Latest Entertainment News Headlines

The UnPopular Opinion: The Hurt Locker

11.19.2015

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

I have always appreciated war films. Growing up, my exposure to the genre was through World War II movies like 12 O'CLOCK HIGH and SANDS OF IWO JIMA. As I got older, I branched out to more action-oriented films like THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE while still appreciating the cinematic scope of movies like THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI. It was not until my late teens and early adulthood that I began to appreciate the less glorious depictions of war. Film has tended to glorify the heroes of battle and villainize the opponents, regardless of which period it may have been. As we approached the 21st Century and the tragic aftermath of September 11th, 2001, war films have becoming bitterly divided between the conservatives and the liberals in the United States. That means every war film now carries with it a message in favor of or wholly against the battles on display. The political nature of making war films today is that there is no way to not have ulterior messages within your tale.

As someone who has never been a soldier nor fought in a war, I am entitled to my own political beliefs. But, when I say that THE HURT LOCKER is one of the most overrated and disappointing films to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture, I say so purely from the place of a movie fan. My lack of military experience should not color the fact that Katheryn Bigelow's film is a poorly paced feature that is riddled with cliches and a piss-poor ending that belittles the entire film that came before it. While Bigelow would go on to helm the far superior ZERO DARK THIRTY, it was her Oscar-winning turn on THE HURT LOCKER that garnered her the acclaim she deserved for her entire career. It is a shame that her success as a filmmaker will be linked to a mediocre movie such as this.

The problem that is inherent with everything I dislike about THE HURT LOCKER is that it purports itself to be a different kind of war film, one up to date with the modern warfare troops experienced in Iraw and Afghanistan. It is very well known thanks to the volume of media available to us provides a vast amount of information regarding war and the experience of troops that we never knew from previous events even as recent as the first Iraq war or Vietnam. That being said, if THE HURT LOCKER had lived up to what it claimed to be, why do all of the characters feel like stereotypes from every war film ever made? We have the rookie who doesn't know what he is in for, the disturbed soldier who has been deployed far too long, the African American soldier who is the voice of reason, and the main character who just loves being in the shit and putting his life on the line and not because he is a patriot but because he has nothing to lose.

If you think about that last character, Jeremy Renner's Sergeant First Class William James, he sounds a lot more like Bodhi from POINT BREAK. That Katheryn Bigelow film never once pretended to take itself seriously and we can all enjoy the adrenaline rush of it without having to turn our brains on. In THE HURT LOCKER, Renner's character feels like a dangerous menace and not someone we would want to have on the front line, defending our troops from explosive threats. In fact, this makes our military seem like it will take anyone regardless of their mental situation. Even last year's AMERICAN SNIPER showed how the toils of war can change a person, and not for the better, along with how that can affect their duties in the field. THE HURT LOCKER just makes it seem like a shitty place to be full of shitty people peppered amongst the good ones. That is a disservice to our actual soldiers.

Once again, THE HURT LOCKER also demonstrates Hollywood's disdain for making foreign characters anything more than cardboard cutouts of human beings. I do not pretend to be well-versed in the Islamic faith or what life is like for Muslims, but every character that is not wearing an American military uniform in this film comes across as being just there to add some visual depth to the tale rather than anything resembling a three-dimensional creation. From the young DVD peddler, Beckham, who is turned into a human bomb to the inexplicable scene where James enters the home of an English-speaking Iraqi professor only to be hit over the head by his wife and never have the scene mentioned again. Anything that does not serve the purpose of showcasing gritty bomb scenes in this film feels like it was half-assed by screenwriter Mark Boal.

There is a social responsibility in films that many people overlook or take for granted. Even a film like FIRST BLOOD manages to build in a narrative about a war veteran being forced into a corner to survive. But, when you think of that movie, what you really remember is RAMBO, not FIRST BLOOD. On the other hand, you have a batshit violent film like BAD BOYS II where there is a destructive car chase through a shanty town that clearly results in the deaths of innocent civilians, but no one bats an eye because the sequence is so damn cool. Both of those films were presented as pure entertainment whereas THE HURT LOCKER is a message film about a very serious chapter in history. By failing to live up to that message, it falls dramatically short.

