Tales from the Trail

General Odierno gives “The Hurt Locker” friendly review

OSCARS/As the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno must have on-the-ground knowledge of the American military teams that defuse roadside bombs in Iraq.

So it seems like high praise, indeed, that he complimented the Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker” for how it portrayed the sacrifices made by bomb disposal soldiers in the Iraq war.

“I think what I like about it is, it shows, first, the camaraderie that is required here, the tension, the risk that’s involved in some of the jobs that we do here,” Odierno said in an interview with PBS Newshour.

“I’m sure many people would say it could be a bit more accurate in some areas, but I believe it’s a good representation of the sacrifice, dedication that it takes here in order to combat such a very difficult mission of terrorism and fighting a war on terrorism,” he said.

“The Hurt Locker”, an Iraq war drama about a team of bomb-defusing specialists, won the Oscar for best picture and placed Kathryn Bigelow into history books as the first woman ever to win the Academy Award for best director.

A film classic ripe for a Washington-style update?

USA/It’s Oscar nomination day, which means some in snow-covered Washington DC — Hollywood for ugly people, if you believe the old saying — are daydreaming about what it would be like to make a blockbuster film. “Avatar” seems to have the inside track in this year’s Academy Award race, but isn’t there an old classic movie ripe for a Washington-style remake?

USA-POLITICS/BROWNHow about “Meet John Doe”? It’s a Frank Capra morality piece made in 1941, where a soda jerk can speak basic truth and a rail-riding hobo is played by Gary Cooper, the George Clooney of his day. Everybody’s scrounging for a job and a buck, they’re laying off the old pros at the local newspaper and a cigar-chomping oil magnate wants to get into politics. Barbara Stanwyck plays a hard-driving columnist who fakes a letter from a mythical “John Doe” who says he’s going to leap off the city hall roof on Christmas Eve to protest widespread corruption and the state of the world in general.

USA/But that’s all background. What makes it made-to-order for a 2010 remake is what happens when Gary Cooper a.k.a. “John Doe” speaks to a big gathering, reading remarks written by the columnist, who’s now in cahoots with the oil magnate: the crowd loves him so much they go out and form grassroots John Doe Clubs, just to be neighborly. No politicians allowed. They’re not partisan, they just want to make things a little better.