FF57 - Behind Enemy Lines

Intro by Ben Harrison

The last few months of 2001 was not a happy time in America and the terrorist attacks of September the 11th had a number of strange coincidences associated with them. A Spider Man trailer was in theaters, depicting a helicopter being caught on a web strung between the twin towers. Look that up on YouTube! real weird. The Coup's fourth studio album Party Music was poised for release, but was pulled from shelves because the cover featured an image of the Twin Towers being exploded by Boots Riley and Pam the Funkstress using a drum machine as a detonator, and I will brag a bit that I actually own a copy of the CD with the original album art.

We were still stunned, and for a long time after that day we walked on cultural eggshells. What was appropriate, given the way the world had changed? It didn't seem all that clear how long the emotional half life of that shared experience would be. There is a whole list on Wikipedia of films that were canceled or delayed or changed in some way in the wake of 9/11, but in November that year 20th Century Fox went ahead and put today's film in wide release, one of the first war films to hit theaters after the attack that put our country into a totally different relationship with war. The critics hated it, but the film found a big audience and made more than $90 million against a $40 million production budget. It seems like we wanted to see a film where Team USA was winning, whether or not it was good, and, spoiler alert, this film is most certainly not ”good”.

Our main character is the disaffected Lieutenant Burnett played by Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman as Admiral Reigart, head of an American carrier group under NATO command, and he is sick and tired of Lieutenant Burnett for saying ”Wow!” about everything. They are in a war zone, Bosnia to be specific, and due to the ill-favor he has carried with the brass, navigator Burnett and his pilot Stackhouse get sent on a Christmas Day surveillance flight over the DMZ. They were just supposed to take pictures, because the war is over. There is a cease-fire that NATO is attempting to delicately reshape into a lasting peace, and this flight is supposed to be no big whoop.

Burnett's natural defiance for authority gets them out over territory they aren't authorized to be in, and Serbian bad guys covering up some mass graves fire some surface-to-air missiles to eliminate the plane and the photographic war crime evidence it contains. Burnett And Stackhouse punch out, but when they parachute to earth Burnett watches from a hill as the baddies execute his pilot. He then runs in a giant circle around this snowy section of the Balkans where we periodically cut back to Gene Hackman yelling at the effete European NATO boss about how we don't leave American servicemen high and dry like this, and the NATO boss explaining that it is just going to be bad press if we go get him. The bad guys tossed the wreckage of the plane, looking for film, but (surprise!) the digital revolution has made it to the military and the photos are actually on a Sony MiniDisc, secretly hidden in the ejector seat that Burnett is headed back to.

Director John Moore pulls out every trick in the 1990s action movie playbook as the entire Serbian military simultaneously fires on our slow-motion-running hero who escapes with a disc that will surely get all the bad guys in big trouble with The Hague. Gene Hackman, personally commanding the helicopters that are dispatched to rescue Wilson, fires back, killing all the bad guys. Because of how long it takes to produce and edit a feature film it is worth noting that like the album cover and the Spider-Man trailer, this film was all but finished before September the 11th came and went.

The central theme of the film is grappling with what America's military role in the world should be. The answers to those questions meant something really different by the time this film came out and the Cheeseburger-Cheeseburger-Bang-Bang-ness of it all, which might have felt weird and forest, had George W. Bush listened to his intelligence briefings and stopped September the 11th, which he could have done, suddenly felt like a comfort to the shocked and angered moviegoers of November 2001. We are here on another useless joyride at the cost of mere millions to the US taxpayer. Today on Friendly Fire: Behind Enemy Lines.


B: Welcome to Friendly Fire, the war movie podcast that was just supposed to take pictures. I'm Ben Harrison…

A: I'm Adam Pranica…

J: … and I'm John Roderick.

B: It is another ”It was just supposed to be a recon mission” movie!

A: I love those movies. Those are the best movies!

B: It is Adam’s favorite genre!

A: That's not how you say it!

B: It is in France!

A: There is a Frenchman in this movie, Ben! Is he your guy?

B: He is played by a Portuguese, which didn't make a lot of sense to me.

A: Yeah, but I love Joaquim de Almeida, that guy is awesome in everything.

B: Yeah, I would say that the machine is in fact still on.

A: Yeah, the machine is never turning off for that guy.

Movie release time

B: This movie came out at a weird time. It came out in November of 2001. It was not exactly a time when everybody was looking for a movie about the US not knowing what its place as the world police were…

J: … and also ostensibly protecting Muslims, which was the subplot here, a very sub plot.

B: Right! It was such a subplot that while we were watching this movie last night we were like ”Wait, which side are they on? Oh yeah! They are there to stop the ethnic cleansing of a Muslim population”
There is that scene and in the mess hall on the aircraft carrier where Owen Wilson is bellyaching about the idea of the US military being a police force for the entire planet and that was a pretty standard issue grape from a soldier in a movie prior to 2001, but I think that has kind of gone away.

J: That used to be a major complaint of political conservatives because the idea that America was a world cop was a very liberal and progressive idea, and conservatives tended to be more isolationist. That little pendulum has flipped around quite a bit, although I think probably most liberals and progressives still imagine that America should be a world cop, just in a different way.

B: Well yeah! There is a very isolationist stripe and in contemporary conservatism, but they are also all the same people that were very ”Rah rah!” about every war that the Bush administration got us into.

J: They would be over there bombing ISIS and chopping them up with a coffee grinder if they could, so that isolationism is pretty selective. And I think the left is always like: ”What are we doing over there, killing innocent people?” (John speaking in a mocking voice)

B: That is exactly the tone of voice I take on when I talk about geopolitics.

A: Yeah, but yours is tinged with a French accent.

J: (in a mock French accent) What are we doing over there? It is a tragedy!

J: But the left loves to go rescue people and if there was a genocide happening right now in Africa, the left wouldn't want us to stand by and just watch it happen. It is complicated to be an American, difficult even.

A: The closest glimpse we get to the atrocities of this war is a single open grave with maybe two dozen bodies in it, but you look statistically at what happened during this conflict and there were mass rapes in the hundreds of thousands, there was ethnic cleansing for the first time since World War II. Did this film shy away from showing the true horror of the stakes of this war? I kind of think so!

J: Yes!

B: I read that the studio actually made the director cut a lot of stuff about how horrifying this conflict was in order to get the PG-13 rating, in particular the open grave scene was very heavily cut.

J: I mean that is the only scene right that gives any indication of what's happening. It isn't explained.

B: I think that the battle in Hač, the town, was also pretty heavily cut. I think that is the studio wringing their hands about what an audience is going to be prepared for in the context of when this movie came out.

