By all accounts the film adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s bestselling book Lone Survivor has been a huge success. It far exceeded expectations in its opening weekend, bringing in over $38 million and finishing number one at the box office. Critics have also widely praised the film, but one negative review, courtesy of LA Weekly’s “head film critic” Amy Nicholson, has gotten attention for its bizarre tone.
“We have a really nice review of Lone Survivor from the Hollywood elite, and I think it's fantastic,” Glenn said mockingly on radio this morning. “It's the way I saw the film – would you agree, Stu? The way most people saw the film.”
Nicholson’s review, entitled “Lone Survivor has too much violence and jingoism for its own good,” takes issue with what she feels are factual inaccuracies and gross pro-war themes. It is clear from the onset that her intent was to write a snarky piece – and that is well within her rights. But, after reading the article, one can’t help but question whether Nicholson actually sat through the entire film before penning her review.
Below are a few highlights (in italics) from Nicholson’s piece Stu read aloud this morning:
Here's a movie that'll flop in Kabul. Lone Survivor, the latest by Battleship director Peter Berg, is a jingoistic snuff film about a Navy SEAL squadron outgunned by the Taliban in the mountainous Kunar province…
“That should be a standard we all should try to aspire,” Pat said. “What's a flop in Kabul?”
“She's snarky, Pat,” Stu quipped. “She's being snarky here.”
It's based on the memoir Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by sole evacuee Marcus Luttrell (played by Wahlberg)… Luttrell didn't exactly write his book. Rather than sitting in front of a word processor, he was back in action in Iraq. Instead, the United States Navy hired British novelist Patrick Robinson, who, among other embellishments, upped the number of enemy Taliban fighters from 10 to 200…
“Hold on just a second. First of all, she's concerned that he didn't actually write the book,” Glenn said. “He had all that happen to him, then he got well and went right back to combat, while some writer sat at home and fired up the dangerous word processor.”
“This is the thing,” Stu continued. “I had this impression over this time that what Marcus did was really impressive and what his brothers did was really impressive, very heroic… then I realized he didn't write it.”
These four men were heroes. But these heroes were also men. As the film portrays them, their attitudes to the incredibly complex War on Terror… were simple: Brown people bad, American people good.
“And the most important about the story that's not in the movie is that those two people have become very good friends,” Glenn said disgusted. “That the guy who had all of his friends killed by, quote, brown people, has gone back over and protected the brown people and has made it a very important mission in his life to make sure everybody understands, you know, not everybody over there is a bad guy. Marcus has never believed that.”
“It's as if she walked out half way through the movie,” Stu added. “It's hard to have understand how she could say the brown people.”
We're meant to cheer, not that anyone in my theater did. But there will be audiences who do, and I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with what they're cheering for. This is death. Look at death.
“I sat with a group of Navy SEALS. Nobody cheered… They applauded at the end, but did you hear anybody go yay, during that move,” Glenn asked. “This is not a superhero movie. This is an ode to heroic people, and not just the SEAL team, not the people who died in the helicopter, but to the town that protected them. They ‘brown’ people.”
Read the entire review HERE.
After reading the review for himself, Glenn had an offer for Nicholson: Come to Dallas (on Glenn’s dime) and read your review in front of Marcus himself. While she has not yet responded to Glenn's request, Nicholson did Tweet the following message to "Glenn Beck Listeners":
Glenn Beck listeners: My review calls the SEALS heroes. My problems were with the director, not Luttrell: http://t.co/QgtG1Wie1u— Amy Nicholson (@TheAmyNicholson) January 15, 2014
“Does she have any idea who this guy is… This guy had to look the people who wanted to kill him in the eye and say, ‘Let him go. We'll roll the dice. Let him go.’ He's had to look people in the eye as he's killed them,” Glenn explained. “I don't know what it's like to kill another man, but… if I had to go to war, I would much rather be on a battleship and blow a plane out of the sky… from a distance… Not to say it doesn't screw with you if you're up in the sky, but you don't see the eyes. You don't see people's eyes and carry those eyes around for the rest of your life. [Marcus] does.”
“[Nicholson] has no idea what a hero is. She has no idea what bravery is,” Glenn concluded. “You make me sick. You make me sick. But to each his own.”