By: Movie Snurb –
For the month of May I’m going to do a six pack of War Films in honor of Memorial Day. This might be a recurring theme unless I get bored talking about war films. Hope you enjoy and lookout for my six-pack next month.
Saving Private Ryan
I decided to start off strong with what I personally think is one of the greatest war films of all time. This gritty and unflinching portrait of WWII boasting a brilliant cast led by Tom Hanks will simultaneously keep you on the edge of your seat and have you reaching for the tissues. It’s huge in size and scope but its visceral realness would have you think it’s a documentary. Partly based on an almost unbelievable true story of the Niland brothers, this film will touch you at your very core and make you proud to be an American. It might also make you wonder if you’re doing enough with your life.
Boulevard Brewing Co. – Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
For Saving Private Ryan you need a heavy beer to help deal with all the visceral horror in this film. Boulevard is a local brewery in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. They have grown in popularity with their Pale Ale and Unfiltered Wheat. But their smokestack series is delicious and their staple is the Tank 7. It’s complex and heavy but not too heavy with a hint of grapefruit. It’s a magnificent beer to go with a magnificent film.
One of my personal favorite war films, Lone Survivor is the true story of Operation Red Wings, the four Navy Seals that came under heavy enemy fire, and how Marcus Luttrell became the only survivor. It’s a powerful story and one that makes me truly proud to be an American. On a technical level Lone Survivor is great; the sound design and cinematography is brilliant. This is the perfect film to watch on Memorial Day and remember all of the brave men and women who have given their lives, just as Michael Murphy, Danny Diets, & Matthew Axleson did for this great country. Not many films have brought me to tears but this one never fails.
Jester King Brewery – Boxer’s Revenge
The perfect Texas beer to go with Lone Survivor whose Lone Survivor is from Texas. Boxer’s Revenge packs a nice punch of fruit and sour with an earthy undertone. It’s aged in Oak and Whiskey barrels to give it that nice fruit/sour taste and not to mention its whopping 10% alcohol content. This beer will keep you cool and calm while watching these poor men endure the heat and the stress of the Afghan mountains and the Taliban.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
A complex war epic that show the madness war can drive men to. This is a brilliant David Lean film about British troops who have been taken prisoner by the Japanese. Alec Guinness plays the Colonel Nicholson, who convinces the PoW camp commander to put his men to work. So the British are put to work building this bridge, whilst unbeknownst to Colonel Nicholson there is a plan to blow up the bridge. It’s a brilliant movie with many themes and it requires multiple viewings. It shows why you should take pride in your work, but also in your country.
BrewDog – Jack Hammer
Not available year-round, this bitter beer is only for the true hop heads in your life. This beer is very bitter, and full of hops, it’s a great summer beer for when you’re working outside either building a bridge or just mowing the lawn. Not only is the name perfect for watching this film, even though the soldiers don’t have a jackhammer, but it refers to that bulldog British spirit that got them through WWII.
The Deer Hunter
One of the greatest films ever made, The Deer Hunter is an emotional film that will stay with you for years. It follows three friends who enlist and get sent to Vietnam and become PoWs and are forced to play Russian Roulette against each other, which will change all of their lives forever. I could write a thesis on this film and you should check out my review I wrote for this site, but The Deer Hunter is such an impactful film not only because of the brilliant acting by De Niro and Walken but the writing and structure. It’s a long film, but it builds a solid foundation so that when everything comes to a peak it hits you 100x harder than any other film I’ve seen.
Rolling Rock – Rolling Rock
Rolling Rock is brewed in Western Pennsylvania and is the beer of choice of this tight-knit group of friends. After a long day at their hard jobs they go to the bar owned by a friend and put away Rolling Rocks by the case. It’s an extra pale lager with a nice light taste. I haven’t drank it since college, but come Memorial Day I’m going to bust out a 6 pack to drink while I watch The Deer Hunter. Maybe it’ll give me the itch to Karaoke “Can’t’ Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli.
Paths of Glory
Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 anti-war film is often overlooked in his filmography. It’s a strong film about Dax, a man with principles who tries to do the right thing even though it seems futile. Refusing to send his French army to battle knowing it’s going to get most of them killed and won’t achieve any headway against the German stronghold nicknamed “The Anthill.” When the commanding officers decides to court martial three men and make them examples of what happens when you don’t follow orders, Dax attempts to give the men proper representation, though the men don’t receive a fair trial. It’s a bleak film, but one everyone should watch as a reminder that war isn’t’ always black and white. The line between good and evil seems to be more gray.
La Debauche – Cognac Barrel
I am a fan of Cognac, which is probably why I’m choosing this French beer over any others. This beer also will pair well with this film because it’s quite bitter and has a dark amber/red color. Lots of bloodshed and the end may leave a bitter taste in your mouth. A bitter beer to pair with an Anti-War film, what could be better?
The Great Escape
Another PoW film, this time it’s American soldiers in Nazi Germany. Pretty faithful to the true story of dozens of Allied soldiers’ escape attempt from a Nazi Prison camp, and full of an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen, this is a great film to boost your American pride. John Sturges’ film runs long at nearly 3 hours and is slow moving, but it’s worth the watch for the great cast, acting, and its genuine humor. McQueen’s daring motorcycle stunt is an iconic movie moment and will make you feel like a badass. The Great Escape is a timeless classic and the perfect film to watch for Memorial Day to keep in mind all of the heroes that are captured or killed in the line of duty.
Pabst Brewing Company – Stag
Not the greatest beer of all time, but it’s an American classic that’ll get the job done. Just like the Allied forces in this film, they might not be the greatest men, or look particularly great, but they’re blue bloods that can get the job done. It’s got that classic American lager taste; sure I could’ve gone with Coors or Miller lite, but where’s the fun in that choice?