Saturday, March 29, 2008

STOP-LOSS. (i saw it)

I just got back from seeing “Stop-Loss” with my two friends. I honestly feel pretty empty…I don’t know what to say. The theater was pretty packed…there was a mixture of people. Couples in their 40s and 50s, several guys who had their dog tags hanging out of their shirts, a few party girls with unnecessary cleavage showing, lovebirds, a dirty hippie with disgusting dreadlocks, and the average wide-eyed American. I might ruin the movie for some of you, so stop reading this if you plan on going to see it. The movie started out on the streets of Tikrit…a platoon of men were running a check point and of course a few insurgents/the enemy/terrorists opened fire on them. They chased them in an alleyway and all hell broke loose. A couple Soldiers were killed or wounded…one seriously wounded…civilians also lost their lives and the insurgents/the enemy/terrorists met their maker. The firefight was graphic…blood, shrapnel wounds, gun shots and everything else in-between was in your face. One Soldier was shot in the neck and the audience gasped loudly. It was after this scene I realized I couldn’t stomach much more of this and we were only 15 minutes into the film. Almost like the straw that broke the camels back. The movie then went into the guys coming home to an all-American parade…some were getting out, some getting married, some staying in…typical Army life. However, within ten minutes of being back into civilian life, the platoon was drunk and fighting…and this was a reoccurring theme throughout the movie. The audience laughed when one of guys was driving drunk and hit a tree and said something clever when he woke up…they laughed when another guy was so shit faced he was digging a foxhole in his front yard because he thought he was on a mission. My friend Jessica was sitting next to me…as we were laughing, we told each other it really isn’t funny…but we couldn’t help but laugh. The movie gave a perception that Soldiers are alcoholics who just like to fight all the time…I didn’t agree with this. And it honestly made us look pretty bad. All the Soldiers struggled with nightmares, PTSD, falling back into normal life, trying to lay off the alcohol, and ultimately the decision whether or not to fight the “stop-loss”. The movie went from one extreme to the other…Soldiers who would do absolutely anything for each other to becoming divided due too much drinking and the effects of trying to feel normal again, from firefights to dancing at a bar, from being in love to losing it all, from two friends driving from Texas to Washington trying to get out of the stop-loss to visiting a comrade with a missing arm and legs and burns all over his face, from fighting a couple of thugs in an alley to visiting a fallen comrades house to tell his parents about the day he died…I could go on and on. The end of the movie surprised me…in a good way…it made me proud. I seriously wanted to walk out of the theater at least five times. Some parts were too real, I was crying, my friends were crying, I was laughing…I just couldn’t stomach it. I’ve watched TV shows and specials, documentaries, read books about the war…but part of me just broke down. It also made me think a lot about my current situation with the military…should I go back in or not. I couldn’t get out of the theater fast enough. We all went to the bathroom and talked about how cold it was going to be outside. When we finally made it outside, Jessica, Natalie and I didn’t say a word to each other. Finally, Natalie broke the silence when she told us her bathroom story… “some girl stuffed a pair of underwear in the tampon thing”. Classy. We finally found the car…only after some asshole in his truck almost hit Natalie as he was speeding through the parking lot. I asked them what they thought and Jessica said, “it was really intense” and that she’d tell me more later. Natalie proclaimed, “I’m gonna go to George W’s house and kick him in the dick-he’s a fucking moron. Fuck the stop-loss.” I also asked them after seeing that would they ever join…Natalie’s response, “FUCK NO!” and something about how the whole movie made everything look horrible. I believe Jessica said no also…or she might have just giggled. We came back to my house and told my mom she should’ve came with us. She asked if it was “anti the troops.” I swear my mom will fight anyone who says something negative about the troops. Natalie wanted to go home and sleep…Jessica was suppose to hang out but I wasn’t in the mood for company and I just wanted to be alone. They both left and I jumped in the shower.

