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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Tonight I shut off the phone and turned down the lights and sat in the main room of the Moriarty Labs, where I watched episodes one and two of HBO’s new limited series, BAND OF BROTHERS. I have to apologize to Herc, since I said I wouldn't be posting about this show and he took the time and trouble to put up a Talk Back already. I have to write, though. I have no choice.

It’s rare that I cut myself off completely. Normally I’m reachable by phone or by e-mail or by Instant Messenger, but I intentionally closed out the world for two hours so I could check out this latest offering from Dreamworks and Playtone, this massive adaptation of the Stephen Ambrose book, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. I have complex feelings about SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Overall, I think it’s a powerful film, well made and involving, but it’s imperfect, and there are parts of it I skip any time it’s on. The idea of following Easy Company from one end of the war to the other sounded like a fascinating way to trace the experience of World War II from one particular perspective.

But now, having seen "Curahee" and "Day Of Days," the first two episodes of the series, I’m not much interested in writing a review tonight. This isn’t going to be a conventional discussion of the efforts of directors Phil Alden Robinson and Richard Loncraine or writers Erik Jendrensen, Tom Hanks, and John Orloff. All of them did exemplary work, and deserve praise for their efforts. It’s also not going to be a rundown of compliments for the cast headed by Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, David Schwimmer, Dale Dye, and Kirk Acevedo. Again, everyone did excellent work. Schwimmer and Dye had one scene in particular, near the end of episode one, that is remarkable because of how quiet and how subtle it was, a welcome antidote to the Hollywood hisitronics of A FEW GOOD MEN or even the serious minded war films of Oliver Stone.

Instead, this is an open letter to my father, a veteran, a man who served as a paratrooper in Vietnam. I am moved to write this letter to him as a result of watching Easy Company train to be paratroopers and make their first jump into battle in Normandy, France.

Don’t get me wrong. Tonight’s not the first night I’ve realized that my father is a veteran, and it’s not the first night I’ve thought about what that means and what he must have gone through. When my father speaks of his war experiences, he is vague. He does not volunteer details. And I have grown up respecting that choice. I know that my mother doesn’t want to know details about his time overseas. She won’t even watch movies about that particular conflict. All she cares about is that he came back. All of this was before I was born, and my whole life, it’s simply been something in his past. Those experiences are his to share or not.

Tonight, though, there was a sequence that took place at night, an air raid over Normandy, that was so harrowing, so immediate, so stark and terrifying, that I feel the need to say something to my father, and to anyone who has ever served in American armed forces. I feel compelled because even if I never know the specifics of what my father went through, thanks to what I saw tonight, I have some semblance of an idea.

Thank you.

As strange as it is, I don’t know I’ve ever said it quite that directly. Watching those men that we had just spent an hour and ten minutes getting to know jump out of a plane into that hell on earth was a visceral thing, as pulse-quickening as the opening of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or the T-Rex attack in JURASSIC PARK. Knowing that these men volunteered to do this, knowing that they made a conscious decision to serve their country in such a direct demonstration of courage, filled me with a new respect. BAND OF BROTHERS works on a direct emotional level, even more powerful than Hanks’ earlier FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON.

I speak to you tonight not just as a son who is proud of a father, but as an American who is indebted to another, to any number of others. One can debate the merit of one conflict over another, but those aren’t decisions that you had to make. You were a solider, a man who offered your services and, if necessary, your life. I am not sure I could have made the same choice. I’ve never been called upon to confront a situation like that, and there’s no way I can say for sure I am possessed of the proper character to do what you did. I am not merely impressed by what you did. I am humbled by it.

So let me say it again, and say it clearly. Thank you for what you did. You and everyone who served before you allow me to live the life I do now. Your sacrifice has kept me from having to make the choice about what I would do, and for that, I owe you more than I can hope to repay. If the rest of BAND OF BROTHERS plays out with the same amount of intensity, I expect it to be a memorable but harrowing experience. I intend to watch every moment of it, though, with undivided attention, because it’s only by reminding ourselves of the sacrifices that were made that we can continue to honor those efforts. Some might ask what value there is in telling yet another war story, but anytime something honestly conveys the essence of what it was to serve has value. Anything that can make me view my father in a new light, that can make me understand in some way what it was that he went through has value.

