If you haven’t heard yet, a group of GWOT Veterans from some of the most popular Veteran Owned Enterprises around made a movie. The trailer hit today and I’m going to post it below, but I have to warn you, earmuffs on the kids. Or perhaps, if you are standing next to a whiney millennial, ear muffs and eye patches. But I have to be honest with you, I watched the trailer and I dig it. Not just because I am a Marine Vet of Iraq myself, but I dig it because it looks just like what the movie always claimed to be, namely “The Movie that Hollywoodn’t.” By virtue of the creators being among some of the more popular Veterans in the community, there can be, through no fault of their own, a sort of social pressure to like and support it. But don’t let that fool you into dismissing or passing on the merit of what we actually get to witness with Range 15. Not only does it look good, but I get this sense that it is in many ways a bookend on one chapter of the GWOT Veteran experience and an opening to a new season of life for us all. Because no matter how you toss it, GWOT Veterans made a movie people and it looks funny. And now for the trailer, which means it is time to earmuff the kids.
I Dig It, I Really Do
To be clear, I am no movie expert. I liked Waterworld and the Postman because man, Kevin Costner can do some decent post-apocalyptic stuff. Although both of those movies were pretty much the same thing, just one was Navy and the other was Army. When I watch a movie, I just want to be entertained. If you are an Oscar aficionado, perhaps you will poke holes in this movie and you will probably do it with whatever stick is shoved up your butt. But don’t wave that stanky stick my way because I am trying to enjoy a movie.
How many movies have you made, and I’m not talking about the kind with your special lady friend? Let’s forget about the fact that is one of the top 5 Indiegogo funded films of all time and never mind that it starts Rudy Rudiger aka Frodo Baggins’ best friend. Man, the move Rudy makes me cry every time. Let’s throw in Danny Trejo, Keith David, Randy Couture, and oh, freaking Captain James T. Kirk. That’s right, William Shatner is featured in this movie.
I want you to understand that what you are watching was no small feat. The fans of these brands will love this movie and support the living daylights out of it. It is going to do well, case closed. But the people who put this together, including the fans that funded it, deserve a little more. This film had a budget of a little over $1 million dollars and if that makes you think you are about to get some trash on film, let me remind you about the following films. Horror classic “Saw”, $1.2 million budget and $100 million plus in revenue. Napoleon Dynamite had a budget of $400,00 and made over $45 million. The Blair Witch Project had a budget of $750,000 and went on to make over $240 million. Look, people like movies they like, not the ones people tell them to like which is pretty much Johnny Depp’s last 5 films. I dig this movie, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Range 15.
Veteran’s Done Good
Veterans of the GWOT wars made a movie people, and it looks funny. It includes a couple of Medal of Honor recipients, Lone Survivor inspiration Marcus Luttrell, and even one of the dudes who beat up that jihadi on that train in France. It’s been a good year for that guy. And yes, the movie is explicitly military oriented and yes, it makes explicit use of the fact that its stars are Veterans. But I’ll say it again, Veterans of the GWOT wars made a movie people and it looks funny. So help me, it looks funny. By the way, that is Marcus Luttrell below, aka the real Mark Wahlberg Lone Survivor in this film.
I’m actually not one to routinely use profanity and you can probably count the times on one hand where I have used it in this blog. But you know why profanity doesn’t bother me? Because I was in the military. It’s kind of a thing there. In fact, I think I have only cursed out to their face one individual in my entire life and that occurred in the middle of a firefight in Al Kut Iraq when some grandpa decided to open the door holding his granddaughter to see what all the shooting was about outside his house. I don’t have many rules, but if you almost make me shoot a grandpa and little girl, I will curse you out, it’s my policy.
But the profanity in this film, the gallows humor that helps Veterans cope, and explicit display of our ability to handle the tough subjects is all part of the Veteran experience that the world needs to hear. I’m sick and tired of society referring to Veterans as damaged goods. In this film, Mat Best throws keys at a woman who lost her arms in the actual real war and she doesn’t catch them. Hilarious! Does that sound like people who need you to treat them with kid gloves? I literally do not have the cajones to type in this blog the stuff we joked about in Iraq, but the crew of Range 15 does. But that brings me to my final point.
Ask a Civvie on a Date Night
Again, I’m not appealing to the people who were already going to love this movie, I’m appealing to the skeptic because I want you to see what is at play here. Yes, Veterans and particularly Veterans who are fans of this brand will love this movie, but civvies can dig it too, I just know it. There are approximately 2 to 3 million GWOT Veterans out there who can’t deny that the humor expressed in this movie is quintessential to the Veteran experience. Unless you were uber-POG who threw out his stress card when Staff Sergeant gave you a mean look.
You can see this movie with your Veteran brothers, but I think you should just ask a civvie on a date and take them to see a small glimpse into the Veteran experience that the other movies don’t get because they star Brad Pitt instead of real Veterans. Explain to them the insight into the Veteran experience and why it is funny that one guy keeps messing up. Explain to them why Veterans joke about the things the world thinks are off limits and explain to them why this is indeed the movie that as they say, “Hollywoodn’t.” But more importantly, explain to them that this, in my humble opinion, marks the end of a chapter where Veterans are known simply for being Veterans and the next evolution where Veteran’s will command respect for what we do now, not simply what we did back then.
I’ll say it again, GWOT Veterans made a movie people, and it look hilarious. Veterans are moving forward, it is what we do best. Civvies will dig this movie if you let them and I hope that you will get weird and take a civvie to a date. Just tell them some buddies of yours made a movie, let’s go check it out. Doesn’t matter if you really know the stars of this movie, they seem like drinking bros all the same. I’ll leave you with this last clip so that you get the sentiment of what I speak. Star Wars the Force Awakens left us with many unanswered questions, but after watching the below clip, I’m more curious why a midget zombie is running away with a penis. Earmuff or eyepatches if you need them people, but this is the Veteran experience.
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