- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2003

‘Red Dawn’

“Among those in their glory Monday at the capture of Saddam Hussein was movie director John Milius, an unapologetic traditionalist who has long contended he is blacklisted by liberal Hollywood for his love of the military.

“The Army’s 4th Infantry Division, which used 600 troops to capture Hussein, apparently borrowed the operation’s code name — Red Dawn — from Milius’ 1984 Cold War drama of that name.

“In the flick, Soviet troops invade America, only to be repelled by a resistance movement coordinated by a group of Colorado high school students. …

“In ‘Red Dawn,’ the teens name themselves after their sports teams: Wolverines. …

“The film has been a political litmus test for two decades, perpetually scorned by the left (‘nihilistic delusions of grandeur,’ complained a Washington Post reviewer when it was released) and embraced by the right.

” ‘The movie has a definite following in [military] sectors and is very, very, very well-liked,’ said Milius, 59. ‘It’s a patriotic movie; it’s a very American movie.’ …

“Milius said he was preparing to go duck hunting Sunday when friends woke him up.

” ‘They said, “We just caught Saddam! The best part is, it’s Operation Red Dawn! Task Force Wolverine!” ‘ ”

Bob Baker, writing on “Director Flattered as Iraq Stars in ‘Red Dawn’ Sequel,” Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times

Coyote karma

“Enter Mr. Coyote, co-star of the beautiful ‘Road Runner’ cartoons. According to Chuck Jones, their co-creator and chief director, there were rules the animators used in making the series.

“Rule 3: The Coyote could stop anytime — IF he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: ‘A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.’ — George Santayana) …

“Between the two characters of the ‘Road Runner’ cartoon, why does sympathy usually lie more with Mr. Coyote than with Road Runner? Because he’s ‘the victim.’ Yeah, Road Runner is together and sleek, effusing a strange aura of oblivious competence which tends to appear as though it’s running over Wile E. Coyote. However, Coyote really runs over himself by focusing on one goal, presumably for his betterment, to the exclusion of his betterment.

“One thing to be said for poor Wile E. — he doesn’t conscript others into his pattern of habitual disaster, and his frail sadness remains his alone. That is a quality worthy of admiration, whether he intended it or not. He gets what he deserves.”

Charley Hardman, writing on “The Economics of Wile E. Coyote,” Monday at www.lewrockwell.com

Naming names

“I am a great fan of Elia Kazan. His movies were among the waking dreams that have informed my life. His ‘Splendor in the Grass’ in particular was probably the best movie on growing up in America. …

“[I]t astounds me that 50 years down the road, he is still being criticized for being friendly witness before a congressional committee investigating the penetration of Soviet Communism into America. It must be clear to everyone who is not braindead by now that Stalinist Russia was the most acute of dangers to human decency, was the most evil regime in history except maybe for Hitler’s and had no real redeeming features. Yet to have ‘outed’ the agents of this evil entity is still controversial in Hollywood and New York.”

Ben Stein, writing on “Heaven Can Wait,” in the November issue of the American Spectator

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