Sarah Palin joins sniping over ‘American Sniper’

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

American Sniper: Bradley Cooper ‘ate every 55 minutes’ to bulk up for role as Chris Kyle.

The Hollywood actor put on more than 40 pounds to play late Navy SEAL Chris ‘Legend’ Kyle in the Oscar-nominated film, while also adhering to a strict fitness regime. “He was eating about every 55 minutes or something like that, and I want to say it was about 8,000 calories a day,” writer and producer Jason Hall told People. “Bradley used his own trainer, who was busting on him. There’s no cease-fire in the clash over American Sniper on social media, as Clint Eastwood’s paean to military marksmen starring Bradley Cooper marches on at the box office and to Oscar.Despite record takings in the U.S. and six Oscar nominations, Clint Eastwood’s divisive drama American Sniper couldn’t claim the No. 1 spot at the U.K. box office in its opening weekend. Sarah Palin issued a scathing statement to critics of U.S. sniper Chris Kyle and the movie made about him, calling them disrespectful to all the “freedom fighters” who’ve protected this nation. “Hollywood leftists: while caressing shiny plastic trophies you exchange among one another while spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do, just realize the rest of America knows you’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots,” she wrote Monday on her Facebook page.

Today, it’s Sarah Palin joining the fray, taking to Facebook to denounce “Hollywood leftists,” such as filmmaker Michael Moore, who have criticized the film as pro-war and pro-sniper. He was determined to do it naturally, he didn’t want to use any hormones or steroids or anything.” In dedication to the role, Cooper watched hours of real footage of Kyle to make his portrayal as accurate as possible and worked with a vocal coach twice daily to sound the part too. “There were moments where they’d get him at a certain angle and you just felt Chris, you felt the essence of Chris,” said Hall. “Standing behind the monitors, I’d just get goosebumps rushing up my legs.” Typically, movies about the Iraq War don’t do well financially, but American Sniper is a different kind of war movie coming at a different moment in time. Part of American Sniper‘s success has to do with appealing to an underserved set of American film viewers: southerners, midwesterners, and military veterans. The gulf accommodates hindsight since, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.” It also allows the spectator to digest it in palatable, abstract terms, since the true horrors of war cannot be fathomed by the uninitiated mind.

And one more thanks: “God bless our troops, especially our snipers. … Thank you Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood for respecting the United States military.” It took three to four years from the fall of Saigon for movies like Deer Hunter, Coming Home, and Apocalypse Now to examine the costly toll of the Vietnam War. Others were joining in the fun, such as country musician Craig Morgan, who posted on his Facebook page, calling Kyle a “Great American.” Morgan singled out Rogen, who had tweeted that Sniper reminded him of a fake movie in Inglorious Basterds. This round, however, went to the Peruvian bear, who has now notched up eight weeks in the top five, with the flim’s total U.K. earnings now standing at an impressive $51.6 million.

By contrast, 2009 Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker grossed only $17 million domestically, some six times less than what American Sniper made in its first four days alone. The latter film, American Sniper, has exploded into the cultural consciousness, racking up 6 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and stiff-arming Avatar en route to a January opening weekend box office record of $90.2 million. If you and anyone like you don’t like it, leave.” Rogen may not be impressed, having already been famously threatened by an entire country — North Korea — for his assassination farce The Interview.

On February 2, 2013, the warrior was gunned down at a shooting range in his native Texas by Eddie Ray Routh, a PTSD-stricken Marine Corps veteran who later made off with Kyle’s Ford F-350. “I traded my soul for a new truck,” Routh reportedly told his sister following his arrest. An interesting omission from the list was Foxcatcher, which despite a decent haul of nominations from both the Oscars and BAFTAs slipped out of the top 10 after just one week. Bush while accepting an Oscar in 2003, said, “I think most Americans don’t think snipers are heroes.” This is Eastwood’s view of the world laid bare, with Kyle assuming the role of the existential hero, like The Man with No Name, Harry Callahan, and Will Munny before him. Two-and-a-half years ago, Eastwood took the stage at the Republican National Convention and, over the course of 12 mystifying minutes, addressed an empty chair representing President Barack Obama. “And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let ‘em go,” he said to Imaginary Barry, before capping things off with his infamous Dirty Harry quote.

Film critic Roger Ebert called the improvised speech “sad and pathetic,” while Ben Affleck told this very reporter, “He didn’t kill with the speech, but I by no means thought it was a huge embarrassment.” And in Double Down, a book chronicling the 2012 Republican campaign, it was revealed that during Eastwood’s soliloquy, one of Mitt Romney’s senior strategists had to excuse himself to vomit in a trash can. Its opening ritualistic chant of Allāhu Akbar is designed to send chills up people’s spines, and before you can say, “welcome to hell,” we’re dropped into the heart of the Iraqi insurgency. Like any first-person shooter game, we assume Kyle’s POV through his sniper scope—a perspective boosted by a match cut to a 10-year-old Kyle picking off a deer.

Kyle, we learn, was raised to be an American hero since birth. “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs,” preaches his father. “Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world… those are the sheep. He shoots her. “There was a kid who barely had any hair on his balls, his mother gives him a grenade and sends him out there to kill Marines,” a shaken Kyle says ex post facto. “Dude, that was evil like I’d never seen before.” Here is where critics of the film have an ax to grind. Kyle and his fellow cowboys constantly refer to their enemies, who are all seemingly al-Qaeda, as “savages.” The “savages” consist of al-Zarqawi, who’s introduced via the infamous clip of him decapitating Nick Berg; his No. 2, “The Butcher,” who brutally executes an informant’s young son by drilling his head with a power tool, and stores people’s heads on shelves; and Mustafa, a Syrian Olympic sharpshooter who videotapes his kills and hawks bootlegs of them on the street. Mustafa is, like all classic villains, dressed in black, doesn’t utter in a word, and is single-minded in his pursuit of Kyle—he has a poster of Kyle’s bounty, $180,000, on his wall, and spends his spare time spinning an armor-piercing bullet on a table. His PTSD at first manifests itself in high blood pressure, and complaints to Taya of how everyone in suburbia is living their lives blissfully unaware of the chaos unraveling overseas, and the men laying down their lives for their country.

American Sniper’s final 15 minutes attempts to portray the psychological traumas of war, with Kyle silently weeping at a bar, sitting in a loveseat and staring at a blank TV screen while hearing gunshots, cries for help, and the awful sound of that power drill, and nearly striking a dog that’s mauling his son (which seems like pretty understandable behavior even for someone not suffering from PTSD). Kyle gets better after visiting the VA and helping injured veterans shoot—a process called “exposure therapy,” subjecting the patient to the feared object or scenario without any danger so that they’ll conquer their fears. We see Taya slowly closing the door on Kyle and Routh as they get in his truck and head towards the gun range, and then the film cuts to black, followed by the message: “Chris Kyle was killed that day by a veteran he was trying to help.” The closing credits are accompanied by moving footage of Kyle’s real-life funeral procession and images from his memorial service at Cowboys Stadium. They’ll quote questionable passages from Kyle’s book, e.g. “I only wish I had killed more,” or when he recounts that scene in the film where he shoots a woman wielding an anti-tank grenade (she was actually just cradling her son), saying, “My shots saved several Americans whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul.” They’ll try to reconcile the film with the tall tales Kyle told prior to his death, like the time he claimed to have joined another sniper in climbing to the top of the Superdome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and picking off 30 looters.

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