Ultimately, THE HURT LOCKER falls into the same category as CRASH. Both films won Academy Awards that they did not deserve because their story felt relevant to the out-of-date Academy members voting for them. From a very high level, THE HURT LOCKER demonstrates a technical prowess that makes Katheryn Bigelow's award appropriate along with the trophies for editing and sound. But, Mark Boal's screenwrting Oscar and the Best Picture achievement are sorely inappropriate. In a decade or two, film fans will reflect on THE HURT LOCKER as a decent movie but not nearly as good as it was made out to be. If anything, it will be remembered as the movie that helped introduce us to Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie as they embarked on careers featuring much better end results.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

3:35PM on 11/19/2015
I always intended to watch this flick again, but the article echoes my sentiments at the time I first watched it...overrated.
I always intended to watch this flick again, but the article echoes my sentiments at the time I first watched it...overrated.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:20PM on 11/19/2015
I am going to say my opinion of the Hurt Locker differs from yours. I did not find the characters to be cliche, in that in the military during war time there are casualties and always "new guys" and these characters are not cliche but a simple and easy way to set up the story and introduce character and situation. Whether it is Platoon or Full Metal Jacket, the new guy scenario sets the scene. The thing that would make it cliche is if they were all the same in character. They are not. Even
I am going to say my opinion of the Hurt Locker differs from yours. I did not find the characters to be cliche, in that in the military during war time there are casualties and always "new guys" and these characters are not cliche but a simple and easy way to set up the story and introduce character and situation. Whether it is Platoon or Full Metal Jacket, the new guy scenario sets the scene. The thing that would make it cliche is if they were all the same in character. They are not. Even in lone Survivor they had the "new guy" and his hazing. It is about setting story. As for the pacing it wasn't "uneven" it was SLOW. It allowed the scenery and tension to be palpable. The Hurt Locker is glorious in its tension. No other war movie has been able to deliver such impact on waiting an dhow the characters persevere. It very much sets it apart from other war films.

The true glory of the film, and how it got its accolades, seems to me to be Kathryn Bigelow's commitment to the scene. It plays out in such a way that the characters truly impact each other. I think it was a very good film. Worthy of an Oscar? Well on that I leave it up to debate. Is it over-rated? I think it got a lot of praise that was deserved. I don't think too many people call it the best film of all time.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:12PM on 11/19/2015
It's been some years, but I thought that what worked for The Hurt Locker was it WASN'T a message movie. A war movie, yes. And Sgt. James wasn't a hero, but he was the protagonist. If you look at it in a n Us v.s Them light, you will be disappointed. It's a character study. It sounds like you're complaining because it wasn't "fun" enough for you. Or it lacked a true character arc. Which is true, unless you count Brian Geraghty's realization James is a bit psycho. It just sounds like it's not the
It's been some years, but I thought that what worked for The Hurt Locker was it WASN'T a message movie. A war movie, yes. And Sgt. James wasn't a hero, but he was the protagonist. If you look at it in a n Us v.s Them light, you will be disappointed. It's a character study. It sounds like you're complaining because it wasn't "fun" enough for you. Or it lacked a true character arc. Which is true, unless you count Brian Geraghty's realization James is a bit psycho. It just sounds like it's not the movie you wanted it to be. It may not have even been the best picture of the year, but it beats the hell out of Avatar for me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:58AM on 11/19/2015
I have mixed feelings on this. It all depends on how you define "Best Picture" District 9 and Ingloriouse Bastards will be remembered for a long time while this movie is hardly ever talked about anymore (not that the academy would ever bother to actually recognize something like District 9). That being said I will at the very least defend Bigelow winning Best Director. If nothing else the film does an outstanding job with the bomb diffusing sequences. There's a lot you can criticize but
I have mixed feelings on this. It all depends on how you define "Best Picture" District 9 and Ingloriouse Bastards will be remembered for a long time while this movie is hardly ever talked about anymore (not that the academy would ever bother to actually recognize something like District 9). That being said I will at the very least defend Bigelow winning Best Director. If nothing else the film does an outstanding job with the bomb diffusing sequences. There's a lot you can criticize but frankly I would dismiss most of your points because the movie specifically examines things from a very narrow focus. It's not fair to criticize the portrayal of the people the characters run into because the movie deliberately avoids focusing on them in the slightest.

