Prayer Focus
Movie Review


MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for pervasive language, some violent images and strong sexual content

Reviewed by: Jonathan Wooten

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
War Action Comedy Drama
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 4, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Lucas Black, Chris Cooper
Director: Sam Mendes
Producer: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Sam Mercer
Distributor: Universal Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures Distribution

What is the Christian perspective on war? Answer

Welcome to the suck

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Based on former Marine Anthony Swofford’s best-selling 2003 book about his pre-Desert Storm experiences in Saudi Arabia and about his experiences fighting in Kuwait. “‘Jarhead’ (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows Anthony Swoff, a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper’s rifle and a hundred-pound ruck on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don’t understand against an enemy they can’t see for a cause they don’t fully fathom.”

Wow, this is one bleak movie. Its basic goal is to borrow the themes from the best Vietnam War films (“Apocalypse Now,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Platoon”) and place them in the setting of the 90’s Gulf War. “Jarhead” is peppered with the music, images, and in jokes from these classics (the soldiers are even shown watching them during R&R). As with most cover bands though, it just makes you wish you had gone to see the original instead.

There are no likeable characters or instances of redemption here. We follow a recruit (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his platoon from boot camp to the wars premature end. Our lead starts out as a bright but directionless kid whose family has a history of service (guess which war) and ends up coming home quite damaged. The sad thing is that this is not a totally inaccurate depiction of some soldiers, and the film is in fact based on a Gulf War vet’s book. But “Jarhead” ends up being such a downer because it leads us to believe that the vast majority of those who serve have their spouses cheat on them and inevitably come home a wreck.

There’s not much spiritual content to mention. Jamie Foxx’s drill sergeant character is seen reading the Bible and thanking God for The Corps, but also has a foul mouth like everyone else in the movie. We learn little about Gyllenhaal’s characters religious beliefs other than he wants his dog tags to state “no preference.”

It should be mentioned though that there are a couple of solid performances. Jamie Foxx truly has the chops. He plays an authority figure with an unusual amount of depth. Peter Sarsgaard is also a gem who steals scenes the hard way with quiet restraint. Like Charlie Sheen in “Platoon”, Jake Gyllenhaal is a serviceable narrator (though he obviously never got the memo stating that men shouldn’t cry in films unless they are a really good actor).

Though set in the early 90’s the filmmakers try subtly to put it in the context of the current Gulf War. They want to point out that we are still in Iraq and the reasons mostly involve oil. This is definitely a worthwhile subject to debate but the film’s position isn’t particularly fresh. “Jarhead” makes no points that haven’t already been made or are worth paying ten bucks for.

Possible Objectionable Content: Almost constant profanity and sexual dialogue, nudity and raw sex scenes, for a war movie, the violence is not that graphic, but this is still an R-rated film to the max.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments


Positive—…the list of “accurate” war movies includes “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, which has actually very little to do with the real historical events and was largely embellished by director David Lean. For a much more faithful retelling I suggest watching “To End All Wars” which was made under the supervision of real survivors of the camp. To pick another, “Saving Private Ryan” is not based on any one particular military figure, and uses plenty of the language that is being decried throughout these reviews.

I am not defending “Jarhead” here, it stands for what it is without my help. …I watched this film with a friend of mine who was in fact a Marine who just returned from Iraq last month. His only comment after the film was, “Wow, that really sums up about everything I saw over there…” I would say that most people would be somewhat shocked by this movie, but anyone with a brain can look at the other movies Sam Mendes has directed (“American Beauty”, “Road to Perdition”) and realize exactly what viewpoint he will probably take here. The language is rough, it’s how Marines (not to mention people who aren’t Christians) talk. There is not really any physical violence, just some remains of air strikes. The sexuality is also there, but none of it is intended to be erotic in the slightest. It just contributes to the darkness of the movie…
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5

