That, and what passes for "small" sodas at the movie theater. Sheesh! I saw The Lives of Others this weekend, the German movie that won the Oscar for best foreign film, and it was amazing. Amazing and gripping, and I advise you not to drink a "small" soda when you go to see it, lest you also have to choose between the lesser of two agonies and get up and miss something!
There was a preview for the French movie whose name escapes me -- I think the French title was Indigenes? Maybe? It's about the French Algerian troops who fought to try to liberate France from the Nazis and were never truly recognized for their sacrifice. I've heard it's good, and the trailer already made me cry. I can't stand scenes of soldiers running to certain death. I mean, I can't take it. Even a glimpse of it, a thought of it. The end of Gallipoli, the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, and so many other movies, and all the stuff I read recently about WWI and trench warfare. Frick. I weep. I want to kick people. Why are we like this? How twisted is it that the very worst in humanity brings out this amazing, this unbelievable bravery? To do that. To run at an enemy who will most certainly kill you.
I heard a bit on the radio once, probably on This American Life, about a family who never even knew their father/grandfather had a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor in France in WWII. He was this utterly meek, unassuming old man, and when he told the story of what he'd done to earn that medal, I totally lost it. I couldn't do the story justice after all this time, but there are so many other stories like it, these bright points of human magnificence in the midst of our terrible. . . awfulness. What to make of it? Of us?
What also got me thinking about this was an amazing actor in Deadwood: Brad Dourif -- horror movie alumni and formerly the sleazy Grima Wormtongue of LOTR -- who plays the doctor and manages to create a character whose story really extends way way beyond the limited scope of his role in the actual show. In his physical mannerisms, his twitchiness and blinkiness and quick outrage, he creates a wreck of a Civil War doctor and makes you imagine what it might have been like to try to live after that. I mean, a Civil War doctor. It can't get much worse than that.
I find myself wanting to kick people again, and especially certain people we all know and I would hope that we all hate, who are so cavalier about the lives of soldiers. And here's to film makers who can get us to cry over a three-second clip, out of context, in a preview, and try to keep reminding us what it's like, while we sit here in our living rooms and movie theaters.