“If you make it good, they will come.” That’s what my friend Sarah said about war movies after reading a recent Washington Post article about how poorly the current crop of Iraq war movies are doing at the box office. Sarah is an Army wife and she is not surprised that recent movies about the war in Iraq have not been successful.
In the Post article, Paul Farhi writes “a spate of Iraq-themed movies and TV shows haven't just failed at the box office. They've usually failed spectacularly, despite big stars, big budgets and serious intentions.” Farhi asks, “Are audiences turned off by the war, or are they simply voting against the way filmmakers have depicted it?”
Sarah’s answer is, “Make a movie like 300, and people will flock to the theater. Make the soldiers the freaking good guys, and you've got yourself a hit; make them rapists or dupes or Tools of the Bushitler Oil Junta, and no one wants to see your damn movie.” It’s just about that simple, isn’t it?
There is no shortage of amazing stories of heroics coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I would love to see a movie about some of those on the Vets for Freedom National Heroes Tour or one about some of the heroes at home like Soldiers’ Angels founder Patti Patton-Bader.
The movies would not need to be jingoistic or simplistic or “rah-rah” to attract an audience. There is plenty of conflict and drama and grit in stories about the current crop of war heroes for the making of a great movie. And there is enough good being done by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere that it would be possible to make an honest and realistic movie about the war that is still positive and uplifting.