I was too busy yesterday, Veterans Day, to finish this post. I often watch a documentary or a movie on wars for this day. All of these shows are interesting, and I guess the reason for that is because there are so much action. The plot moves quickly and the result is inevitably dramatic. The little problem with these shows is that usually the women figures are stereotyped and very uninteresting. For example, for the movie “Enemy At the Gates”, the love story is quite unnecessary and almost spoils a perfectly good movie. Actually there’s another problem–it’s about the script. Most of the scripts are not the best. I guess the directors think war movies are so interesting that there is no need to hire the best writers to write scripts.
These are what I watched and read on wars. If you know any good show or good book on this topic, please let me know.
“Homeland”: This is a wonderful show and one just can’t stop watching it once one has started. The first and the second episode are not so quick paced, but the plot picks up quickly in later episodes. Carrie Mathison probably doesn’t even wear make up, no expensive outfit, no sharp language, no gun fight scenes, very few murder scenes even, but her character is so good, so convincing. One just can’t help being drawn to her and wanting more. I actually read one or two articles about the background of the show and I learned that the show hired consultants who really worked for CIA to give them pointers. It takes care all the details to make it real. Wish there are more TV shows like this.
“Mash”: This is a fun TV show I watched years ago. It’s about several surgeons working in the medical unit of the Korean War. I always thought the Margaret character, the head of the nurses, can be better, but she is only there to make other characters look good. I always feel that she is portrayed as selfish and snobbish deliberately. Actually there are ways to portray her as a good person and there can still be enough conflicts between she and Hawkeye to make the show funny.
“The Pacific”: I watched this 10-episode series, which prompted me to read “Helmet for My Pillow” by Robert Leckie and “Conflict: The History of the Korean War, 1950-1953” by the same author. The series is only very loosely based on Leckie’s memoir. And just one expects, the series adds an Australian love story, which doesn’t exist in the memoir.
“Enemy At The Gates”: I love all the movies with Jude Law in it and this movie is no exception. It was so long ago that I watched it that I can’t remember many details. Still I remember my interest and my love for it. It’s kind of like an old lover or an old friend. One can’t remember all the details but one can still remember one had a good time.
“Patton”: I wish I could watch this in a theater, but I could only watch it on TV in 1990s. It is such a good movie. And the script is wonderful too.
James Bond Series: I watched all of it, except the last one.
“Seven Samurai”: This is the best movie by Akira Kurosawa in my opinion and I have watched it once every two years. The beginning is a little slow, but it picks up steam in the second half. I just love it.
“Lincoln” by Gore Vidal: Although this book is not about war exclusively, it has a lot of Civil War in it. And it is very entertaining.
“Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943”, “The Fall of Berlin 1945”, “The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939” by Anthony Beever. I like all three books, especially the one about the Spanish Civil War, which was so sad when the bad guy won. He also wrote “The Second World War”, which was published in 2012 and I’ve wanted to read it but haven’t yet.
“Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War” and “American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964” by William Manchester. Love these books, but can’t recall any details of the books anymore. His books really inspired me to read some history of Korea and Japan.
“Asia’s Cauldron” By Robert D. Kaplan. The author really knows about Asia and he writes like a person who’s been living there for years, but actually he never really lived there, only visiting. He describes a lot of details of soldiers’ life and why they would prefer to stay, for example in Philippine, long after they have finished their military duty.
“The Secret History of the Mongol Queens” by Jack Weatherford and “The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia” by Peter Hopkirk. I always want to know more about Mongolians and people in Central Asia. There are not many books that I can choose from, but fortunately the ones I’ve read are really good books. I guess it’s because the authors who write these kind of books really enjoy their travel and their work. If they don’t like it, they would certainly have chosen something else to do.