Zeroing on war movies stirs patriotic passions

I’m not going to lie. I was immediately sucked in by the trailer.

The soaring fighter pilots, the blazing warships, the stark, soldier-strewn beaches, the booming voice-over describing the stranded men in need of help.

The big block words over the black screen, reading, “When 400,000 men couldn’t get home… Home came for them.”

The close-up of an enemy plane in the cross-hairs and then BAM! A fast jump-cut to the movie title.

“Oh, we are DEFINITELY going to see that!” I said to Kyle, who nodded agreement immediately. It was a minute-long teaser for the movie “Dunkirk,” which is scheduled for a July 21 release.

It’s sure to be a mega-hit. Anything Christopher Nolan directs is typically an instantly classic film. But the story itself is something of a modern-day miracle tale.

The premise is obviously the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France, between May 26 and June 4, 1940. The epic battle saved more than 330,000 soldiers, thanks to a fleet slapped together and comprised, in large part, of civilian boats and citizen volunteers.

Many historians view the Battle of Dunkirk, which is also commonly referred to as “Operation Dynamo,” as a major turning point toward victory during World War II. It is largely credited with spurring public opinion here in America to support England’s war efforts.

I cannot wait to see it. In fact, I’m all about war movies, especially those which are generally historically accurate.

It probably started in my childhood with my parents’ affinity for them. I must have seen “Patton,” “The Dirty Dozen” and “Stalag 17” a handful of times each as a kid.

I clearly remember watching “Letters from Iwo Jima” voluntarily as a teen and then, of course, standing in line repeatedly to watch “Full Metal Jacket,” “Platoon” and “Top Gun.”

I faithfully followed the HBO series “Band of Brothers” and there is never a showing of “Saving Private Ryan” anywhere, anytime, on any channel, device or medium by which, if I am conscious and aware of it, that I miss. Ever. I must have seen “Saving Private Ryan” at least partially, 25 times already. And I will watch it again. And again. And I will cry and curse and cry some more every single time.

The older I get, the more persnickety I am about which movies I am actually willing to physically drive to the theater to view. Not so much because of the cost (which is preposterous, BTW) or the inconvenience (I love the option of pausing to run to the little girls’ room) but more because, if I’m going to go to all the trouble to pre-pay for a ticket (and hope I actually get the confirmation email) and fight a mob of people for a decent seat (which leaves me neither squinting nor in need of traction the next day because it was too close to the big screen), I really don’t want to be disappointed in the show.

So, if I’m going to undergo the whole process, the juice better be worth the squeeze, as my day boss always says — or I’m going to feel cheated and probably avoid the theater for a good long while afterward. In the recent past, I have only bothered to tackle the challenge for films such as “Fury,” American Sniper” and “Lone Survivor.”

I guess I’m sort of addicted to war flicks. Please understand, the reason I love war movies is not because I love war. Political affiliation, opinion and preference aside, I reiterate, I do not love, hope for or want war. No one does. Least of all the soldiers who live it up close and personal, capisce?

The point is, I am fascinated by documentaries and movies about wars in which America has been involved or that are focused on American soldiers for one very simple reason: I love the United States military.

I don’t think I can emphasize that fact strongly enough. I have always loved, revered and supported the members of our Armed Forces. I always will. #thankasoldier

So on this Memorial Day weekend, as we go to picnics, parades and department store sales all in the name of this very meaningful observation, might I ask that we all just offer up a silent prayer for all those soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom?

And if you get a chance, sneak in a viewing of “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” too.

God bless America and all who defend her.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who is dying to see “Dunkirk” and can hardly believe it co-stars that cute boy from “One Direction.” Contact her with your favorite war flick at www.patriciakimerer.com

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