As someone who will never be a fan of Bradley Cooper (unless he's on Alias), I have had no interest in seeing American Sniper. I haven't really been able to put into words the reason for my hesitation in seeing the movie. When I heard it was directed by Clint Eastwood, I figured it really wasn't for me. This is the old man who had a conversation with an empty chair on national television. I figured it would be a very conservative view of war. Now it's the big winner of the weekend box office, and it's Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, and I'm seeing it more clearly.
It's an amazing story, based on a real person. He was a sniper in wartime. My uncle was a sniper in the Vietnam War. It fucked him up in the head. He was an alcoholic, and a pathological liar, and he associated with others with those qualities. When he died, his girlfriend lied to his parents about the date, so they'd feel guilty about it. I didn't spend a lot of time with him, but I was always wary around him. I know the psychological toll being a sniper takes. I don't think I need to see it acted out. I've also seen the NBC News stories about the main character. I feel like I know enough about the story.
And based on what I've heard about the film, it feels a bit propagandistic. I'm always wary of propaganda (as we all should be). The New York Times just posted an article that is most definitely propaganda. Oscar-baiting, bullshit propaganda. Apparently, the movie's doing very well in Texas. It's bringing in the people who don't usually go to the movies. This does not make me want to see the movie. This makes me want to avoid the movie, on principle. It might be good, but I also may be too critical a thinker to enjoy it.
So I went to see Selma. Which is fantastic, btw. Ruth Carter was robbed of a Costume nomination—LBJ looks like a frump and MLK's friends look nearly pristine and NECKTIES WITH OVERALLS!!!!! Such fantastic character choices in the costumes.