Tom, age 21

Positive—I thought this film was very thought-provoking and powerful, although, I don’t want to see it again any time soon. The direction by Sam Mendes and the acting from just about everyone in the cast was superb, especially the performances from Peter Sarsgaard and Jake Gyllenhaal. My best friend just joined the Marine Corps, so I went to see it with his dad. While I thought the profanity was over the top, I also realized that different Marines have different experiences, and while some of the aspects of this film may have seemed over the top, this seems to have been Anthony Swofford’s experience in the Marines, and I don’t see why he would waste his time and tell lie after lie. Not all Marines are squeaky clean role-models. Some of my friends have just come back from Iraq, and they’re not exactly sterling examples of discipline and good behavior. It’s a rough lifestyle for some. However, this film was very insightful, and gave you a good idea of what war is like from the Marine’s point of view. I recommend it, but with heavy caution. It is definitely not for anyone under the age of 18. There are three scenes of strong sexuality and ROUGH, ROUGH language.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
Adam, age 23
Positive—I watched this film with a bunch of friends (we are all Marines), and we thought the movie was great. Society portrays the women and men defending our country as these great saints who love their job. In fact, that’s the complete opposite for most military personnel I know. I think everyone in the military who is an E-4 and below can relate to this movie and see that this is pretty much how life is in the Marine Corps for a lot of men and women. A lot of them got to boot camp and realized that this was not something they wanted and are counting down the days till they get out. The language is offensive, it’s how every Marine I know talks. As for the cheating wives, in all honestly, most every military wife I know on every base I have been to has cheated on her husband at one point or another, and it is the same can be said for the husbands. I would not recommend this movie for children, but I can say from personal experience that this is the most realistic movie I’ve seen that portrays at least for my friends and I, the lives we lead in the Marine Corps. It doesn’t sugar coat for the world, our thoughts and/or actions.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
Christiana, age 21
Positive—I was over there, and I think its about time they show all of the bad stuff that goes on both over there and on the home front. Its not the great War like WWII, and not all of the home front realizes just what we go through over there on a daily basis; it’s much worse. As far as the language and everything goes, sure it’s offensive, but its about Marines; it wouldn’t be accurate without all of it. …
My Ratings: Average / 4½
BDD, age 20
Positive—I am shocked to see so many negative comments about this film. My husband is in the Marine Corps and has been to Iraq. He loved the movie, and said it was an accurate portrayal of how Marines are mentally. I don’t know how many of you read the book, but that was the point of the movie—to show what Marine go through psychologically. I realize there was pretty graphic sex and nudity, and violence, and swearing, but that is a big part of the military life, like it or not. Marines are trained to be killers. When you have a job like that, you are going to be a little different mentally. Both of us are strong Christians, and very conservative politically. However, neither of us felt that it was anti-war or liberal. The only liberal thing was the comments about the war being about oil. Otherwise, it was accurate. War is crazy, and its not liberal to show that. Younger people or people that don’t want to see nudity or sex should probably skip this one.
My Ratings: Average / 4
Katie, age 20
Positive—…JARHEAD is a strongly acted, well directed, fascinating movie that tells the story of one Marine in the Gulf War. The claims that the Marines are not like this are worth making, but no more accurate than the movie claiming that all Marines’ experiences are like this. If it were completely untrue, then so many Marines (and troops in general) would not be embracing the movie as their experience. And if it were the norm of everyone in Desert Storm, so many troops would not be decrying it.

It is important to remember that JARHEAD is the story of ONE man. It is his experience, and every time I see a movie like this, I feel privileged to be allowed to see that character’s world. Even if the character is entirely fictional, the mere existence of a character depends upon his or her honesty and vulnerability. With movies, we are allowed to see worlds that most of us would never get to see. That is the benefit of a movie like JARHEAD. I get to see Swoff’s world.

