Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jarhead -- An Unorthodox Review

Dear Jake Gyllenhaal,

If I may be so bold, would you be interested in spending time with an older (way) woman who’s married with four kids? It doesn’t have to be anything long-term, or even a date date type thing, just one night where the both of us could relax, kick back with a few brews and some pork chops, perhaps a dollop of my homemade stuffing on the side and some of that delicious mashed potato salad I’m so famous for, and then, maybe, if you’re so inclined, you might consider taking your pants off and swinging on a pole for me. Only if you really want to, of course.

This has nothing to do with sex, per se, rather an innocent albeit totally inappropriate attraction I feel towards your glorious, glorious man ‘tocks. As much as I admire your mind, your phenomenal acting skills and dreamy blue eyes that exude lifetimes of wisdom, it is your backside that interests me most. I would very much like to have a deep and meaningful conversation with it, tell it a joke or two, regale it with stories of my wild days of yore, tell it my hopes and dreams, discuss philosophy, debate political issues. I could definitely teach your ass a thing or two.

I’m fully aware that it is completely wrong for one human being to objectify another, to look upon another as nothing more than eye candy, a plaything, a soul-less mass of flesh with no merit other than its physical beauty, but you see, while watching your latest theatrical efforts in Jarhead last night, my mind got to wandering, began mulling over such things as pork chops and potato salad, life, death. Uh. And your butt.

My mind wandered quite a bit during Jarhead, unfortunately. Despite the amazing accomplishments of all involved, your brilliant portrayal of a young, confused, angry marine, Jamie Foxx’s devastatingly good depiction of Staff Sgt. Sykes, to name only two out of the many laudable performances, there was, in my opinion, little else besides the beautiful cinematography, awesome soundtrack and terrific acting to hold the attention of most average movie goers. I totally got the theme of Jarhead, that Desert Shield/Storm was just as brutal an experience for those marines as, say, getting sprayed with toxic chemicals while trudging through Vietnam’s jungles on rotted feet, that those boys were prepared to do what marines do best, yet were not allowed to “go get some” because the U.S. now destroys its enemies using fast machines and big bombs, all aided by technology, not bare hands and killer instinct. Our wars now just ain’t half as fun, in fact, those boys were damn bored out there in the searing desert sun, waiting, waiting, waiting for their shining moment. And waiting some more. And some more... Jarhead involved a lot of waiting.

And the audience waited right along with them, hence my wandering mind.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make light of the awesome sacrifices our men and women of the armed forces make while defending our country -- I’ve nothing but admiration and respect for each and every one of them. Those who are fighting and dying right now, this very second, are heroes, plain and simple, regardless of what an idiot I feel their commander-in-chief is. And I can’t begin to imagine the horror the men and women of Desert Storm witnessed, the burned bodies, the undeniable terror, the physical demands, the deprivation, but let’s not forget the fact that compared to other wars, this was an “easy” one. Most of the enemy population laid down their weapons and fell to the sand in surrender -- oftentimes, our troops didn’t even have go looking for them, as hordes of Iraqis would seek out our troops with full intention of surrender. Take me away, thank you. Is that a Hershey bar you’re eating? Dear Allah, is that a bottle of water? Take meeeeeeee! Thank you. That war lasted a total of 43 days, and as your character glumly states, his contribution spanned exactly four days, four hours and one minute. And he didn’t get to kill a dang thing, darnitall.

Jarhead is not a film about dealing with the enemy, but a film that attempts to explore the enemy within -- the men depicted are fighting against their own inner demons, the demons of boredom, fear, the helplessness of knowing they are powerless against the blows coming from the civilian world, like infidelity (which appeared to be quite rampant during Desert Storm -- lots and lots of cheating wives and girlfriends, so much so, the men erect a “board of shame” featuring pictures of the nasty ho’s.) or missing the moment of their son’s birth. There is much dysfunction amidst the troops, as evidenced by your character, Jake, and that in and of itself should make for a riveting film. I love character studies, find the human mind, especially a damaged one, much more exciting than guns and bombs and car chases. However, this film fails to inspire my need to care about the characters. That’s right -- I didn’t care about your character, Jake. Or your best bud and gung ho spotter, Troy (wonderfully played by Peter Sarsgaard), or any of the others, for that matter. I felt nothing when tragedy fell, nothing when I should’ve felt even a little something, and you know why, Jake? Because the screenwriter forgot to include backstory. There are small bits that hint at some very intriguing lives, but they are just teases, no substantial meat. The writers forgot to create three dimensional beings who beg for attention not by naked asses and a few funny epithets, but by their stories. No matter how superb a character is portrayed, if there isn’t a story behind that character, a look into his soul, his experiences, then it is merely a sketch, pretty pictures to oooh and ahh over, but nothing to think about, nothing to make me care. It’s all just eye candy. Kind of like your beautiful derriere. Which, as you must have surmised by now, I enjoyed very much.