The conflicts on the Balkan

A: It is kind of too bad that this was probably the last time that America was going to consider this part of the world in this way before it turned its eyes to the Middle East again, and that moment was lost in late 2001. John, I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your take on how this war happened and its aftermath. I did a little bit of research about it and it kind of seemed in parallel to what happened in Iraq. The destabilisation of a government, a division of a country into religious factions, and then the war that followed seems like a fairly familiar script. That is an overly simplistic way to put it, but how would you describe how this war started and ended?

J: Iraq got destabilised by us invading and bombing them, whereas the conflict in what had been Yugoslavia, we've talked about it in another shows, that area has been in constant conflict since it was the battleground between the Ottoman Turks and the Austrians and before. For one million years they have been fighting in the Balkans, yes since 1 million B.C.

B: Write that down, kids! That's going to be on the exam

A: Lot of dead ridden dinosaurs in that area.

J: This is where the first little mammal came out of a hole and bit the ankle of a dinosaur, then ran back in the hole. But all those religious and cultural and ethnic forces all grinding against each other in that area is why we have the word balkanized, it is why we talk about it so much, it is where World War I started, it is the crossroads of conflict and somehow Tito in the whole after war period managed to unite that side the peninsula and foster some group identity that held that area together, which is in retrospect kind of an astonishing feat. It was then! He was certainly a unique leader.

B: It was everything north of Greece and south of Austria and Hungary, is that roughly where it was?

J: Well, and west of Romania and Bulgaria and Hungary. So, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria had their own problems for sure. There are mountains everywhere, but there is a big mountain range down the middle, and rough unaccessible mountains, but then on the on the left side you got this territory that is full of Albanians and Macedonians and Bosnians and Croats and Serbs and just everybody is there. Anyway, but there is also Muslims and there is Catholics, there is Orthodox Christians, Protestants everywhere I guess because they get in under the door if you don't seal it up for the winter.

B: They make some pretty good products for home use now, but I would recommend an exterminator, and that is what they turn to in this movie for people of a religious background that they did not approve of but.

J: I don't know if you guys remember, I guess probably Ben you were a little young to be following it in real time, but I took a real interest in this stuff at the time and I was actually in Europe during this conflict and I was in Europe again during the bombing of Kosovo five years later, following it in the news at the time. I was two countries away, I was in Austria, Italy and Greece. It was so hard to make sense of at the time. I remember that in newspapers and and television shows the whole first half of the article or the first half of the program would be like ”Okay, so: the Bosnian Serbs are different from the Bosnians and the Bosniaks” They were trying to explain it and they wouldn't be able to explain it and there would be all these graphics and maps and there just wasn't the depth of understanding to even explain who the sides were. I don't think part of the frustration of American civilians was just like: ”Who are the good guys?”

B: Anytime you visit a country with a very traditional culture like that you encounter things like that where there are meaningful distinctions between people that look and act exactly the same from an unlearned vantage point.

J: … and in this country were neighbors and friends and schoolmates. They are indistinguishable from one another except to them. There wasn't a person in America in 1993 that could pronounce Herzegovina and I don't think there were very many in 1999.

A: Yeah, late night hosts were making fun of the name Slobodan Milosevic.

J: Sure, it's hilarious! But anyway, and what America's role should have been. We haven't really talked about how the war started, but that is unclear, too. What was crazy about this time was that the Soviet Union was gone and NATO's whole purpose prior to that had been to contain the Soviet Union, so we still had this vibrant and well-funded organization NATO which united all of the European countries ostensibly that had been on the other side of the wall, and this was a this was a thing that NATO took on, but also the United Nations, which has consistently tried to be a peacekeeping intervention in global conflict, and they have soldiers and tanks, the blue helmet guys, but they have a very unclear mandate and they are not allowed to just go in and start shooting at people. So there were all these terrible incidents where there were genocides happening and the there were U.N. monitors there and they just had to stand there because they weren't given the go-ahead and then they were captured often. The Serbs were pretty diabolical and they waged the war cleverly so even on what would have been the good guys side, which is nominally us trying to help, we were hog-scrambled.

B: Hate to see that!

J: Sorry for the long exposition, but it is better than talking about this shitty movie.

Different countries interacting

B: I thought that the NATO stuff was pretty interesting, the idea of a French admiral giving orders to an American admiral about what we could and couldn't do to extract a pilot who’s plane got shot down. That is a tough pill to swallow, like ”Oh, you are not my country man. Who are you to tell me what I can do?”is a major tension in this movie.

J: The French have one aircraft carrier and it is a converted Staten Island Ferry.

B: Don't talk shit! That aircraft carrier plays a crucial role in my favorite movie Crimson Tide!

J: He got three stars so he is giving orders to this guy who is in charge of a carrier battle group. There has got to be plenty of interior tension there, where the U.S. admiral is like ”Oh yeah, I get what you are saying, 100%, admiral!”

A: The casting here is pretty great because you have to be on the side of Gene Hackman. He is Gene Hackman and he is an admiral! It is perfect…

J: … but he is pretty small minded. He is not portrayed as very decisive. We expect generals to be strategic thinkers, but often they are not, as the French admiral says: ”You are an uncomplicated man!”, but you don't want a two-star admiral to be one of these ”I'm just following orders” guys.

A: You bring up a really interesting point because that relationship between the David Keith character and the Gene Hackman character, I kept on bringing my own shit into that because I kept on ascribing greater knowledge or intelligence or heroism to the Gene Hackman character than he had in this film. I kept thinking that David Keith’s O'Malley character was speaking to him in code and they were having a conversation that they weren't actually having about the rescue of Burnett. Did you guys feel that way?

B: Yeah, I think it is left a little bit ambiguous, but the scene where he says ”Use the media!” is maybe the closest we get to that.

A: It felt like nagging that O'Malley was doing to Reigart, like: "Well, you can't do anything, can you? Two-star admiral! You just can't! Look at how powerless you are in the state room, admiral! Can't do anything about it!”

B: This whole battle group! I mean, what a shame!

Pretending to be based on a real event, whom are the characters based on?

