Memorial Day Cinema Listomania (Special War is Hell Edition)

on May 26, 2008 by Steve Simels

As is so often the case, Bart Simpson said it best: In all of history, there have only been three just wars -- the Civil War, World War II, and the Star Wars trilogy.

That being the case, here's a possibly thought-provoking project to divert you on a day that's usually divided equally between honoring our troops for their heroic service and grilling a bunch of steaks in the backyard with beer firmly in hand.

Best (Explictly or Implicitly) Anti-War Film Ever!!!

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Five.

5. Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick -- 1957) Kubrick's most passionate and deeply moving film -- a sort of humanist flip-side to his icier Full Metal Jacket.

4. Glory (Edward Zwick -- 1989) The War Between the States as charnel house, i.e., about as un-romanticized as you can get.

3. On the Beach (Stanley Kramer -- 1959) It's the end of the world as we know it. Next time someone tells me that we -- or anybody -- actually won the Cold War, swear to god I'm going to take a hostage.

2. Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir -- 1938) Renoir looks back to World War I and ahead to the horrors to come. "It's a story about human relationships," he said. "I am sure that such a question is so important today that if we don't solve it, we will just have to say 'goodbye' to our beautiful world."

And the number one anti-war movie, it's not even close so don't bug me, is --

1. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey -- 1933) Four Jews (the Marx Brothers) and an ironic goy (Leo McCarey) take on the absurdity of war.

Groucho: Now that you're Secretary of War, what kind of an army do you think we ought to have? Chico: Well, I tell you what I think, I think we should have a standing army. Groucho: Why should we have a standing army? Chico: Because then we save money on chairs.

Naturally, it flopped at the box office.

Okay -- what would your choices be?

Tags: Paths of Glory, Glory, On the Beach, Grand Illusion, Duck Soup

read all Simels »