AFI #30 – Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now - PosterApocalypse Now


Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Netflix says… Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless epic adapts Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to the Vietnam War, where special operations Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen) must travel deep into the Cambodian jungle to locate and kill the mysterious — and insane — Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando).

I really have not been looking forward to this one. I’ve never seen it. I’ve never had much desire to see it. And that’s because I’ve never exactly had a special place in my love of movies for those based on the Vietnam War. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because I’m only a generation removed from that particular conflict. Maybe my own kids (should such creatures ever exist) will feel about Vietnam War movies the way I feel about WWII movies. Give me a Saving Private Ryan or a Hacksaw Ridge any day of the week.

Five minutes in, I’m already a little lost. So I want to bring something up. Not completely on topic, but this seems as good a place as any. Why the crap did anyone cast Marlon Brando in any of their movies? I’ve never read anything positive about the person he was or how it was to work with him. When he played Jor-El in Superman, he refused to learn his lines. If you watch that one, as he’s giving his speech to the infant Kal-El, his lines are written on the baby’s diaper. When I was doing my research on Apocalypse Now, I found that, apparently, Brando was less than a joy to work with on this set as well. He showed up overweight for the part he was to play and was unprepared on a number of occasions. I get that a lot of people consider him one of the 20th century’s greatest actors. A lot of you reading this might feel the same way. And maybe I just haven’t seen enough of his work to be influenced to believe the same thing. But I just don’t see it. And my view of him as a pompous ass with an over-inflated ego doesn’t really make me want to watch too many more of his films. The Godfather is still coming up on this list. I’m okay with that because it really is a great movie and I’ve seen that one before, so I know what to expect from Brando.

I know I don’t give movies like this a fair shake. Just because I’m not a fan of Brando… just because I haven’t liked other movies about Vietnam… does that necessarily mean I won’t like Apocalypse Now? No. But I didn’t really like it. So… yeah.Apocalypse Now - Napalm

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