J: We should say right here at the top that this movie from the start gives the impression that it is retelling a true story, it is dramatizing a true story, and it feels very like ”Wow, this is what really happened and this admiral really in the end finally stood up to the powers and he lost his battle group!” and even at the end there is a ”What happened to them after the war” thing, but it is 100% all complete bullshit! It is very loosely based on an actual incident that happened to an Air Force pilot and the none of the things that happened in this movie happened. It has a super weird tone, because from the very beginning you feel that we are watching a depiction of a thing, and they continue that farce all the way through the end, but when you compare it to the history, I found that really offputting. All these questions of ”How is the commander limited? What were his powers?” et cetera, that we are trying to untangle there, that is just some script-writer. There was a real admiral in command of the American response to what was happening there, he was a guy named Leighton Smith, and he very definitely had tremendous power and authority, and he very definitely limited his own authority in the conflict. The politicians actually wanted him to be more aggressive in fighting against the Serbs. and he smugly said ”I'm not here to be a cop, I'm just here to do my duty and I'm going to do exactly the letter of the law and I'm not going to pursue genocide as a thing that is any interest of the U.S. Navy”, but he was smug about it. It wasn't like Gene Hackman in this movie where he was chomping at the bit to go in, but it feels like the politicians are holding him back, but it was the opposite: the politicians were like ”Can the US get in there and do something here?” and he was like ”Not me!” I don't want to besmirch the reputation of Leighton Smith, but I think he is pretty much a dick then and now. He retains his dick status. There are a lot of people in the US military that are dicks, I hope I am not revealing anything, like spoiler alert!

B: Oh my God, they are really going to come for us now!

A: You were at one point given a challenge coin that just said ”I'm a dick”, that informs that opinion.

B: Yeah, every time John walks into a bar he takes out his ”I’m a dick” challenge coin and taps it on the edge of the bar

A: There is our new Friendly Fire merch item, the ”I'm a dick” challenge coin.

J: I say that because he was one of the highest ranking signatories of the letter to Obama saying ”If you let gays in the military it will be the end of America.” He is the top rank or one of the top rank guys that signed that letter. He is not a guy that is out here just chillin with some great opinions. But anyway, that is a beside the point. I think Gene Hackman is based on him.

A: Is general Lokar, the Bosnian commander, based on anyone factual, or a composite of some people?

J: Yeah for sure! It is Karadžić and there was Mladić and I think he based on Ratko Mladić. Ratko was the head of the army.

B: You are on a first name basis with Ratko?

J: Well, I mean I followed his trial.

A: You guys exchanged ”I’m a dick” challenge coins?

J: Well, I didn't have a good one then. Mine was just a little rubber stopper that goes inside of a bottle of Grolsch and keeps the top on, and I think his was a landmine. He was the guy that was responsible for Srebrenica, the big massacre. I mean, he was charged with it.


A movie about a guy running

J: It is hard to talk about this movie, because what you really want to talk about is the war in Bosnia…

A: … which this film does not.

J: This film is not very good at that. This film is like an extended chase sequence.

B: They really showed have cast Tom Cruise in the Burnett role, because all it is is running.

A: Yeah. it is a real Adidas track suit cat versus surfer mouse story between Sasha, the Caesar haircut guy…

B: … who is the model for the character Niko Bellic in the game Grand Theft Auto IV.

A: If you need a shorthand for Eastern Block bad guy, it is Caesar haircut and an Adidas track suit.

B: He got super sweaty hair despite the fact that it is probably 30 degrees out (-1 °C).

J: Yeah, the classic crouching slav!

A: He is grouchy because he got a cold! There is an interesting conflict that isn't really a conflict between him and Bazda. They play two of Lokar’s sons, right? But they aren't. One of them is the left hand man and one of them is the right hand man.

J: It is regular army versus special forces.

B: He is like a one man death squad.

J: Did anyone feel that for a movie that was mostly about a guy running that Owen Wilson has a weird run?

B: He has a weird run and a weird walk.

A: I think it has got be hard to run in a dumpy flight suit, though.

J: He runs like a duck! Tom Cruise, I'd watch that guy run all day! In fact I have!

A: Aometimes you just need to get off!

B: They call it edging when you watch him run all day, right?

A: What I was introducing without ever getting anywhere with it, which is sort of the theme of this film, is that this film portrays a conflict that doesn't actually follow through with anything. The general and the military arm and the Special Forces arm are just utility and I wanted to know a little bit more about them and why they were in conflict, but you just never get that and we cut back to Owen Wilson running anytime there was any moment to think about these things.

B: There was moment when they sort of imply that they are going to get into their motivations and it is the first time we meet the general, that scene where they are watching television and watching the CNN feed about how the ceasefire is going into effect, and all of that is abandoned and they are just kind of a force of nature that is trying to contain Burnett after that.

Cell phones as a strategic element

J: The whole idea that the commander, the Ratko figure, is on the phone all the time. There is a lot of cell phone action in this movie. Is this the first movie we have seen where the cell phone is deployed as a strategic element? These guys are calling each other up, like ”I'm out here, he is right over there, should I shoot him or not?”

B: It is a weird middle time where somebody being stranded in a mountainous region was a total problem from a getting-him-out standpoint, but also great cell phone coverage everywhere.

A: The cell phone coverage is better than the coverage that Owen Wilson gets with his emergency radio, though! What’s that about?

B: They have to turn off the transponder in the seat.

J: That's what it was! They had to turn off the transponder! But I think Ratko is portrayed as being on the phone with his political commander who would be Radovan Karadzic. I cannot pronounce Bosnian names, please do not write angry letters.

A: People don't tune into this program for proper pronunciation.

J: He is calling his political boss and what was weird about this conflict was: The Serbs definitely knew that the news was tightening. Think about the stones that the Serbs had! The entire world is starting to array against them although the Russians always had their back, but the U.S. Navy is tooling around off the coast with the firepower to wipe your country off the map and you are like: ”We are gonna just do a little bit more genociding over here!” They really were doing that, like ”Okay, we are not going to genocide anymore!” - (whispering) ”Let's just do a little more genocide over here until midnight when the genociding is supposed to stop!” All those phone calls felt pretty real. The commander in the field would be like: ”What are we supposed to do?” - ”We've got to kill that guy!” and he is talking to somebody wearing a suit who is in a courthouse somewhere. That was interesting. That felt real!

B: The guy in the suit in the courthouse is just as much on the side of ”Let's do as much genociding as we can get away with right up until the deadline!”

J: But he is sitting across the table from from U.N. representatives and NATO representatives telling them ”Oh, 100%, we are ready to put this conflict to bed!”

B: Such a shame what the military has gotten off to in this, but I'm glad we can finally get this nastiness behind us!

J: ”We are tired of being persecuted by the Muslims. We are only defending ourselves!”

