Top 50 War Movies #20-11

20) The Last of the Mohicans– (78/100)- This is a great movie, but the fact that it is a fiction that varies widely without good reason from the book from which it is derived drives it down the list some.  Still, the graphic examples of siege and Indian battles in pre-Revolutionary War America are superb.  This one uses the whole screen for the battles.  If you rent it, be sure to get it in letterbox, or you’ll have trouble making sense of the battle sequences.

19) Gallipoli– (79-100)- This is an excellent movie about the abortive British invasion of Turkey during WWI.  It is probably the best movie set in WWI, and though the importance of the battle can be called into question, it is an excellent depiction of the true waste of life that was characteristic of armies during the First World War.

18) God’s and Generals– (80/100)- This prequel to Gettysburg follows the battle career of Stonewall Jackson.  It is not nearly as great a film as Gettysburg, but has some of the best Civil War battle sequences that can be found in film.

17) El Cid– (81/100)- This is another epic made in the 1960s.  It stars Charlton Heston, and recounts the story of a Spaniard, Rodrigo Diaz (El Cid) who succeeded in driving the Moors out of Spain and changing the destiny of Europe.  There are some good battle scenes, and in the end, El Cid, who is dead by this time, is tied to his horse and leads his army to victory.

16) Battle of the Bulge– (81/100)- This fictionalized presentation of one of the most famous battles of WWII would have scored higher if it had stayed truer to history.  It has good acting and battle scenes, but the terrain often does not look like a heavy forest, and there is a distinct lack of snow.  Also, the lack of a mention of Patton in the movie is regrettable.  He should have gotten a little credit.  That being said, it is a very watchable war movie.

15) The Thin Red Line– (81/100)- This movie seems like a compilation of vignettes each of which is extremely well acted.  The battle scenes are also very good.  That being said, the editing and final composition of the movie is very much a hodgepodge.  Also, the artistic sequences are terrible.

14) Kingdom of Heaven (81/100)-  Kingdom of Heaven is a refreshing fictionalized account of the Crusades.  The battles and siege warfare found in this film are superb.  It is also refreshing to find a movie about the Crusades that it fair to all sides.  Neither Christianity nor Islam is the bad guy in this film.  There are both good and bad people on each side, and unfortunately, as in real life there are often more bad people than good.  This movie would have been better received if it had not been released at the height of anger toward the Iraq war.

13) Band of Brothers– (81-100)- HBO’s presentation of Stephen Ambrose’s books could have been done better.  It was clear that producers Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg were most concerned with conveying the every day lives (and deaths) of the soldiers of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne as they moved across Europe during WWII.  It seemed a little tedious at times, but it would be hard to compete with I terms of conveying the experience of WWII frontline soldiers.  Of course, most movies do not have 10 hours plus to play with.

12) The Big Red One– (87/100)- The plot of this movie follows Lee Marvin’s character, the Sergeant from the end of WWI through the end of WWII.  It centers on his platoon as they move from battle to battle.  It also shows many of the issues faced by front line soldiers during WWII.

11) Black Hawk Down– (87/100)- It is hard to find fault with this as a war movie, but it is not for the faint of heart.  It is easily the best war movie set in a time after Vietnam.  I was not thrilled with the score, and the actual event pales in comparison to battles such as Midway, but these are minor criticisms.  I recommend watching the documentary, The Real Story of Black Hawk Down to see how accurate the movie really is.

Top 50 War Movies Criteria

Top 50 War Movies 10-1

Top 50 War Movies 20-11

Top 50 War Movies 30-21

Top 50 War Movies 40-31

Top 50 War Movies 45-41

Lists

 

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Wheels-off Monday Night Football Game

Last night’s Monday Night Football game had some issues.  The problems began before the game even started with Kat Deluna’s atrocious rendition of the National Anthem.  This will go down in history as one of the worst in a long line of terrible renditions of this song.  It was a terrible version filled with growling and runs all over the place.  It was off-key and badly sung in general.  At least she was all into herself instead of the lyrics.  They could have found someone better at the American Idol tryouts.  Thanks to Dallas fans for appropriately booing her sorry ass.

Being on ESPN, we had to put up with the idiot, Tony Kornheiser.  Now that Bryant Gumble is gone, he is, bar none, the worst sports commentator on television.  Last night, as I was frantically and unsuccessfully trying to get “The Ticket” (the Cowboys’ flagship station) to tune in on my radio, I came to the horrible realization that I would rather listen to Brent Musberger.  I never thought I would say that, but sadly it is true.

