Gunner Palace


The movie Gunner Palace is a documentary about American troops serving in Iraq. The movie has yet to open in my neck of the woods (outside Chicago) so I cannot profess to  have watched it (yet), but amongst the reviewers have been CBS radio (4 Stars: A Must See), Rolling Stone (4 1/2 Stars), Entertainment Tonight's Leonard Matlin (An Extraordinary Movie!) and the New York Times (This is a movie no one should miss! Raw, intimate and improbably funny).

Yet despite these glowing reviews pulled from the local paper, the folks at NPR sourly review the movie here. Within the seven minutes of the review they are able to criticize just about every aspect of the movie and insert a few falsehoods, as well. The review begins with  language from one of the soldiers that is a just a wee bit short of the grammar police at NPR, who can so mellifluously roll out their government—funded spiels; in other words, soldiers sent over there are dumb.

The reviewer expresses that she was "bored" by the film about halfway through, thereby discouraging viewers from going to watch the film themselves. The NPR reviewer than talks about the revelation that these are after all teenagers sent over there. This is a somewhat doubtful assertion since the majority of soldiers over there are probably above the age of 20, given the minimum age that people can enroll in the military and the length of training that can be expected before deployment. There is a gratuitous reference to Vietnam (of course) and as a reminder of this metaphor we are serenaded at the end of the segment with an electronic version of the national anthem—similar to the version made famous by the Vietnam—era icon Jimi Hendrix.
Nice job, NPR, of attacking our soldiers. Can't you at least give them a break?After all, they too are government funded workers.

Ed Lasky  3 15 05