Friday, April 10, 2009

Apocalypse Now, and forever*

*Not to be confused with this (not for all tastes) song.

It's amazing how overrated some Vietnam movies get.

And then there's Apocalypse Now.

IMO, if you line up the big Vietnam-set award winners -- The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July -- you start with Francis Ford Coppola's twisted journey up the winding Nung River ...

And then ...

And then* ...

*Andthenandthenandthenandthen ...

And then the rest.

I already talked about The Deer Hunter's problems. Platoon, meanwhile, is little more than a middling, straightforward war movie; I'll never get why it's listed among the all-time great films. As for Oliver Stone's activist-based follow-up, it has some harrowing bits, but doesn't compare to Apocalypse Now's bizarre, moody, labyrinthine journey.

Sure, it's weird -- in some parts, very weird (and very NSFW) -- but (according to history, anyway) the war itself was as much strange as it was brutal. Like the film.

Why Apocalypse Now isn't considered the quintessential Vietnam movie is beyond me.

Not only for the creative use of The Doors' The End (in the above clip) and Wagner (in the film's most famous sequence), but another bizarre music connection, late-appearing Dennis Hopper's first words in the film were sampled by the industrial metal outfit Ministry for the song N.W.O. (click the clip here if you dare; the sample first occurs at 0:15 ... yeah, I'm a nerd).

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