One last time, Michael McWeeny, allow me to say... thank you.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 10, 2001, 6:03 a.m. CST

    I whole heartedly agree with you...

    by JKrow21

    This show is great and really demonstrates what true hereos, these men really are.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Moriarty - 1 HBO - 0

    by ThunderPickle

    I agree as well. Moriarty, you are right on the mark and your reviews continue to be a refreshing blast of consideration and reason. Personally, I hated From the Earth to the Moon ...I know it's heart was in the right place, but it was too slow and maudlin. The series comprised mostly two scenes -backyard BBQs or guys running down halls with slide rulers. Apollo 11 cut through so much of the crap that the HBO series dwelled on. Keep up the good work Moriarty, you are an adornment to his site.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Waiting in the U.K...

    by ConcreteKiller

    Thanks very much for that review, it probably said more about the merits and the emotional impact of the show that any bog standard write-up. I'm in the U.K so it'll be a while until we get Band of Brothers, but as someone who felt that Saving Private Ryan was one of the most important and impactive of movies in recent memory, I'm glad that it appears Band of Brothers continues this in a way that will make it more accessible to people through television. People will snipe and criticize anyone who treats Private Ryan and B.o.B with this much respect, simply because they miss the point of these shows which is to present us with a cold, un sentimental portrayal of a hideous period in human history. I'm looking forward to watching the show a great deal.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 6:34 a.m. CST

    If Donald Sutherland would have gotten away...

    by -mrbean-

    in Eye of the Needle, then the war would have been won by the Germans ;)

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 7:20 a.m. CST

    More baby talk from Moriarty

    by Samurai Jack

    Listen, I think it's nice that you want to thank your dad and all, but is a site called really the appropriate forum for that kind of thing? Is your dad a film nerd? Wouldn't he prefer that you maintain some sort of dignity on his behalf and thank him in a private, personal way instead of dribbling on to a bunch of film geeks about him just because of a TV show?? I mean, if your dad doesn't like to talk about Vietnam to *you*, then I'm sure he doesn't want you throwing that stuff up on a website for *us* to see. I know I don't. Get back to reviewing and leave the emotional attempts to be "touching" at home, where they belong. Over and out.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Geeez... talk about histrionics!

    by BraveCapt.

    But hey - at least "Band of Brothers" didn't inspire him to wax reflective on the thought of losing his girlfriend's love. Again. Grateful for the little things, I remain - BraveCapt.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 8:07 a.m. CST

    by SimianSidewalk

    Band of Brothers was great but I'm only posting to say one thing to Moriarty... If you are going to watch a movie9saving Private Ryan) watch it all the way through dont skip any parts, If youre going to skip stuff dont bother watching a movie. people like you make me ill. Either you like the movie as a whole or not at all. If they stop making widescreen dvd's you would say " there has to be widescreen thats how the filmaker wants us to see the film" well the filmaker also wants us to watch the whole thing.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 8:49 a.m. CST

    No matter where you go

    by zedizdead

    there is always an asshole. Congrats Samurai Jack. You win this weeks prize.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 9:38 a.m. CST

    thanks Moriarity

    by MRupprecht

    Moriarity, Thank you so much for that post. Any critics of your lengthy introduction are welcomed to merely ignore it, and let those who share your view feel comfort in the fact that they are not alone. I too, have had family members who have fought in America's wars, both WW2 and also in Korea. I feel so inadequate expressing my appreciation for their sacrifice and service. I try to be as humble as possible about my inherited freedom as an American. This miniseries is ultimately important to mankind as a whole. I take acception to those who think I am putting too much importance on what some may merely view as another war film. I will not waste time backing up my statement. Those who understand, do not need to flaunt it. For those who do not, mere facts will never convince you otherwise. I look forward to watching the rest of this miniseries and experience a superb audio-visual adaptaption of a book I have already read and learned from. A little off track, but here goes... Saving Private Ryan was a ground-breaking film. Spielberg's technical execution of that film was superb, and forever changed how the world will view warfare. He helped us get a bit closer to how terrible an experiemce war is. The film's main flaw is Spielberg's lack of respect for his audience. He feels the need to pound us over the head with the film's message. Steve...I think we all got it. However, he is an artist and I will respect his movie endings, no matter how stongly I disagree with their neccessity, or lack there of. However that minor flaw can not take away from SPR's importance. Onto Band of Brothers... Under the leadership of Spielberg and Hanks, and the history writing of Steven Ambrose, I feel BOB may surpass SPR in it's long-term importance. Although aired more than three years after SPR, BOB is in fact a true story...these were real men. The shock of experiencing that type of war imagery and sound may be fading, but the emotional and intellectual impact is still there. For no other reason than the well-documented accounts of concrete events that happened only 57 years ago. I will accept a world in where we have only one Spielberg, one Hanks and one Ambrose, who handle this subject with care and respect. This opposed to the Michael Bay's of the world who create films dealing with war like they were meant to be slapped on a lunchbox. Mike R. P.S. - Let's hope Mr. Bruckheimer stays out of Ridley Scott's hair and allows him to accurately depict Black Hawk Down.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 11:03 a.m. CST

