Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Born on the Fourth of July


Yeah, Tom Cruise is a total dingbat, and I really hate his proselytizing for those hucksters known as the “Church” (what a laugh) of Scientology … but I have to admit the dude can act. This is the true story of Ron Kovic, a gung-ho soldier from a gung-ho family, who got his spine broken by a bullet in Vietnam and never walked again. It is a truly harrowing story, not fun to look at, but no one should look away. Especially anyone who thinks was is glorious or exciting.

This was the second in what is known as Oliver Stone’s (a veteran of the fuck-up in Southeast Asia) Vietnam trilogy, after Platoon and before Heaven and Earth. (Which I don’t think I ever saw.) He won the Oscar for Best Director, and Cruise was robbed of the Best Actor by Daniel Day-Lewis in the distinctly inferior My Left Foot. I can’t really say this was another instance of the Academy’s obsession with films about disabled people, since Cruise was in a wheelchair most of the film … but Christy Brown was more crippled, wasn’t he?