A: It is hard to forgive this movie for not at least giving us the bookends that a movie like Crimson Tide gave us. This film goes in on the whole idea of a press person helping to tell the story, but doesn't give us any deep background on the conflict in any way that is meaningful. We get to meet our antagonists, but we don't really know them or their motivations. We get to meet the rebels in Hač when Owen Wilson gets the ride from that pickup truck full of Elvis impersonators and Coke drinkers, and we don't really know what their deal is specifically without having to do our own research. It was frustrating over and over again to get these scenes and set pieces that just serve to turn Owen Wilson into an action star and I think Owen Wilson is capable at that, but it is meaningless in that way because the film doesn't serve those moments in any way that has any depth.

Collaboration with Department of Defense

B: This movie was done with total collaboration by the Department of Defense. Crimson Tide was done in defiance of the Department of Defense and this movie they actually deployed an aircraft carrier and a bunch of jets and did stuff for the filmmakers.

A: Is that what happens when you are in agreement with the department for those materiel?

B: Yeah, the DoD (Department of Defense) stipulated changes in the script that deemphasize the idea that Hackman’s character tipped off the press, because they didn't like that as a part of the story. They didn't want an admiral to have have leaked something in the movie.

Comparison to Crimson Tide

J: I would like to mention on behalf of all listeners of Friendly Fire: We have not watched Crimson Tide on this show. That is you guys, you keep referring to ”As we saw in Crimson Tide…”, but we did not see Crimson Tide. You dorks watched Crimson Tide, it is still on our list, we are going to watch it, but you guys talk about it, like… I have never seen Crimson Tide.

B: You never saw Crimson Tide? Oh man! You probably don't even know what color Lipizzan stallions are when they are born.

J: I don't! I've seen Lipizzan stallions when they are old. Are they purple or something?

B: Oh man! I don't want to spoil it for you, this is going to be a huge reveal.

J: I have never seen it and so I don't know what you are talking about.

B: It is hard to avoid the comparison because it is another movie in which Gene Hackman is a big Navy guy.

1990s filmmaking

J: But from the very beginning this movie is super late-period MTV jump cuts and stutter effects, all put to a soundtrack of 3 Doors Down and it is the last gasp of super-1990's filmmaking.

B: The death rattle, some might say!

A: John Moore is biting all Antoine Fuqua’s rhymes in this film, I think! It's got to be really irritating!

J: It is so jingoistic, like ”Being in Navy is cool! Whooo!” It is gross! When Owen Wilson is revealed to be a callow brat, it is portrayed as cool in a weird way, like ”I've got no time for this Navy, I'm going to go fly jets for American Airlines!” and we are supposed to what? Feel anything but total contempt for him? But he got his collar popped… I didn't buy Owen Wilson in this movie at all from very beginning. Whatever it is that a Navy pilot has, Owen Wilson does not have it.

Moment of pedantry, John Denver

A: Are you referring to the right stuff?

J: He doesn't have it! He doesn't have the right stuff!

B: Well, that did nicely segue into my moment of pedantry, but now it doesn't anymore, thanks Adam!

A: Let's turn the podcar around, let's go pick it up! Beep beep

B: So there is that part where they are talking about other things they could be doing with their skills of a pilot and the idea of flying Rock stars around comes up, and one Internet pedant noted that this movie is set in 1995, but a pilot mentions John Denver's death, which was on the 12th of October 1997.

J: Oh! Boo yah! Also, he mentioned it and they dissed John Denver.

A: Yeah, that anti-John Denver stance gets gets off on the wrong foot.

J: But another thing that was shitty about that is all the other crashes that he mentioned were ones that were in keeping with what he was saying, which was that Rock stars were in a plane and they crashed, but John Denver was flying the plane. John Denver crashed himself!

B: No shit? Oh man! You put a hat on that pedant’s hat!

J: John Denver was a pilot and he was flying an experimental plane and crashed it. So, that whole joke was just like (fart noises). Don't diss John Denver and if you are going to diss John Denver, give him his props at least.

A: Boy, this film sure did start quippy as if Quentin Tarantino got an uncredited rewrite for some of the dialogue, but the quips never sustain after the first half hour.

B: Yeah, it is mostly just radio code after the first half hour…

J: … because they try and set it up as a buddy picture. Actually, the guy that played his partner, Stackhouse, he did have the right stuff! I would have followed a movie about him being a Navy pilot all afternoon!

A: Yeah, he seems to be pretty hurt that Burnett is going to retire. If I am Stackhouse, I'm going to be like: ”Good riddance! I could use someone who is a little bit more of a professional in my backseat!”

J: Yeah, right! The actor that was playing Stackhouse was Gabriel Macht. He did some good eyebrow acting…

B: … what an appropriate name, given that he probably went to, what? Mach 2?

A: Oh boy…

B: Mach 3?

J: It's really something. Well, hard to recover from that, but yeah, so:

Old John and New John

J: We haven't said it, but I have to say it, you guys, and I don't want to just ramble in this episode, but: Old-fashioned Friendly Fire John, Original John, the John that you brought in to do this show, …

B: … before we reformulated John to being more competitive with Pepsi?

J: Yeah right, New Flavor John that is a little sweeter. Old John really would have hated this movie and everything about it, but New John has developed a taste for porkchops and has realized that nobody wants to hear Old John just sit and rip on every movie.

A: You haven’t developed a taste for Stallone movies, have you?

J: No, New John has just arrived on the scene, he is still covered in ectoplasm, but New John realizes that people like to go to the movies for a lot of different reasons, like escapism, people like adventure, and from a porkchop movie standpoint New John is trying to get on-board with you guys and appreciate a wider variety of things in cinema. New John also hates this movie, because it is so bad, but there are a few moments where I caught myself doing that thing where you are ducking and wincing, because machine-gun fire is approaching and you are like ”Whoaaa!” I did get the physicality of an adrenaline-soaked adventure movie a couple of times.

The jet sequences and the ejection seat scene

B: Let's talk about the times that are good, because I thought that the jet sequences were pretty impressive. Some of the effects don't hold up great, but they got some amazing Top Gun or better level jet action in this movie…

A: … and the destruction of the jet at the end of that sequence I thought was really scary and visceral…

B: … like going in on the individual components melting or catching on fire was pretty amazing.

A: The function of that surface-to-air-missile in shooting flak before exploding at that was a nice touch.

J: I had never seen that before, that was cool!

B: Is that a real thing?

J: I don't know, I wondered that same thing.

B: It seems like from a physics standpoint that it would be to the missiles detriment to shoot a bunch of stuff out the front of it right before its impact.

A: Well, the missile doesn't need to survive the incident, though.

B: But it slows it down, wouldn't it?

J: It slows it down and cause some Momentum Disconnect.