So, are we on, then? Pork chops, beer, a pole? Eight o’clock this Saturday would be perfect.


Ms. Lori


At 10:36 AM, Blogger G-Man said...

I, too, watched it last night. I kept waiting for something to happen, which may well have been one of the director's goals, but not only did nothing really happen, we didn't get even get beyond the surface of characters whose behaviour begged a more than superficial glance.
But more importantly, I felt devalued during the shower scene.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger keef said...

I saw it last night, as well. I actually really liked it. I felt like there was plenty of character development (through ACTING![/jon_lovitz]) and that there were scads of beautiful shots and whatnot. Plus, hey, ass.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Glad I'm not the only one who felt there was too little character development, G-Man. I'm not crazy! I'm really not blinded-by-ass crazy!

Keef, I did like the movie, just didn't think it was as brilliant as it could've been. Yes, absolutely gorgeous shots, superb acting, and, of course, ass. Wish I'd waited till it hit dvd, though. Perhaps I'll watch it again when it does...and not just so I can pause the ass, either.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh Ms. Lori, isn't Jake gay? I think so. Still, I do think he wouldn't mind hanging out with you.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Is he really? Aw, that doesn't matter to me, Stephanie -- it's not like I'm allowed to do more than look, anyway...

STEPHANIE! (I just looked at your profile) So good to hear from you! I'ma go hop on over to your blog now.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Jeni said...

Living in a family surrounded by Marines, my brother, my husband, my son, I can tell you that the main theme of the military is 'hurry up and wait.'
I want to see this movie but now I'm going to be very self concious of this guy's ass and trying to not be too obvious about it.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Mac said...

Sing it loud, sister! I won't be seeing Jarhead, but I have seen the footage of Mr. Gyllenhaal's, er, Christmas merriment. Sure, I feel slightly Mrs. Robinson-esque about it, but he's of age.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger W. Olivia said...

Bummer about the's painful to watch when you can see the over all potential inherent and it falls short.

Next time, rent 'Crash' and see what true genius hath wrought...that movie wrung my 'tocks out, girlfriend.

And Jakey ain't gay..he dates some Hollywood starlet type on a regular 'ole basis...but even if he was gay, I hope you'd sell tickets if he did show up for pork chops and to swing on that pole? I love your pork chops! ;-)

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Jeni, the secret is to not let your husband see your lips tremble with lust. Hard, I admit, but if I can do it, so can you! ;-)

Mac, naw, see the movie -- it really is a fine film in many ways.

Olivia, yeah, my mom confirmed his non-gayness (my mom, Queen of Gaydar) -- said he was dating Kirsten Dunst (sp?) for a while, and is now with someone else? I dunno.

And hey, I thought I'd make your fave on Saturday -- homemade baked mac & cheese, salad, Texas toast. Rob digs the mac, too, so I think that'll be the menu. (((HUG)))

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Jake is always always always being lampooned in Hollywood gossip columns about his supposed not-really-in-the-closet-if-you're-in-the-knowness. The girlfriend is a supposed cover story. I've heard this over and over, usually by people who are irked at him at not being honest about it.

You'd think I'd find something better to do.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Jas... said...

Ms. Lori, could you also invite his sister Maggie and You and I could make it a double date?

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Aw, he might be gay, but a beautiful man is a beautiful man, and since I can no touchy, it's just as well.

In my next life I shall be a gay man.

And you know what, Stephanie? I freaking LOVE celeb gossip -- don't tell anyone, but my guilty pleasure is visiting Perez Hilton ( every day.

Jas, I love her, too. Sounds like a plan.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Actually, I don't think he's gay, so it's probably best that I come supervise your date. 8pm, you say?

At 5:14 PM, Blogger J. Stephen Reid said...

Speaking of Maggie, "Secretary" is one of my favorite movies to watch.

You know, at night.


At 5:47 PM, Blogger ms ralph said...

I haven't seen this movie yet, but I will have to since my hubs loves war related films. But now that I've read your entry I'm thinking I'd like to eat at your house, and could I please have the potato salad?

At 3:30 AM, Blogger Alexis said...

Can I hide and watch? I'll be quiet (and bring beer) x

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Yes, Katie, eight o'clock -- can't wait!

Joshie, I loved, loved, loved "Secretary." Funny, dark, and as you alluded to in your post, kinda sorta erotic.

Ms. Ralph and Alexis, please arrive early as the good seats will be taken but quick! And no need to hide, Alexis -- I want you right up front alongside me, and I want you to whoop and holler and generally make an ass out of yourself. I don't want to be the only one. ;.)

At 1:33 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

that was one tight ass.


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