Letters From Iwo Jima

Definitely the better of the two films, and in my opinion, by quite a large margin. There are little details that tie into Flags of Our Fathers if you have seen that.

But I have to say, I hope Clint doesn’t walk off with any Oscars just like I had hoped he wouldn’t with Million Dollar Baby. I thought Flags was okay but cheesy, and I feel Letters is quite good but clunky and movie-ish.

Not really sure how to describe the latter except for how I always imagine people moving through a scene blocked out by Spielberg. Gestures overdone, not looking natural at all. Sometimes I felt like Letters was pretty overacted, even with small things happening on-screen. Also the interaction between soldiers felt a little like an old-fashioned WW2 flick, but not necessarily for the best (same with Flags).

But Letters is much more focused and I found it to be far more interesting than Flags.

You know you’re in a Clint Eastwood movie when he shows Japanese soldiers hearing a letter from a dead American soldier read out loud, only to then have a scene in which one of said Japanese soldiers explains how it made him feel. “They’re just like us! Their mothers love them, too! What’s the point of this crazy war?”

Yes, Clint, we were there when the letter was read. The actors you hired did a fine job of conveying the point. We didn’t need another scene explaining to us what we’d just seen.

FWIW, Letters from Iwo Jima was co-written by Paul “Subtle As a Ten-Ton Truck” Haggis. Ugh. If Letters was better than Flags of Our Fathers, I think I’ll be skipping that one.


Seriously, there was that scene and then the commander quoting the letter to his men…

You know, there are really good things about Clint’s good movies but he’s such a cheese director, even more than Spielberg.

How many out there rolled their eyes when Clint walked away with the Oscar gold for Million Dollar Baby?


Damn him to hell.

I saw this last night. I really thought it paled in comparison to Flags, which surprised me. I was expecting a much better movie.
Flags’ strength was that, as the battle scenes were pretty disjointed, it told the story of the soldiers, rather than trying to portray the battle itself. However, Letters still felt disjointed in the battle-scenes, and that was the whole film. Plus, the cheese just really brought it down. In Flags, I felt the cheese worked because it was about the shittiness of life after war.
I also felt like the writers had a message and wrote a script around that more than around characters. I did like the characters, for the most part, but they weren’t all that well developed.

It was good, but certainly not the best of the year.
I need to watch Crash so that my annoyance at Haggis can be complete and irrefutable.

Eduardo, you can’t call yourself a Paul Haggis hater until you’ve seen Crash.

BTW, I read somewhere recently that Haggis pretty much wrote Letters from Iwo Jima and Iris Yamashita translated it into Japanese. Which makes me like the movie even less.


I consider Crash winning best picture as the 2nd biggest upset in Oscar history during my lifetime (the first being Annie Hall winning over Star Wars). It’s a mediocre 2-hour made-for-TV special at best.

I just saw Letters and it did feel clunky. They really didn’t need all that Hollywood-ending crap, and the “the Americans are just like us!”

I hated Crash. Every time someone mentions it I have to say, “Oh, wait a brave movie to tell us that racism is so terrible!” Uggggggh… Paul Haggis needs to get run over by a pick-up truck. Repeatedly.

My only hope that Babe (which I hate and which I mention cause it’s like an International version of Crash) doesn’t win the Oscar is that I tell myself that the only reason Crash won was because it’s was a “Big Important Message Movie” about LA. And we all know how much them Academy voters love LA.

I just stared at this paragraph for about three minutes trying to figure out what a talking pig movie has to with Crash. And then I realized you were talking about Babel.

Hard to say; that Babe was one damn cosmopolitan pig.

It was actually one of the most predictable winners ever – all the pundits picked it in advance of the show. It was, however, probably the worst movie to ever win the Oscar for best picture, although there’ve been a lot of medicore films to win in the past 30 years.

Oh come on. Every single pick from 1995-1999 was worse than Crash.

Letters was made for the Japanese market, where most young people don’t even know that the battle for Iwo Jima even happened. They didn’t expect it to get much play in the US.

There was a moment near the end that was so cliche that my brain exploded. Literally exploded.

No, Crash was easily the worst, although I agree those (and most years since) the Oscar picks have been pretty wretched. Crash was racism for retards - I mean, how low do you have to go to find a worse film that’s actually trying? You can’t really include crap like snakes on a plane.

I don’t understand the level of Crash-hate, unless people are resenting their personal buttons being pressed.

It had fine ensemble acting, an ambitious range of perspectives, and in the end was no cheesier than, say, The English Patient. You’re also kind of missing the point if you think the theme boils down to “racism is bad.”

I don’t get the level of non-Crash-hate, unless people are simpletons unable to judge quality even somewhat objectively.

“ambitious range of perspectives”? Jesus, nevermind.

What on earth are you talking about? Young people don’t know about Iwo Jima? Okay, sure, maybe people in kindergarden, but are you actually serious? Why on earth would you think that?


That strikes me as being like saying Americans don’t know about The Alamo. I would think Iwo Jima is an important part of Japanese mythology about WWII.

Also, Crash sucks, like, hard. But I know some otherwise very credible people who really dug it. Which baffles me to no end.


Because the producer of the movie said that it was the most common reaction from young Japanese people in the test screenings.

I remember the cry, “Remember the Alamo!” But other than that, I’m not really sure. Wasn’t this the battle for Texas independence or something? I have always understood I don’t know much about the Alamo, but just assumed someone from Texas would carry my weight for me here.