Tuesday, April 24, 2012
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM
(December 1987, U.S.)
Let me start out by saying (again) that I really miss the fame that was Barry Levinson. There was a time from the 1980s into the 1990s when he truly reigned supreme of great films on screen. Today it seems that a Barry Levinson just doesn't carry the weight it once did. One is only left with memories of what used to be. That being said, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM recalls a time during the late 1980s when films about the Vietnam war seemed to come out of every direction and included the great talents of Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick.
Levinson's film, in its own small but significant way, in my opinion, attempts to try and humanize the Vietnam war - I say again, humanize, from it's obvious ongoing laughs that we're treated to by the great Robin Williams' (the man speaks for himself so I won't even bother with the obvious!) portrayal of real life Armed Forces Radio Service DJ Adrian Cronauer who arrives in Saigon to boost the morale of our American soldiers in the field with his outrageous and spontaneous humor, his love for great rock and roll, and his irreverence for breaking the rules which repeatedly conflicts with some of the Army's more "stiff" members, particularly Second Lieutenant Steven Hauk (played by Bruno Kirby), the kind of man you'd NEVER want for a roomate! The great laughs are not the only element that serves to humanize the war. At this time of 1965, Vietnam is only experiencing a "conflict" rather than a full-fledged war. The cities are still (more or less) intact and its citizens are still friendly people just going about their daily business. The owner of the popular town bar is an overly-friendly type and the most (seemingly) beautiful girl in town has caught Cronauer's eye and heart.
As just your ordinary average Eric, I cannot possibly contemplate the life of a soldier during wartime. However, I do have my own thoughts and experiences regarding the great healing power of laughter and can only use my very vivid imagination to try and relate to a soldier's morale when it's boosted on a daily basis via the comedy of a great radio DJ. Do today's soldiers at war have the pleasure of being able to hear Howard Stern's antics while fighting abroad? If they do, that can only be a good thing.
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM is by far one of Robin Williams best film roles (one that doesn't involve being a doctor or a teacher, too) and this film is perhaps one of the few real funny stories about war that I've seen since Robert Altman's M.A.S.H (1970). When you watch, listen and laugh, you can't help but wonder if the real Adrian Cronauer was (or is) just as crazy on the radio as Williams portrays him to be. Frankly, if you were to see the man's picture on the web, you'd guess not. But any man who could have the last work on his superior by telling him, "You are in more dire need of a blowjob than any white man in history." (actually, Robin, I AM!) is my kinda guy!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Adrian Cronauer: "Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we'd all be put out in K.P."