Taking a Closer Look at the Record-Breaking ‘American Sniper’
Once again, Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" broke records in its second weekend out. The film, starring Bradley Cooper, only saw a drop of around 32 percent -- much lower than the standard film.
After finally seeing the film for myself, I can understand why it's doing so well at the box office and in the Oscars race. The storytelling from Eastwood, coupled with Cooper's portrayal of Texas-native Chris Kyle, are as legendary as the men themselves.
There are many levels and story lines here. The war itself, the relationship between Chris Kyle and his wife Taya, the cat-and-mouse game between Kyle and a rival sniper and the trauma of PTSD.
Let's address some of movie's critics. Michael Moore referred to snipers as "cowards."
From all accounts, Kyle spent a lot of time on the ground leading his troops on extremely dangerous missions. Not exactly a cowardly act. He also had a huge price on his head because of his reputation; just going out into the war zone was extremely dangerous for him in particular.
For those who call the movie propaganda, know that it hardly glamorizes war in any fashion. Kyle had deep emotional scars from his tours. But he felt a deep obligation to his country and brothers in the military; he's the kind of guy you wanted on your side.
You can argue all day long about right and wrong, but Kyle truly believed in what he said he was doing in Iraq: protecting us from evil.
The use of the word "savages" to describe the terrorists was also criticized. I counted four times the word was used in the movie, and most of them were after witnessing a (fictional) Iraqi insurgent nicknamed "The Butcher" use a drill to maim a child.
But if this is how soldiers really talk, why sugar-coat it for the sake of political correctness?
A Profile of Chris Kyle
If you saw interviews with Chris Kyle, you knew he was a happy-go-lucky guy with a goofy sense of humor. Cooper really seemed to nail his personality, as even Kyle's widow said she felt like it was watching her late husband at times.
I've grown up around guys like this: big hearts, big muscles and seemingly no fear. They can be misunderstood or taken the wrong way, but they will always have your back.
Kyle lost several friends and brothers on the battlefield, but he saved hundreds of lives. He sacrificed his life for others, and even when he finally gave up on life in the military, he continued to help veterans who were injured or still struggling with the war.
A Tragic End
If you try to make sense of Chris Kyle's death, you might drive yourself crazy. He lived through some of the most intense battles overseas and survived several injuries, and then was murdered in his home state of Texas by a soldier suffering from PTSD.
Perhaps his death brought light to the problem and countless others have been saved, but it's still a hard pill to swallow. He's definitely found peace since his purpose on Earth was fulfilled.
I don't know if "American Sniper will win Best Picture" at the Oscars. It doesn't really matter, to be honest. Why? Because it is far and away the most important picture.
War is hell -- there's no doubt about it -- but the soldiers in the middle of it are truly heroes despite what some might want you to believe.