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Friday, April 14, 2023

L is for Last

 A to Z Challenge

A Month At The Movies

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter L

Hello and welcome back to A Month at the Movies,  my contribution to the A to Z challenge for 2023.

This year I am copying from a myriad of other A to Z  challengers by reprinting the same synopsis about my theme with every letter.  You can skip over this part if you want to.  

I love movies and have decided to share with you a movie each day that I have enjoyed to one degree or another.  With each entry, I'll give a brief synopsis of the film, share a positive and negative review from Rotten Tomatoes ( a website, I didn't use much at all until preparing for the challenge), discuss its resiliency (the theme of the A to Z challenge this year), and other tidbits like whether the film may appear in my top 100 film list, which I have been revamping this year. I think that's enough in the way of introduction, considering you'll be reading it (hopefully) 14 more times this month.

Film: The Last Full Measure

Director: Todd Robinson

The title of this film is based on a phrase from the last sentence of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  

 It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The film itself tells 2 important stories at the same time.  The story of how William H. Pitsenbarger (Pitts) a 21-year-old USAF Pararescue saved the lives of soldiers in the aftermath of Operation Abilene in Vietnam. It also tells the story of how almost 25 years after Pittsenbarger died saving others how he was finally awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1990. 

The movie stars Sebastian Stan who Marvel fans know as Bucky/The Winter Soldier and who my wife (Hi Amy) didn't  know cause she only watches movies based on real things like The Muppets. Stan's character is tasked with doing a full review of Pittsenbarger to see if he can get his medal.  The star-laden cast includes William Hurt, Samuel L. Jackson,  Ed Harris, Jeremy Irvine and Amy Madigan as well as  Christopher Plumber, and Peter Fonda both in their final film roles.  

Positive Tomato: The way the story is told is fresh, the violence is not sensationalized at all, and the acting is top notch. Alan Ng - Film Threat

Negative Tomato: Unlike that medal that eluded Pitsenbarger's memory for decades, "The Last Full Measure" doesn't do it's hero justice. Garrett Mitchell - Arizona Republic

I wanted to include some more information I gleaned about the real Pittsenbarger in preparing for this piece. 

By US Air Force Photo - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Public Affairs [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6374172

By Ray Schmid (3APS), USAF - U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: DF-SD-03-17788, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14299554

A U.S. Air Force A1C William Hart Pitsenbarger, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, saves a Vietnamese soldier from a minefield at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam, 7 March 1966. Original description: "As the Kaman HH-43F Huskie (Pedro) hovers, Airman First Class (A1C) William Hart Pitsenbarger, USAF, Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) is extracted while holding a wounded Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) soldier from the burning minefield. The soldier lost a foot when he stepped on a landmine. Nobody could figure out how to extract the wounded soldier without tripping the mines. A1C Pitsenbarger said, "No problem, just lower me down on the penetrator, I'll straddle the guy, pick him up, and then you can lift me up." Risky as everyone knew that the prop wash could also set off the mines. A1C Pitsenbarger earned the Airman's Medal and Vietnam's Medal of Military Merit and the Gallantry Cross with Bronze Palm for this action." - Wikimedia Commons

Fitzenbarger's parents receiving the Medal of Honor on his behalf.

By TSGT Gary Coppage - http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123048972, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11691235


Resiliency: This movie has triple-strength resiliency.  The resiliency and valor of Pittsenbarger who gave his life to save men he didn't even know.  The resiliency and determination of everyone involved in getting Fitzenberger's Medal of Honor awarded to him posthumously.  Finally, The resiliency of writer, and director Todd Robinson, who it took according to Wikipedia 20 years to make the movie.  It was unsuccessfully pitched more than 50 times and when it did land a deal in 2007 the company was sold and the project shelved. Robinson and executive producer Sidney Sherman spend the next 10 years investigating alternate funding sources. Production of the film began in 2017.

Top 100: I love this movie. It is one of my 3 favorite war movies of all time. Seargent York and The ar Horse are the other 2 ( Pittsenbarger is played by Jeremy Irvine, who also starred in The War Horse). It is probably the most recently made movie in my top 100 and also quite possibly the one that the fewest people have ever seen I cannot recommend this movie strongly enough. 

1 comment:

Birgit said...

I do like war films and this sounds like a good one. We don't know enough of the people who were so heroic that it defies imagination. More should be given to men like him than morons who condemn heroic men, like John McCain, while combing their weird hair, playing golf and paying off hookers

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip