Thursday, February 9, 2017

Film Makers Handbook: Create a Feature Film on a Limited Budget

Ialways wanted to be a film director,  However, in "Film Makers Handbook" author and filmmaker Walter Werner, puts the basics down in simple terms for the beginning director, producer, or anybody who wants to make a film on a limited budget.

The Film Makers Handbook is about making your very first feature film from scratch. It covers topics such as pre-production, as well as getting set up and creating your movie on a limited budget.

Also covered is the production process and everything that goes along with that massive project. The production section really helps the listener to get a grasp on how to efficiently and affordably produce his or her own feature film.
Lastly, the book goes over postproduction and how to finalize your project to turn it into a full-blown feature film.

The book closes with a brief synopsis of starting distribution of your independently created film and where to start getting the word out. Overall this is a book about how to create a feature film and do so on a budget, which would be ideal for students or first-time filmmakers.

While not the only book that I have read on this subject. Lord knows when I was younger, I had piles upon piles of books ranging from visual style, cinematography technique, to acting, sound effects, visual effects (I was infatuated with Star Wars and how Lucas and Dykstra changed filmmaking). This book is a great beginning for today's new filmmakers.

Here are the obligatory purchase links, the book goes for less than $6.95 USD

To purchase from Amazon
To purchase from Audible
To purchase from ITunes:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Frankengiraffewolf by Jeffrey Jeschke

Frankengiraffewolf was an entirely new kind of monster. It had the fangs of a vicious wolf. It partially had the head of Frankenstein. It also had the body of a very huge giraffe. This 2700-word short story introduces a whole new kind of monster. It terrorized Africa with a ruthlessness that was unheard of.

"Once upon a time a mad doctor roamed the heart of Africa searching for the perfect experiment. He was truly insane, but he was also an absolute medical genius. His name was Doctor Von Giraffenstein. He absolutely loved to experiment on cadavers and electricity. He was absolutely infatuated with the local wildlife of Africa. He especially loved giraffes. He liked how tall they were and how big they were. He also loved wolves, but he also liked human cadavers. He loved how sharp the fangs were inside of a wolf’s mouth. One night the mad genius had a very strange and mysterious dream. In that dream the mad man dream't that he created a vicious beast that was part, giraffe, and part man, along with some wolf in it. After that strange dream he was absolutely infatuated with creating such a beast. He was so infatuated he could never sleep, until he figured out a way to make his dream come true. Some say he took insanity to a whole new level."

This was and is a crazy book and fun to read. The premise is silly, but, like the author told me once, "Nothing like creating a new kind of a monster."

AudioBook Data
Written by: Jeffrey Jeschke
Narrated by: Robert Barbere
Length: 16 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:09-30-16
Publisher: Jeffrey Dale Jeschke

Here are the obligatory purchase links, the book goes for less than $4.00 USD

To purchase from Amazon

To purchase from Audible

                        Robert Barbere Audible Page

Monday, January 9, 2017

Another Vampire Story: A New Audio Book

IIn film and television there is an overabundance of vampire stories. Many have degenerated into films about a virus or a plague where the victims show symptoms of vampirism. A few, like "Dracula Untold,"  keep the supernatural flair going.  However, "Another Vampire Story," is a short story (34 minutes) by a writer by the name of Patrick Finerd

However, the story is short and simple but, shows another view of the life of a vampire. I liked the story enough to want to narrate it. Here is a short clip to let you know about the story.
"The sky grew darker than normal as I made my way home from school. The wind was whipping and howling; scattering dead leaves in all directions. The branches on the naked trees waving as the brisk cool air swirled around me. A loud boom of thunder can be heard in the near distant, followed by a steady mist of rain bouncing off all surfaces."
Although set in present day, the mood is set quickly with a sense of Gothic sensibility. 

Here are the obligatory purchase links, the book goes for less than $4.00 USD

To purchase from Amazon

To purchase from Audible
To purchase from ITunes:

Beauty and the Beast Trailer: Golden Globe Awards Preview

2017 is already looking up. Emma Watson stars a Belle in Disney's live version of "Beauty and the Beast."

