Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

War Movies for Peaceniks

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Well dearest motherfuckers, it’s that time of the year again. A time for heat waves, fireworks, hotdogs, and backyard swimming pools. Annoyingly enough, it’s also a time for that kneejerk, braindead brand of jingoism that Americans like to call patriotism. A very special genre of collective mental illness that dominates the early days of summer like heatstroke. This sickness comes with many symptoms; teary eyed flag worship, shitty country music songs, the objectification of veterans as mascots for imperialism. But as a reclusive anarchist cinephile, few of these rituals sickens me more than the clogging of cable television with the pornographic mush of Hollywood war cinema. If I have to sit through the deification of an unapologetic psychopath like Chris Kyle one more goddamn time, I swear I’ll scale the Superdome with my bare hands and take pot shots at the satellites broadcasting such noxious trash.

All is not lost however, dearest motherfuckers. Luckily the Kali Yuga comes to us during the age of Hulu and Netflix, and there are indeed a fair number of war films that can actually teach us a thing or two about what all this patriotic mania really leads too. So I’ve compiled another of my famous movie lists, a list of war movies for peaceniks to get freaks like me through the festivities felony free. Like usual, many of these movies don’t fit the given genre in the traditional sense, but they are all movies that deal with the specter of warfare in one way, shape, or form.

Apocalypse Now (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola-  The greatest war movie ever shot by an American director only could have escaped Hollywood during the peak of its countercultural identity crisis. No mainstream narrative could ever accurately capture the sheer madness of America’s dark imperial disaster in Vietnam, so Francis Ford Coppola had to create an epic art film full of napalm surfing, hallucinogenic massacres, and rogue warlords being worshipped as gods. For me, the defining scene of the whole damn odyssey has to be the unhinged chaos of Do Lung Bridge, where every night a ragtag battalion of mentally cracking GI’s destroy what they’re stationed to protect in order to defend it from ghost soldiers who may or may not even exist, just to build it back up and start all over again the next morning. I can’t think of a better analogy for the absurdity of military occupation.

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