Sunday, April 7, 2013

Have You Seen the Documentary About the Movie Full Metal Jacket Called "Between Good and Evil?"

I had a big day planned on Saturday. I was going to take the bus to downtown Chicago, spend some of the kind monies donated by the good supporters of We Are Respectable Negroes, and then come back home in ready quick order. I would be happy, have some new shoes and pants, a bottle of cologne, a bunch of socks (I got those Shaka Zulu putting out fire feet which annoy my bed partners and tear up the heels), and relax with a game of Starcraft 2.

Fate would intervene. The bus downtown took more than 2 hours because of some road race called "The Shamrock Shuffle." To this day, I do not get the fascination with faux white exercises in ethnicity such as the United States' general and secular celebration of all things "Irish." I also do not understand the appeal of "Irish" pubs either. I digress.

I laughed while sitting on the bus. In that time I could have flown home to Connecticut on Southwest. We are a spoiled people: comfortable, safe, secure, and with a nice view of Lake Michigan there are still grounds to complain.

Most of my stores were closed upon arrival at Michigan Avenue. A few were open--I did get some new jeans--thanks to all of you who donated to our informal collection. Monday, I will get the shoes and cologne. Your generosity is very, very, very much appreciated. I did however, manage to find some other goodies.

I enjoy going to F.Y.E. and looking for bargain blu-rays. After my tedious bus ride, I was going to "reward" myself with the movie Super 8--one of the best science fiction films in recent years--if it was on sale. Super 8 was 15 dollars. Such a price is too much for this ghetto nerd.

I did then see Full Metal Jacket on sale for 8 dollars. Easy choice. One of my favorite movies? Check. Less than 10 bucks? check again. A reason to swap out a classic DVD for a new remastered blu-ray? Fate accompli; the decision is made.

The transfer is very good. I was more interested in the commentary track with the actors, a film "expert," and the one and only R. Lee Ermey. The "marine's marine" drops out of the commentary track way too early. Vincent D'Onofrio is excellent. He is vulnerable, appreciative, and offers up some great insights into what it was like to learn film from Stanley Kubrick.

"Gomer Pyle" aka Vincent D'Onofrio is an "actor's actor." I often wondered what came of him after Full Metal Jacket. He is everywhere, enjoying a type of ubiquitous fame which makes him all the more invisible. I mean that as a supreme complement.

In all, the commentary track is excellent. It is especially worthwhile because the experts and principles involved remind us that the movie, like most, is not at all about the time period featured in the narrative. Here, Full Metal Jacket is not a "war" movie per se about the Vietnam War. No. It is an exploration of the human spirit and how young men are transformed into killers in the service of the State. Such a story is timeless and reaches back from antiquity to the present, as well as to the future.

The blu-ray has a mini-documentary/featurette on the legacy and making of Full Metal Jacket that is well worth watching. I have embedded part of it above. Do watch the remaining sections if you are a fan of the movie, or great film-making in general.

Any pop culture discoveries to report? How do you feel about the passing of the immortal Roger Ebert? I saw the amazing The Place Beyond the Pines on Friday. I will be seeing it several more times. Were any of you blessed to see that great film? Alternatively, did you see The Place Beyond the Pines and feel let down?

The Place Beyond the Pines is an American epic about fathers and sons. It is essential viewing. What did you think?


Buddy H said...

Vincent D. was great in full metal jacket, I also remember seeing him in "Ed Wood" playing Orson Welles. Most folks think of "Law And Order-Criminal Intent" but if you want to see him in a truly weird role, watch "The Cell" where he plays a serial killer against Jennifer Lopez.

chauncey devega said...

I really like The Cell. Underrated. Again, he is so accomplished.

jimA thompson said...

Interesting, all the noise lately on google+ is around *FMJ* surrounding _Adam Baldwin_ given that his role "err, acting" in that film wasn't really a stretch.

chauncey devega said...

can you elaborate?

jimA thompson said...

Oh, it (the acting) turned out to be a forerunner into his conservative bent.. with all the ideological battles, narrow definitions of race(blk) or pretending to be upset over peers "mocking the precious bible" at ComiCon. Even his character in Firefly resembles his real-self?

chauncey devega said...

I learned something new. He is high on that Tea Party GOP political meth huh?

jimA thompson said...

Seems so.

Magda Kamenev said...

Oh, squee! (Warning: gushing to follow)

Love Mr. D'Onofrio. He's very good in The Whole Wide World as the writer Robert E. Howard (although your tolerance for Renee Zellweger may well dictate how much you enjoy the movie. Also loved him in The Cell (his presence and the phantasmagoric set pieces are what piqued my interest in the film).

I am amused by the fact that Mr. D'Onofrio went from playing Lili Taylor's boyfriend (in Mystic Pizza) to her father (in Households Saints) in about 5 years.

Spent many years watching him as Det. Goren on L&O: CI. I remember some of the network gossip about how hard he became to work with, and I feared for his career - but his IMDb page looks pretty busy at the top.

My two favorite roles of his are:
1) Edgar the Bug from Men in Black. Appalling, isn't it? But he hit just the right notes of parody, menace and chaos. For years, I referred to him in L&O as "that nice young detective in the shiny new Edgar suit".
2) The ordinary Joe who was pushed onto the subway tracks in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Which gave us film/TV geeks the opportunity to witness D'Onofrio up against the other Actor's Actor of our generation - Andre Braugher. Oh mercy. It was ... it just was. You couldn't SEE most of D'Onofrio, so all of his emotion had to be channeled through his face and his voice. And on the other side, you had Speaker For the Dead/Avenging Angel Frank Pembleton having to rein himself in because he's dealing with a victim who's not yet dead. Powerful, powerful stuff.

So glad Mr. D'Onofrio is still working, and still working in film. And according to IMDb, he played Moriarty in a Sherlock Holmes adaptation from the early 00s. I think I wouldn't mind him reprising that role on Elementary.

Alright, I'll stop gushing now.