The original story, based on the original French tale "La Belle et la Bête." It was a 1740 story written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. She was in turn influenced by Fairytale writer, Charles Perrault whose tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), and La Belle the wood Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty). If you recall, the Brothers Grimm, retold Perrault's stories years later in their collection of folktales. One must be cautious, however, as the lyrics state:

"Tale as old as time

True as it can be..."
The researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, the story originated around 4,000 years ago.

Like the 1991 animated Disney version, certain plot details stray from the original telling in that the main character's name is Belle and not Beauty, and like a 1946 film version, there is also a suitor included in the story. The best part is that Disney will retain  

The best part is that Disney will retain the best part of its animated version...Music!!! 

Harry Potter alum takes over as Belle, the thoughtful and well-read daughter of a merchant who must trade places with him as a prisoner of the dreadful Beast.  "Downton Abbey" and the upcoming "Legion" TV series takes over from Robbie Benson as the Beast. The light of the Force comes to the film as Obi Wan Kenobi actor Ewan McGregor takes over for Jerry Orbach as Lumiere the candle. Mrs. Potts will be voiced by Emma Thompson replaces Angela Lansbury.  Luke Evans of "Dracula Untold," and the "Hobbit" films fame voices Gaston, the self-centered creep who wants Belle for his own.

As a father of two children who spent their pre-teen years in the 90s, Disney's  "Beauty and the Beast" and "Alladin" are two Disney films that played a lot in my household. I guess nowadays that film is "Frozen."  

Alan Menken returns to score this live-action adaptation, which includes new recordings of the original songs in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.

Opens in the United States and theUnited Kingdom on March 17, 2017.  

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Year:  2017
Starring: Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson
Director: Bill Condon
Producer(s): Don Hahn, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Thomas Schumacher, Jeffrey Silver
Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Stephen Chbosky, Bill Condon
Rating: PG
Running Time: Unknown
Release Date:3/17/2016 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The Circle Is Now Complete

The summer of 1977 holds a very special place in my memories. I was 13 years old and delivered the Santa Barbara News Press after school, life was good. My best friend Mike was convinced that we could make movies together. We were saving up our paper route money to buy a Super 8 movie camera so we could film our epic adventure. We did not realize the wonder we were about to experience. What the both of us witnessed that summer still has a hold on me to this day. If you ask my children, they will tell you it was the year their daddy saw "Star Wars."

"Star Wars" has been a part of my life in subtle and not so subtle ways. On that summer day, Mike and I walked into the theater not sure of what to expect, and we left with our heads full of a new worlds of wonder and excitement. We wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Han Solo, of course, because they were the heroes. On the other hand, Darth Vader was a symbol of the evil tyranny that our parents represented.  All summer long my friends and I talked about "Star Wars;" about Luke, about Han Solo and of course about Princess Leia. When you are a thirteen year old boy Carrie Fisher looked pretty darn good!

During that summer we saw "Star Wars" at least ten times at the theater. Now, I suppose you are thinking that this was just a phase I was going through and by fall when school started I was cured. Actually Mike and I just redoubled our efforts to learn everything about how George Lucas made "Star Wars;" from the lighting, sound, visual effects, and directing.

The next school year we both signed up in Drama class so we could learn how to act in our film production. By the way, I haven’t mentioned “the movie” since the beginning of this essay so I am thinking that you may have thought that I had forgotten about it; not so. In fact the whole purpose behind learning film production was so we could produce a film that was better than Star Wars. We tried very hard to learn everything about making movies that our little minds could hold. However, little did we know that the end was near!

As the summer of ‘78 quickly approached Mike and I had scripts prepared and we started to cast our movie. We even built up enough courage to ask a couple of girls at school to take the female lead characters in our movie. Our thoughts of a perfect summer were of the beach, the babes and making our movie. Life couldn’t get much better. Unfortunately, my dad announced that he had accepted a job at a community college in the not so booming town of Ridgecrest CA. Looking back to that day so many years ago, I can still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach as I had to tell Mike that I was going to be moving. All of our hopes and dreams of making a movie were washed away. The following weeks my brother and I kept our minds busy packing for our trip to the dry and dusty Mojave Desert

Image result for 3/4 video tape
Upon arriving in the desert, my dad went through some extra effort to borrow from the college a ¾” video tape machine, and a bootlegged copy of "Star Wars" for my own private use. However, when whoever made the copy, they didn't use the anamorphic lens and the characters were squished a bit. That didn't matter, I watched the tape over and over. I was too old for the toys, but not too old to build the models. I wore the tape out that summer and I learned every line of every character in the film.