As a film, JARHEAD is well made. It is beautifully filmed—some of the scenes of the troops walking around the desert during the burning of the oil wells are so beautiful. The scene of Swofford and Troy walking back from their aborted mission is shot particularly well. …

Content: Yes. They swear a lot, but that’s life. I know people who swear nearly as much as these Marines, and I don’t think it’s unbelievable or over the top. Yes, there is some sexual content that makes for potentially uncomfortable viewing situations. It’s rated R for a reason. Some people say, “I wouldn’t recommend it for children,” but that’s an absurd statement. It’s not that it’s not recommended for children—it’s not for children. Of course, people shouldn’t be taking their kids. It’s not a kid’s movie. (But in the same way, certain foods are not for kids, certain drinks, activities, etc.) I don’t know whether or not the graphic sex in the movie should have been included the way that it was, but it was not overwhelmingly offensive. …

Directing: Excellent. Captured the restlessness of the men. Writing: Excellent. Also captured the restlessness of the men, but did more than that. It showed how a good man (Swofford) in such a soul-sucking situation, can do things he would be ashamed of. I’m thinking specifically of the incident with Fergus, in which he threatens to kill the younger, more inept recruit. The narration is well crafted. There are even a number of very funny parts.

Acting: Excellent. Gyllenhaal’s a great actor (see: Donnie Darko, THE GOOD GIRL, MOONLIGHT MILE), and I definitely think that the original reviewer was wrong to criticize his crying/acting. Jamie Foxx does a fine job in a role that doesn’t require much depth. Best of all, though, is the incredible Peter Sarsgaard, one of the best actors working today. Just check out THE SALTON SEA, GARDEN STATE, and BOYS DON’T CRY for evidence of his talent. He again is amazing this time. What one reviewer thought of as a ridiculous scene of someone throwing a tantrum was an incredible piece of acting. Sarsgaard’s character is a good person who has been taught to do one thing. Yes, he gets his hopes up about killing someone. Yes, he begs and pleads to be allowed to do so. And when he is denied, he is weeping for the denial, not for the fact that he’s not allowed to kill someone. He is weeping for the pointlessness of his life.

Themes: Interesting and relevant. That’s all I’ll say. Overall: Very offensive, but quality 4 filmmaking. I would not say that this is my favorite movie of the year, or even my favorite war movie, but it is quite fascinating and worth the time of a mature adult viewer.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
Liz, age 23


Neutral—I myself am a Christian and a member of the Navy. I agree that this movie had many unnecessary elements and is not something I would recommend for younger people. Although, sadly, I believe it is a decent portrayal of military life. There are Christians in the military and faithful wives and girlfriends, however, many are unfaithful. Also, I believe that it portrays how many people in our military actually do spend most of their time in this war that we are in. There are those who do actually spend time fighting and facing actual combat, but there are still quite a few who spend their time just waiting for something to happen. Thus, they are forced to find ways to entertain themselves with what little they actually have over there. Add on top of this the fact that though most people in the U.S. CLAIM to be Christians, few truly live their lives in appropriate surrender to Christ, and you can see how that does accurately portray at least a part of the American military, including their spouses and significant others. I myself have seen climates like that in my work environment, and I’ve also seen clean, and more morally acceptable climates as well. Thus, while this movie does not portray all of the military, I believe it portrays at least an element of it.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
Richard Mueller, age 23
Neutral—I am amazed at many of these comments. Do not go to an R rated war movie and then get shocked when it is full of profanity and violence. Furthermore, if you leave the movie theater feeling “happy” or “uplifted” after watching a movie about Marines in war (or Marines anywhere) then you have just been lied to. What frightens me about much of the response I’ve heard about this movie is that it seems to me that people WANT to be lied to. Politicians AND civilians want to cram the experiences of those who fight in wars into their own ideas concerning “what it is all about.” I don’t see the so-called political messages so many claim exist in this movie. Most people don’t realize that the fighting man has little use for Republicans or Democrats or anyone else who quarterbacks a war from an easy chair or their living room sofa.

