During WW2, someone in the US military finds out that Mrs Ryan is about to receive telegraphs advising her that three of her four sons have been killed in action. Someone decides that it would not be ideal for her to lose another, so they send Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and a bunch of soldiers (including Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovani Ribisi and Jeremy Davis) to find him and bring him home. Along the way, they meet a whole heap of soldiers played by actors of note (Ted Danson, Paul Giamati, Dennis Farina, Nathan Fillion) until they finally find Private Ryan (Mattt Damon).
I think for me, this is one of my favourite Spielberg films – not because of the overly sentimental story (and certainly not for the appalling top and tailing of the film with ‘present day’ Private Ryan – that was so totally not needed), but I think because the images of WW2 and the way it represents soldiers. This film led to the wonderful miniseries Band of Brothers which is truly amazing. If you’re concerned that you can’t commit to a whole series, start with this. But be aware that Band of Brothers is much better and more comprehensive – but of course that is the difference between a 2 ½ hour film and a 10 episode series.
Ed (Matthew McConaughey) is a normal guy; in his thirties, working in a video shop, hanging out with his family, especially his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson) and his girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman). Then a television station has a competition to find a face for their new reality television show, and suddenly, they are all on tv, 24-hours-per-day. It’s exciting until it starts to cause some real problems for them all.
Sometimes in culture, zeitgeist throws up things that are similar yet still different. In the late nineties, it was reality TV, with this coming up only a year after The Truman Show. Yes, there are similarities, and in their own way, both of these films work. EDtv is fun. Fun characters, tough decisions, great gags. I felt the need to watch this after recently watching the disturbing and difficult True Detective series, and really wanted to see Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson having fun. It’s not rocket science, but it is ace fun. And Jenna Elfman? Come back. I miss you.
Marion (Julie Delphy) grew up in Paris but now lives in New York. Having travelled through Europe with her boyfriend, Jack (Adam Goldberg), they end their trip with a couple of days with her parents. But when they keep bumping into her exes, their relationship is stretched.
This film is so delightful in the way it has taken the elements of a French farce and put them into a modern context and it works beautifully. Farce can have a real clunkiness and obviousness that can be almost tedious, but this is subtle and gentle and funny and also, surprisingly, quite emotional.