Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what music is circulating through his space every Monday.
I often give and get book suggestions here, but I'm not sure if I have yet to devote a whole piece to just movies. Last Monday was Memorial Day, and I got a good movie list by just looking at the GUIDE feature on my Direct TV menu.
When forced to rank my top all-time films, I always lean toward older movies, Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra movies especially. I am also a huge history geek, especially when it comes to war. War has always fascinated me. It's such a brutal thing. I do love a good war movie, and so goes this list.
Crossfire, starring Robert Mitchum: This movie is almost film noir, and serves the little-exposed subjects of anti-Semitism in America and the directionlessness of some of our servicemen after World War II. Made in 1947, it sort of flew in the face of the mostly uplifting film fare that was happening then. The director was probably a damn commie!
The Enemy Below, Robert Mitchum: WAY before Das Boot, this movie highlighted the claustrophobia of submarine warfare.
To Hell and Back, Audie Murphy: This film is excellent for the fact that it's about the most decorated U.S. soldier of WWII, STARRING the most decorated U.S. soldier of WWII as himself. Audie Murphy went on to a lot of Westerns after this, too. A real man's man, indeed!
The Big Red One, directed by Samuel Fuller: Fuller was known during the '50s for his subversive film subjects. The Big Red One, released in 1980, uses a tone of excellent imagery to show the brutality and senselessness of warfare.
Hamburger Hill, Don Cheadle: One of my brothers who was in Vietnam told me once that Hamburger Hill was the most realistic of all the 'Nam movies. Hamburger Hill shows a Marine unit fight and die and fight and die some more just to take a hill, a hill that they vacate after they capture it. Futile . . . pointless . . . dumb . . . ridiculous.
Where Eagles Dare, Clint Eastwood: Eastwood, Nazis, and stolen gold. Need I say more!?
Kelly's Heroes, Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles: If you have to ask, then you are lame.
Wake Island (1942)
: This film is extraordinary in that filming started just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it serves as the very first of countless movies that would follow about WWII.
Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks: Probably the most vivid gore-showing and nerve-shattering flick about WWII. Tom Hanks is awesome.