Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'd Like To See "Act Of Valor" But I'll Be Dead Soon

Wow. Act of Valor looks like one seriously kick-ass movie. Just from the trailer I can tell it's going to have everything in it. I mean, everything. I can't believe they used real Navy SEALs -- how did they even get permission for that? I'd love to be home with my buddies, sneaking a pile of candy into a theater and getting ready for some explosions. If my C-130 weren't about to shudder like hell itself and break apart in mid-air, that's one of the first things I'd do when I got back.

Obviously I'd spend a week with Jen and Carly, of course, just hanging out at the house. Carly turned seven recently. But Jen's great about letting me go off with my gang from high school. She's great about everything. I wish that crate didn't have to start smoking like that. It's kind of ruining my plans. And one of those plans is definitely to see Act of Valor.

I don't understand what's in the crate, but I know it's a highly-classified piece of equipment, and it probably cost a great deal of money. I assume it bought someone in Northern Virginia a second house somewhere nice. I assume they're with their wives and kids, enjoying life, and maybe seeing Act of Valor with their own friends. I bet they made some kind of promise that the equipment wouldn't just explode like it's going to in about 90 seconds. I hope there's at least an investigation.

When I saw Black Hawk Down back in high school, it was awesome. It had this hyper-realistic feeling to it, the way it was shot. And the cover of The Minstrel Boy at the end, sung by Joe Strummer... it gave you chills. It made me realize I wanted to do something brave and good with my life, something heroic. It probably gave a lot of people that same feeling -- like you want to be a good man, and protect the people you love.

I signed up a few years later, and a few years after that I tried to quit after I saw things I never thought human beings could do to each other. But they wouldn't let me. And now, here I am. And I'm going to miss Act of Valor.

We're getting better at making movies and games look like real war, and we're getting better at making real war look like movies and games (at least for the people who don't have to fight in them). Some of you are going to say movies like Act of Valor romanticize the killing. And they do. But you can't really blame the movie people. I mean, our problem as a country is we just don't pay attention to the difference between fake-dead and dead-dead. Whoa. What's that smell? Like burning plastic. Anyway, you people back at home talk about honoring guys like me, but you never do enough serious thinking before you send more of us off to some godawful place to die for reasons no one is able to explain in plain, simple language. I guess you could say I've been obsessing about this. It's kind of what I do out here. The strangest thoughts come into my head. Like... Carly will always have pictures of me, and that flag they'll give her, but in a month or two she is going to forget the sound of my voice. She won't even notice it, but the memory will leave her, and she'll grow up, and I won't be there. That's the part about real war they don't put into movies. Real wars leave a shadow, and it doesn't show up on film.

Well... it's time. You folks enjoy the rest of the show.

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