B: That was the name of my Trip-Hop band in the 1990s.

J: I hate those jokes, and that was actually pretty good!

A: You are right Ben, I really liked seeing all those individual systems fail when it came time to punch out.

B: What hit Stackhouse in the leg? Was that one of the explosive bolts or was it part of the flak from that missile?

A: I thought he was burned from the ejection.

B: Oh! Because they show something, like a projectile of some kind going into his leg and that is why he is all messed up when they meet up on the ground.

A: You have three frames of footage to take that in because of all the cross-cutting.

J: I thought that it was maybe a component of the ejection. That used to happen in Vietnam a lot, they hadn't quite figured out how to get pilots completely out of the plane without… early ejection seats, maybe not Vietnam, but where the pilot would break both his legs going out of the airplane. It is a pretty tricky problem, right? You are shooting a rocket in a contained space and the guy is sitting right on top of it?

J: And you are going Mach 2 or 3 or 13!

B: Yeah, one of the three.

A: I really thought Stackhouse was going to be killed when their ejection seats collided in midair. I wonder how often that happens: You ejecting in such close proximity.

J: I don't think it happens. All the things that you just said about how difficult it is to get those seats out of a moving jet, it is also very unlikely that they are going to… because in this movie they collided like somebody over here had an ejection seat on a string and somebody across the room had one.

A: It was an executive’s desk-toy of ejection seats running into each other.

Unrealistic practical effects and explosions

J: Trying to pick out the things in this movie that were unrealistic is an impossible task, because it is 100% unrealistic except for a very few instances where they managed to get kind of realistic. The whole scene where they shoot Stackhouse and Owen Wilson who is half a mile away up on the side of the mountain and is a Navy pilot can't keep himself from shouting at the top of his lungs ”Noooo!” and thereby giving away his position and setting in motion the entire film.

B: Also everytime he is running away from 85 guys that are shooting everything from handguns up to anti-aircraft-flak-guns at him and just lighting the entire hillside up and he never gets hit. They shouldn't have gotten all those Imperial Stormtroopers for the Serbian army.

J: The special effects in this movie in terms of… What is the difference? You guys would know this! There is FX and then there is,

A: FX 2, the sequel!

B: It is actually FXX and they mostly just play the Simpsons.

J: FXXX, what you can't see in theaters!

B: You are talking about practical versus digital.

J: Yeah, special effects that are happening in the world that are explosive packets and blood capsules, and then special effects that are done digitally.

B: Yeah, you see a lot of digital tracer bullets in this movie, a lot of digital smoke when the empty ejector seat lands on the ice on the top of that mountain, just terrible particle effect smoke.

J: Digital smoke is so gross!

A: That point-of-view shot of the tank-shell ripping through that abandoned building, that was an example of that. The director almost died during that scene. He was standing next to the wall as the tank drove through and he got shoved out of the way at the last moment. Oops-a-daisy!

B: Wow, Jesus fucking Christ! Who shoved him? Did the guy that shoved him die?

A: He was pulled away by a stunt man who was in the scene.

J: ”Hey man, stunt men only here!” But it is not the digital stuff that I came here today to complain about, because the digital stuff is like every time we watch a movie that was made in this middle period of digital effects.

B: These are to filmmaking what plastic surgery performed in the 1980s are to plastic surgery: Never looked realistic not even once, but we somehow talked ourselves into it at the time.

J: But it was the real-life special effects stuff that… probably the guys that were rigging up the bombs were just doing their job, but whoever choreographed those sequences just didn't feel very good at their job. All those scenes where Owen Wilson is just running down the middle of a thing and bombs are going off in slow motion on both sides of him…

A: I didn’t understand how that scene worked, because if he only tripped one wire, why are they all going off? Are they all connected to each other?

B: I think they are setting each other off… that one soldier sets the one off, and because they are set up so close to each other, the ideas is that the concussive blast from one explosion is setting off the proximate one and then it it turns into a domino effect, but we see that explosion turn the soldier that sets it off into raspberry jelly, but then Owen Wilson gets hit by it 15 times while he is running away from it.

J: Mega Slo-mo! These were set up to kill someone that was precisely in Owen Wilson's position and he runs through the middle of it like it is Super Bowl Sunday!

A: He should be bleeding out of his ears in the back of that pickup truck in the scene after…

J: 100% vaporized!

A: … and he is having that whispered conversation.

J: Yeah, what movie are we in now? It felt like something you would get to experience on a Universal Studios tour. ”Now you run down the alley and all the bombs go off!”

B: The two most remarkable examples of that are That first scene where they kill Stackhouse and he yells ”Nooo!” and they explode the entire hillside and then the other one is at the very end when he goes up to the top of the mountain again and is gonna get the the data disc out of the ejector seat, he runs toward the entire remaining military. They have tanks, they have rolling artillery pieces, they have the guy with the crazy sniper rifle, every kind of gun that this military ever had is being pointed at him and nothing is hitting, and two helicopters are holding the entire army off.

J: Oh my God! If I hadn't been watching that scene at 2:30am I would have had to have gone downstairs and made a pizza. I was so offended! Even then I still was watching this movie under the weird feeling that this was trying to depict a thing that had happened.

Seemingly depicting real events

J: There were three famous incidents where every American aircraft got shot down in Bosnia. One of them was the first one where an Air Force pilot had kind of this happen: He got shot down by a Serbian missile, he spent six days in country evading the Serbs.

B: This guy later sued 20th Century Fox for making him look like an asshole in this movie, by the way.

J: One of the main reasons that he sued them was because there were swears in this movie and he was such a devout Christian that he was super-mad that they depicted him as saying swears. I would love to be in court to see that lawsuit play out! But then there was a second time after that where a predator drone got shot down.

A: For the jury, would you please give us your best ”Wow!” Case closed.

J: And then there was a third time in the Kosovo war where a F-117 got shot down, which was our stealth plane that was supposed to not be shoot-down-able by Serbs. That was kind of embarrassing. But watching this movie I had all those in my mind, this kind of thing happened, and we love the Navy, you just love watching aircraft carrier shots, so I get it that it got transposed onto the Navy, okay. But there at the end when he is like ”I've got to go back and get that film!” and he is running through that hail of bullets and I am watching it like: ”What are the actual events that this is trying to depict? Is there someone in the world that is going to stand up and say ’This happened to me?’” and when I got to the end I realized that this is a birthday cake for some filmmaker, it is 100% parfait bullshit.

B: It is wild that they do the thing at the end, of ”What happened to them after the events of this movie?”, that really makes you think that this was a depiction of something that actually happened.