The new decade came pretty quickly and I read every different Science Fiction book I could get my hands on. My love for "Star Wars" was renewed in 1980 when "The Empire Strikes Back" was released and its creator, George Lucas had revealed some important clues about Darth Vader; and the mystery deepened. I spent many hours writing and talking with my friends speculating what Darth Vader meant when he says “I am your father!” Was he a clone? Is it true? Who was Luke’s mom? Is Han dead? I thought Luke and Leia was an item, how was I to know that they were brother and sister? And life goes on.

I graduated from high school in the summer of 1981 and promptly moved myself back to the coast. By May of 1983 I was nineteen years old , ready, willing and able to stand in line at the theater for eight hours prior to the midnight opening of “Star Wars – Return of the Jedi”  My friends and I were older but not wiser.

As the years pass, I worked, I had fun, and I got married. My wife and I moved to Arizona in the fall of 1994 a year after my daughter was born. Times change, people change, kids grow up and I get older everyday. However, the impression that the film made upon me those many years ago has remained. When my daughter was four going on five, Lucas re-released Star Wars once more. Now the title of the film is "Star Wars: Episode Four - A New Hope." I took my five year old daughter Debbie to witness one of the greatest events of my life. Watching the movie on the big screen as an adult was a totally different experience for me. I am not sure I actually watched the whole movie that day but I know spent more time watching my daughter’s reaction to the images. I think I cried in the theater that day watching the same awestruck look in my daughter’s eyes and wondered if I had that same look in my eyes twenty years ago.

Image result for phantom menaceMy son was born later that year in 1997, and two years later my wife and I decided to go our separate ways. That same year "Star Wars – The Phantom Menace" was released. I promised myself that I was not going to learn every line each character said. I was wrong, my kids watched the DVD day in and day out. I would fall asleep on the couch with the movie playing. I was having nightmares of Darth Mall coming after me.

"Attack of the Clones" was released in 2002, and to my excitement my kids were old enough to watch this new episode at the theater. Once again my eyes would wander over to their little faces just to see the twinkle in their eyes.

Debbie, my daughter started wanting to be "Star Wars" characters for Halloween. As that year's Halloween approached, I would wait till my children were asleep and I would go out and work on my costume. I worked many nights in the garage in complete secrecy. Who did I dress up as? I made a complete Darth Vader costume; Light Saber and all. When the time came for me to take the kids on their Trick or Treat quest, I came home from work and donned my costume in the garage. I made an entrance into the house and watched the eyes of my seven year old son pop right out of his head. Tony backed himself into a corner and I could tell that he was a little frightened and very confused. I reached out to him with my gloved fist and said to him “Anthony, I am your father!” My daughter dressed up as Princess Leia and for my son Tony, I built a custom made R2- D2 costume out of a plastic trash can, many plumbing parts and lots of paint. So as Halloween 2004 was approaching I made my mind up to do something I have never done before as an adult. I decided to go in costume to take my kids Trick or TreatingMy new bride handed out candy dressed as Master Yoda.

I watched in total admiration as Tony pretends to either Obi-Wan, Anakin or just as I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. For many years I have held the original excitement and wonder of these movies in my heart. As I see my children enjoying so much of the "Star Wars" universe that has kept me young these many years, I pray that they will be able to share that same experience with their children and look into their eyes and regain the childhood that this world forces them to leave behind so soon.

The circle is now complete.
"Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" soon. People ask me, did you buy your tickets yet? Tickets went on sale after the showing of a preview of the film during the Superbowl. No, I did not buy tickets. Am I going to go see the film? Of course I am. Silly question. Am I excited, of course I am, but now after thirty some years later, I know that I will watch the film in the theater several times. I will buy the Blu-ray, watch it many times and I will discuss the film and do many comparisons to the original. Because, that is what I do. Will I be dissapointed if J.J. Abrams fails to reinvigorate the franchise? I highly doubt it. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Top Ten War Films for Memorial Day 2010: Which Ones Will You Be Watching?