Overall I can't deny it's a very well made film and I think it is good for what it is. I'd say it's biggest weakness is just how much better Zero Dark Thirty is in every way. I'd throw American Sniper in there as well. If Bigalow was going to get Oscar recognition that was the film it should have been for (Much better than Argo). I really think it's the closest thing to being the definitive film about the war on terror that has yet been made.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:25PM on 11/19/2015
My favorite scene wasn't even the bomb defusing scenes, but the scene where they are attacked and Anthony Mackie has his sniper rifle aimed ta the enemy forever and Jeremy Renner gives him a juice pack. There was something about the tension and connection of that whole scene that got under my skin.
My favorite scene wasn't even the bomb defusing scenes, but the scene where they are attacked and Anthony Mackie has his sniper rifle aimed ta the enemy forever and Jeremy Renner gives him a juice pack. There was something about the tension and connection of that whole scene that got under my skin.
10:29AM on 11/19/2015
I actually still haven't seen The Hurt Locker. But you described "Zero Dark Thirty" as superior, and I thought that movie was trash, so if Hurt Locker is even worse... yeesh.
I actually still haven't seen The Hurt Locker. But you described "Zero Dark Thirty" as superior, and I thought that movie was trash, so if Hurt Locker is even worse... yeesh.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:13AM on 11/19/2015
I'm bitter towards this movie because it robbed Tarantino of finally winning for Basterds.
I'm bitter towards this movie because it robbed Tarantino of finally winning for Basterds.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:48AM on 11/19/2015
I can't agree with this article at all. The Hurt Locker is one of my favorite films of all time and I just love the intensity of the entire film. Just really truly great filmmaking and deserves all the praise it has gotten over the years. Did it deserve to win best picture.......maybe, maybe not. But it definitely deserved to be nominated that year along with everything else.
I can't agree with this article at all. The Hurt Locker is one of my favorite films of all time and I just love the intensity of the entire film. Just really truly great filmmaking and deserves all the praise it has gotten over the years. Did it deserve to win best picture.......maybe, maybe not. But it definitely deserved to be nominated that year along with everything else.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:34AM on 11/19/2015
This is the unpopular opinion? Yeah the hurt locker is easily one of the most forgettable movies to win best picture. It's not a terrible movie, but my god was it overrated when it initially came out. I think most people now would admit that while good, it's not that great.
This is the unpopular opinion? Yeah the hurt locker is easily one of the most forgettable movies to win best picture. It's not a terrible movie, but my god was it overrated when it initially came out. I think most people now would admit that while good, it's not that great.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:29AM on 11/19/2015
Great movie but yes it was overrated. There wasn't a thing this movie did that Jarhead didn't already do and better minus the tense bomb sequences.
Great movie but yes it was overrated. There wasn't a thing this movie did that Jarhead didn't already do and better minus the tense bomb sequences.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-1
7:59AM on 11/19/2015

8/10.

