Folks need their stories. With the long, slow demise of TV soap operas, writers and actors are trying to reinvent the format online. While plans to reinvent All My Children and One Live to Live as online-only shows didn’t quite pan out, lots of other people are taking a go at bringing the serial drama into the 21st century.Hollywood veteran and Fried Green Tomatoes director Jon Avnet joined with Albert Nobbs director Rodrigo Garcia to launch the WIGS channel on YouTube. +Continue Reading
Until everyone got distracted by senior commend skirt chasing, it sure felt like the national discussion this week was going to be all about the role of military advisers in the entertainment industry. Oliver Stone’s Savages (out now on a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/UltraViolet 4-way combo pack) and the studio sent us “Military Consultants” clip from the Bly-ray. It features actor and Army vet Jake McLaughlin and military consultant, stunt coordinator and retired Navy SEAL Keith Woulard talking about how they contributed their real-life expertise to the movie.
Stone has never been shy about his own service in Vietnam and used that experience to great ends in Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July. He’s also maintained that background gives him extra insight when he’s floated the elaborate conspiracy theories that fueled JFK and his new TV series Untold History of the United States. Savages, based on the excellent novel by Don Winslow, feels a hell of a lot more like his genre crime movies Natural Born Killers and U Turn. +Continue Reading
Hollywood has yet to make a movie that has the same impact on issues for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that Coming Home had for Vietnam vets, but they sure keep trying. Who remembers Stop-Loss? The Lucky One? The Lucky Ones (different movie)?
Writer/director Martin Papazian’s Least Among Saints is the latest movie to take on the subject and represents the best effort so far. You might remember Papazian’s performance as Brian Dettman in Sam Mendes’ excellent Jarhead and he plays the lead role of Marine vet Anthony Hayward, a man who’s finding it difficult to adjust to life back home. +Continue Reading
Well, Billy Ray’s pulled himself together. He’s got a new album called I’m American that’s designed to pay tribute to military families and, not coincidentally, hosts a new tv show on TLC called Surprise Homecoming that reunites families with troops who’ve been serving overseas.
The album also features a new version of his veterans tribute “Some Gave All.” Go back and read that GQ article again. Billy Ray’s just a country boy who got blinded by the bright lights of Hollywood, realized his mistakes and just wanted to make things right for his family. Miley may be long gone for him, but the boy’s heart is definitely in the right place. Maybe you want to give I’m American a shot.
We’re big fans of SnagFilms here at UTR (check out their awesome iPad app that lets you watch over 1800 really excellent documentary films and even stream them to your Apple TV). Now they’ve teamed up with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to raise funds that will help provide services for those who served. +Continue Reading
Next time your significant other starts hassling you about how much time you devote to Xbox, make sure you let them know about Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment, an initiative designed to assist returning veterans with their transition to civilian careers.