Category Archives: Movies/Books/Music

“Gentlemen, I think if we lose this fight, we lose the war.”

GettysburgI haven’t done a movie post in a LONG time so I thought that I would post about one of the BEST movies to be filmed about a “bad” time in American history.  There are very few movies that are based on books that you will actually hear me say the words “the movie was better.” but Gettysburg is one of them….Hands down.

Honestly, I could not think of the “right” words to put in to this review to make it even come close to what it is that I LOVE about this movie….so I found this review that you are about to read and I think it does a better job than I ever could have.

“One need not be a lifelong student of the Civil War to appreciate the themes threaded throughout Gettysburg. As did Shaara’s novel, the film uses the battle to explore duty, patriotism, comradeship and devotion to a cause. Of these, perhaps duty is the one theme that stands out best in all its forms.

Lee (played by Martin Sheen) has placed what he sees as his duty to his home state of Virginia over his duty to the United States and leads the South’s forces against his former comrades in arms (or, as Lee refers to his Union adversaries, “those people”).

Union cavalry General John Buford (Sam Elliott) has only a small brigade to hold off an entire Confederate infantry corps as it advances toward Gettysburg on the battle’s first day – a potential suicide mission. But Buford knows that the Army of Potomac’s only chance is to occupy the best defensive ground before the enemy can reach it. Buford’s duty is to stand fast and hold as long as he can.

Lee’s principal subordinate, General James Longstreet (Tom Berenger) feels Lee’s plan for Pickett’s Charge is sheer suicide and argues repeatedly against the action. Yet in the end, Longstreet executes the futile plan since Lee is in command and it is therefore Longstreet’s duty to carry out the orders.

Chamberlain (Daniels) fears his outnumbered regiment will likely be destroyed trying to defend the key hilltop, Little Round Top. Yet he knows his unit anchors the far left flank of Meade’s entire position and therefore he understands that it is his and the regiment’s duty to try to hold the line at all costs.

Finally, in what might be termed a “corporate” expression of Soldiers’ devotion to duty, 10,000 Confederate troops in a mile-long line step off at 2 p.m. on July 3, 1863, and march toward the center of the Union line a half mile away. Most know that the assault is likely to be a one-way trip. Yet faithful to their duty as Soldiers – and their duty to one another – the men go forward into the bloody shambles of Pickett’s Charge.

Maxwell frames the story chronologically over the three-day period while depicting the action through the eyes and relationships of key players. The viewer feels Lee’s frustration with his flamboyant cavalry commander General J.E.B Stuart, whose untimely absence during the prelude to battle denies Lee vital intelligence and ultimately robs the Confederates of the high ground – and yet one can’t help but marvel at Lee’s self-control during Stuart’s midnight “counseling session.” And for insight into what motivates Soldiers – even today’s Soldiers – pay particular attention to Chamberlain’s low-key entreaty to the 120 mutineers from Maine’s 2d Regiment: “What we’re fighting for, in the end, we are fighting for each other.”

The film’s cinematography is wonderful, the dialogue moves the drama along effortlessly, and the depiction of Civil War-era maneuver is admirably accurate. In particular, this is the first film of this genre to correctly show artillery combat. Dozens of cannon and their re-enactor crews were gathered to depict this extremely important – but too often poorly filmed – aspect of Civil War battles.

Yet awesome combat scenes aside, the dramatic story is what holds the viewer’s attention. The drama surrounding the 20th Maine’s defense of Little Round Top on the second day of the battle is a prime example. After watching the Confederates assault Little Round Top repeatedly, each attack nearly breaking Chamberlain’s thin line, his audacious command of “Bayonets!” comes across as a powerfully dramatic portrayal of brave men in desperate combat. Seeing Confederate General Lewis “Lo” Armistead (the late Richard Jordan’s final role) lead Pickett’s men from the front and hearing Longstreet’s clairvoyant description of the event about to unfold helps viewers fully appreciate the futility, courage and remarkable dedication exemplified by Pickett’s Charge.

In sum, Gettysburg is the best depiction of the carnage of combat and the drama of this brother-against-brother war – America’s most deadly conflict – that filmmakers have yet put together.”

