Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Saving" Private Ryan

Now that I own the DVD for Saving Private Ryan, I've watched it three times. I'd been interested in a line in the movie where Hank's character, Capt. Miller, reports to his commander after some action and I think he says "We had higher support expectations." That's a pretty mild thing to say if you feel you've been let down and a lot of people have died because of it.

I wanted to read more about that line, and so I did a web search on it. No results. Then I searched for a script to the movie, thinking there might be one. One hit I got claimed to feature an "early draft." Maybe so, I thought, and began to skim it.

It was awful. Hank's mild, teacherly character is transformed into a brash, cigar-smoking, big-talking blowhard:

[Miller] smiles, puts a cigar in his mouth, strikes a match on the front of DeLancey's helmet and lights the cigar.

DeLancey tries to look away but Miller grips him by the jaw and forces him to lock eyes. Miller smiles. DeLancey is terrified.

Delancey Captain, are we all gonna die?

Miller Hell no, two-thirds, tops.

Delancey Oh, Jesus...

Miller I want every one of you to look at the man on your left. Now look at the man on your right. Feel sorry for those to sons-of-bitches, they're going to get it, you're not going to get a scratch.

I wondered: How could a juvenile piece of sub-par slop like this have ever caught the attention of Spielberg and Hanks? It doesn't even appear to be properly formatted.

I thought, well, maybe they worked it over and brought it up to snuff. Then I went to bed.

The next morning, though, I woke up and pictured what had happened. Someone lacking in artistic talent, someone who was either young or just immature regardless of their years, was so inspired by Ryan that they decided to write their own version of the script, and post it as an "early" draft, to explain the divergence. Naturally this script contained lots of great details that got dropped when the actual movie was made.

Like the cigar.

Once I understood that, it was fun to skim through the 'script' looking for flaws. They stood out in bushels. I hope I'm right that ooze like this 'script' does not underlie a movie that I find worthy.

I had my final dose for this round and took the needle out. Left grip is 41 pounds (35, 41, 38), right grip is 85 pounds (81, 85, 85), left leg balance is 10.38 seconds, and inhale volume is 4550 mL.

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