Several scenes are clearly exaggerated for the purposes of “entertaining” people. Most of the content of this movie is not exaggerated from where I sit, however. The profanity, infidelity, lack of purpose, a sense of hopelessness and a general feeling of discontent and BLEAKNESS are all pretty accurate. All of you folks claiming that the military if full of happy, well-functioning families must be in the Air Force or something. I was a committed bachelor for four years in the Marines and would never have gone to war and left a girlfriend or fiance back home. That’s practically suicide. Every strip club in town had amateur nite the day after we deployed to Iraq in 2003. Jodie never had a chance to steal my girl because I was never issued one.

Don’t go see this movie if you don’t want to be offended. Don’t go see this movie if you don’t want to watch 2 hours of immorality that ultimately seems to have no point. If you did and don’t like it, be thankful that you only had to endure 2 hours of it and not 4 years. Let me ask you, brothers and sisters in Christ, do you honestly believe that you might not find out something disturbing about yourself if you signed up to be a jarhead? Semper Fi
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3½

Ed, age 29


Negative—Anthony Swofford’s story made into a movie “JarHead” is so far from the truth of what our men and women in uniform are really like it is a slam to our country and a slap in their face. I served as a Drill Sgt. and was a paratrooper for 23 years. I never used such language and never permitted its use in my presence. Most professionals did not as well. The young men and women I trained never behaved in such a manner. The opening scene would have brought an immediate court marshal for the attackers on the recruit. Our soldiers are so much smarter than was portrayed and are much more disciplined. Swofford must have had some type of psychological issues to think his story was normal. Perhaps he saw such things, but his story is exactly what Hollywood loves, anti-American, anti-truth and anti-God. Don’t go see it and degrade our soldiers.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
Rick Davis, age 54
Negative—I went to this movie because my husband requested that we see it. He is am ex-marine and trained at Camp Pendeleton. The movie was trash. I felt so disrespected and saw no honor even in the officers. My husband’s response was “it did not make him proud to be a marine.” In his Vietnam experience, he did not see men behaving so horribly, and he felt there was more comradeship than demonstrated and not so much cruel criticism and sarcasm over another’s pain.

I had to close my eyes over and over again, and not because of violence, but because I do not wish to watch men masturbate or women video themselves having sex with the neighbor to send it to her husband in the war. It makes me sad to think that this film may be considered “entertainment”.

I regret going to this movie, and I feel defiled by having gone. Please do not support this kind of filmmaking, we are sorry that we did. I wasted 2 hours of my life and twenty dollars.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
Cheryl Anderson, age 54
Negative—…I am so sorry I did not check the reviews on this site before wasting money on this piece of anti-military agit prop filth! I have not heard the F-word so many times in my entire fifty years of life. In the first five minutes, it is used practically every other word. I couldn’t believe it. I know that the R-rating should have warned me off from this, but silly me, I remembered that “Patriot” was also rated R and was an excellent movie, even though it contained quite a lot of violence. So, anyway, I though this might be similar. Big mistake! Do not waste your money on this movie. It is so offensive that my husband and I as well as the couple we were with walked out after no more than 10 minutes. I was so distressed at the utter filth and decadence attributed to our military. I should have known better than to expect Hollywierd, in this day of anti-war chic, to actually make a movie which positively portrays our military. Very disappointing and distressing to think of all of the viewers of this movie who will believe that this reflects the true nature of our valiant soldiers. OUTRAGEOUS!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
Margie Leazenby, age 50
Negative—I was extremely offended by this this film from the very beginning and wish that I had left because the movie never recovered from the beginning. The opening scene involved extreme profanity and continued on showing next to pornography during it’s sex scenes, as well as masturbation, unfaithful wives/husbands and death/suicide. I believe that it degraded the meaning of war and the reason that we fight for our freedom. I went to this movie expecting war scenes and showing the reasons behind us taking part in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, but left feeling disturbed and knowing I had wasted my money.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
Erinn, age 20
Negative—This is another deceptive, disgusting, anti-American movie that tries to convince you that most military soldiers are depraved idiots and that the war was only about the President’s personal gain. The inclusion of pornographic sex scenes was very offensive. If the subject of the scenes was so important to the plot (the highly questionable idea that most spouses and girlfriends were unfaithful during the time of war), at the very least, they could have been “alluded to” without actually being shown.

