July 13, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Patton

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Patton

Today's movie: Patton, 1970 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because I randomly came across it at my local library the other day and realized that it'd been a long time since I'd last seen it, the searing old-skool biography of the strategically brilliant but hotheaded World War Two commander, who basically sabotaged his own career over his complete inability to get along with others, a film that many people consider the best military biopic of all time.

The reality: Oh, daaaaay-emmmmm, what a great movie this is, a nice thing to have confirmed on my third or fourth watching of it. And indeed, it's easy to see why producer Frank McCarthy (a military veteran himself) spent over twenty years working on seeing this story finally come to the big screen, because Patton was an infinitely fascinating guy -- a literal believer that he was a reincarnated career soldier from the Roman Empire, he was known during WW2 for relying as much on ancient history books as modern weapons, but could just never get the knack of such concepts as international coalitions, having a boss, or the idea that war might cause as many mental injuries to a soldier as physical ones. And that's why, although the film intimates that he was a much better commander than contemporaries like Omar Bradley and Douglas MacArthur, his career was much shorter and less distinguished than these two, a man who in all likelihood would've retreated by now into the obscurity of history if not for this very movie (winner of that year's Best Picture Oscar, among other accolades); and along the way, this Spain-filmed epic is also one of the greatest War World Two films in history as well, blowing extravagant amounts of money to recreate famous battles on-camera in precisely detailed ways. A surprise megahit about war in the middle of the Vietnam era, both liberals and conservatives will find things to like in this surprisingly sophisticated script by Edmund North and Francis Ford Coppola, and definitely stands as one of those fabled "movies to absolutely see before you die."

Strangest piece of trivia: John Wayne desperately wished to play this film's main part, but was turned down by the producers.

Worth your time? Yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 10:43 AM, July 13, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |