Guilty Pleasure Cinema: Addendum!

Recently I had a post about my top nine cinematic guilty pleasure films, with National Treasure coming in a strong first place.

  1. National Treasure
  2. O Brother, Where Art Thou
  3. Night at the Museum
  4. 1776: The Musical
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger
  6. The Mummy
  7. White Christmas
  8. Disney’s Hercules/Mulan
  9. The Patriot

Well, I realized I had forgotten a film, which rounds the list out to an even ten. I can’t believe I forgot this film. Ready for it?

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Gettysburg: The Movie

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed the movie Gettysburg yet. It was only the thing that got this whole historical obsession started in the first place. Fair warning – this is much less of a formal review and much more of an opinion piece since I am certain I have lost the ability to review this movie objectively.

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… cuz stuff like this happens when I’m around …

Backstory: Back in 9th grade, the culmination of the unit on the American Civil War involved hiding in a darkened classroom for three days watching this film as a dramatic interpretation of everything we had just studied.

Afterwards, a classmate made an offhand comment about how it compared to the book, which got everyone’s attention because we hadn’t known the film was based on a book. So I had to read the book (Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara). Then it looked like Killer Angels was part of a trilogy, so I read those other two books (prequel Gods and Generals, after which the film was named, and sequel The Last Full Measure, both written by Jeff Shaara.) All three books gave a human voice to these players like nothing I had seen before. So I had to start reading biographies of everyone to see how their fictional selves compared to their real life selves.

And … it just kind of snowballed from there.

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Guilty Pleasure: Cinema Style

I’m sure I’ve stated many times here that I am a fan of both the ridiculous and the sublime, and when they come together in something sublimely ridiculous, so much the better.

Far more time has gone into thinking about this post than I would care to admit, including various searches and lists on the Googles, time on IMDB, and introspection. My desire is to cover all the necessary points without any grievous omissions, for an omission on a list like this would probably be the worst thing ever.

Bearing all that in mind, what follows is a list of my top nine cinematic (history themed) guilty pleasures. These movies are more entertaining than historically accurate, and to list these as “great historical films” runs the risk of opening oneself up to ridicule from hardcore historical nerds.

Whatever. Honeybadger don’t care.

[ Feedback welcome! Am I forgetting anything? Is my taste in movies so poor you’ll never read my blog again? ]

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Badass Women of History: WASPs

Once upon a time and not so many moons ago (after my Civil War discussion group’s trip to follow Lee’s Retreat), I was temping in Alexandria, Virginia and would spend my lunch breaks wandering around the neighborhood. There were a lot of eateries and a Whole Foods nearby, but when the allure of eating out wore off, I had to expand my wandering radius, and it’s a good thing I did because I discovered Alexandria National Cemetery.

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Talk about a hidden gem!

Holy cow! I’m so glad I discovered this place. Overshadowed by its much bigger, more famous sister Arlington National Cemetery (located less than ten miles away), I had never heard of it, but being my parents’ daughter, I spent almost every subsequent lunch break there, walking the rows of headstones and reading the names.

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Spring Cleaning

In lieu of a post with actual content, I find I must once again clean out the open tabs on my browser.

Mewki – “little seagulls” – women who volunteered in the Polish navy during World War II. I was doing research on them because my reenacting unit is Commonwealth and someone offered me a complete WRN (Women’s Royal Navy) uniform for a stupidly cheap price. We don’t have a naval impression but, in order to see if it would be worth it to have, I started reading up on this and … never finished.

Fly Girls The Series – a fundraising site(?) for a documentary about WASPs – Women Airforce Service Pilots. Was doing research for an upcoming post, but turns out to not need this link. Still, an interesting topic on an elite group of women during WW2.

Colm Toibin reads Mary Lavin – Irish author reads short fiction. My dad had sent me this link because it included an Irish author (my dad’s hobby is sending emails) and I deleted the email because I thought I would listen to it but I didn’t and I’m tired of having the tab open.

The Reel History of the Great War – An article through the National Archives publication on the role film and photography played during World War I.

French Museum Discovers Half of Its Collection are Fakes – If a forger can fool an expert, why doesn’t it count as art? (Not sure Han Van Meegeren’s obviously fake Vermeers count, but some of his earlier Vermeers could have fooled me.)

Michael Collins Did Not Start the Irish Civil War – well this is interesting. I wrote a paper in high school on the IRA and Sinn Fein, which naturally had to touch on the years of oppression, the Black and Tans, Wolfe Tone, Michael Collins vs. Eamon de Valera, the Irish Civil War, Irish Republicanism vs Irish Nationalism, the Troubles in the 70s, all the way up to the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998, which wasn’t that much earlier than high school and the said paper.

Learn About WWII by Watching These Films in Order – Someone took a list of all the WW2 movies out there and organized them in the order of chronology of their events.

The Chinese Soldiers Who Fought in the American Civil War – Definitely not common. Definitely interesting.

The Right Way to be Introspective – The difference between introspection and insight. Self-reflect all you want, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have self-awareness.

And last but not least…

The Full Declaration of the Summit Between North and South Korea – history in the making, my friend(s).

 

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Current stack of to-read books. The chances of me actually finishing them all before they’re due are … not good.

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Save the Battlefields!

Well this is exciting (in a very niche market……).

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1944

“The first casualty of war is truth.”

The tagline – for the 2015 Estonian film centering around the Estonian conflict during the second half of 1944 – is poetic and catchy, but doesn’t match up with the story told. The film tries to create a story that fits, but the overall follow-through of this theme is weak. Despite the thematic disconnect and rather weak characterization, I enjoyed it for its artistry and production quality and, surprisingly, subtle emotion.

 

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The setting:

Before World War 2 officially started, Estonia declared neutrality, but was then occupied by Russia in 1940. What followed were deportations, arrests, executions, and conscription of Estonians into the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps. But in 1941, Germany invaded and occupied Estonia, conscripting Estonians to fight for them. Since only native born Germans could be in the regular army, a lot of these Estonians ended up in the SS. (According to Wikipedia) those Estonians who could, fled to Finland to create a fighting unit, but some also went and fought for Allied forces, either British or American. Then in 1944, the Soviets re-invaded and suddenly the conflict in Estonia had Soviet Estonians fighting Nazi Estonians.

This film, then, address both the World War and the battle in and for Estonia during 1944.

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