What an insult to our soldiers, to cast them all in the same group as the one with deeply personal problems who the movie is based on. The poison inside taints his whole view. I would strongly discourage anyone from seeing this movie, especially with children.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
Tony Kanon, age 50
Negative—Last Saturday night, my husband and I went to see Jarhead. As a military family—my husband served in Vietnam, my 19 year old son is in the Army Reserve—we’d talked about going to see it together, but our son was off at a monthly Army Reserve training week-end. However, we knew he might go with some of his buddies, so we might all end up seeing it anyway. When we got to the theater, it was fairly full—a good sign, we thought—and the movie began. 12 hours later, a few hours before church, I was still angry, outraged and feeling soiled and betrayed. …

I’m surprised that the Marine Corps hasn’t lodged a loud complaint about how it is portrayed in this movie. To say that the movie is lewd, crude, coarse, obscene, profane and without one socially-redeeming virtue is an understatement. It offers not a single positive portrayal of a professional Marine or recruit.

In fact, it’s a total slander against the Marines, and by extension, the military. This is Hollywood’s idea of what war is like today, complete with all the worst stereotypes. We actually thought we’d walked by mistake into an Oliver Stone anti-war movie. We could hardly restrain ourselves from yelling out the truth as the movie unfolded. It was pure lies. [Of course, Hollywood also gets the Ten Commandments wrong: in one scene, Staff Sergeant Jamie Foxx tells the recruits they’ve been told all their lives “Thou Shalt Not Kill”—making the typical Hollywood mistake of not knowing it’s actually “Thou Shalt Not Murder” and that there are times when killing another person is not immoral, including in a justified war.]

It depicted events that never happened in Desert Shield/Storm and got events that did happen seriously out of sequence to make some sort of dramatic point that was pointless anyway. What, do they think no one who was alive in 1990 and watched the entire war on CNN is going to go see it? And at the end, they threw in the standard Vietnam vet sad sack/loser stereotype, in case we didn’t get the point that “war is always the same” and creates emotional cripples of anyone who goes to war (if they weren’t already deranged, which most of the characters were).

Not only was it a bunch of falsehoods about the military/Marines and the first Iraq war, but it was also intended to show men in the absolute worst light. It depicted totally crude and lewd behavior by nearly all of the men in this small unit, including the youngest. Women are totally objectified, and relationships are only portrayed pornographically. It’s definitely something you won’t take your 15 year old son/daughter or 75 year old father to see. If any parent thought for a moment that their 19-year son or daughter (given the Left’s push for women in combat, I’m amazed there weren’t any female Marines in this) would have to go through something like what this portrayed—both in Basic Training and in the field—none would ever consent to them enlisting (assuming they could prevent it). Perhaps that was the director’s intention?

What amazes me is the lack of outrage from any of the reviewers who should know better. Most of the reviews I subsequently read online show their ignorance of both Desert Storm and of the military, e.g., they buy whatever Hollywood sells and buy into the Left’s anti-military/anti-war propaganda. Even the Wall Street Journal’s reviewer seemed to just accept at face value that this is the way young men are today—all sexually experienced by the age of 20, already jaded, none able to speak two words without injecting the f-word, etc.

