This is Eli

A blog about Eli. A blog about survival – and by that, I mean life!

Being married to a teacher has its perks.

A teacher has a caring heart, family-friendly hours and ample vacation time.  Now and again Mark takes the kids north to get in more quality cousin/grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle time than my scant vacation days allow. I’m left alone.

Point is I’m more free than freedom fries this July 4.

These breaks are strange and wonderful. I miss my people while basking in time, rarity of all rarities. I’m rolling around in time. Leaping through fields of time. Screamin’ freedom like Braveheart in the face of time.

And yet…I get pics of a smiling Mark as father of the year on a picturesque lake and question…every career choice I’ve ever made:

 RIGHT.

Too much time to think has lead me to concoct a plan for my solo holiday.

Here’s what I came up with for today, July 4:

I’m streaming.

There will be no BBQs,  no parties at the lake or bonfires down by the river. I shall eschew the ‘murican flag bikini, patriotic koozies, Daisy Dukes, bug spray, sparklers, parades, Capture the Flag, side dishes and piles of grilled meat.

Instead I’m streaming movies from a variety of American war eras.

Rules:

  1. Watch American war movies, starting in post 9/11 era and working backwards until I just can’t take it anymore.
  2. Each movie has to stream on Amazon, Netflix or HBO Go
  3. Wear pajamas
  4. Movies have to be new to me…or at least flicks I saw so long ago I can hardly remember the details.

Confession: I cheated and started last night, kicking off my marathon with Mexican lager and the Post 9/11 war era…

Post 9/11

Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden

sealteam6Outside of the fact we got that sonofabitch and Anson Mount’s face, Seal Team 6 amounts to a great story butchered.

Seal Team 6 is the story of the 2011 effort to track down and killed Osama bin Laden at a Pakistani compound.The documentary-yet-actually-not format feels contrived and I had a hard time caring about the characters. In fact, in the middle of the movie, bored by an the portrayal of a lady CIA agent,  I googled ‘How to become a CIA agent.’ I located an amusing Slate column on the topic called ‘Lies I told to become a spy.’ I decided that, no, I wouldn’t be willing to have sex with a U.S.A.-friendly emir if secret police knocked on the door during our clandestine meeting. So maybe spy isn’t the career choice for me. Oh…$%$^. I need to rewind because I stopped watching Seal Team 6 10 minutes ago…

Anson Mount is one of the Seals and also my actor crush.

I first got to know this actor on Hell on Wheels, the gritty story of Westward expansion told through the experiences of those building the Union Pacific railroad. The first three seasons were quite good. After that, the series lost me. I’m getting off topic. The Seals’ interpersonal relationships could have been interesting but were instead pounded out with the subtlety of a meat hammer. On account of my aforementioned affection for Anson Mount I’m going to blame the writers.

If you’re going to get to know this story through movie magic, the better version is relayed in Zero Dark Thirty, which I’ve seen before thus didn’t qualify for my movie marathon. Also, I’m not sure if or where it is streaming:

Here are a few other options for post 9/11 war tales:

Restrepo (2010)-Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington embed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley with the second platoon and capture the realities of modern-day warfare. This is worth your time and is streaming on Netflix on YouTube. 

Taking Chance (2009)- For those who want to play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon today, how about  Taking Chance? It’s about a military officer’s journey home with the body of a 19-year-old Marine killed in Iraq. I’ve not seen it, but I do love HBO films. It’s streaming on Amazon and HBO Go/Now.

Right- going to eat breakfast now and make plans to watch my next movie. I am taking suggestions.

Gulf War

Live from Baghdad (2002)

livefrombagdhad 10 a.m….coffee and the Gulf War

Michael Keaton as journalist is one of my favorite movie combos. Me n Mark watched  The Paper six years ago to kill time during the early stages of labor with Laila. Aaaand we rushed off to the hospital in our sweet burgundy Buick before the movie’s end. Living room on wheels, that car.

Back to the movie:

Helena Bonham Carter as a producer Ingrid Formanek? Wonderful. Adore the actress and this character and the character’s all-black-plus-bracelets uniform. She is a lady journo bad-ass operating in a boys club, without asking permission or making apologies. My kinda gal.

I also love anything the actress Lili Taylor does, even her small role here.

Live from Baghdad, a 2002 HBO film,  is streaming on YouTube! I *have* seen it before but it’s been at least a decade.

I love this movie. Instead of a review I’m going to post a few good lines.

Naji Al-Hadithi: You take liberties
CNN Producer Robert Wiener: "We're Americans. We're the liberty people."
Ingrid Formanek: Hey. Hey. Cigars. Embassy man loves cigars, remember? 
You give embassy man cigars, he give you big access.
 Robert Wiener: Hangover?
 Ingrid Formanek: Brutal.
  
Ingrid Formanek: Say this- "La tapar, ana Sahaffi".
 Robert Wiener: La tapar, ana Sahaffi.
 Ingrid Formanek: Pretty good.
 Robert Wiener: What does it mean?
 Ingrid Formanek: "Don't shoot, I'm a journalist".
Peter Arnett: I loved Vietnam. I cried when that goddamn war ended!

Now on to Vietnam…

‘Nam

We Were Soldiers (2002)

 6:30 p.m…sauvignon blanc and ramen noodles. no…really.

Update: 11:15 p.m. I finished this movie. Here’s my review: War is hell.

Hey, guess what’s depressing? Watching war movie after war movie by yourself on a holiday! As it turns out, war movies are best taken in small doses, not marathons. Even so, I have researched and bookmarked a few more streaming flicks for today’s streaming war genre theme. I’ll try to give *at least* one more a go today before I go Full Metal Jacket on everyone’s asses.

weweresoldiers

This brings me to Vietnam.

We Were Soldiers (2002) is next on my list. It’s streaming on Netflix at the moment, where it’s billed as a “Vietnam War epic that tells the story of the Battle of la Drang, which pitted 450 U.S. soldiers against thousands of well-armed Vietnamese troops.” It’s a Mel Gibson drama. Yeah, Mel lost me after those hate-filled anti-Semitic diatribes of a few years back. However, I’ve seen most of the other Vietnam-era movies streaming  in this genre. If Mel irks you too and yet you’re in the mood for a Vietnam-era war movie, you could always go with one of the movies listed below.

OR, like a normal person, you could go play some bean bags and drink beer and watch fireworks.

World War II

The Longest Day (1962)

If I can stand any more war movies after Vietnam today, which I’m going to doubt, I might give The Longest Day (1962) a try. It’s about the invasion of Normandy and it comes in at 178 minutes. I’d be hard pressed to find something more ‘murican than D-day and John Wayne.

johnwaynelongestday

Civil War

 youngmrlincoln Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

This flick is also on Netflix.  I lived in the Land of Lincoln for five years, so a Lincoln biopic is an obvious choice for a Civil War movie.

 

 

 

 

 

American Revolution

Turn

Why, yes I have been listening to too much Hamilton the musical.

Perhaps for this reason I’m looking forward to catching Turn on AMC, a 1778 period drama about a group of spies who helped defeat the British. Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix, and it looks like Season 3 is on AMC.

Thanks for reading, patriots, and for joining me in my Netflix/streaming addiction. Addicts don’t like partaking in the fun alone.

Happy 4th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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