1 Year, 100 Movies #86 Platoon (1986)

by Trey Hock on August 1, 2010

in 1 Year, 100 Movies,Columns

For 1 Year, 100 Movies, contributor/filmmaker Trey Hock is watching all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year. His reactions to each film are recorded here twice a week until the year (and list) is up!

Oh I was not ready to go from “12 Angry Men”, a film that could have been preachy and self-righteous but wasn’t, to “Platoon,” a film by the master of ridiculous and melodramatic soapbox grand-standing, Oliver Stone. Oh how I loathe you, Mr. Stone. The best thing about Oliver Stone’s recent anti-Semitic rant is that now more people will see him for the conceited, talentless douche bag that he is.

If you want to make heavy-handed, unsubtle films, then all you need to do is watch “Wall Street”, “Platoon”, or “JFK”. The sad irony is that most of the political arguments he is making I am sympathetic to, but his affinity for straw men and distasteful and untrue comparison just make my skin crawl.

Since I am truly unable to say anything nice about this movie, I will try and take the conversation in a slightly different direction. Here are some scenes from the schlockfest that is “Platoon.” The first is death of Elias (Willem Dafoe), and since most of us know that Willem Dafoe can act, lets keep the fault for this Hallmark Hall of Fame of War Moments squarely on the director.

I apologize if you’re now nauseous. Just one more clip, I promise.

Oh thank you, Mr. Stone for explaining what the film I just watched was about. I am a dumb ass and needed your guidance.

So here’s the turn. Maybe this will get a rise out of a few others out there. “Platoon” won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1986. That by itself is no big deal. A lot of less-than-deserving films have stolen top honors at the Oscars. Here’s the rub. It beat “Children of a Lesser God”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “A Room with a View”, and “The Mission”.

I’ll just talk about two of my personal favorites from that year. “A Room with a View” is a perfect romance that offers exceptional performances from Helena Bonham Carter, Judi Dench, and Daniel Day-Lewis. “The Mission” is a Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons critical mass of awesome. Both of the films could devour “Platoon.”

“Platoon” has dropped three spots from 1998 to 2007, and I would guess it will slide further with the next revision. “Platoon” is what “Top Gun” would be if  “Top Gun“ took itself too seriously, and there really is no room for that.

I told myself that I would squeeze in one or two kind words. I liked “The Doors”. I think that Val Kilmer is pretty great as Jim Morrison and Meg Ryan gives perhaps her best performance. I think that the difference between “The Doors” and “Platoon” is that Oliver Stone was a fan of The Doors, and made that film out of adoration, instead of a forced criticism.

So I’ve said my kind word.

Now Oliver Stone, if you would just retreat to your private island and never speak again, I would appreciate it.

Next up #85 A Night at the Opera (1935)

1 Year, 100 Movies #87 12 Angry Men (1957)

1 Year, 100 Movies #88 Bringing Up Baby (1938)

1 Year, 100 Movies #89 The Sixth Sense (1999)

1 Year, 100 Movies #90 Swing Time (1936)

1 Year, 100 Movies #91 Sophie’s Choice (1982)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #92 Goodfellas (1990)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #93 The French Connection (1971)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #94 Pulp Fiction (1994)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #95 The Last Picture Show (1971)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #96 Do the Right Thing (1989)

In addition to contributing to Scene-Stealers, Trey makes short films and teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. Follow him here:

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 You know who I am. August 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Do you accept him as screenwriter for Scarface?


2 Dakotah9 February 2, 2011 at 9:54 am

I do agree with your statements on Platoon and Stone himself, I’ve seen “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon”, and they really are well made, but very preachy about the Vietnam War, I love Stone as a director, especially with movies like Wall Street, Natural Born Killers, The Doors, and W. Good Review :D


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