…I also know that the military is an honorable profession full of disciplined and moral professionals. …
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
Carolyn Abbott, age 59
Negative—…the worst movie my friends and I have ever seen. We walk into the theater thinking it’s going to be a great war movie, packed with action and heroism. What we saw was the complete opposite. “Jarhead” was filled with the perversion of sex! I mean it’s sad when a girl knows that most guys are usually thinking and talking about sex, but when its all there on the screen, raw and uncensored, it becomes a little disturbing. I mean was it really necessary to throw in the masturbation scene and that… long and raw sex video scene? It’s sad to think that all of that could really be true and probably is. And, to top it all off, viewers adapt to hearing “f-this”, “f-ing mother f-er”. Another sad thing is that most people will still go see “Jarhead” after reading reviews saying “it won’t affect me,” that’s a lie. To truly see again what life is without God, is downright disturbing and soul-wrenching. I can’t stop thanking God for saving me from that kind of life. So basically, just don’t go see it, it is not worth your time or money or the energy you will use to put it all out of your mind after seeing it.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3½
C, age 19
Negative—Do not go see this movie. It’s very offensive and very anti-american. Take your money and go buy a copy of “Black Hawk Down” if you want to see a good war movie about how our military really operates.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
JR, age 26
Negative—The was by far the worst movie I have ever seen. I thought it would be violent due to the “R” rating, but I wasn’t prepared for the sexual content. I left during part of the movie when all the “betrayal” in the relationships and sexual promiscuity was portrayed. Sitting on a bench outside the theater, I prayed that God would forgive me for going to see such a horrible movie and to cleanse my memory of the scenes I had just let my mind see. I left the movie feeling “dirty” and violated! I wish I had never gone to see it.

On so many levels this movie was immoral and wrong. My son is almost 19 and considering the military. Now, after seeing this, IF this is a true characteristic of the services, I do not want him to join. I do doubt that it is a true characteristic, but just a sharp jab to our wonderful military and President—from Hollywood. How sad that someone would make a movie like this to dishonor our soldiers! Please DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE… YOU WILL REGRET IT!! I did!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
Gina, age 41
NegativeOliver Stone will be very happy with this adaptation of “Jarhead” and probably be a bit sad that he did not direct this movie himself. First, we have “Platoon” that picks out the worst things in American warfare during Vietnam, and then we have the bomb “A Thin Red Line” that completely lies about America during WWII, and now we have “Jarhead” that just makes American military look like uninspired and unpatriotic freeloaders.

To my dismay, “Jarhead” is a surefire hit and sure to be a winner at the box office opening weekend. When I first saw this movie, I could not help but compare it to the numerous war movies that I have seen in the past; movies like “Navy Blue and Gold”, “They Were Expendable”, “Sergeant York”, and “The Longest Day”. Movies that taught you to believe that the men in uniform are soldiers who love this country and that being a soldier was an OPPORTUNITY not a job. Movies that show soldiers as men born to serve their country and, ultimately, to die if necessary. Movies that made you believe it is all worth it no matter the price. Movies like “Heartbreak Ridge”, the D.I., and “Patton” show you the absolute hell that troops had to go through in Basic Training in order to prepare for what may lay ahead; that show Basic Training not being a place where you merely go to learn a skill but a place where you learn how to become a MAN. Movies where a Drill Instructor pushes the troops to the edge, cusses at them, humiliates them, berates them, and eventually loves them. Yes, I said loves them. The emphasis was not on the abuse but on the drive to bring out the very best in the men and by so doing, hopefully save their lives and many more.

“Jarhead” is a complete and total contradiction to the way movies were made and the way the troops feel, in my opinion. “Jarhead” is the “would-be-true story” of Corporal Anthony Swofford’s life in the Marine Corp and his experience during the first Iraq Conflict, “Desert Storm” in 1991.

“Jarhead” is adapted from the book written in part by Swofford, and it follows the book pretty much to the T. Instead of delivering a heroic tale of a man who was driven to bring out his very best, we have the story of what I hope many do not believe to be the modern day soldier; a man who b*****, whines, and complains throughout his whole experience; who cries on a whim, and who says that he was abused during basic training, because he was made to play the bugle, bugleless, in front of his fellow soldiers. (He did in fact have a “blanket party” when he first arrived, and his head was knocked against a locker.)

“Jarhead” is the story of a man who complains from beginning to end about how boring life was during his stay in Iraq “protecting the oil fields.” It is the story of a man who contemplates suicide, and even murder of his fellow soldier, because his girlfriend cheats on him. It is the story of man who disrespects authority on a regular basis and breaks rules whenever he feels like it. “Jarhead” is the story of a man who, almost as soon as he arrives in Iraq, tells his Commanding Officer that he made a bad decision, and he wishes he’d never signed up. He believes he’s only in Iraq to protect the oil interest of the President.

