I took all this as the great de-humanizing effect that basic training has on the malleable mind.The problem is, it's structured to play a little bit like all of those and maybe it's supposed to be. But in any case, the resolution doesn't make sense. If he was just a giant f*** up the entire time, well, then s***, yeah he'd be miserable and off himself under the pressure. Or if he were full of bad wiring, I'da thought you'd've seen that from the beginning. But as the segment goes on, he improves. He gets to be better physically. He becomes a better soldier. He begins to find his place as a soldier. And one would think that the pressures he was under at the beginning were relieved.
But instead, when the pressure is off, that's when it goes to s***. I can't find a particularly good explanation for that. If it's just supposed to be a tragic thing, then what the hell was all that build up for? It was just a cop out, storywise. If it was to show how brutal training could be, then give me someone strong who's broken down. Or at least someone with a fully developed brain. Even if it is gonna get splattered on a bathroom wall.
After saying that, my dumb ass STILL joined the Corps on my 18th. mainly because of this film and my perception that it would be the ultimate kick in the rear for a ****bird teenager (me).
I think this encapsulates PERFECTLY what USMC basic training is all about. When you come to realize that the drill instructors are basically screaming an oral history tradition at you all the time, it makes it a little less scary, but not much.
Years after this film came out, they still had to tell us to not even THINK about throwing a blanket party for under-performing platoon members.
The problem I had with the second half of the film is that I never believed that Joker would have ever joined in the middle of Vietnam. I don't think I needed a bunch of backstory, I think Modine never made us feel like he WAS a Marine. He always seemed to be along for the ride, and I just don't know why a fairly educated, jokey, not-intense-at-all guy would throw in with the Corps in the late 60s.
p.s. Not a big deal, but how are most of you deciding what war films are "more realistic" ??