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Oct 30, 2006 2:14 pm

Burying Private Ryan

Why did Private Ryan do so well and Flags of Our Fathers so poorly at the box office?

Today the NYT tackles this question in a thoughtful piece by David Halbfinger.

Halbfinger surmises that during a war a movie about war is less appealing since real dead bodies are omnipresent. So it's no surprise that Flags is flagging.

It was easy, says one Ryan fan, to feel nostalgic for WW II when you" could put sort of a mental distance to it. Now if you see it happening on the sands of Iwo Jima, you know it's happening in Iraq, at the same time, and for a lot less noble cause."

No doubt all this is true. But there's another reason Flags isn't attracting much of an audience. It's not that the movie has come out too late to catch the WW II nostalgia craze. It's that it's come out too soon to catch the inevitable disgust-with-war craze.

We're not yet ready for Deer Hunter.

And this movie is in the same vein. While the movie celebrates the war the soldiers are fighting the undertow of doubt about the way it was sold is what drives the story line. And this parallels too closely what happened in the Iraq War.

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More Comments:

Stephen Kislock - 10/31/2006

The Military has lost it's luster, why?

I am a former Marine (peacetime), when G.W. Bush was appointed 5-4, I flew my Flag with the Stars Down, When G. W. Bush Invaded Iraq, I took the Staff down!

Sorry to be so Posting!