What I found interesting was the amount of attention paid to the time the soldiers sat around doing nothing while waiting to fight a battle that never really came. They kept showing a clock marking the passage of time with voice-over by Jake Gyllenhaal. You might expect, when talking about mass boredom, that the clock would show years passing, but not here. What you do see is a clock that shows just over 62 days. This, my friends, was supposed to be a long time. What happened to men waiting for war for years? What happened to years of waiting for nothing to occur in different parts of the Vietnam War? What about the South Pacific where they were waiting for battle for years while relaxing and making up their own fun? Here this is portrayed as a detriment to the mental well being of the soldiers and borderline abusive.

The director paid special attention to showing the tedium of men writing letters home, sitting on tanks, playing football, and of course showing the Commanding Officer abusing the men because he made them do a training exercise and wear their protective gear in 112 degrees heat. Imagine, forcing them to prepare for the conditions they actually found themselves in!

“Jarhead” had many direct statements that were completely false, not to mention just out of left field, however, following the main, liberal party line. According to this movie, we the public were uninformed; the men were under equipped and forced to sign wavers letting the government out of any liability before being given protective medicine; the US bombs its own people, and the whole conflict was all about protecting the oil interests. They make a point of telling us that the oil price has doubled during this short little tenure.

I found it interesting that there was a 15-minute scene where we see a highway completely carpet bombed and about 200 innocent civilians killed, of course, by the United States. We see Anthony walk aimlessly through the carnage and begin to mourn the sins of his fathers. We see him start to carry on conversations with the dead as if they were alive. We see the obvious lack of concern on his CO’s face, as he, too, is viewing all of the human debris.

If this weren’t enough, in the finale we finally see some action and finally see Anthony and his buddy (who happens to be a criminal who lied to get into the military, but that’s a subject for another day) able to do the job they were born for—sniper. OK, before I begin here, these are two boy-men who are virtually afraid to fight, and Anthony doesn’t even want to be there in the first place.

They are told by the Lt. Col., played by Chris Cooper, to go out and fulfill this mission and take out two of the Iraqi leaders. When they arrive, the Air Force comes in and takes over the mission. This throws both Anthony and his buddy into a complete tailspin because they want to kill someone. No, I didn’t say they want to protect the country or do the job they were born to do, but the emphasis was that they wanted to kill. They believed that the Marines created them to kill, and they just want to do their job and kill.

There’s an argument that takes place where the Air Force leader tells Anthony’s buddy to stand down so he can take out the whole base, which leads to a ridiculous scene where we see this grown adult act like a 3-year old who didn’t get his candy for Halloween. Completely out of character for the typical Marine and completely out of left field. For the record, this scene never really happened. It was probably just tossed in to try and wrap-up the movie.

The only shining moments in this movie were when Jamie Foxx was on the screen. Jamie Foxx is proving himself to be one of the best of the best in Hollywood, and I have to say, so far he deserves the Academy Award for his supporting role. Although they made him look like the heartless, country serving, abusive, Commanding Officer, his role was amazing.

The directing was sub-par, and the movie drug on way too long trying to make way too many political points. I found it interesting that the song at the end of the movie was about how terrible our “system” is and how we must fight against it, followed by a song during the closing credits by none other than the Bush-hating singer, Kanye West singing “Jesus Walks”.

Thankfully, 50 Cent put him in his place yet again yesterday for his racist comments against the President, as did Usher right after Katrina.

I understand that foul language and the Marine Corp do go hand-in-hand, but come on, this movie takes “Platoon”, “Hamburger Hill” and “Heartbreak Ridge”’s “F-word” content and tosses it out the door. It’s almost as if the director told the actors to drop as many F bombs as possible in the shortest amount of time possible, to the point of utter distraction.

The rest of the time their favorite pastime is discussing masturbation, which was literally declared to be the highlight of life in the Gulf. There are also numerous sexual discussions that take place and the cheating that does indeed occur.

