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Remembering “The Hurt Locker”

February 11, 2010

For those who are not on twitter, I was so honored to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on “The Hurt Locker” in a video and print commentary on Roger Ebert’s site, as part of his Far-Flung Correspondents feature.

The attached written piece is a reprint of my first thoughts of “The Hurt Locker”, near the beginning of this blog. It’s hard to believe that was less than 6 months ago. I started writing because I needed somewhere to write, and now I’m here sharing this gem of a haven with some amazing people, and I don’t know where I’ll be in 6 months from now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To those of you who have supported me from the beginning, thank you. I can’t possibly verbalize how much every single word means to me. There are so many talented writers out there and all of them just want to be read. You are reading me, and for that I thank you.

As long as you are reading, I will be writing.


15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2010 2:34 AM

    Congratulations! You write from the jugular and with grace, Grace.

  2. February 11, 2010 7:54 AM

    Congratulations, Grace.

    We don’t have to wonder why he asked you, though.

  3. steve permalink
    February 11, 2010 11:09 AM

    You thoughts on the Hurt Locker showed great insights into the reality of professional soldiers at war. As a combat veteran, I immediately recognized the personality of James as one of my former comrades-in-arms. He was never reckless, but always saw the situation in ways none of us could visualize until after. He was put in for 2 Medals of Honor. But because he was perhaps a trifle blunt regarding his views of senior officer competence, his MOH nominations were down graded to a Distinguished Service Cross for one and a Silver Star for the other. I am aware of a least six other episodes that could easily have been MOH worthy. But he was never fool hardy or excessively dangerous. Your review truly shows your gift at understanding the reality of war and the mind sets of those of us who have lived it. Keep up the good work. I will look forward to your future writings and artistic endeavors. You are truly gifted.

    Grace: Steve, thank you SO much for sharing that, and for…I don’t even know. You have been there, and as much as I try to imagine what it was like, I will never know. And I am truly thankful for your service so that I won’t have to.

  4. February 11, 2010 3:27 PM

    Due to technical difficulties with WiFi last night, I never got to post my comment to this post, Grace. Now that a night has separated my thoughts of last night from my thoughts of today, my comment today will probably be completely different from the one last night, but let me try to recall it as best I can.

    I started it by saying something about how I had just posted a comment to aforementioned review on Ebert’s website, and how I wasn’t going to repost the comment here, aside from saying, “Good job!”

    Then I went on to wonder what your first blog post was about, but then said that I could search for that on my own (of course, my connection being all kooky last night, I haven’t had a chance to do so). I think I added something else after that comment. Finally, I ended by saying, “You’re welcome,” in response to your thanks to us for reading your blog, and then thanked you for reading mine.

    I do want to ad one more thing: in a comment to aforementioned post on Ebert’s website, Wael Khairy wrote, “Finally!” I just want to echo that comment. You deserve as large an audience as the world will give you, and I hope that even more people will start reading your blog now that you are a featured foreign correspondent on Ebert’s webpage. As for me, I hope to be reading you six months, six years, even six decades from now (provided we both live that long).

    Wishing you continued success in the future! :-)

    Grace: You, along with the others, were here from the beginning. I will always remember that.

  5. DAG permalink
    February 11, 2010 8:57 PM

    I agree – film is the only popular art form remaining. Most movies probably aren’t worth the celluloid, or pixels, they’re made on. But there are films that really matter.

    A number of years ago, I remember reading an analysis of Wagner’s opera ‘Parsifal’, by a Basilian priest who is an Emeritus professor of classics at St. Mike’s at U of T, and an internally recognised expert on opera. He wrote movingly of the opera’s many layered themes and meanings. His exegesis was thought-provoking, I promised myself I would one day see this work. And, indeed, I saw Wagner at New York’s Metropolitan Opera with Placido Domingo singing the lead role. It was a profound experience.

    There’s been a LOT of talk in recent weeks about ‘Avatar’. I saw that some people would dismiss any serious discussion of the movie’s ideas as “It’s just a movie.” But that’s just not true. Again, with a lot of movies, it is. But there are directors out there who have something serious to say, and film is the medium through which they express those ideas.

    I love film. At TIFF 2009, I saw 14 movies, but I will hasten to add that their quality was very uneven (the greatest was ‘City of Life and Death’). And how I reacted to some films must be different from how you may have, or your other readers. More recently, I’ve been renting DVDs of great, foreign films. Zhang Yimou’s ‘To Live’ and ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ and Kurosawa’s ‘Rashomon’ and ‘Seven Samurai’ are all astounding, towering achievements. In my opinion, it’s films like these that help give meaning to life itself.

    I really enjoyed ‘The Hurt Locker’, and hope it wing the Oscar as Best Film and Best Director. I liked your video analysis above, and I like your writing on this blog. Please keep it up, because these conversations really are a delight.

    Grace: From those few examples, I see that you have great taste. See you at TIFF this year! :)

  6. February 12, 2010 5:26 AM

    Seeing Ebert’s tweet with a link to your video put a smile on my face that stayed there for a good hour or so. You know when something feels just right and you feel that, for once, the universe is making a tiny bit of sense? That was one of those moments.

