The editing and unarmed combat was also better in the first movie.  Better how?  They were faster.  But I understand that most of these men are in their 50s and 60s.   You can’t keep running forever.

My most memorable movie moment in “The Expendables 2” is the scene where Stallone tells Liam Hemsworth (the youngest Expendable) to take point up a hill.  Hemsworth, carrying a large caliber, sniper rifle weighing maybe 50 pounds, runs up the hill like it was nothing.  The older Expendables stop and watch Hemsworth, amazed and slightly envious of the young man’s speed and energy.

Old age comes to us all…if we’re lucky.




This movie affected me deeply.  “Grave of the Fireflies” is a Japanese animated movie that takes place during WWII.  The main characters are a teenaged boy and his little sister, who is about 4 years old.  The Japanese empire is nearing its end; American planes are bombing and strafing the country; and the two orphaned siblings fight to live every day.  Their two biggest enemies: hunger and the lack of compassion from most of the civilians they encounter.

There are no supernatural elements to this movie.   No vampires, werewolves, aliens, superhuman martial arts masters…just two little kids who only have each other during a time when the entire world was on fire.   And that is what adds to the realism of this movie.  You quickly forget that you’re watching an animated movie as you become more involved with the characters and you see the boy taking desperate measures to keep his sister safe and alive.

Setsuko, the little sister, is the most real element in “Grave of the Fireflies.”  I happen to have a 4-year-old niece living with me, and Setsuko’s actions and words are right on the money.  Watching Setsuko was like watching my niece, and that’s what made me connect to this movie more than I expected to.  To watch Setsuko go from having an abundance of energy that would usually end with fits of giggles and laughter to a quiet, sickly girl who could barely walk was upsetting.  And still she thought of her brother’s welfare, as he thought of hers as his main concern, risking his life over and over so that she can have the opportunity to heal.

Rather than choose memorable moments in this beautiful movie, I choose memorable feelings: love, loyalty, sacrifice, and loss.

The best movies go beyond entertainment, and help us to better ourselves.  I live in a house with three generations of my family.  I don’t have a wife and I don’t have kids — I never felt the need for them, preferring the simplicity of being single.   Life has a sense of humor — I know this for a fact — because as someone who doesn’t like children, I wound up living with 2 little cousins in my early adulthood; and now I live with 2 little nieces.  My interaction with them is minimal even though I know I should give more of my time to them to help ensure that they turn out to be the best adults they can be.  I’m greedy with my free time, I admit it.  But after watching this movie, my feelings changed a bit.  Their shrieks of laughter and loud playing are things I don’t find annoying anymore — instead I find them comforting as they are manifestations of energy and life that is filled with wondrous possibilities.  Their smiles from the simple joys of having a new toy or eating a sweet treat brings me back to when I was young, before cynicism and distrust crept into my life.  I guess I’ve learned to love these little rugrats.  Time to be a better uncle and spend a bit more quality time with them when I can.

Don’t get me wrong — I still don’t like children.   But I can make 2 exceptions.


U.S. Navy SEALs and other U.S. military units are sent to destroy the worst scums on the planet.  No, not politicians — they easily destroy themselves with whores and a hidden camera.  No, not your local, cable provider — they will ultimately be destroyed by the free content online.  No, not scientologists — with Travolta’s and Cruise’s antics, recruitment has taken a big hit.  I’m talking about SEALs destroying terrorists, drug lords, arms lords, torture lords; and doing it in a spectacularly loud way!  This is “Act of Valor.”

Here’s the overall story: SEALs are ordered to save a CIA agent who has been captured by drug/arms smugglers, then find out there’s a plot by terrorists to enter America wearing bomb vests that can go through metal detectors.   Of course, the SEALs have to suit up again and find and neutralize the threats.

A big selling point of this movie is that the SEALs are played by real, active SEALs.   It sounds good for about 5 seconds, and then you realize that they probably can’t act.  Well…considering what their job description is, the SEALs in this movie did a decent job.  I’ve been in front of a camera a few times, and it’s hard work.  So to see these non-professional actors give performances better than Van Damme or Seagal, I was impressed.   Be that as it may, had good actors been used to play the SEALs, a better movie would have resulted.   There’s only so much you can do with a person whose acting ability is severely limited, which means either the script is tailored for the actor with the lack of talent; or you put all the tough, dramatic scenes in, and watch your mediocre actors stumble through those scenes, effectively destroying them.  Either way, the movie suffers, and so do the audience.

“Act of Valor” walks a fine line between the two choices I mentioned above.  The script has its dramatic moments, yet doesn’t push the SEALs beyond what they are capable of regarding their acting.  But the purpose of this movie is to show how bad ass SEALs are when they do their job; and the sacrifices they and their families make.  “Act of Valor” does a very good job in accomplishing those missions.  So, let’s talk about certain parts of this movie.

The super duper terrorist bomb vest.  As I’ve mentioned before, this can go through a metal detector undetected as it has no metal parts.  Main terrorist dude says the wearer of this vest can stroll throughout the White House with no problem.  Hmmmm…what about the bomb sniffing dogs?  Or other equipment designed to detect explosives?  No mention of that.  Still, it’s a scary prospect.   Imagine one of these nut jobs in a crowded area like a sports stadium or shopping malls where most likely there are no explosives detecting machines or doggies present.   After a few of these vests explode in various places in America, people will panic and supposedly not leave their houses.   Our economy would collapse, the main terrorist dude says.   Eh.  I don’t think so.  Look at Israel.  They still go about their business despite all the attacks upon their country.   Also, I know that I would still go to malls to take advantage of the huge discounts stores will offer to entice people to go out shopping!   The simple fact is that all of us deal with multiple threats all the time, every day.  Drunk drivers, distracted drivers, bacteria in our food, rapists, burglars, murderers, child molesters, stalkers, parasites in our meat, take your pick.   But we still go to work.  We still hang out with our friends.   We still go to the movies, attend concerts…we just become more vigilant.

For those who enjoy first person shooting video games, this movie has some shots that feel like FPS video games.  It’s a gimmick, yes, but it does add a bit more enjoyment when seeing that gun in the middle of the screen fire into a bad guy, dropping him as the blood sprays out from the wounds.   It makes you feel like you just wasted a terrorist.  “Hoo ya, Master Chief!”

Before I talk about my memorable moments of this movie, I want to quickly say that the Tagalog to English translations (most of the terrorists were Filipino, and Filipinos mainly speak Tagalog) were sometimes wrong.  I should know — I’m Filipino.  Whoever did the translations for this movie should’ve been docked a day’s pay.

Okay, on to my memorable movie moments of “Act of Valor.”  First is when the sniper of the SEAL team kills a sentry who is by a river; and another SEAL is underwater holding his arms up so that when the body falls, the SEAL catches the dead sentry and no splash is heard.  This is killing combined with art.  Simply amazing.    Second is when a rocket from an RPG-7 (I believe that’s what the weapon was) hits a SEAL in the chest, but doesn’t explode due to the warhead being a dud.  That scene will make your heart skip a beat.

And now, the third and best memorable moment — wait, spoiler alert here!   One of the SEALs has a wife at home who is pregnant.   And he gets killed sacrificing himself to save his teammates.  At first, I couldn’t believe that the movie used this cliche.  But I think the filmmakers felt it was very important to show us that many soldiers have given all for their country and teammates; and the effect that it has on their families who have to go on without them.  That isn’t a cliche.  It’s fact.

I leave you with a quote from this movie: “Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about his religion. Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”


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