When I was walking into this movie, I thought that it might be good because Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Times hated it. For possibly the first time, I must say, they were right. The movie was just bad, boring, and way too politicized. You don’t need to be a Republican or a Democrat to support the troops. You don’t need to support the war to believe in a cause. You don’t even need to like the President to get behind our troops. This movie was a total mockery of our country and of our troops.

I am so thankful that Anthony Swofford is not the role model for the Marines, America or anything else for that matter. To me, he is simply a man who wrote a book to capitalize on the War, who never should have joined the military in the first place… “BOO!” Rah!

Recommended “True Story” War Movies (John’s Picks):
1. Sergeant York
2. A Bridge Too Far
3. We Were Soldiers
4. U571
5. Enemy at the Gates
6. Band of Brothers
7. Saving Private Ryan
8. Sands of Iwo Jima
9. Stalag 17
10. Bridge at River Kawi

My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½

John Kehrli, age 31

Comments from young people

Negative—DON’T SEE THIS MOVIE!! It was absolutely horrible. I saw it with my dad, and we could not even watch 10 minutes of it. It had a lot of bad language (especially the “f” word), and the sex scenes are disgusting. It was a disgrace to the “real” troops of America. It’s what you would expect from a Hollywood movie. It’s also a disgrace to Christians. Don’t see it.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
McKenna Wells, age 14
Negative—…I went to see this movie the day it came out with my boyfriend and a few of my close friends (one of whom just became a Marine). To put it lightly, I found this movie to be beyond offensive. I could not believe how disgusting this film was. My boyfriend and I agreed that this was the worst movie either of us had ever seen. We ended up leaving the movie before it ended.

The way they portrayed people was an insult to real Marines and especially to the wives and girlfriends of Marines. They portray the wives as cheating, heartless whores, and make the Marines out to be filthy-mouthed sex addicts. This is supposed to be a war movie, but the soldiers spend more time with their hand in their pants than with an actual gun, or anything war-related for that matter.

Its one thing for them to talk about it, but to actually show masturbation, along with other explicit sex scenes, is completely unnecessary. The scene that offended me the most was the videotape of the woman having sex with her neighbor that she sent to her husband. (How is that even needed at ALL for the storyline?) My boyfriend’s family has had a very painful experience with real adultery, and I can’t even tell you how hurt he must have been to see that.

On top of all that, I have honestly never heard the f-word so many times in my entire life. It was unbelievable… Were they trying to desensitize us, thinking that after the first thousand we would get used to it? or maybe it was a contest between the characters to see who could put it into their lines the most times.

OH, I almost forgot! My favorite line of the movie! The drill sergeant is speaking to his soldiers in his barking military voice “you’ve all heard ‘though shalt not kill.’ well f*** that s***.” …If this is an acceptable movie nowadays, our moral standards have not only lowered, but have been thrown violently down the toilet and flushed.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
Jamie, age 16
Positive—…everyone is greatly affected by the war for the rest of their lives. This is just one story of about 15 Marines—and 1 specific Marine. The point of the movie was NOT to portray every Marine! It was just one story, and from the Marines I’ve talked to very accurate! If you are looking for an uplifting story, you probably shouldn’t see this move…
My Ratings: Average / 4½
Bryant Morrison, age 17
Movie Critics
…contains strong sexual scenes with nudity and over-the-top bad language…
Alan Boyer, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…muddled Marine drama says little… ‘Jarhead’ is more interested in the interior lives of men at war, particularly their sexual fantasies—and jealousies…
Crosswalk, Christian Hamaker
…foul film… How this movie escaped an NC-17 rating is a mystery… Many people throughout the world will come away from Jarhead with the unmistakable impression that American fighting men are foul-mouthed, sex-crazed, homicidal maniacs and that their wives and girlfriends back home are unfaithful harlots…
Plugged In, Tom Neven
…The movie is uncanny in its effect. It contains no heroism, little action, no easy laughs…
Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert