The Last Full Measure
Though a bit heavy-handed at times, so was Parasite and it won several Oscars! This is an emotionally powerful film about why we should never forget the regrettable Vietnam War.
To begin with, only The Gentleman has a cast this extraordinary. How could you not want to see a movie starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Peter Fonda and Sebastian Stan?
In summary, Measure covers the true story of the political ineptitude that led an Air Force medic to be denied the Medal of Honor following his death in Vietnam. Killed helping wounded fellow soldiers in 1966, it wasn’t until 2000 that Congress was convinced to honor Airman William H. Pitsenbarger Jr.
Tragically, many have forgotten that over 50,000 young Americans died in that war while millions of Vietnamese were poisoned with Agent Orange. The draft sent thousands to their deaths and I would have joined them had I not won my appeal in 1969 after graduating from college.
This frequently tear-jerking film captures the horror of this unconscionable war. As you watch flashbacks where young soldiers are brutally killed in the jungle, the story jumps forward 30 years where survivors wrestle with pain and guilt.
While Samuel Jackson, William Hurt and Ed Harris give remarkable performances as veterans who daily relive their ordeal as young mean, Peter Fonda is perfectly cast in his last performance. Here, he survives as a mentally damaged social outcast who thankfully has the support of a dedicated wife played by Amy Madigan.
The film centers on a great performance by Sebastian Stan as a Governmental employee who breaks open this story with initial reluctance. Many of you will remember him as the Winter Soldier in the Captain America films. However, you will never forget the heart-warming roles played by Christopher Plummer and Diane Ladd as the aging parents who continue to try and find meaning in their son’s death.
If you have not done so, go see the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. Had I not won my draft appeal, I am convinced my name would be on that wall. While I was spared, I have dedicated my life to honor those of my generation who never came back.