Friday, March 12, 2010

Keep your head down, Kowalski -- here comes another Dubya-Dubya-Two mini-series

We’d been slogging through this war for almost 70 years – and there was no end in sight.

It had been a hard go at first. Black-and-white versions of reality, filmed in Hollywood backlots. John Wayne on “The Sands of Iwo Jima.” Van Johnson spending “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” Bogie vs. Vichy and Nazis in “Casablanca.” Valiant starlets hobnobbed with fresh-faced G.I.s at the “Hollywood Canteen.” Brits got into the act with “Mrs. Miniver” and “In Which We Serve.”

Coming home from that phase of the war was no “Best Years of Our Lives.” Later, color arrived at the movie theater of war. The war dragged on. “The Longest Day” returned us to the black-and-white beaches of Normandy. “Das Boot” surfaced from Germany.

The real hard fighting started when Spielberg invaded us with “Saving Private Ryan.” We had to sit through blood and gore, realistic bullets zipping by, coming within a gnat’s eyelash of our giant soda/big bucket-o-popcorn combos at the multiplex. Then everybody wanted to get into the act. Death on cable TV was a lot rougher than the old battles on regular TV’s “Combat,” as HBO followed a “Band of Brothers” from Normandy’s deadly hedgerows to sinister rows of hedges in Germany.

Dirty Harry led a kamikaze charge with both barrels -- “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.” This was the first time that we knew our enemies had it as hard as we did – both films opened in wide release in Japan.

Last year, just when it seemed that the war was finally drawing to a close, bullets and bombs and Zeros came at us in high definition on the History Channel. We lost a few buddies in the skirmish. It was every man for himself.

Now comes “The Pacific.” Super-realistic battles and high-def to boot. We may not survive. Guadalcanal and Iwo without John Wayne and 1940s cliches. The platoon ain’t gonna make it, Sarge. Tell ma I love her. Keep your head down, Kowalski. But Sarge, I don’t think I can live through another Dubya-Dubya-Two mini-series.

Me neither, Kowalski. This is the longest slog I ever did see.

--to be continued--

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