Vietnam, Oliver Stone, Al Pacino discussed on Now Playing - The Movie Review Podcast
The movie languished for a Long Time Until Platoon Cova. Just write his book then seventy seven. Yes it would have been brand new. Yeah there was a little more behind that once it was a book was optioned and a couple of writers came and went and it was Pacino. Really the driving force there as well as his agent and they brought in Oliver Stone to give it a rewrite because Pacino didn't like the script and they had a director wasn't Oliver Stone because he wasn't a director back. Then it was William Freakin. Oh okay that makes sense in the seventies and freed kin and Pacino. Both backed out and the movie went to. Shit and stone. Said Toco Vic you know I really believe in the script and if I ever make it as a director where I can choose my projects I promise you I will make this movie until your story and a little over a decade later. He kept that promise and he could do that because he got cloud because he did become an Oscar winning director in one. Thousand nine hundred. Eighty six really flip the script on Vietnam. Hollywood was trying to rewrite it like you know. We'll have Rambo go back and win the war like it's not so bad and then we had all this. The second wave of Vietnam Films Platoon was the most successful. That really had US looking at it as a failure for American policy and to the American soldier. And maybe we'll get a chance to review that I did not rewatch it for this. I've seen it a couple of I remember thinking it was okay. I remember it being one of the few riverstone films that I actually liked. I always feel like his stuff gets messy and he's got a lot of ideas and they never quite come together for me but that one. I remember being all right. I'll let you hold onto those memories. I did go back and watch it. I I personally I will say for me. Did Not hold up. I saw the movie in theaters at a very impressionable age and it was one of the first war movies I ever saw and I thought so powerful now seeing a lot of war movies and going back to it. I'll say this much. Charlie chained for me is a huge problem in it. I've already mentioned. I don't think he's a very good actor. I think that movie is proof of that. And if they're going to remake it if they're gonNA make a platoon to and do it with Tom. Cruise trading up. I think it's a good thing that he didn't get Ching back because there was discussion of that there was some thought that now that stones going back to Vietnam can take the young actor that helped make that movie a hit and no I would not want to see Charlie Sheen born on the fourth of July. When stone was hired to do rewrites on born the fourth of July he had already written platoon as well as a sequel to platoon long before he ever filmed it he wanted to do a second movie discussing basically because stone was in Vietnam more as a journalist than warrior but he did serve over in Vietnam he wanted to tell one movie about the war but then another about the experience of coming back having been a soldier at so that movie script existed was ready before he ever shot frame platoon that he could have brought sheen back and just done the follow up with his own story. Right yeah I remember hearing about a platoon to and I always thought that this movie was that it morphed into that but the truth is born on the fourth of July is a true story. We're covering another biopic and those are problematic right. I mean we haven't done to many aviator almost killed Arnie. We all like a day but it was mostly bs right. We all agree. It wasn't a true story American splendor. I think we all liked. That's true I did like that. One disaster to throw in that one as well but those felt kind of true but there was again. Here's where they always get tripped up. I feel like it's like you know as a writer. Sometimes your job is to clean up the inherent messing this of real life and put facts in the context. That's very easily understood. And that means throwing away truth right if you have to be true to the story. Well that may not be a very good movie. Yeah life does not follow a three extra pressure. Yeah I do think that part of the problem maybe reason Al Pacino didn't like the script is Ronkovics was working on it and yeah it's the story is well. I read the book. I thought it was a very good book. I know that currently it is assigned reading in history classes for students that are learning about the Vietnam War and wanting to get perspective on the American soldier at that time and why it became such a controversial issue back home. And that's all great but I do think telling. This story is tricky. The book actually did it. Non Chronologically Sometimes Kovac would write in third person. Sometimes he would put himself in the story or he would distance himself but what comes across his voice most cleanly. What you hold on to is the fact that all of this is real and it's coming from a man with huge authenticity to make it with somebody else actors and if you don't accept that it's a true story is it a good story is i. Guess what I would say you. Were going to spend two and a half hours waiting for a guy to get woke is. I think problem with telling born on the fourth of July the way