A: And with how little background they give to the primary characters it is almost like it assumes you know who they are, as if they are popular people that don't merit that kind of background.

J: I imagine lots of people came out of this movie thinking that they had just seen some tremendous example of American heroism in action…

B: … which is a weird choice. Maybe the Department of Defense wanted it that way? Maybe they see it as a recruitment opportunity, so let's not draw a bright line around the idea that this is a fictional account?

A: They were super-okay with the depiction of NATO though as an entity to be ignored and run around by the admiral Reigart character.

Rescuing one man and risking to prolong the war

B: I thought a lot about the idea that multilateralism is bad, it is an interesting tension that probably probably happens from time to time, right? The idea that we are going to sacrifice this man's life because the war could be over if we do and therefore it is worth it. There is an interesting movie to be made about an issue like that, right?

A: You never totally understand the stakes without witnessing the atrocity in full, though. We are told time and time again how fragile the peace is and how it must be maintained in the face of the life of one man and his potential rescue, but you never feel the true stakes of that conflict because you never see how important the peace is to maintain, because all you see is war on the ground. What peace? What are we even talking about?

J: Yeah, that was an interesting framework for the movie. It happens all the time. The NATO aspect was just a stand-in for something we see in war movies a lot, but happens all the time, which is ”Politically we have to do this and unfortunately that means that 100 of your guys die!” and you do want your Navy guys at a certain point to not be empowered to say ”I'm going to rescue my pilot and if it causes 10.000 civilian deaths because it prolongs the war for six months, I don't care! I'm getting my guy!” That was a weird subtext and it was unclear to me what we were supposed to… I think it wasn't unclear in the sense that I imagined most porkchop-eating people in the theater understood…

B: That bucketful of great theater pork chop with real butter flavor!

A: One time Ben cut a hole in the bottom of his bucket of porkchops. Pretty gross move!

J: You couldn't tell whether it was a pork chop in your hand or a kielbasa.

B: … or some other kind of pork.

J: But I think the movie was telegraphing to unsophisticated viewers that we were supposed to believe that the highest virtue was to get Owen Wilson out, but there was this other kind of tension where you felt like ”The NATO guys got a really good point and he is really being patient.”

B: Admiral Piquet is right in every scene. He is also right when he catches Hackman going behind his back, like ”What the fuck, man! We have had one disagreement and you completely fucked me over? What is wrong with you?”

A: The problem with Hackman is that he tried to turn Piquet’s machine off. The machine needs to stay on, Ben!

J: I don't know what you are talking about! What is that a reference to?

A: Clear and Present Danger and Joaquim de Almeida’s tour de force performance.

J: That was a tour de force! But but you follow that logic that he is correct, then Gene Hackman’s admiral becomes both incredibly ineffectual and incredibly immature. Every grimace that goes across his face, every bit of waffling, ”Pick a job here! Are you going to do what your job is or are you going to do this teenage hand-wringing about this pilot that disobeyed orders and is stuck behind enemy lines?” It is a no-brainer! Gene Hackman and his master chief and the captain of the Marines that is in charge of the rescue squad, we follow them and all of their their emotion about Owen Wilson, but all you have to do is think about it for one second and they all become really unsympathetic.

B: I totally agree and I think that it is pretty fascinating that this movie was able to put some of that stuff up on the screen and it seems unaware of it at the same time. It is very 2001, we are going to go ”Rah rah, the military!”, we are going to go kick some ass, but also the totally unsophisticated version of that.

J: These events all happened during the Clinton administration and that was not the mentality toward the military in the United States at the time. That is so confusing, Ben, exactly what you say: How can this movie be so un-self-aware and be trying to be a flag-waver, but also everyone is comically wrong? The whole idea of the movie is just comically wrong. Both New John and Old John just don't like this movie. This is a bad movie and it should feel bad.

B: Well, we haven't quite gotten to the review portion of the show!

A: ”Comically wrong” is how our Star Trek podcast gets reviewed most often.

J: That is how I felt about it just when I heard the concept.

Admiral going on a rescue mission

A: Admiral Reigart puts on a flight suit and goes on the rescue mission. He is an admiral going on the away team, that was fun! A admiral flying the helicopter it in a fucking firefight. I'm sure someone out there knows whether or not that is actually possible, but it strained credulity, the idea of Reigart pulling on a flight suit and hopping on a chopper for this rescue mission.

B: It's very old school. The nobleman king on the horse riding into battle at the head of the army.

A: The relationship that develops between Reigart and Burnett is is portrayed over the radio mostly and in the beginning of the film it is paternal in the sense that Gene Hackman is a hard ass of a dad, trying to make his son straighten up and fly right, and it becomes more paternal throughout as Burnett is exposed to more and more danger. By the end there is that scene when Burnett has finally pulled aboard the chopper and Reigart gives back the note of resignation, and again you want to feel something in this moment, the entire film comes to this point where ”father and son” are reunited, there will be an understanding between them about what military heroism is like, and it is just a guy throwing a resignation letter out the side of his helicopter before we get to our Animal House ending. Especially because the action sequence that led up to this moment was pretty strong as action sequences go. I love the idea that they have one last shot at Burnett and instead of shooting him with the artillery shell, they shoot through the heart of the statue.

J: ”If we are going to get totally massacred here, at least we are going to make a really good point!”

B: Now I am going to blow your minds, guys, because his code name on the radio was Archangel, and the thing they shoot is an Archangel

A: Shut up!

J: Whoa! The whole movie just came into sharp focus for me and now I love it.

J: I really don't like this guy, this is the John that I don't like at all, but I could not get past the fact that they were using (Bell UH-1 Iroquois) Huey helicopters in that scene when in fact that is not what the Marines would have been using in 1995. Those would have been Cobra attack helicopters and they would have had Blackhawks or Sea Kings or something, they would not have been using those Vietnam surplus helicopters! That just offended me so much. Maybe the aircraft carrier just didn't load the right helicopters for this little milk run? Beats me!

B: They got out there to whatever ocean they shot those sequences on and they're like: ”Hey, can you bring up the attack helicopters?” - ”What the fuck are these? This is not what I asked for!”

J: ”Oh sorry, the other helicopters were being used in a different war movie we were making.”

Using the wrong movie score

A: This scene is also notable for a moment that really clanged for me personally. Some of my favorite parts of war and action films are the movie scores that come along with them, and this movie score lays back in the cut for the entire film until this moment. When Burnett goes back for the footage that his jet took, the score for a totally different movie plays.

B: Is it the score for Hackers?

