Sunday, April 15, 2012

Battle Of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1986

Preparing to watch the Best Picture Winner of 1986 was shocking; Charlie Sheen is an actor and not just a crazed man who scrambles onto roofs, drinks Tigers Blood, and brought his rants to a city near you (that people paid money for!) on a ridiculous tour?

After a media fairy tale like that one, people can forget that someone was originally famous for a more standard reason. As in, starring in an excellent piece of cinema focused on the Vietnam War; Platoon.

For those not normally enraptured by movies covered in blood, bombs, and battlefields, this could be the one to change your mind.

Told through the eyes of Chris (Sheen) a naive young soldier, who actually volunteered to serve in the war, we get an intimate telling of the tragedies faced by the men in his regiment and those innocent civilians of Vietnam.  Really, everyone is just trying to survive.

Movies focused on war are so plentiful that it is considered its own genre. The Academy Awards often love these flicks, with the Best Picture being awarded to 12 in history (From All Quiet On The Western Front - The Hurt Locker) that have been entirely, or predominately, focused on war.

In this case some may be wondering; what makes Platoon so special?

First of all, it has director Oliver Stone, who, after serving in Vietnam himself, masterfully creates the suspense and terror these men had to face. Drawing from his own experiences, Stone doesn't let us forget the brutality of men fighting men. It is both action packed, filled with explosions and gun fire, but Stone doesn't forget the quiet moments of patience between enemy strikes.

Heightening many of these moments is the haunting music, and it utterly makes the movie, as a sense of eerie beauty forms over the battlefield in each moment the sprawling Adagio For Strings plays (which my orchestra played in high-school, jealous?).

It also helps that Stone threw together an excellent cast to play the rest of the soldiers. From a some-what unknown Johnny Depp to scene stealers like Willem Defoe and Tom Berenger, Platoon really excels with these fine actors.

Dafoe is a badass, like usual, and gives the performance to remember (and was nominated for an Oscar); one of his scenes in particular is entirely epic in nature and is the most replicated clip. (Spoiler alert: Click ahead to check it out.)

You may think you have seen enough war movies, just like I thought, but if you haven't seen Platoon, there is a huge chunk of movie history that you have missed out on.

Next up: one young boy becomes, The Last Emperor.

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