Tag Archives: 2013

The Wars on the Big Screen: 7 years of Hollywood & GWOT

About two weeks ago my wife mentioned that there was a movie called “Lone Survivor” coming out. She mentioned it to me for two reasons: (1) I love Mark Wahlberg (he is the man), and (2) its a film inspired by a book that I’ve read and own which inspired the film. The film and book tell the story of a real Navy SEAL team mission into Afghanistan in the early phases of the war. So, once I knew the film was coming out soon, I went ahead an added the release date to my calendar, just to remind myself to go watch in case I miss the marketing campaign for it.

Thinking about this film got my mind on a thought tangent. In my head, I started thinking about all the films I had watched that were connected and related to the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I realized that the list was long enough to be worth writing down. I ended up diving into Wikipedia and Google tracking down names, release years, etc. I became fascinated by the fact that the extensive list I put together were all films that wouldn’t have existed had the Iraq and Afghanistan wars not happened, which in part are by-products (one could argue) of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

I decided to cut the list down to films released by major American studios with at least some sense of star casting. Why do this? Well, my hypothesis became that we can get a better sense of how much impact the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has had on the film industry by the willingness of major studios and actors to be invest, produce, and act in such film projects. My hypothesis may be flawed, but the truth is that the market for documentaries, B-movies, and foreign films is a much more selective market than what a major American studio is aiming when they invest into a blockbuster.

I decided to break down the list into four categories. Even though I may have missed a few films here and there, this is the list I ended up with given the margins above:

Beginnings: These are films that deal directly and primarily with the events of 9/11 and the immediate impact. They may extent up to the beginnings of the War in Afghanistan. The only two films I have accounted for are the following and both were released in 2006:

WorldTradeCenter (2006)

United 93 (2006)

The Frontlines: These films have plots that put them right in the center of the firefight. They are very military-focused and war-centered. These films show us the minds, souls, and actions of the frontline war fighters. Zero Dark Thirty almost didn’t make it in this category but the fact that OBL is the focus of the film and the depiction of the special operations raid made it “frontline” enough for me. I excluded Act of Valor because it didn’t fit any of my margins above:

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Lone Survivor (2014)

The Homefront: These are films impacted by the war and the deployment of troops. Some of them are comedies; some are love films. Some are psychological thrillers; some are political thrillers. And there are others which are none of the previously mentioned. I debated about including some of these but this is the final list I felt comfortable with:

Home of the Brave (2006)

Lions for Lambs (2007)

In the Valley of Elah (2007)

Grace is Gone (2007)

Stop-Loss (2008)

Brothers (2009)

The Messenger (2009)

Taking Chance (2009)

Dear John (2010)

Warrior (2011)

The Lucky One (2012)

The Extension: In many ways, these are the most vague of the films inspired by the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These films could have been made without the mentioned events taking place; however, the writers decided to make the Global War on Terror (GWOT) crucial parts of the plots. These films are inspired by the much wider theatre of operations that the GWOT includes. Zero Dark Thirty could have fallen under this category but I stated above why it didn’t:

The Kingdom (2007)

Body of Lies (2008)

Rendition (2007)

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

Green Zone (2010)

Fair Game (2010)

I found it interesting that no major blockbuster is released until 2006 when United 93 and World Trade Center come out in theatres. For those who have followed the wars in detail, you will connect 2006 with one of the toughest and worst years for the troops in Iraq and one of the toughest times back home for the Bush administration and the economy. However, it isn’t until 2008 that a blockbuster is released that dealt directly with combat operations, The Hurt Locker, which ended up winning the Oscar for Best Film over Avatar (thank God). Even though the B-movie market is full of movies about combat ops in Iraq/Stan, the major studios seemed to have refrained from such projects for the most part, possibly not knowing if such films would succeed or fail.

Finally, the Homefront and Extension films haven’t been shy about exploring the war on terror as a topic for inspiration. My conclusion is that these films, even though inspired by the wars, deal with themes and concepts that can exist and do outside the wars. The wars and the deployments are catalysts for the plots and settings that are used, but they aren’t the plots and setting themselves.

You can easily find dozens and dozens of films about World War II, great ones and bad ones. Looking at this list makes me wonder whether we will see a deeper and different exploration of the Global War on Terror as the years go and the major combat operations draw to an end in Afghanistan a year from now.  I welcome any of your thoughts and ideas regarding this post. Thank you for reading.

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The Hunt For Doeren’s QB; the Wolfpack in 2013

Jacoby Brissett leaves the Swamp; joins the Wolfpack.

Jacoby Brissett leaves the Swamp; joins the Wolfpack.

It is Friday, 2:04 AM, and I am typing out this post because it’s either now or never. As of 5PM, Thursday, January 18th, Pack Pride, an independent publication that tracks NC State Athletics, tweeted the following:

NC State has offered NIU quarterback commitment Mitch Kimble. He also recently added an offer from Syracuse.”