A: I did not understand it at all. It totally gutted what would otherwise be a pretty heroic turn for a character we are supposed to love. Not a good moment!

B: That was a Super-1990s moment, but this was the end of the 1990s.

J: That was the end of the Super-1990s!

B: Well, culturally it certainly was!

A: It is the year everything changed, Ben!


Rating the film

A: Each war film has its own custom rating system and in every episode I get to decide what that is. Behind Enemy Lines gives us a protagonist we see a lot in films of this era: The bored soldier aching for action that his father and grandfather had, this is the action that Gene Hackman’s character saw. We see his wall full of medals and commendations that he glances at when he is deciding what to do later. But little did characters like these know what was around the corner for them waiting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Burnett's feelings are best articulated during the scene in the mess hall: He chats up Stackhouse and Stackhouse is telling them about all the adventures that he gets to get into because he is a marine and Burnett is just a lowly naval aviator and Burnett is picking it his red Jell-O and he compares his own life to that Jell-O that he is picking at. Rodway the Marine, his life is not red Jell-O, his life is a lasagna or something, but Burnett is that boring old red Jell-O, so red Jell-O is the review and rating that we will give to Behind Enemy Lines.

A: The thing about the Burnett character is if you are going to think about his hero's journey, he complains about the circumstances in the beginning and also as he gets what he asks for. He is always hating his life. He is never happy. He never gains an appreciation for his life during peace time, even at the end. Instead, what we get during the Dinney Mu (?) is: He decides not to retire. He gets back into the jet fighter and he gets a long Navy career. This hero's journey was a U-turn to me and that made it the most unsatisfying part of a fairly unsatisfying film. We have interrogated constantly how much more backstory we wanted in a film like this. How long was this film? 90 minutes? In 2001 people were making two hour war films and we could have used a little more bulk fibre to this war story. For that reasons and the reasons already stated I am going to give this film 1.5 red Jell-Os. John, what about you?

J: This happens sometimes in the show. There are a lot of war movies that we have watched that are fictionalized versions of real events. There are a lot of movies we watched that are completely fictional stories set within the context of a real conflict. It is actually pretty rare that you have a war movie that isn't a science fiction movie about a war that never happened. Can you even think of one? But I feel like Inglorious Basterds was the moment that I realized that there is a real distinction between a war movie where there is an adventure or a caper set within a war that really happened where the caper can fulfill its arc but the conduct of the actual war isn't affected by it. In this movie it takes a real conflict that was a limited and complicated conflict that had only a few incidents that involved Americans and if you do any reading at all you can figure them out pretty fast, and it inserted a completely garbled composite pure fantasy into this thing. It is like the movie U-571, which also featured the Chief Master Sergeant David Keith, he is in both movies. U-571 is another one where it is like: ”Well, that's a real thing that happened and you guys just made it into a fake thing and your fake thing is worse than the real thing!” A movie about what actually happened in Bosnia, about the Air Force pilot that was shot down and the seven days that he spent trying to escape, that is a movie that you could make that I would watch. Now this movie is not! It is a super unnecessary hyper-video-gamification of a thing, and why? What was wrong about the guy's actual exploits? He actually spent six days running from the Serbs! He had real adventures! Bad things happened! And he didn't swear once! There was not a single swear! He probably prayed 450 times and that looks great on TV with 3 Doors Down behind it, just down on your hands and knees, just slo-mo praying, bullets flying.

A: What we need to do is make prayer look cool. We got to shoot it in slo mo!

J: Bullets just exploding all around him and he's like: ”Just one second, bros! I gotta pray this out!” Oh, and also the real dude, the real Air Force dude, he was involved in an earlier incident in the war where he and some other F-16s actually shot down five Serbian jets in the first encounter and that would have been a great lead-in to the second half of the thing, but I guess the Air Force didn't throw as much money at these guys as the Navy did, or something? What does the Navy even have to do with it?

A: You look at the side of that guy's cockpit and he has got five Adidas logos under the window. That is how you know he is an ace!

J: ”I have killed five crouching Serbs!”

B: Maybe Hackman still had a bunch of his Navy uniform stuff from Crimson Tide and they saved a bundle on costuming Hackman.

A: I love Hackman, but sticking him in that flight suit was like that baseball manager who wears the baseball uniform and doesn't look great. That is definitely the look!

J: This is not good Hackman! Owen Wilson is great in Wes Anderson movies, but he is not an action star.

B: I love that John Moore saw Royal Tenenbaums and was like: ”Man, what great chemistry these two guys have!”

A: Also, what is that Mr. Little Jeans guy doing?

J: So the movie bothers me fundamentally. Obviously it is a war movie, but it is a bad war movie. I am with you, Adam, I give it 1.5 Navy mess Jell-O cubes.

B: I am really torn, honestly, because this is right in the strike zone of what a porkchop movie is to me. It doesn't ask very much of me as a viewer, I can be distracted by my beautiful porkchop that I'm also eating while watching it. I think from a Friendly Fire standpoint, it got a lot of interesting stuff. There are a ton of interesting elements to this movie that I am glad I got to talk to you guys about today and I am also very conscious of the fact that it is stupid and somewhat dishonorable and strains credulity in a lot of places. On the other hand, I loved watching all of the individual components of a fighter jet catch on fire as he punched out and the jet automatically burned its data discs and stuff so that a hostile army couldn't learn military secrets from it. It is probably just because of the era I grew up in, but I do have a soft spot for all the objectively corny 1990s filmmaking in this movie, like when they throw the SnorriCam on him when he comes out of the mass grave to draw a bright line around how upsetting that was for him, and all the speed-ramping that they do on the camera movements, all that horror movie speed-ramping when the guy with the sniper rifle is crouching in the brush at the end.

A: I'm nostalgic for that too, Ben! I'm right there with you!

B: I understand where you guys are coming from on the badness of this, but also from a ”This is fun enough to watch” standpoint I do think it is fun and, it seems very unintentional, but the film does stumble into having some meritorious scenes, the Joaquim de Almeida character is probably the most interesting from that standpoint. If you read the script on paper and didn't have any of the movie around it and didn't know that Gene Hackman was playing the one character and Joaquim de Almeida was playing the other, you would be like ”Oh, this admiral Piquet character is on the right side of history!” and it is amazing that the filmmakers missed that somehow. I don't know, I'm going to give it a medium 2.5 Jell-O review.

Who is your guy?

A: It is time for everyone's favorite segment. Who is your guy?

B: My guy is Lieutenant Burnett, the Owen Wilson character.

A: What?

J: Whoa!

