Just watched the film, Catch-22. I read the book so long ago that I didn’t feel any need to compare it to the original, and so quite liked it. True, Mike Nichols seems unsure whether to go with Fellini or Marx Brothers in tone, but he is still able to squeeze out some truly memorable moments from his all-star cast. More to the point, the speech by the cynical old Italian man in the whorehouse, in which he explains how the Americans will come and go, but the Italians will still be there, could easily be spoken by an aging former Bathist in Iraq. Which set me to thinking: In 1970 the Vietnam war had been going on for longer than the Iraqi war has been now, but that year saw both Catch-22, and MASH. These films were were comedies, not attempts at brutal realism, and they were very strongly anti-War. They weren’t about the current war in Vietnam, but nobody in the audience could have missed the message. They were also put out by major Hollywood studios.
Where are films like that today? The closest I can think of is the Daily Show. This Amazon.com list of anti-war films lists some recent films, but the only one to come out since the current war began is Cold Mountain which is quite a different type of movie (not my type, I didn’t see it). Perhaps there are a few in the works, but it seems to me that Hollywood has lost its nerve.
One film I would like to see, which I missed when I was in Taiwan, is Three Kings. Here is an article about how release of the DVD was delayed till after last November’s election.
If you can think of any good anti-war satires or comedies of the last year or two (produced in the United States), please let me know.