You know what, I liked it a whole lot more than I expected to. Like its spiritual predeccessor, Full Metal Jacket
*, the beginning of Jarhead
is much more interesting than its middle and ending, but overall the movie is an engaging (and, at times, visually stunning) portrait of life as a grunt during the first Gulf War.
Along with my all-comics class, one of the literature classes I'm looking forward to teaching is about the cultural construction of masculinity. When it happens, I have to figure I'll be using this movie.
I'm somewhat surprised Jarhead
didn't get better press. Not only is it incredibly (unbearably) topical, but it's nuanced and complicated and deeply political. Maybe I just answered my own question. In any event, like most movies from last year, it was better than Crash
. Check it out.
(There's a book
* The movie really wants to be Apocalypse Now, but it's Full Metal Jacket through and through.