Skip to comments.We Were Soldiers, Not Baby Killers
Posted on 03/03/2002 9:18:16 PM PST by Pokey78Edited on 04/23/2004 12:04:15 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
Sometime after the 1983 liberation of Grenada, Ronald Reagan observed that one of the important achievements of the operation was that it helped get America over Vietnam. No longer was every military campaign destined to be another lost, aimless war. This weekend, Hollywood finally caught up to the Gipper. No longer is every movie about Vietnam destined to portray the war as aimless and immoral.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
Hadn't thought of that. Could be why the theater I went to was about 25% empty on Friday night.
Liberalism is alive and well in the Golden State. Big surprise.
I just saw it on Friday. Colonel Moore (Mel Gibson) is a leader, a hero, and a role model for REAL men.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mel Gibson rallied the movie-going troops for "We Were Soldiers," his Vietnam War saga that debuted as the top weekend film with $20.2 million.
The romantic comedy "40 Days and 40 Nights," starring Josh Hartnett and Shannyn Sossamon, opened in second place with $12.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Last weekend's No. 1 movie, the vampire tale "Queen of the Damned," suffered the curse of many horror flicks and tumbled to sixth place with $5.8 million. Fright films often debut strongly as hardcore horror fans turn out in big numbers, then plummet the next weekend.
Receipts for "Queen of the Damned," featuring the late pop singer Aaliyah as an ancient vampire, dropped 61 percent from the movie's opening weekend. In contrast, Denzel Washington's "John Q" grossed $8.4 million in its third weekend and Kevin Costner's "Dragonfly" took in $6.8 million in its second, both down just 33 percent.
"It's not too abnormal to see big dropoffs on a horror movie," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released "Queen of the Damned."
"We Were Soldiers" is the latest in a parade of war movies that went into production well before Sept. 11 but are riding a wave of patriotism since the terrorist attacks. It's a rare Vietnam movie that presents U.S. soldiers in a good light as honorable comrades in arms.
"I think certainly the Sept. 11 incident puts people more in the mood for wanting to cheer for the American soldiers," said Wayne Lewellen, head of distribution for Paramount, which released "We Were Soldiers."
About 75 percent of the audience for "We Were Soldiers" was older than 25. War films usually draw a heavily male audience, but women made up a strong 44 percent share of the crowds.
"I think Mel Gibson may have had something to do with that," Lewellen said.
Gibson stars as Lt. Col. Hal Moore, who led about 400 outnumbered American troops in the first major battle against the North Vietnamese in 1965.
Unlike such aging actors as Costner and Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose recent films have posted lackluster returns, "Mel Gibson is an absolute rock solid star. He just continues to roll along," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks the box office. "He keeps enthralling audiences with virtually everything he does."
"40 Days and 40 Nights" benefited from a market fairly empty on light romances for the date crowd. Hartnett stars as a man tempted by a new woman in his life after he vows to give up sex for Lent.
The audience for "40 Days and 40 Nights" was about 60 percent women and was heavy on movie-goers between 17 and 25, said David Kaminow, senior vice president of marketing for Miramax, which released the movie.
"We saw this as a good weekend for romantic comedy," Kaminow said. "We knew the Mel Gibson movie would probably skew a little older and saw an opportunity for the next couple of weekends for a movie that appeals to more of a female audience."
Overall, the top 12 films grossed $81.2 million, up 8 percent from the same weekend last year.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "We Were Soldiers," $20.2 million.
2. "40 Days and 40 Nights," $12.5 million.
3. "John Q," $8.4 million.
4. "Dragonfly," $6.8 million.
5. "Return to Never Land," $6.5 million.
6. "Queen of the Damned," $5.8 million.
7. "Big Fat Liar," $4.8 million.
8. "A Beautiful Mind," $4.4 million.
9. "Crossroads," $4 million.
10. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," $3.1 million.
Could that have something to do with the content of Mr. Gibson's recent movies?
Not just a reporter, Brendan. That was Joe Galloway, the co-author of the book and, as I understand, a senior advisor as the movie was being filmed.
This moment in the movie suggested to the audience that the behavior of the press and Col. Moore's (Gibson) reaction when they got in his face was an ominous foreboding of the extent to which the press would serve to weaken our resolve and contribute to losing the war. Indeed the part where Moore shows his disdain when the politicians crossed the line by taking a third of his men and later requesting he return to headquarters in the middle of the battle was revealing. Anyone seeing this movie should come away with a deeper understanding as to why we must expose, marginalize and mock those who seek to weaken our resolve or interfere with our troops in the war on terror.
The following is taken from a VHPA newsletter published later that summer:
Remarks prepared for delivery Sunday July 2, 2000, at the VHPA Memorial at The Wall:
Is there anyone here today who does not thrill to the sound of those Huey blades?? That familiar whop-whop-whop is the soundtrack of our war...the lullaby of our younger days. To someone who spent his time in Nam with the grunts I have got to tell you that that noise was always a great comfort. It meant someone was coming to help...someone was coming to get our wounded...someone was coming to bring us water and ammo...someone was coming to take our dead brothers home...someone was coming to give us a ride out of hell. Even today when I hear it I stop...catch my breath...and think back to those days.
I love you guys as only an Infantryman can love you. No matter how bad things were...if we called you came. Down through the green tracers and other visible signs of a real bad day off to a bad start. I would like to quote to you from a letter Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman wrote his friend Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the end of the Civil War: "I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come---if alive." That was always in our minds and that is how we thought of you. To us you seemed beyond brave and fearless...that you would come to us in the middle of battle in those flimsy thin-skinned crates...and in the storm of fire you would sit up there behind that plexiglass seeming so patient and so calm and so vulnerable...waiting for the off-loading and the on-loading. We thought you were God's own lunatics... and we loved you. Still do.
We are gathered here this morning to appreciate the lives and honor the memory of 2,209 helicopter pilots and 2.704 helicopter crewmen who were killed while doing their duty in the Republic of Vietnam between May 30, 1961, and May 15, 1975. Theirs are some of the names among the 58,220 on this precious Wall. So many good men...so many good friends.
Before I come here I always remind myself of what another good friend, Captain B.T. Collins..who is now gone..liked to say at gatherings like this:
No whining and no crying! We are the fortunate ones! We survived...when so many better men gave up their precious lives for us. We owe them a sacred debt...to live each day to its fullest...trying to make this world a better place for our having lived and their having died.
So we come here today to remember them...and to celebrate their lives and their deeds. I like to come here at dawn...or around midnight...when things are so quiet you can hear their voices. What they are saying...when you listen hard enough...is this: We are at peace; so should you be...so should you be.
I would like to close by reading you from something written by a World War I poet named Lawrence Binyon:
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them...nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them!
God Bless all our absent friends...and God bless you.
I think what that scene reflected was the re-organization that had taken place in becoming the 1st Air Cav Division. To go from an Infantry Division to Air Cav meant a sharp reduction in the number of ground fighters (blues). His main complaint was that there had not been enough time to train under the newly developed doctrine of Air Cav, Air Mobile, Air Assault, etc., before deployment.
I sure want to see it soon though..
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