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Deepwater Horizon

Everything here feels routine—more like an inevitability than a work of art or even a piece of entertainment.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Don't see it in uniform

I am a frequent reader of your reviews, and usually appreciate much of what you have to say about movies, even those I never intended to see anyway ("Freddy got Fingered"? "This movie does not deserve to be in the same sentence with the barrel.") I am a military man, and have a brother at the Naval Academy, however, and so there are a couple of things [about "Annapolis"] I think need clarification:

Lt. Cole is not and never was a "marine drill sergeant." Drill Sergeants, per se, are Army, and in the Corps they are called Drill Instructors. Cole, in the movie, is a former Marine NCO. Until the end scene, he is a fellow Midshipman with Huard: he is a Firstie, or a senior. If you will recall his uniform as he boards the bus, it is that of a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant, or O-1. He would not have participated in Brigades had he not been a Mid. And Ali is also a Mid: probably a Second-classman, as she is not yet commissioned when Jake finishes his Plebe year.

The final event for a Plebe is called Herndon, a gruelling public teamwork exercise and rite-of-passage about three days after the graduates are commissioned. And, of course, too much like "the H-word!" to get any mention in the movie. Even the boxing was wrong: Naval Academy boxers fight with head guards on, and I seriously doubt their refs are Rocky-lookalikes. I briefed my brother on the film afterwards, and he says the Mids are forbidden to seen this film in uniform. The Academy did not authorize it, and disavows it now.

Lt. Josh Griffing, USAR
Fort Leonard Wood, MO

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