It is apparent that whatever the ESPN commentators are talking about is much more important than anything else that must be going on, especially the game itself.  At one point Stuart Scott was making some general point about DeSean Jackson after a play where he obviously got hurt.  Since the injury did not do anything to bolster his argument, I guess Scott felt that the injury was not worth mentioning.  Also, it is evident that ESPN is not concerned with providing their audience with a replay even if there is a questionable component to a play.  Thank goodness the refs finally got one right when they reversed the claim that a ball had been tipped (by a phantom, I guess) late in the game.  It was obvious that the ESPN crew was not even watching the game at that point, and it took the refs to point out the play to them.  Thank goodness for Tivo/DVR.  With it, I am able to rewind and review pertinent events of the game on my own, and then fast forward past all of the “blah, blah, blah.  There has to be someone better than this crew out there.  Please find them.

This all being said, the viewers of the game were treated to one of the best Monday Night Football games in history.  What an enjoyable shootout it was.  I make no secret of the fact that I am from the Dallas area, and am a lifelong Dallas fan, and as a result, an Eagles (and Redskins) hater.  This made the game all the better for me.  The rest of the league is lucky that the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants have to play six games against each other this season.  Overall, it was a great game, but it was not perfect on either side of the ball or with the striped shirts.

On this point, I want to say first that I do not consider myself to be a bad fan, one that always complains and finds fault in a game.  There are those guys who would pick apart a victory if their team won 50-0.  I am not like that, but that does not mean that I am blinded by victory either.

One thing that I believe is very hard for players to overcome is a tendency to make bad in-game decisions.  There are those players who perform well, but in certain situations fall apart or make catastrophic mistake.  Usually, this is occurs under pressure.

Monday night’s game had more than its fair share of these moments.  Some times a play simply underscores the fact that a player is a knucklehead in general.  Cowboy fans can thank DeSean Jackson for replacing Leon Lett as the player who made the most boneheaded decision in league history.  Get ready Eagles fans, I’m sure you will have years to enjoy the antics of this idiot if he can survive the Philadelphia media.  There is a great quote from Bull Durham that applies well to this discussion.  Crash Davis says, “Come on, ‘rook, show us that million-dollar arm. ‘Cause I got; oh yeah, I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours.”

Jackson’s folly overshadowed two other brain-dead plays that had a much greater impact on the game.  Late in the game, Donovan McNabb did his best Lucy Van Pelt impersonation when he stuck the ball out for Brian Westbrook, drew is back, and then stuck it back out again just in time to cause a game-changing fumble.  There is really no good explanation for this play, but he was just matching a equally bad decision made by Romo earlier in the game.

In that instance, Romo went to pitch the ball back to Marion Barber III, and had it slip out of his hands in his own end zone. Romo, instead of kicking the ball out of the end zone for a safety, the appropriate play at the time, picked it up.  This allowed him the opportunity to perform a Romo-like play and simply throw the ball away, as he was outside of the pocket when he got to it.  Instead, however, he picked up the ball, and looked for a moment as if he thought he were Barry Sanders, and was going to run it out of the end zone from eight yards deep himself.  Unfortunately, when he looked up there were four Eagles there ready to fustigate him.  Again, instead of making the good decision, and taking the safety, he decided to try to throw the ball away too late, and handed the Eagles a touchdown.

Look, I like Romo, and think he is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the game of football today.  The problem is that I am beginning to worry about his ‘five cent head.’  Tony has shown a propensity for the bonehead play in his career so far, be it the faulty hold against Seattle, untimely interceptions or his highlight play when he scrambled all over the field for a first down (it was still a bad football decision, though it was very entertaining to watch.).  Many people have compared his ‘gunslinger’ mentality to Brett Favre (I hate these nauseous comparisons.).  We are told that ‘when you have a guy like this, you have to take the bad with the good.’  I don’t get this argument.  I just want the good.  I want a player’s great talent and ability to be bolstered by him smart in-game decisions.  That is what wins championships.  I’m starting to be afraid that when the chips are on the line, in a must-win game, that his ‘gunslinger’ mentality will result in Cowboy fans being shot through the heart.  I truly hope I am wrong.