    You're Welcome

    by Flasheart

    Moriarty, After reading this open letter to your father I had to post and tell you my toughts. As a serviceman myself (USAF), I belive it is my obligation to respond with 'You're Welcome'. I know I speak for alot of us when I say that we do appreciate your thoughts. However, too many times we dont realize that some people (like yourself) take time to come to appreciate the sacrifices. Know that you live in a country where many men and women put their lives on the line every day so that you dont have to. We do this not out of fear of reprisal or coersion, but out of a genuine love of country, fellow man, and freedom. Please continue to show your support to all of our servicemen around the world. You can never know how much it means to a vet to have someone say 'Thank You ' now and then. Anyway, enough of go forth and bitch about movies and other talkbackers. Even those of you who want to flame my grammar, opinions, or anything else. I dont just demonstrates that my job means something. Remember when you are bitching, its because of people like me and my fellow servicemen that you even have that right in the first place.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 12:41 p.m. CST


    by Scrmwrtr

    I hate you people. The only time I respond to talk backs is when idiots like you, (SAMURAI JACK!)post such bile. What drives a nincompoop like you? What makes you such a hateful puke? "Did Mommy and Daddy not show you enough attention when you were a child?!!?" Get a life, you F'ing twistoid. If you don't like what he has to say, don't respond. At last count, Moriarty worked for don't. Hmmm, I guess that means HE can write whatever the F he likes. I wish I knew who you were. I would really consider finding you and punching your lights out. The more I think about it, the madder I get, which makes me even madder, because I've let a no-count nobody like you get to me. Feel proud of yourself, putz. PLLEAASSSEEE respond. I invite it. I plead for it. Fucking jerk.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah...

    by Scrmwrtr

    I also meant to say, nice one Morirarty. Good job. "BoB" was awesome. I can't wait to see what else they do. Keep up the honesty, Mor.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 12:56 p.m. CST

    cool down

    by majorq007

    while i appreciate moriarty's comments for their truth, i do want to say that there is a difference between the cold-hearted a**holes on this site and those that are tired of WWII entertainment. Do I appreciate the sacrifice these young guys wen t through for whiny pricks like myself? more than you can imagine. however, i AM sick of the sheer amount of WWII entertainment i'm bombarded with. Tripe like PEARL HARBOR cheapens the whole genre by commercialization, and unfortunately BoB suffers from the APPEARANCE of cashing in. In any event, I honor veterans like my grandfather and uncle. I appreciate their stories and accounts. I love to hear them. Just not every day. And they don't mind telling them. Just not every day. The danger is, too much WWII can ruin the feelings of gratefulness those like Moriarty express. That is the danger. And that is why stuff like BoB makes me so disgusted.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 1:14 p.m. CST

    What is wrong with these people?

    by Psyclops

    How can anyone criticize what Moriarty just wrote? Those were some of the most honest and powerful words to ever be written down on this site... and you people bash him for it?! Even the hardcore fanboys seem to have taken a moment to show some respect for Mori and the people he mentioned in the above article, it's only HUMAN to do so. It was a genuine show of respect and gratitude for all of the people who went through hell and back just so that your sorry asses could live a comfortable life now. If you want to talk about geek stuff... go to another talkback forum!! Personally, I am pleasantly surprised that Moriarty took the time to write what he did and I'm sure that the more level-headed talkbackers feel the same.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Kudos to Moriarty!