Now, for the most part, I am a believer in “more is better.” After all, how could it hurt to have an NIU commitment QB from potentially choosing North Carolina State. After all, Coach Doeren was NIU’s head coach, so reaching out to their recruits is an ambitious and potential option. Nevertheless, as the evening went along, the consequences of aggressive QB hunting became clearer and clearer.

NC State currently has two quarterbacks in its roster: the rising sophomore Manny Stocker and the junior Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas, who is eligible to play this upcoming season after a one-year off due to transferring.

Just this past week, another transfer began classes at NC State: former Florida Gators quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who is ineligible to play until the 2014 season due to transfer. And now, given the news from Pack Pride, NC State could be potentially adding to their collection the freshman talent of Mitch Kimble.

Pete Thomas, CSU transfer, will compete for the Pack's QB job.

Pete Thomas, CSU transfer, will compete for the Pack’s QB job.

What I foresee the next couple years at NC State is a lot of QB talent stuck in a really small window of time that a new head coach, with an obvious bias for dual-threat QBs, will have to micromanage into a successful offensive formula. Brissett, the former Gator, is out for a year, but he will be in the mix for the starting job as soon as the 2013 seasons ends.

This spring, the battle will be between Stocker, Thomas, and any potential freshman quarterback that Doeren manages to pull in this spring. Thomas has the most experience, but Doeren loves the dual-threat style that he was well-known for at NIU: will he go for Stocker? If he goes for Stocker now, will he end up going to 4-star Brissett once he is back in the game?

Look, I loved Tom O’Brien, even on some tough situations. I honestly didn’t expect him to be let go the day right after the win over Boston College. The last thing I want is to see Doeren (Coach D) off to a rough situation in Raleigh; however, even though Debbie Yow (NCSU AD) wants the aggressive recruiting that gets good talent into school, is the right path to overload State with QBs on an already daring season?

My prediction: Doeren will give the starting spot to Pete Thomas, but will give plenty of time to Stocker during the season to show off what he’s got. Come next spring, the job is Jacoby Brissett’s. But for the time being: Coach D, how many QBs do you need?

Peace. Go Pack.

Stocker was Glennon's backup. Can he carry on the QB legacy at NC State?

Stocker was Glennon’s backup. Can he carry on the QB legacy at NC State?

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This Is OUR State

The following is the intro video for NC State Men’s Basketball. This is OUR State! Good stuff!

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Golden Globe Nominations are out.

The Academy Awards (Oscars) aren’t going to be here for a while. The award show is schedule to run on ABC on February 24th, at 7 pm. However, the Golden Globe nominations were released this morning. Here at Reclaim the Alternative we posted the nominations as well as emboldened our picks for who should win, based on our humble and expert opinion, and if there isn’t a bold choice, then that means we probably don’t give a hoot:

Best Picture, Drama:
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Les Misérables”
“Moonrise Kindgom
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Jack Black, “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Ewan MCGregor, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”

Best Supporting Actor:
Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Best Screenplay:
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
David O’Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Chris Terrio, “Argo”

Foreign Language Film:
“A Royal Affair”
“The Intouchables”
“Rust and Bone”

Best Television Comedy or Musical:
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Modern Family”

Best Actress, Television Drama:
Connie Briton
Glenn Close
Claire Danes
Michelle Dockery
Juliana Margulies

Best Miniseries or Television Movie:
“Game Change”
“The Girl”
“Hatfields & McCoys”
“The Hour”
“Political Animals”

Stay safe. Stay true. Be aware of bears. Peace.

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Addition by Subtraction: Losing Maryland, Gaining Louisville

Welcome to the ACC, Louisville.

As ACC fans everywhere awaken from a rough basketball night, they will drink their morning coffees and teas in good cheer. The ACC has reached addition by subtraction. This morning, the ACC presidents met to discuss expansion, and expansion they decided on as Louisville has become the newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. So the ACC lost Maryland? Oh well—good for the ACC. Here is why:

            The first impression is that Louisville, a solid basketball university, boosts ACC football, with an up-and-coming football program that will challenge Rutgers for the Big East championship on Thursday this week. However, the upgrades to the ACC don’t end there. Louisville has gone for 27 and 22 the last four seasons compared to a 17 and 32 Maryland in football. Also, the Cardinals went for 9-2 this season and look solid for a strong 2013 season with a lot of returning upperclassmen.

            Louisville’s athletic budget is currently at $84.4 million while Maryland’s is at $57.5 million. When placed in comparison with the ACC’s current highest budget, Florida State at $81.4 million, one realizes the athletics potential which Louisville brings to the ACC. Along with Louisville’s big-money athletics, in the last 6 years, Louisville has reached a BCS bowl game, men’s and women’s basketball Final Four, the College World Series, and the Men’s Soccer College Cup.

            Did the ACC add by subtraction? It seems so. Even though Louisville has had rocky athletic seasons in the past, it is has athletics programs and the budget to put out solid teams each season, something that has been lacking from Maryland for the past few years. So yes, addition by subtraction is the ACC’s game today.

The Louisville Cardinals are expected to arrive in 2014.

            Welcome to the Atlantic Coast Conference, Louisville. Welcome one, welcome all (with your wallets please).

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