A: What is great about that choice is that you could be positive that John and I would not have chosen him.

B: … and it is for one specific moment that I just felt so keenly: The opening of the movie is a bit of a misdirect, it is this super-slick Navy aviation recruitment ad where they are getting the jet ready to take a flight off the deck of the carrier. It is all super slick, speed-ramping, up-the-wazoo, lots of close-ups on navigation computers and pulling the fuel line out of the jet, getting ready to go, and then they get shut down right before they go over the falls and bust their nut. ”Sorry guys, the mission had been scrapped!”, and this is the opportunity for Owen Wilson's character’s hijinks to come into play. They spot some other pilots throwing a football around over one end of the deck and he places a bet that he will be able to catch a football that they shoot off the ship using the steam launcher. He places this bet, gets them to fire the steam launcher, hits the football into the air, getting to a super digital shitty football flying up off the bow of the ship, and then it goes right into the drink. Boy, if that wasn't just a perfect encapsulation of anything that ever happened when I got in contact with a football, I don't know what is! Anytime I try to be cool or do something cool, that is about how it goes. I not only make myself look like an asshole, but I lose the football for everybody else also.

J: How many footballs do they have on that ship? It is not like they can just go replace that one!

B: It is not like it is a replicated football! I also like that this movie anticipates Cast Away. He yells ”Wilson!” at the football despite the fact that Cast Away came out in 2000. That is too good a joke not to leave in the movie!

A: I like when movies talk to each other!

B: Also I read in researching this film that when they tried to actually shoot this scene, the steam catapult on the deck of the carrier just destroyed the football the second it hit it.

J: It should have blown it into a million pieces, right?

B: For all of those reasons: Lieutenant Burnett is my guy.

A: Why didn't they keep that version in the film? Just the obliteration of that football? That would have been fun!

J: That would have been a much better gag! Now, this is going work this time!

A: Well, my guy is going to be Rodway. He is the Marine with the great life compared to Burnett's shitty Jell-O life.

J: Great life except he keeps suiting up to go on a mission and then…

A: That is actually my reason for choosing him: He spools up twice for a rescue mission before being told to stand down. You think his potential is going to be wasted before coming in at the end where he flies in Superman style and catches Burnett. That is a lot like my role on the show, isn't it? Not doing a whole lot until the very end where I come in, swinging on a rope! So, the idea of a guy just laying back in the cut until the very end when he can pay off on all that stored potential hero energy, that really resembles me and makes him my guy. He is chilling the most. Give me more of him in this movie! Who's your guy, John?

J: My guy is absolutely the Bosnian girl in the back of the red pickup truck, who is sitting next to Ice Cube, and who rolls her eyes at him in a pretty great imitation of my daughter. She got this ”Ain’t no thing!” attitude, she gives Owen Wilson some Coca-Cola, which is a weird embedded ad in the movie, like ”We don't have any water, but would you like a nice cold Coke?” - ”This is good!” He actually takes a drink of it and goes: ”This is good!”

A: Funny thing about that is that that was not compensated product placement!

J: Well, there it is: Coca-Cola. It adds life and makes the world a smile, whatever! But then when they get to their HQ, she is the one that goes in and says to the Muslim leader: ”We got the pilot! We figured this would be useful!” She reveals herself to be the smart leader of that little cadre, the Elvis impersonator and the…

B: I want a movie about those guys, this crack squad of a guy who is obsessed with hip hop, despite having a weird ponytail.

A: What was the driver’s plan? That seemed totally insane to me, just going to drive back into the war zone, roll this thing over and hop out!

J: Why did the young long-haired guy run across that giant field with Owen Wilson and then when they got to the end of it, just like: ”Oh, I guess I'll just go back!” None of that really was understandable, but just the acting of that girl and the other more interesting story that she presented in her brief cameo, that is who I want to be embedded with, that is the weird fucked-up war where real things are happening, I wanted to watch that movie!

B: Good guy!

Selecting the next movie

B: Do you guys want to pick our next film?

J: Oh boy!

A: What if we didn't?

B: You mean, what if this is just the end of the show?

J: Well let's see, maybe this movie will have Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman in it, too? Maybe we will get Crimson Tide!

B: That would be delightful!

J: Number 90!

B: Number 90 is another John Milius joint, a 1982 film about a war that takes place in a fantasy context. It is Conan The Barbarian.

J: Oh, punch me right in the chest! Conan the Barbarian?

A: Yes! Hell yeah!

B: It will surprise no-one that Adam added this to the list.

J: Is this Arnold Schwarzenegger?

A: Sure is!

J: Is this a war movie? Who is Conan the Barbarian fighting?

B: It is about a warrior!

A: He is fighting James Earl Jones’ character.

J: Who is James Earl Jones?

A: A genocidal magician!

B: So it will be a really insightful meditation on genocide and the use of war to prevent genocide.

A: Guys, I think you know John Millius says a lot to say about these topics. You are going to love this movie! John, you have seen it, haven't you? Come on!

J: I don't think so! When this movie came out, we have talked about it before, but there was a moment when I was about 12 or 13, and I didn't get a bar mitzvah, but I said ”I'm no longer a child and I put aside childish things!” and I think it was at this point that I would no longer watch Muscle Man movies. I didn't watch Dukes of Hazzard on TV. I thought all that stuff was for nine year olds and I was 13. Of course a lot of 13 year olds were soaking it up. I did go to see Buck Rogers because Buck Rogers was amazing. But Conan? No, I don't think I saw it. They live in skull crusher mountain? All right, I'm looking forward to it, I guess! Just because I like hanging out with you guys. That is the only reason!

A: That's good!

B: All right, that will be our next film. We will let Robs take it from here. So for John Roderick and Adam Pranica, I have been Ben Harrison. To the victor go the spoiler alerts!

R: Friendly Fire is a Maximum Fun podcast hosted by Adam Pranica, Ben Harrison and John Roderick. This podcast is produced by me, Rob Shulte, our logo art is by Nick Dittmore, and our theme music is War by Edwin Starr, courtesy of Stone Agate music. You can make a difference! Head on over to maximumfun.org/donate and show your support for Friendly Fire. You can also leave a five-star rating and review on Apple podcasts. If you choose to chat about the show online we have got many places to do so: Facebook, Reddit, and on Twitter we use the hashtag #friendlyfire. Ben is @benjaminahr, Adam is @cutfortime, John is @johnroderick, and I am @robkschulte. Thanks! We'll see you next week!

J: Boy, Rob, I don't know what I mean that meant. You are going to have a hard time editing this episode, Rob!

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