    by JediMasterDave

    Great Job! AICN is often a breeding ground for pathetic fanboy raves, but this post is a breath of fresh air. To those who are tiring of World War II entertainment: I am a former Soldier, and know what it's like to make sacrifices for a country that doesn't always seem to appreciate them. I served in peacetime in a so-called "cushy" job as a military journalist. One thing you learn in that field is how important it is to tell Soldiers' stories. To read about a war anonymous warriors fought 50 years before you were born isn't very moving. But when you see that they were young men and women frightening like us, it becomes very real and relevant, especially since so many WW II vets are still with us. There were plenty of WW II movies made in the 50s and 60s, but those are hard to market to your average moviegoer in 2001. After Vietnam, there were very few great films that told the stories of the men and women who fought to literally save the world in the 40s. Then, finally, Saving Private Ryan came out and introduced WW2 to generations X and Y in a way we could understand and appreciate. While not in the same hard-hitting style as Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor was also a great tribute to those who served. It's essential that the stories of the Greatest Generation continue to be told. Those men and women and their stories are the reason we're free today to sit around and discuss these things. If you don't want to see another WW II flick, nobody's making you watch it. Of course, if the other side had won and was still in power, you might be having to watch at gunpoint... Thanks, Moriarty.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Good Show

    by Russman

    I saw it too last night and I liked the way the took time to show how these guys trained and the pressure they were under to become a good paratrooper. However I found it difficult to follow some of the action in Episode 2. I'll have to watch again to make sure I was paying full attention. On a side note, funny how in this war when everyone was needed to fight a real evil in the world, the US chose to not let everyone fight. Did anyone notice that there wasn't one person of color in the show? Yet when it came time for a bogus war like Vietnam, the government drug a fishnet through every inner city ghetto and every back woods town to get people to die for nothing.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 2:50 p.m. CST

    In defense of BraveCapt. (by BraveCapt.)

    by BraveCapt.

    For those of you who, after reading my earlier post, feel that I am generally heartless and specifically ungrateful for the service (past or present) and sacrifice by the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, you are mistaken. I simply have a low tolerance for "mushy" Moriarity. He's my favorite aspect of this site, but when he gets too personal, I feel he embarrasses himself. For those of you who think that Moriarity deserves credit for

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Personal attacks.

    by mjbok1

    Per the blue bar (not an ad, surprisingly) on the right: Blatant abuse, personal attacks, OFF-TOPIC BS are all fodder for deletion. The people have taken it upon themselves to stay above the fray when it comes to the personal lives of celebrities, which is admirable. It also stands to reason that in sticking with that policy, no attacks about celebrities personal lives are tolertated. I applaud that. It's not that I disagree with M, but like the guy who poured his heart out to some girl that he wanted to bang a couple of months ago in his intro to a movie (Moulin Rouge, or however you spell it, I believe), there is such a thing as a time and a place for certain things. Is this the right place for M's statements to his dad? It's their site, so that's there call, but you also have to expect the flames of Tb'ers that come with that. Some people come here for news about movies and TV they are excited about, and oftentimes there is more about what the person had for breakfast than an actual article. There is such an over-abundance of sychophants and glad-handlers that visit this site that I'm amazed there is any ego check for H and M. I am amazed at the level of success that the proprieters of this site have attained, and kudos to them for doing it. But at the same time if you wear your heart on your sleeve, people are gonna pound on you. You HAVE to expect that. And for the record, I appreciate everything that veterans of the USA have done to help me enjoy the freedoms I have today. Just my thoughts, and my defense of those who get slammed for posting dissenting opinions.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 6:21 p.m. CST

    Sorry, Moriarty, but you told me to watch "Aqua Teen Hunger Forc

    by user id indeed!

    And I did! Woo! What a friggin' great show. "One time he told me to get in the freezer, because there was a carnival in there. And I did. But there wasn't no carnival! It was a damn freezer! And I got freezer burn, and I got squashed up against a chicken!" I'm sure "Band of Brothers" was good, though. This has been a Moment with User ID Indeed! Hey, how ya doin there, bozo? Where's the gold?

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 6:40 p.m. CST

    "...dribbling on to a bunch of film geeks..." Samurai Jack-

    by ThunderPickle

    -FUCK YOU. Moriarty adds a personal touch to his work and if that is lost on you, fine, but you don't have to insult the rest of us.

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Actually I agree that this sight is the wrong place for such an

    by Smeg For Brains

    I have the utmost respect for the men that went through the hell of that war, but I have to agree with Bravecapt. This talk back and article should have been about the show, and the feelings of gratitude and respect we should all have for those men, and not a congratulatory festival aimed at talking about how great it is that Moriarty is thankful for his father's service. Most people have someone in their lives that did something we should be grateful for, and if you want to thank them tell it to them. As far as the idea of WWII entertainment getting overdone, I for one thing don't consider something like Saving Private Ryan entertainment. It is a great message about what happened to those men , and quite an artistic accomplishment, but I have a hard time being entertained by disembowled young men crying for their mothers as they lie dying on a beach. That is the problem with tripe like Pearl Harbor, (and also non WWII Titanic). They seek to take terrible historic incidences and turn them into flashy Hollywood "entertainment", thereby destroying any possibility of getting across any message in the film. Besides in the case of film or television the fact that ther might be many other films/tvseries based in the same idea or historic situation does not automatically make a quality work bad. Why would the immense crapiness of Pearl Harbor hurt the immense quality of Band of Brothers just because they are both about WWII?