The movie wasn’t horrible. I recommend it for people who are in the military or were at some point, for the older and the wiser. I still think it’s bullshit MTV is “presenting” this film and who it is suppose to target…it scares me. If you have seen it…tell me what you think


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey girl. i came across your blog via vetvoice and saw your entry on stop loss. a peace group here had a screening of it so i went tonight. as a non-military woman living in a big city where no one i know is even remotely involved with the war (except an ex who was sent to iraq from a reserve unit) i thought it was pretty compelling. it was very similar in theme to "in the valley of elah," which was also pretty bleak. i did read a lot of soldiers reviews on vetvoice and i think they do have a point that all soldiers portrayed in the films come from small hick towns and need a option in life. as a big-city resident, i do think that may seem accurate to us, as i don't see too many folks here looking to join up, despite the fact that my city has lost manufacturing jobs. and given the fact that i live in a city with a large population of african-americans who are poor, you'd think the military might be more of an option. i thought the attention paid to both PTSD and the "stop loss" situation were good. I thought it also showed that wars have many victims aside from terrorist/insurgent types. the poor girlfriend..cutest girl in town and both the hot men she liked were off to the war....who's really left? i wonder if that's what happens in small towns. i also thought that ryan phillipe's character showed what some soldiers must go through....and the difficult choices they have to make. joseph gordon-leavitt's character you did kind of feel was one that was pretty realistic.
the movies do paint a very bleak picture of war, but i figure that's not even the half of it. maybe there are soldiers who are lucky enough not to see heavy combat and are just marking time in the desert. but given the deaths and injuries over there, you have to figure that many are struggling back home even if they don't live in a little texas town. as a civilian, you wonder what's up with those who don't have PTSD...are they just that detached and military trained or are they quietly crazy? because even with training i think certain things are hard to take as a human being. but i'm not in the military i can only guess at that.
one good point that you make is the lack of representation of females in the military. i think THAT would be an interesting movie and a new take on things as so many women leave children and husbands behind. how do they reacclimate and why is it they don't seem to suffer from PTSD like men do? Or is it that they do...and we don't hear about it?

Thanks for putting up your view on the movie.

3/30/2008 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Long-time RN said...

So you went to see this movie after all! Nice review, I think I'll save the $$ for overseas flat rate shipping. Hollywood crappola!
Take great care,
Cathy B

3/31/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger GRUNTSHIT said...

ill probably check that shit out.. thats only a small percentage of soldiers a lot of guys I know are on their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th tours and like wise with purple hearts.

4/01/2008 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger JLC said...

I very much appreciate the time that you spent in composing such a detailed post about this movie. Like you, I am also a female vet at home now and I have also had to make a lot of tough choices about the IRR, Stop Loss, and whether or not I would return to duty and if so in what capacity. It made me feel a little less alone to know that someone else felt, as you put it, “Some parts were too real, I was crying, my friends were crying, I was laughing…I just couldn’t stomach it. I’ve watched TV shows and specials, documentaries, read books about the war…but part of me just broke down.” while watching this movie. That being said, I was also pleasantly surprised to find that you very concisely described one of the main overall problems the movie had that kept me from completely agreeing or identifying with it when you stated, “The movie gave a perception that Soldiers are alcoholics who just like to fight all the time…I didn’t agree with this. And it honestly made us look pretty bad. All the Soldiers struggled with nightmares, PTSD, falling back into normal life, trying to lay off the alcohol, and ultimately the decision whether or not to fight the “stop-loss.”

Recently, I wrote a blog post on my own page about what it felt like to be a female soldier both in the military and what it feels like to be a female vet in the civilian world. I commented briefly on the portrayal of women in the movie and the general lack of true to life female soldiers being depicted in war books and movies in general. I was actually surprised to notice that you didn’t mention the overall lack of female soldiers depicted in “Stop-Loss.” It might even surprise you to learn that it was directed by a woman. I would be very curious to learn how your experience has been as a woman warrior once you returned to the civilian world.

4/15/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger GI Kate said...

jlc, thanks for your comment. did you decide to go into the irr? i completely agree with you about how females are being portrayed...or not being acknowledged for that matter. before i saw the movie i posted about how i thought the movie was complete bs and how female soldiers weren't even mentioned ...and how the only female character was some hometown sweetheart. i know a female directed it and her brother served in the military. the film did horrible...made 4 million opening night. no one was paying attention and i'm honestly kind of glad. life has been are you holding up? i've been writing about my transition from iraq to home...hopefully, i'll be done soon and will post it. I’ll have to check out your blog

4/15/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous allie said...

the movie wasnt depicting a general view, it was one persons. at the end of the day a movie is just entertainment and if it teaches us something, its a plus. i liked the movie. it didnt bother me that female soldiers were represented. most of the soldiers i have known over the years were men from small towns.

i was in the military, and overall i would say it was the worst experience of my life and would recommend it to no one. the army's lack of proper leadership from the highest level (president) to LTs and even some NCOs. they hand out rank like they do suckers at the doctors office. somethings gotta give. theres a females perspective.

4/17/2008 11:34:00 PM  

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