The new war film “Act of Valor” ends on the perfect note. After dedicating itself to the Navy SEALs who have given their lives to the service of their country since 9/11, the film wraps with the line: “And for those going downrange in the future … damn few.”
Let me put this into context. When I walked into the theater to see “Act of Valor” with my little lady, we met two completely different demographics. We were joined by old veterans and younger, baggy pants, doobie-smoking 20-somethings who played too much “Call of Duty” and mistook their accomplishments in the virtual world for actual ones.
The younger kids came in loud and yelling and jumping across seats. The veterans came in slow, unsure and quiet. Once the film ended on that line, the younger punks rocking their nose piercings and neck beards and Cheetos-stained fingers exited the theater much more quietly and with their heads down. The veterans walked out with smiles on their faces, their heads held high in pride. They deserved it.
This story stands to exemplify one thing and one thing only: the critics and ignorant blowhards who are criticizing “Act of Valor” are not the ones the film is made for. The reason they need to throw words like propaganda around is because they do not understand what “Act of Valor” is.
Let’s examine one example: Roger Ebert is arguably the most read film critic in America (though he is far from the best. His reviews have become lazily written blogs about the plot of a film and his own politics). He criticized “Act of Valor” by comparing it to another film that he felt was more realistic when it came to war. That feature was a documentary about one man who joined the Marines because he wanted to “kill people.”
The reason Mr. Ebert thinks that a film about one man is more realistic and true to the military than a film starring and basically written by a handful of Navy SEALs is because the documentary speaks to his own ignorant ideals. And I do not hesitate to call them ignorant because of the following: I finished reading Ebert’s “Life, Itself” recently (a very good memoir) and he revealed that he was drafted but failed the physical to go … then the book simply moves on. The fact that a man who would feel no shame or have no follow-up thoughts to proceed such an event tell you everything you need to know.
“Act of Valor” is not for The Huffington Post or for Dax Shepard or Ebert. The film is for those who have served, are serving, will serve, love someone serving or just plain respect those who do serve. People like Ebert and others who criticize the movie for being “propaganda” or “ignorant” see military as the type of government they hate since you can’t collect welfare or food stamps from them. The fact that liberal critics who have no idea about donning the uniform can call “Act of Valor” ignorant is a sad statement about our current mainstream media.
“Act of Valor” is a film that is deeper than liberal crap like “In the Valley of Elah” or “Redacted.” It touches on emotions alien to the cynical liberals of today. It involves duty, brotherhood, fatherhood, sacrifice, dedication and selflessness. It explores the core values you are taught in the military. These emotions are so alien to liberal critics who have never known an act of selflessness to the degree of a man or woman donning a uniform that they can simply call “Act of Valor” right wing propaganda and move on.
After all, “Act of Valor” is propaganda according to the left wing media, but when Kathryn Bigelow’s new film showing Obama kill Osama Bin Laden with his bare hands comes out (it also had cooperation from the White House … “Valor” did not), it will be labeled things like, “brave,” “harrowing” and a “thrill ride.”
Give me a break.
Why is telling people to join our military propaganda? Is it not one of the most selfless and respectable things a man or woman can do? Why is it that liberals can call “Act of Valor” propaganda for encouraging people to join the military, but then deny that Michael Moore and Oliver Stone make anything but art? It’s probably the same reason that “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” was political, but films like “W.” and “Green Zone” and “The Hurt Locker” were just emotional character studies. When it’s left wing, it’s art, and when it’s right wing, it’s political propaganda … got it?
It’s also hard to see how a film like “Act of Valor” is just a two-hour recruiting film when its only goal seems to be to paint a vivid and very real portrayal of our military, both good and bad. If people walk out of “Act of Valor” wanting to join, it will be for the right reasons. The film shows the dangers of being in the military and the hardships their family members endure.
Don’t listen to the mainstream media on this one. The film is not right wing or left wing and it’s nowhere near propaganda. It hits emotional themes that films refuse to touch today, but that are true to most Americans.
“Act of Valor” is for the damn few who have been down range or will go down range. They’ll get it. People like Ebert should just stick with their ignorance and leave it for another film. “Act of Valor” is the film we’ve been waiting for.