I saw American Sniper this weekend. This is a quagmire wrapped in a clusterfuck, cream-filled with a shitstorm of feels, mostly because people can't separate the different aspects of the conversation. Some include: Rogen's comments, Moore's comments, accuracy of the film, quality of the film, themes of the film, Kyle's hyperbole, legitimacy of critiquing a veteran, and legitimacy of the Iraq war.
Unfortunately, most critic detractors pack it all into a lazy box of stupid and say things like "no liberal can claim to support the military" or "LOL Moore's crew are all fat tards" or "you are an idiot traitor of America!" (Things I've read online in the last three days.)
So let's break this all down and make sure we understand the differences between the pieces parts.
American Sniper as a Movie
American Sniper was a little short on development. I think Clint Eastwood got a little too ambitious in trying to cram all that graham and still have room for the honey. The husband-wife relationship was rushed. We never see real development in their pairing beyond what we might have seen in a flashback. The inter-war bits of their lives were almost filler as we watched him go from tour to tour.
The war bits were more vivid, more fleshed out, but still rushed. We saw tough choices, partial relationships, and even a moment with Kyle's brother that showed war as disheartening.
And when he came home, Kyle's regeneration was pinned down to a couple scenes. Then he was happy. Then he died.
Aside from the stuffing mentioned above, there are a couple sloppy mentions:
After tour three, Kyle's wife says "If you go back, we won't be here when you return." HUGE words. But a hug and it's all good and he's off?
The Butcher and the Sniper: Tour two and three were based on finding "The Butcher" so they could find the "bad" sniper. Fail both time. But then four was the money shot on the sniper and The Butcher was ...where? Nothing.
Ring switch: Kyle wore 3 different wedding rings throughout the movie: a small silver one right after his wedding, a small gold one during his service, and a large silver one after discharge. Why?
Fucking fake baby. Really? For a blockbuster movie? Producers noted Baby #1 had a fever and #2 didn't show. You're Hollywood. Only two babies in Hollywood? No, Cooper gets no props for acting with a plastic baby; Eastwood gets shit on for putting him in that position. WTF?
Texas: In this scene, we're moving to Texas. Not really mentioned where we lived when not at war before, but now we're in Texas because ...that's where Kyle dies?
Final scene: A SEAL sniper who is a complete expert on the use of firearms walks through the living room with what very much looks like a real revolver. He shushes the kids and walks into the kitchen where he not only points the gun at his wife but cocks it. In play. This is either stupid or a commentary on how socilization of veterans makes them forget everything; either way, it's wrong. And then they focus on him putting the cocked gun on the cabinet. Chekhov's Gun, anyone?
Themes in the Film
America protects freedom. Patriots protect freedom. War can be misdirected. War can tear families apart. War can ruin families. Patriots can crash. War hurts people. America is great. Recovery is difficult. War makes PTSD. We need to help ALL our veterans. Hero is a word. Hero is forever.
This doesn't really hit the movie (other than it's based on the book he wrote), but Chris Kyle is a known a proven fabulist. That means he lied and made up stories. Take it for what you will.
Seth Rogen said American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that's showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds. Rogen was making a goofy comment about how American Sniper was ...idunno... a little hyperbolic? A little hero worship?
Ignore everything anyone says about how it was like a Nazi Propaganda film. That's ignorant talking point bullshit. They probably never saw the movie, let alone the movie in the movie. Here it is:
So Rogen jokingly said this Hollywood movie about a real person was a little "kill all the bad guys" like the movie-in-movie he's referencing. Funny. But why is that bad or crazy? How was it not in jest? Conservatives =/= humor.
Michael Moore tweeted My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse.
Moore's own uncle was killed by a sniper. His family (and probably fam military friends) put that in his head. He said it. And in return, I've heard nothing about how his family suffered or how his uncle was a hero. Instead, we get jokes about how fat he is and is stupid.
Way to honor a fallen soldier, military folks. If you attack his retelling and/or his weight, you know nothing of honor. But enjoy you LOLz.
Maybe: Eastwood saw this as a modern day western, a tale of guns. He didn't give a shit about the real life. The Kyle backstory was chattel to give him a baby. The man in almost-white is hunting the man in perpetual black. The parity moment is when the man in black picks up the phone to leave his apparent wife with the baby. They are the same. If Kyle were born in Syria, he very well could have been his own nemesis. Khaki and black, good and bad, the long con, the long war, with long guns, and the long shot that ended it. Swing a bunch of American flags at the end and beg for an Oscar.
The man spoke to a chair for over ten minutes. Why is that weird?
Nah, speculation ended: Eastwood came out and called the movie anit-war.
I think snipers are necessary ...but I shouldn't have to agree to that to defend my personal patriotism. I don't think the movie was bad because it was about Chris Kyle. I think that movie was average because of how it was made. I know (proven by a court of law) that Chris Kyle made up stories. Mentioning that does not make me a terrorist or communist. Criticizing what people do in the name of questionable war does not make them against the people who have to fight that war.
There is a difference between respecting the troops and respecting the war. Too many people don't get that. And the war hero and war worship that comes from simple minds who like little boxes is disrespecting every man and woman who put their lives on the line for this bullshit.