    Thanks for this blog, which has become one of my very favorite corners of the internet. And as long as you’re writing, I’ll be reading :)

  7. Blake permalink
    February 12, 2010 6:06 AM

    Though as a Veteran myself (OIF 5,6 and OEF 6) I can’t help but nitpick on some of its unrealistic moments; such as, EOD never goes out alone, and they NEVER abandon the vehicle to look for bombs, etc. But, I am extremely happy this film was made, and happier still that you appreciate it too. I read your article in the Suntimes here in Kuwait (deployed for the fourth time in five years) and really felt like responding.
    I was not EOD, but Airborne Infantry prior to my career now (Air Defense Artillery Officer) and when a Soldier sees just enough, experiences just enough the desire to see more is insatiable. It takes a very clear head to really know why you are doing it. Is it for love of country, is it to help that country, or is it because you like the feeling of danger? For Jeremy Renner’s character, I think it started with Duty to the US, then over time he became idealistic and did it to help Iraq, and finally because he honestly likes the danger. I have been there, but it DID become a drug to him. Like addicts, he gave up his wife and son, and even his country for the danger. He believes bomb defusing is more important. He knows this of course and being deployed even one time for a year is extremely difficult for families. He wonders why she stays with him and naturally we do too. But, just know that service members stay in and tolerate repeat deployments not because they like the danger, but because they honestly feel like they are helping and feel like they are making a difference in the world. We are doing amazing things all over the world. The Hurt Locker really shows that and does not devolve to mindless fire fights. As a Veteran, I really appreciate it and I feel my and my fellow servicemembers’ efforts are/were not in vain.
    I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to read this.

    Grace: Blake, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to write this. James is a character in a movie, but I identified with him because his humanity was so well portrayed, and there was something universal about his vulnerability, wasn’t there? I’m glad to hear that he struck a chord with you and other military personnel who actually know what happens in those bomb suits. You guys ARE amazing, and doing amazing things all over the world. I have the utmost respect for you.

    When I wrote that piece, I never thought that it would reach you in Kuwait. I’m so glad it did. Your message made it all worth while.

    Best wishes for a safe journey home.

  8. February 12, 2010 8:46 AM

    You are, and have always been, a wonderful, thoughtful writer. As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

  9. February 13, 2010 4:26 AM

    Your movie commentaries are awesome. I can’t pinpoint exactly why – there’s a more personal angle than you get in typical reviews from professional critics, who’s job it is to shed more or less objective light on the film to the benefit of as wide a readership as possible, but that’s not it I think. There are lots of ‘personal’ movie commentaries out there on the web. Yours are just more imaginative, captivating and entertaining to read. They almost become a derivative work of the movie rather than a comment on it. Anyway, as someone who likes films as well as a good read, I’d like to say: keep doing what you do…

  10. Eric R. permalink
    February 14, 2010 1:39 PM

    Very good analysis of the film. Another one of the film’s qualities that stood out for me was the fact that it’s almost completely non-political. Yes, it involves the war but the war is used more as a setting than a plot. The film really is about this one man and this job.

  11. February 15, 2010 2:44 AM

    Great commentary on a great film. I love the way you mention how everyone’s experience to a single film is completely different. I loved The Hurt Locker almost as much as you did (my #2 for 2009), but I liked it for a lot of different reasons. That isn’t to say that my interpretation is wrong or your interpretation is wrong; it’s simply to say that a great film has the ability to affect so many people in so many different ways.

    I have just recently began visiting your site regularly, but (as I am a big follower of Mr. Ebert), I’ve known about you for a long time, and I will continue to read you on a regular basis.

    Thanks again for the insightful commentary, and keep up the great work! I hope I am able to get to TIFF one of these years.

  12. February 16, 2010 4:34 AM

    Congratulations, I really like your video.

    Don’t Be a Plum

  13. February 16, 2010 4:38 AM

    You talk like you write, too. You talk like you are reading an essay that was already written!

    Don’t Be a Plum

  14. Steph permalink
    February 16, 2010 8:29 PM

    Gracey, I haven’t had a chance to view your review yet. I could only watch it without the audio (work computer), which made me giggle I have to say – all your cute glances sideways, and other un-self conscious mannerisms. Can’t wait to HEAR your words! The blog is a big success and I’m delighted you are adding passion and insight, and love, to the artistic world. love you heaps! xO

    Grace: <3

  15. steph permalink
    February 17, 2010 9:39 AM

    OMG – I just (finally!) watched your review of the Hurt Locker. Grace, it made me perk up, squirm a bit inside,… really listen, and…it made me FEEL….alive. Also, having not yet seen the film, I am keen to find it and watch it pronto.

    You are a truly gifted spirit and you deserve a much bigger audience.

    Have you thought of doing more video reviews? I think you are very captivating, in some ways more than your written words, perhaps because your facial and vocal expression just add that touch more depth and personality… hmmm. Not sure. Just know you’re a star and that was brilliant! big love. xO

    Grace: thank you my dear twin!

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