Whatever Happened to “Animal Mother”?

Animal Mother

I’m in a Joss Whedon phase since last year and last week I finally got a chance to watch his movie Serenity, a sequel to his early terminated series Firefly which I haven’t watched yet.

I’m not going to review the movie here, I just wanted to write about something that surprised me.

I don’t think that anyone who has ever seen Full Metal Jacket is likely to forget   Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin). It’s a controversial character and an iconic one at the same time.

Adam Baldwin

Even those only slightly familiar with Whedon’s work, be it Buffy, Angel or The Cabin in the Woods, know that he loves to cite, quote and allude. When I watched Serenity one of the crew looked uncannily familiar but I couldn’t say at first why. Only after half an hour it dawned on me “That’s Animal Mother” – and sure it was, or rather it’s Adam Baldwin, starring as Jayne Cobb. 18 older but still very recognizable. Cobb doesn’t only look like Animal Mother, he also talks like him.

It’s so typical for Whedon to take a character like this and to use him in a series like Firefly which is some sort of sci-fi/western blend. Just one of the many reasons why I’ve come to love what he does.

The War Movies of Mel Gibson: A List

There are several actors who have returned more than once to the war movie genre, Mel Gibson is one of them.

While I didn’t always like his characters or had a problem to forget the obnoxious man behind them, some of them are very good. Watching them all you can go chronologically through almost every major war. That’s why I didn’t order them according to the year they were filmed in but according to the year they were set in.

Two of my favourite war movies star Mel Gibson, one is the WWI movie Gallipoli, the other one the Vietnam movie We Were Soldiers. The latter, as good as it is, is also a problematic movie but I will look into that in a future post. I haven’t seen all of those mentioned below and am afraid that some, like Attack Force Z, aren’t exactly memorable. I tried to give them a star rating which is, of course, purely personal.

Braveheart (1995) 13th century Scotland. Inspired by the true story of William Wallace a Scottish rebel. 4*****

The Patriot (2000) American Revolution. An epic drama. A farmer leads the Colonial Militia after his son has been murdered by a British officer. 3.5***

Gallipoli (1981) WWI. Story of two Australian friends who volunteer and fight in the trenches of Gallipoli. 5*****

Attack Force Z (1982) WWII. Secret mission against the Japanese. Not seen probably 2**

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) Indonesia. Story of a reporter and a photographer. Not seen. Probably 3***

Air America (1990) Laos during the Vietnam war. A pilot is recruited by a corrupt CIA organization. Not seen. Probably 2**

We Were Soldiers (2002)  Gritty infantry combat and portrayal of home front. A bit glorifying but overall too gruesome to not be called anti-war. 5*****

Which ones have I forgotten? Which are the ones you like? Should The Bounty be included?

The All-star Cast that I Would Like to See in a War Movie

Jean Reno

Especially combat movies have large casts and very often the director and producers see this as a good opportunity to make it an all-star cast. I have said in another post which is my favourite existing all-star cast. But what if I could choose the cast? I would choose actors who are not already in many war movies but some that I like in general and therefore should be in it. Some of you are going to argue that Russel Crowe and Mads Mikkelsen are in war movies, yes, but I am talking modern-day warfare (I’m cheating, I known and,  yes, Sean Bean has to be in it.). Anyhow, I like my cast  but somehow I have a feeling I picked a few too many with super large egos… There might be potential for a lot of  behind the scenes warfare…

Russell Crowe

Edward Norton

Robert Downey Jr.

Denzel Washington

Sean Bean

Philip Glenister

Vincent Cassel

Djimon Hounsou

Mads Mikkelsen

I do see another problem… I have not a lot of private material… I should choose at least one younger actor.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

What about you, what would your dream cast look like?

Ridiculous War Movie Characters

Maybe I am going to hurt a few feelings here, I am sorry, but I can’t help it. I discussed war movie characters I liked, some that I found obnoxious and now it’s the turn of those I think ridiculous. There are not that many  (I certainly forgot quite a few). The question is probably also, what do I consider to be ridiculous.  Let me explain my choices.

4. David Schwimmer as Herbert M. Sobel in Band of Brothers. This is really a ridiculous character. He is insufferable and makes himself look ridiculous by misjudging his own capabilities.

3. Blackburn in Black Hawk Down. I do have my problems with Orlando Bloom outside of Lord of the Rings. Occasionally I do believe he shouldn’t have done anything else than Lord of the Rings. When I spotted him in Black Hawk Down I couldn’t help sniggering. On top of looking silly the poor guy has one of the most ridiculous accidents in war movie history. He falls out of the chopper before the action even begins.

2. Nicolas Cage as Sgt. Joe Enders in Windtalkers. I have spoken at length about Windtalkers in an earlier post. A lot of my criticism is linked to Nicolas Cage being just so outrageously ridiculous in this movie. Bad, bad acting. If you suffer from post-traumatic stress, please, don’t look as if you were  having indigestion. It is not becoming.

1. Mel Gibson in Braveheart. This simply beats it. Is anyone allowed to look this  ridiculous? He was just the wrong man for this role. No amount of kilt-wearing, long hair or war paint can make this guy look like some pre 20th century warrior. This cast was a total no-go. I can not even remember the movie anymore, I was so entranced by his appearance. Mel Gibson on his worst hair day. My absolute no 1. ridiculous war movie character. (Don’t get me wrong, I think he did a lot of very good movies, but this one was not for him). Actually, they should have let him ride a bike in it.

Any other suggestions?