 

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Review ~ Michael Perry’s Truck: A Love Story

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For the past week and a 1/2 I have been reading Michael Perry’s book….Truck a Love Story.  I only now have found this Wisconsin author and so far I am loving his writing. I am going to keep this review short and sweet because I don’t want to give away too much. Truck is about Michael’s “mission” to get his 1951 International Harvestor truck running and operational by Deer Season (a “holiday” that we take VERY seriously here in Wisconsin).  Along the way readers will learn why “seed catalogs are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than Enron and Penthouse combined,” why squirrels are evil, a little bit about Mike’s dating life and a little bit about his interesting neighbors.

I really enjoyed this book.  Plus the author lives only a few hours north of where I live!  I enjoyed this book so much that I can hardly wait to start reading his new book Coop.  I’ve heard great things about it. I giggled most of the way through this book because Mike paints such vivid pictures with his words that you can imagine yourself there with him.  I hope that you will check this book out!

If you want to visit Mike’s webpage/blog the address is: http://sneezingcow.com

Product Review ~ Fool

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I’m a big time reader and I just recently finished this book.  Fool is a Christopher Moore’s own “wicked” poke at William Shakespeare’s King Lear.  Now this book is NOT for the faint of heart.  There is even a warning at the front of the book that reads: “This is a bawdy tale.  Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank.  If that sort of thing bothers you then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend.  That said, if that’s the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you happened upon the perfect story!” In the beginning the language was a little bit hard to interpret but as the story went along it was easier to the language became much easier to follow.  This story was VERY engaging…At least for me it was.  I hope that you check this book out!

The main character is Pocket, who has been Lear’s much cherished fool for many years.  Being so trusted Pocket is at his master’s side when Lear demands that his three daughters swear to him their undying love and absolute devotion.  Naturally, the snakes, Goneril and Regan are only too happy to tell daddy exactly what he wants to hear.  But Lear’s third daughter Cordelia believes that her father’s request is to be blunt…kind of stupid and her blunt honesty gets banished and she also forfits her share of Lear’s kingdom as well.

Now the shit has really hit the fan.  And the only person who can make it right?  Pocket.  Now he’s going to have to use some pretty fancy “foot work” (casting a few spells, start a war or two…the usual basic stuff) to get Cordelia back into Lear’s good graces, derail the evil power plays of Cordelia’s evil sisters and shag every single shaggable women who’s agreeable along the way.

Now Pocket may be a fool . . . but he’s definitely not an idiot.  Especially when you come to the end and learn a little bit more about our dear friend Pocket.

New Moon Teaser Trailer

Movie Numero 10 ~ The Undefeated

UndefeateddvdI know that I haven’t mentioned it on this blog yet but I am a SUPER HUGE John Wayne fan.  I LOVE the Duke’s films.  This movie….The Undefeated is my second favorite John Wayne movie of all time.  Here is what the movie site imdb has to say about this AWESOME movie:

After the Civil War, ex-Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and ex-Confederate Colonel James Langdon are leading two disparate groups of people through strife-torn Mexico. John Henry and company are bringing horses to the unpopular Mexican government for $35 a head while Langdon is leading a contingent of displaced southerners, who are looking for a new life in Mexico after losing their property to carpetbaggers. The two men are eventually forced to mend their differences in order to fight off both bandits and revolutionaries, as they try to lead their friends and kin to safety.

One of my favorite line exchanges in the movie:

Ann Langdon: You went out there to talk! Why did you kill that man?
John Henry Thomas: Conversation just kinda dried up.

Lookie here!

It’s the new New Moon movie poster!  I can hardly wait to see this movie!

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P.S. I took a little mini bloggy vacation.  I’m happy to be back but I more than likely will only be posting during the week.  On the weekends I like to come home from work, walk the dogs and fall down and go to sleep.  Have an AWESOME day everybody!

Movie Numero 9 ~ Gone With The Wind

c3efeb6709a082a9b06e2110_lOh yeah!  I’m going “Old School” on this one.  I bet you never thought I’d have Gone With The Wind on my list of 100 Movies right?!  How can you NOT enjoy this movie?  It’s a classic and the winner of 10 Academy Awards!  Best line in the movie is right near the end when Rhett tells Scarlett “Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

This classic film narrates the love between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler during the American civil war. It’s the history of a selfish woman who doesn’t want to admit her feelings about the man she loves, and finally loses him.