Week Twenty-Seven: Reading Bloods, Character Bio Fatigue, and Escaping with Martial Arts Flick Drive
July 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
July 8th, 2012
I had a lofty goal of getting halfway through Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War this weekend. That’s not happening. It’s the kind of book that you read one chapter and then put it down for a couple of days. The stories and the emotional and psychological state of those telling the stories are pretty intense. I’ll be working on reading this book for awhile.
The good news for me is that I can cross Apocalypse Now off my list of movies to watch to gain insight on a Vietnam War vet’s experience. Because on page 13 of Bloods, Private First Class Edwards says:
“I went to see Apocalypse Now, because a friend paid my way. I don’t like movies about Vietnam ‘cause I don’t think that they are prepared to tell the truth. Apocalypse Now didn’t tell the truth. It wasn’t real. I guess it was a great thing for the country to get off on, but it didn’t remind me of anything I saw. . . . I never saw us reach the point where nobody is in charge in a unit. That’s out of the question. If you don’t know anything, you know the chain of command. And the helicopter attack on the village? F***ing ridiculous. . . . The planes and the napalm would go in first. Then, the helicopters would have eased in after the fact.”
So no Apocalypse Now for me. It’s three hours long, and I did my three hour long movie duty with The Deer Hunter. On to Platoon.
I am sick of doing character bios. Seven. I have seven to do, five down and two more to go. Does anybody really care what someone’s earliest memory is? No! Why should I? On the other hand, I uncover a new plot point that I can develop with every new character bio I do. For example, the heroine and the bad boy in the novel can bond over the fact that both of them have disappointed their fathers with their career choices. And the heroine’s parents’ fights I now know were complicated by her dad’s PTSD. So, on with the character bios. I’m sick of them, but I love my characters that much more.
Sunday night I watched the 1997 martial arts movie Drive. Scott Phillips, the screenwriter of Drive, wrote in his blog that a soldier had come up to him and told him how watching the movie repeatedly got him through his tour in Iraq. That endorsement intrigued me enough to Netflix it. I really enjoyed this road trip buddy movie. Spectacular fight sequences, laugh out loud comedy thanks to Kadeem Hardison (a woefully underutilized actor), and a very satisfying ending. Kicking soundtrack—I was dancing around my house like a fool when the credits went up. I sure needed to watch something totally different to take my mind off the fact that I’m sick of doing character bios.