November 13, 2005
THE MOVIE JARHEAD IS GETTING A LOT OF BAD PRESS, and according to the Los Angeles Times, it's not likely to make much money:
Not only did critics offer a mixed response to the film, audiences did, too. The picture earned a "B" grade from CinemaScore, which polls opening night moviegoers. A "B" may sound okay, but people tend to be kind in such polls. . . .
Marketing made "Jarhead" look like a profound war movie, with action and dark humor — an image buttressed by the use of rapper Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" in the trailer — as well as a perceived social relevance to the current war. The only thing "Jarhead" delivered on was the dark humor. Whenever there's a disconnect between what the audience expects and what the movie actually delivers, poor word-of-mouth will ensue.
Froggy Ruminations thought it sucked:
They might also have named it, “Cliché: The Movie” because it was basically the Gulf War edition of “Platoon” recycling tired military urban legends and patently false anecdotes. . . . This movie wasn’t so much a slander as it was a farce.
Marine Corps veteran Tom Neven has a similar take. And Donald Sensing isn't terribly impressed, either: "Perhaps as a retired Army officer I am at a disadvantage since I sat there mentally scoffing at some of the baloney. . . . Jarhead fails to meet Alfred Hitchcock’s number one requirement for a good movie: 'You have to have a story.'"
You know, I think Hollywood has been making cynical movies about the military -- movies that are supposed to be a corrective to the gung-ho John Wayne-era films about the military -- for longer than the gung-ho John Wayne era lasted. It's not fresh anymore, folks. (Some of Jarhead, apparently, is so stale that it came from someone else's book).
These viewer reviews are pretty unfavorable, too. I think I'll skip it.
After all, "Why watch a movie about war when you see it happening right now in the blogosphere?" Though in that particular war, all the combatants seem to be Andrea See wannabes.
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll emails:
Sure Jarhead will tank in the US, where that big swatch of flyover country (AKA the Red States) dominates box office receipts. I wonder if it will make money overseas though, where anti-American sentiment remains high, in part due to the horrible image of America cranked out by Hollywood itself.
Good point, and worth remembering when Hollywood types talk about how sad it is that people abroad are rude to them. Driscoll has more in this post.
Meanwhile, The Mudville Gazette notes some milbloggers who liked the movie.