- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Respectful film
"'Let's go do what we came here to do,' Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) commands his troops in 'We Were Soldiers,' before plunging with them into one of the most savage battles of the Vietnam War. More than 200 of Moore's 245 men died in that November 1965 Ia Dran Valley combat, surrounded by 2,000 enemy troops. …
"Rarely has a foe been portrayed with such measured respect; … vignettes of gallantry among Vietnamese soldiers and such humanizing visual details as a Vietnamese sweetheart's photograph left behind in no way interfere with the primary, rousing saga of a fine American leader who kept his promise to his men to 'leave no one behind dead or alive.' …
"I'm particularly refreshed by the delicacy with which [director Randall] Wallace and Gibson demonstrate the effect of Moore's Catholic faith on his character. …
"Finally, though, this is Mel Gibson's movie to win or lose. And he discharges his duties maturely and successfully."
Lisa Schwarzbaum, writing on "The Way We War," in the March 8 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Sad remembrance
"The cover of the Feb. 25 edition of People magazine featured a poignant photo of 31 widows from [September 11], and their 32 babies (including twins), that were born into this world fatherless. As [columnist] Michelle Malkin writes, each of them had fathers who happily anticipated their arrival until terrorists 'took daddy after daddy after daddy away.'
"The newest baby, born Feb. 14, too late for inclusion in People, is Jason Andrew Zucker (Yechiel Chaim Zalman ben Chaim Zalman), 7 pounds, 8 ounces, child of Erica Zucker and Andrew Zucker. Andrew, an attorney for Harris Beach on the 85th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, was helping to rescue fellow workers and went to Heaven without a trace.
"'The baby and Erica are doing great, thank G-d,' says Cheryl Shames, Andrew's sister, who lives in North Massapequa, L.I. 'He's adorable. Jason Andrew is a big mazel tov. I've been crying a lot since the baby was born. … The bris was sad for me, seeing how others had to take the spot where my brother should have been.' There were tears, 'not the way a bris is supposed to be. An important someone was missing; the abba, my brother.'"
Jonathan Mark, writing on "A Bris for a 9-11 Baby," March 1 in Jewish World Review at www.jewishworldreview.com

No controversy
"Four years ago, a TV producer called to ask if I wanted to work on a documentary for MTV about a college student who had recently been murdered in Wyoming. …
"I was filled with energy. The producers and I discussed our approach to the half-hour documentary, which had to be produced fast. We agreed that we would put hard questions to the youth of America. We would take on the controversy.
"But no one seemed able to say what the controversy was. …
"[Matthew] Shepard, a gay 21-year-old, was killed by two men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, who feigned sexual interest in him, abducted him from a bar, and then tied him to a fence and beat him to death. Both murderers quickly confessed to the crime.
"We finished 'Matthew's Murder' for MTV in November 1998, and it aired that month. … And try as we did to wring controversy from the subject … we got nothing but predictable and largely reasonable answers.
"The murder of Matthew Shepard was not controversial. It was just very, very sad."
Virginia Heffernan, "In Defense of the TV Movie," Friday in Slate at www.slate.com


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