Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesdays Top-Grossing Reviews: 1998

Year: 1998
Film: Saving Private Ryan
Box Office Gross: $216,119,491
Awards: 5 Oscars, Best Director for Spielberg, also sound, sound editing, editing, cinematography,
Actors: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, and lots of cameos

I have a lot of respect for both Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg for using their enormous influence to bring attention to parts of our global history that might be forgotten as the original participants are no longer around to remind us. That said, it doesn't always make the greatest of movies (though some amazing documentaries). The first time I saw the beginning of Saving Private Ryan I was amazed, saddened, shocked, awed and about a dozen other emotions. Since that first viewing I usually fast forward to after the beach is stormed. It's just not something I can appreciate over and over. However, the rest of the movie is wonderfully rewatchable. Tom Hanks leads a small group of guys to find a guy named Private James Francis Ryan whose 3 brothers have been killed and thus he qualifies for discharge. There's lots of dialogue between smallish action sequences as the group makes their way across France to find Ryan. Ed Burns and Adam Goldberg are really terrific arguing the films main point that all lives are sacred, thus sending a bunch of guys through enemy territory to find one guy isn't a good idea. There's a fantastic scene that gets me every time when Hanks' crew is looking through a huge bag of dog-tags to find out if Ryan has already been killed. They're looking through them very abstractly commenting on the condition of them. However, a long line of troops is walking by and you can see it in their eyes the massive amount of death in the pile of tags. Giovanni Ribisi realizes what is going on and grabs them all and asks for some dignity. It makes me cry most of the time. The whole movie ends with an incredible (and pretty long) climax where Hanks' crew joins up with Ryan's to defend one of the last bridges still standing. They set up an elaborate defense and all kinds of action goes on simultaneously with the group translator (Jeremy Davies - recently of Lost) ferrying ammunition between all the scenes. It's just amazing. With Tom Hanks' final words to Damon being "Earn this" I also usually cry, but it's a pretty amazing moment. This is a terrific movie that can be rewatched due to its incredible dialogue throughout and all kinds of historical references that make more sense to me every time I see it.

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5 comments:

David Bishop said...

I love the brief cameo of Nathan Fillion (Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog) as the first Private Ryan they find.

Jess said...

David,
I'd never noticed that was our dear Captain Hammer/aka Mal. See, I learn something new every time I see this movie. Half the time I see it I recognize another new actor. Thanks for the heads up!

David Bishop said...

He was also Father Caleb in the final season of Buffy. I don't know that I can ever forgive him for what he did to Xander.

The Mad Hatter said...

The Fillion spot always gives me a smile. I also love the all-too-breif bits by Ted Danson and Paul Giamatti.

One of my all-time favorite movies...good choice!

Tony Tanti said...

Truly a great movie, makes me emotional every single time I see it. Still one of worst Academy choices ever to bypass it for best picture.