Full Metal Jacket
Like everybody else, the first time I saw "Full Metal Jacket" Ifigured the hard-core, hard-ass drill Sergeant (Lee Ermey) would eventually soften toward the developmentally-challenged Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio) and befriend him while teaching him the meaning of life and commitment. Then Pyle would go rescue his girlfriend from her factory job and they would live happily ever after.
Little did I know that Stanley Kubrick directed the movie, a discovery analogous to walking into a Basic Drawing class and having the professor tell you that you've accidentally enrolled in Philosophy 8000: Heidegger's "Being in the World." Essence, existence or entomological career?
Sitting through this film is like watching "Hogan's Heroes" on crack. The invective-spewing Sargeant berates Pyle to the point of psychosis, turning him from Barney Fife into the Terminator. Next thing you know, Andy's brains are splattered all over the wall, Aunt Bea has been raped and Opie's been skinned alive.
After Pyle and fellow soldier, Joker (Matthew Modine), are done being all they can be (although they're in the Marines), Kubrick ships Joker off to Vietnam where he watches people shoot a lot of stuff. Mainly they shoot buildings, which seems to be Kubrick's explanation for America's failure in Vietnam: If you can't see it, you probably can't hit it. Twenty years of retrospect and that's the best he could come up with? Where's the "space aliens transported down from the moon and confused the troops" plot when you need it?
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