When I was a kid, every year on Memorial Day, my dad and I would watch war pictures on TV.  We normally would see a John Wayne WWII film, or a Civil War picture.  This year, I am choosing from my DVD collection of my favorite war films in remembrance for those who gave their lives to defend my right to share my opinion.  First off, I am leaving off a couple of films that I think everyone would agree are appropriate Memorial Day film classics -- "Saving Private Ryan," and of course "Band of Brothers."  The networks are still airing these films every six months, often enough to warrant a search for something ageless and nostalgic.  So, here are my top ten war films for Memorial Day.

The American Revolutionary War

The Patriot: Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger | A Constantly Racing Mind
The Patriot (2000) -- Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, and Chris Cooper

A Rolland Emmerich epic of the American Revolutionary war, depicting through fictional characters, some slightly more historic battles in the southern colonies of the Carolina's during America's fight for independence of British rule.  This film brings the atrocities of the war home during the scenes of the British Invasion.  Told from the point of view of a veteran of the French Indian Wars, (George Washington started that one, by the way.) renouncing violence, a widower, and turning to running his plantation, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), just wants to raise his family of four boys and three girls.  Martin receives an invitation to join a meeting in Charlotte to discuss a decision to rebel against King George of England.  Benjamin Martin is against it, "Why should I trade a tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile a way."  A good point, if you honestly think about it.  However, his oldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger), enlists against his will, and serves for two years before reuniting with his family.  The reunion is only because he is traveling through his father's plantation, as the war has come to his home.  The villainous lead in "The Patriot" is played with realism, and cruelty by Jason Isaacs ("Event Horizon") as Col. William Tavington, in charge of the British Light Dragoons (cavalry). He is Martin's nemesis throughout the film; a sure bet that there will be blood spilt between those two by the end of the story.  High in drama, quick with the action, light on the romance, and a mush of history, you have almost three hours of epic fun to watch on Monday.

The American Civil War

Gettysburg | A Constantly Racing MindGettysburg (1993) -- Starring Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, and Stephen Lang

Based on "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, Gettysburg is a long and loving look at the men behind the military campaign that turned the tide of the Civil War for the North.  Told from the points of view of Colonel Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), General James Longstreet (Tom Berenger) and Robert E. Lee (Martin Sheen) of the Confederate Army, the film explores both sides of the three-day battle, and the victories and mistakes that the leaders made.  A long movie to be sure, but well worth the time it takes to understand the details of the battles that comprise the campaign.  Like war itself, sometimes boring and endless, till battle starts, and the bullets fly, the man next to you goes down and before you know it the battle is over and you thank God that you are left standing.  Gettysburg may be one of those films that you start on Friday and finish on Monday.

Cold Mountain (2003) -- Starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger | A Constantly Racing Mind

Cold Mountain (2003) -- Starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger

I have two films from the Civil War era on my list.  "Cold Mountain" is a people drama set against the backdrop of the Civil War but tells the story from the perspective of the people of the south.  Although I like the film for war scenes at the beginning, I like the film more of how it humanizes the people of the south rather than totally vilify them.  I liked Jude Law's performance as the deserting soldier, Natalie Portman's as the young wife of a dead soldier, trying to keep her baby, and herself alive. Both Kidman and Zellweger turn in some very powerful performances as they try to keep their world's from falling apart at home while the war rages. I like the fact that it portrayed both the men of the North and the South as capable of doing evil. Look for a pre-Jax Teller as Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy," "Pacific Rim") plays Bosie, one of Teague's (Ray Winstone) henchmen. Overall "Cold Mountain" is a drama at heart, significant others are welcome to enjoy this film too.

World War II
Midway (1976) -- Starring Charlton Heston, 
Midway 1976 | A Constantly Racing MindHenry Fonda, James Coburn, Hal Holbrook, Toshirô Mifune, and an all-star cast.