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Samurai Jack what is your damage....

    by MGTHEDJ

    Any writer in print, radio, or T.V. has used his/her editorial column to express something to family members. While watching "Band of Brothers" Mori had an epiphany about what his father did in combat. I had a similar experience when watching "Platoon" and "Full Meteal Jacket". My dad was in the Air Force stationed in Saigon. He said in "Platoon" the day to day routine depicted at the base camp was dead on. Make the buildings in the compound concrete and have O'Hare Airport sitting on the other side of a runway (the militay base in Saigon was at the airport---something the T.V. show "Tour of Duty" got wrong, but "Good Morning Vietnam" did a better job of depicting) and that was his life for 12 months. He added the only thing missing was the heat and the smell. In "Full Metal Jacket" it was the attack on the base during the Tet Offensive. That scene was VERBATIM what my dad had told me a few years earlier. It is one thing to be told. To "see" it is quite another. Since the early 1960's military men are the ONLY ones in the world who do not know what they are getting into. Yet they go anyway. That takes guts and for that we are grateful. P.S. Go get the door. Jay and Silent Bob would like to talk to you.-----later-----m

  • Sept. 10, 2001, 10:26 p.m. CST

    Samurai Jack what is your damage....

    by MGTHEDJ

    Any writer in print, radio, or T.V. has used his/her editorial column to express something to family members. While watching "Band of Brothers" Mori had an epiphany about what his father did in combat. I had a similar experience when watching "Platoon" and "Full Metal Jacket". My dad was in the Air Force stationed in Saigon. He said in "Platoon" the day to day routine depicted at the base camp was dead on. Make the buildings in the compound concrete and have O'Hare Airport sitting on the other side of a runway (the militay base in Saigon was at the airport---something the T.V. show "Tour of Duty" got wrong, but "Good Morning Vietnam" did a better job of depicting) and that was his life for 12 months. He added the only thing missing was the heat and the smell. In "Full Metal Jacket" it was the attack on the base during the Tet Offensive. That scene was VERBATIM what my dad had told me a few years earlier. It is one thing to be told. To "see" it is quite another. Since the early 1960's military men are the ONLY ones in the world who do not know what they are getting into. Yet they go anyway. That takes guts and for that we are grateful. P.S. Go get the door. Jay and Silent Bob would like to talk to you.-----later-----m

  • Sept. 11, 2001, 12:09 a.m. CST

    by garumphul

    Fictionalised, sanitised and Americanised. As a British (Scottish, actually) reader with a better-than-the-average-bear's knowledge of WW-II history (my girlfriend did her PhD on the topic, and one picks things up by osmosis), I have no interest whatsoever in seeing this series. Nobody, least of all me, is trying to downplay the *enormous* contribution made by the American forces during the allied invasion of France. However, Private Ryan and (if reports I read are correct) BoB either ignore or are completely dismissive of the part played by the rest of the allies. This is just as offensive as U571, but has the advantage of being well made (which I can't deny about Ryan, and can't comment about BoB). The tragedy is that generations of Americans are growing up believing the lies they are told by Hollywood tryinig to make them feel better about their military history.

  • Sept. 11, 2001, 12:38 a.m. CST

    As good as the HBO production was...

    by MrCere

    Don't forget the excellent source material written by Stephen Ambrose. His research was painstaking and excellent. I love the work he did and it almost makes me just plain love him. Outstanding.

  • Sept. 11, 2001, 5:49 a.m. CST


    by madscotsman

    Moriarity, Bravo... I echo your statements... and applaude them. I love this sight but is it truely sullied by a statement of sentiment on it. The thought that this was said mearly for this own edification is silly. The only statement to his father was Thank You restated several times... the rest is a statement of thanks to the men in uniform that have served over the years...(which by the way is the reason all of use can have the freedom to do nothing posting on this site.) It matters not whether you want to be in the military... or if you beleave that the military is a group of war mongering devils (not my point of view) they are still the reason you get to have that opinion. on a more direct not, the film was wonderfully done. Schwimmer was amazing... what a bastard.

  • Sept. 11, 2001, 10:36 p.m. CST


    by Baremex