that this movie is going to be just as much of a problem is Oliver Stone who guys. He's kind of political when she say like He. He will politicized things and again. When you have a message you want to get across. That feels like it takes away from real life which is much more nuanced. Yes I have always had that problem with him sometimes. Muckraking is fun. Sometimes you really just want someone to be extreme until you their perspective and not look at any other sides but I think certainly in talking about the Vietnam War it begs a careful approach and stone is a Vietnam vet. He has a right to say the truth that he believes but it can make it all kind of one dimensional when talking about biopic though I feel like there's two different types there's the type of there's a famous person people care about this famous person and so we're going to capitalize on that by making a movie about them and into this. I'd put that Elton John Movie and Bohemian rhapsody. Ray Ali aviator these are movies that only exist because they're about famous people but then you've got the biopic about people. They're based on true stories. But these aren't people you know other than what you tell me about this being assigned reading in high school. I don't think the name RONCO VIC just rolls off People's lips and it certainly didn't back in the eighties. It may have been a known book. But Ron Kovic wasn't such a famous person that you would drop everything to make a movie about him. Thinking is going to draw in a fan base and I'd also say like the pursuit of happiness one of those. You know that Will Smith movie. It's based on a true guy and a true story but what makes it interesting. Is The story not the person? So that's what gives me hope about this one is? You're not telling me about when Elvis went to war. You're telling me about this guy and the story so that story must be pretty damn interesting and something that people think can be told in a two hour movie point taken but I would argue this much. Kovac would have been known because he was the proverbial Vietnam vet that got spat on like. You always hear that terminology when they came back. We spat on them. We treated them so badly. Kovac was really spat on on. Live television back. In the day nineteen seventy-two Nixon is accepting. We're GONNA see it in this movie you know. He's accepting the nomination. Oliver Stone said I was watching. Tv live when suddenly the cameras were talking to this guy in a wheelchair and someone came up and said you're not a patriot and went and so notoriety and fame but you know like people would have known that he was that guy and he became a face of the Vietnam protest along with Jane Fonda. Who again is the celebrity? You're talking about that. We usually focus on. I'm saying that people may have known I mean yes. He did speak at the Democratic National Convention back when Jimmy Carter was going to win the presidency. The book sold. Well I mean it was known but it's not like you're putting his name in the title you know when it's a famous person. Oftentimes it's the name in the title. Here it's born on the fourth of July. It is the date he was born. It's the title of his book. Which is the crazy thing. I'd never seen this movie before but I knew that title. Oh it tells me everything. Here's a guy that bleeds red white and blue is metaphorically on the fourth of July. And then he's GonNa get woke to the Vietnam War No. He's literally born on the fourth of July. That was a big shock for coming into. This film is so literal. That's kind of what I mean about adapting this. It's almost so ironic that it begs credibility it's like If it were true you wouldn't believe it like if someone just said I wrote the story and handed it to me. I'd be like well. Nobody's going to buy this and that's that's too much. You're pushing the envelope too much with this. We have to keep telling ourselves yes. This really happened. That's baked into the cake right. Like we have to accept that what we're being presented is factual and that makes it meaningful in a way that if it were fiction maybe it would be less. Well also I just think you hit on it. The eighties were a time for reconciling. The Vietnam War. I always remember and I think I might have even brought it up on a previous podcast. There was a time life book series called the Vietnam War and there were this ad where this little kid goes up to her father for his father. Dad What's Vietnam? I remember this. Yeah and then this voiceover. What's Vietnam a simple question? That doesn't have a simple answer by our set of eighteen books to know about Vietnam. It was in the Zeitgeist in such a way back. Then we were making amends was more important it was more meaningful in the seventies to talk about it but by the Eighties. The damage had been done. We felt guilty right. We felt bad that we hadn't done right by the soldiers. I think there's that I'm going to put forth my own theory too. We were winning the Cold War. At that time we were having a major victory and Korea and Vietnam. Were both wars. That were fought out of the Cold War because it was you know America versus Russia but Russia was using Korea and Vietnam as proxies so now we were able to claim some kind.