After the U.S. defeat at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the President of the United States requested and received from Congress, a declaration of war upon the Imperial Nation of Japan.  Less than a year later, in June 1942, while the Japanese continued to push an offensive in the Pacific, the United States prepared for the battle that turned the tides of victory from the Japanese.  By intercepting coded Japanese signals, the U.S.  Navy intelligence, trick the Japanese into naming their next target, the Midway Atoll, a third of the way between the islands of Hawaii and Tokyo, Japan. The small island would make an excellent jumping off point in a campaign to capture Hawaii.  The battle is primarily seen through the character of Captain Matt Garth (Heston).  The film shows the various points of view from each of the different ship's commanders, making the film, quasi-documentary in style.  Leading the Japanese armada towards the island is Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Toshiro Mifune) and his convoy of four carriers, five battleships, heavy and light cruisers and as the advertising world says and much, much more.  Up against great odds the U.S. Navy rallies together three carriers, 25 support ships and about 360 air and land attack based aircraft.  The battle is epic; the drama is intense; and the archive footage lends a sense of realism to the film.  As a kid, I used to keep track of all the archive footage used in TV shows that came from the film, "Midway."

A Bridge Too Far (1977) -- Starring Sean Connery, James Caan, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier

After Operation Overlord, the landing on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1946, a few months later, the Allied Command implemented Operation Market Garden to take several strategic targets in the Netherlands.  Like the operation itself, "A Bridge Too Far" stars an international cast, including Maximilian Schell as Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich and Hardy Krüger as Maj. Gen. Ludwig.  Adapted from Cornelius Ryan's book by the same name, the film recounts the disastrous account of the attempt to take northern positions to the Siegfried Line and outflank it.  As the situation slowly unravels, British and American forces do their best to overcome the obstacles and put forth their best efforts.  "A Bridge Too Far" features intense action and suspense, vivid but not gory violence, and a hit musical score by composer and conductor, John Addison.

The Battle of the Bulge | A Constantly Racing Mind
The Battle of the Bulge (1965) – Starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, and Charles Bronson, with Telly Savalas

Near the end of World War II, in the Ardennes forest, the German's pushed out for one last offensive during the winter of 1944 - 1945.  Seen from both the German point of view as well as the Allied's, the two forces battle it out -- turning the French snow, blood red.  Lt. Col. Kiley (Henry Fonda) leads the American defense, while Col. Hessler’s (Robert Shaw), Panzer division leads the offensive.  Kiley is an intelligence officer who spends the first part of the film trying to convince his commanders that the Germans are pushing an offensive during the middle of winter.  Allied generals have a hard time accepting that the German's are crazy enough to attack in the middle of winter, at a time when the roads and the weather are not conducive to waging war.  The battles and tactics are inspiring, and for a 40 + year-old film, it still holds it's own, in character building, pacing, story development and a memorable patriotic musical score.

Patton (1970) -- Starring George C. Scott and Karl Malden
Patton | A Constantly Racing Mind

Patton is the story of one of America's best and worst general.  A brilliant tactician, a leader in tank innovations, and a man who didn't know how to keep his mouth shut.  Based on the book "A Soldier's Story" by Omar N. Bradley and introduction by A.J. Liebling, we get Bradley's perspective of the man who was once his superior officer, and how he raced across Europe, defying orders along the way, and who struck fear in the hearts of the German officers and soldiers.  Reprimanded by Ike for slapping a soldier, Patton's apology scene deserves attention in that it shows a man showing how to make an apology.  In this day and age, I think saying I am sorry is an almost forgotten art.  Patton shows the man’s greatness and his flaws.  Patton is inspiring film for all ages.  However, AMC runs Patton every six months, and as much as I like this film, the acting, the charisma that George C. Scott imbues Patton with, I need another year's rest before I can watch this film and enjoy it as much as the film deserves.


We Were Soldiers | A Constantly Racing Mind
We Were Soldiers (2002)  -- Starring Mel Gibson, Sam Elliott, and Madeleine Stowe

Director Randall Wallace's adaptation of the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang - the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam," written by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.  Like any historical war fiction, this one, although not historically accurate, does allow the viewer a snapshot in time of the mid-sixties escalation of force in Vietnam.  The film shows Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), and trusty Sgt. Major Plumley (Sam Elliott), standing side-by-side training troops that will fight in the first significant battles on Vietnamese soil.  Like "The Green Berets," "We Were Soldiers" tells the story from essentially three points of view, by Hal Moore's -- as he sees the battle, correspondent Joe Galloway's  (Barry Pepper) perspective, and by Hal's wife, Julie.  Madeline Stowe, as the Colonel's faithful wife and partner, shows the audience what life was like for the Army wives, as they received notices from a cab driver that their husbands fell in battle.  The film's production values exceed expectations for war films, with realistic special effects, and a haunting musical score.  Look for "Mad Men's" John Hamm as Capt. Matt Dillon, a minor part, but a glimpse at the actor before his success as ad executive Don Draper.

The Green Berets | A Constantly Racing Mind

The Green Berets (1968) -- Starring John Wayne, Jim Hutton, and David Janssen

Co-directed by Ray Kellogg and John Wayne, "The Green Berets" bring to life Robin Moore's book "The Green Berets: The Amazing Story of the U.S. Army's Elite Special Forces Unit," written by Robin Moore in the sixties, after going through Special Forces training himself.  Always the patriot, The Duke, and friends stride into the war and kick some enemy butt.  Col. Kirby (John Wayne), leads his Green Beret forces to a base camp in the jungle and takes command.  One of the soldiers that Wayne brings along is Sergeant Petersen (Timothy Hutton), the lovable scrounger of the group.  (Every troop seems to have one), and journalist George Beckworth (David Janssen), who comes along for the ride to report on the waste of time and resources by the U.S. government in Vietnam.  What the soldiers do see are the atrocities committed by the Viet Cong upon their own people.  Also, starring as the South Vietnamese Captain, Nim, is "Star Trek's" helmsman, Mr. Sulu -- George Takei.  Filmed in Georgia, doubling for Vietnam, "The Green Berets" shows the heroic acts of the elite military force.  Look for Jack Soo from TV's "Barney Miller."  Included in the cast is Wayne's long-time friend and colleague, Bruce Cabot as Colonel Morgan.  After watching "The Green Berets," one usually comes away from the film with an extreme sense of patriotism, along with a catchy tune, "Ballad of the Green Berets." another Robin Moore contribution to the film and sung by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler.

Apocalypse Now | A Constantly Racing Mind
Apocalypse Now (1979) -- Staring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Frederic Forrest, Laurence Fishburne, and Robert Duvall

Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam era, psychedelic take on Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" that leads Army Cpt. Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) up the Nung river in on a classified mission in pursuit of one Col. Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a Green Beret officer, who apparently went MIA at best, and at worst is psychotic.  "Apocalypse Now" features many notable performances in this film, almost too many to count.  For example, Robert Duval as the gung-ho surfer, Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, leading his Wagner screaming Air Cavalry into enemy territory.  Along with his navy guides, Willard, a deeply troubled man himself, studies the career of the man whose command he was ordered to "terminate, with extreme prejudice."  Included in the over-the-top cast of characters is Dennis Hopper who plays a crazy photojournalist, who worships Kurtz as a god.  Look for a young Laurence Fishburne ("Matrix," "The Signal") as Clean, and Sam Bottom's as the LSD dropping front gunner are amazing.  Look for a cameo of Coppola himself as the TV news director filming on the beach.  In addition, look for a cameo from Harrison Ford as he has makes a brief appearance that took place during breaks between "Star Wars" films.  A clearly disturbing film, it does give one the sense of surrealism of that era.

This list is not in any order of preference; however, I did arrange the films chronologically historically.  I don’t have any movies in this list that represents the War of 1812, Spanish American War, and World War I. One of my favorite films depicting the First World War are "Gallipoli," "All Quiet On the Western Front" staring Lew Ayers. Nor do I have any films representing the Gulf Wars, but that is not to say films like "Jarhead," "The Hurt Locker," or "In the Valley of Elah" shouldn't be overlooked.   Most of the films, selected are based on books by authors whose passion was to make history come alive.  I am sure you may have your own favorite films that have a meaning for you as you start your summer, while that you will be watching while you are barbecuing those tasty ribs or steaks.  Don’t be afraid to comment and post your list for Memorial Day

All photographs belong to their respective studios and distributors