However, I thought INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS or DISTRICT 9 deserved the Oscar instead.
However, I thought INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS or DISTRICT 9 deserved the Oscar instead.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:14AM on 11/19/2015
Here Here. 2009 was full of much better movies, and I wanted Basterds to win so bad. Although I enjoyed Locker it is forgettable as many have said.
Here Here. 2009 was full of much better movies, and I wanted Basterds to win so bad. Although I enjoyed Locker it is forgettable as many have said.
11:45AM on 11/19/2015
Two far better films that people are, and still will be talking about for decades to come If not longer.
Two far better films that people are, and still will be talking about for decades to come If not longer.
7:42AM on 11/19/2015

I have never served too

I loved this film. The first ten minutes of this film had so much tension in it, as did the rest of the film, that I fully understood why it was loved. I watched this film with some of my friends, who serve, and they liked it but looked at it as more entertainment than fact. One of them said half the stuff that happens would never fly. I wanted "Up in the Air" to win the Best Picture Oscar but wasn't upset when this took it.
I loved this film. The first ten minutes of this film had so much tension in it, as did the rest of the film, that I fully understood why it was loved. I watched this film with some of my friends, who serve, and they liked it but looked at it as more entertainment than fact. One of them said half the stuff that happens would never fly. I wanted "Up in the Air" to win the Best Picture Oscar but wasn't upset when this took it.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
3:06AM on 11/19/2015

Was it overrated? Yes. I wholeheartedly agree...

And not to talk negatively about the Corps or what they do because I honor men willing to sacrifice their lives for us but when you say... 'Renner's character feels like a dangerous menace and not someone we would want to have on the front line, defending our troops from explosive threats. In fact, this makes our military seem like it will take anyone regardless of their mental situation." My only question is... Have you ever met any Marines? Not all are like that but let me tell you, quite a
And not to talk negatively about the Corps or what they do because I honor men willing to sacrifice their lives for us but when you say... 'Renner's character feels like a dangerous menace and not someone we would want to have on the front line, defending our troops from explosive threats. In fact, this makes our military seem like it will take anyone regardless of their mental situation." My only question is... Have you ever met any Marines? Not all are like that but let me tell you, quite a few are. And in time of war when are government desperately needs men willing to go to war because there is no draft... Guess what? They will turn a blind eye for most things. So most of the time if they need enough people they WILL take just about anyone reguardless of their "mental situation". Who else is going to do it? Are you? So it might be or seem ugly and maybe its something you have a problem with but it's the sad reality of war and the world we are living in. And why wouldn't you want someone like that defending our country on the front lines? Who else is going to do it? It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. It's war. It's not some diplomatic meeting. War is ugly. It's gritty. It's grimey. Fucked up shit happens. That's the sad, sad reality. So in my most humble opinion..... From the stories I've heard and close friends I know very well who fought over seas... The film might be over rated and probably didn't deserve an Oscar but it was a realistic portrayal of those men and young guys that go to war. I know at least like 3 just like Renner's character. Are they the ideal, model soldier or even person? No. Far from it. But those men served and went to war for me and my family and all of us and although they might not be G.I. Joe or Captain America I am eternally grateful for their sacrifice and service.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:10AM on 11/19/2015
I appreciate the sentiments, but the fact is The Hurt Locker is looked upon by the vast majority of service members (i.e. those who have seen combat), especially EOD, as a joke, particularly in it's "realistic" portrayal of how EOD operates. It's more fantasy than reality. I watched this "fresh off the plane" from Iraq and watched my hopes for a realistic portrayal sink with every frame. I was laughing more than anything.

Watch Generation Kill. Watch Restrepo. Watch anything but The Hurt
I appreciate the sentiments, but the fact is The Hurt Locker is looked upon by the vast majority of service members (i.e. those who have seen combat), especially EOD, as a joke, particularly in it's "realistic" portrayal of how EOD operates. It's more fantasy than reality. I watched this "fresh off the plane" from Iraq and watched my hopes for a realistic portrayal sink with every frame. I was laughing more than anything.

Watch Generation Kill. Watch Restrepo. Watch anything but The Hurt Locker.
5:32AM on 11/19/2015
True. I've watched all those (excellent films btw) and I agree that although the action in The Hurt Locker might be laughable I feel the characters portrayed were pretty realistic to me considering I know guys exactly like that.
True. I've watched all those (excellent films btw) and I agree that although the action in The Hurt Locker might be laughable I feel the characters portrayed were pretty realistic to me considering I know guys exactly like that.
1:45AM on 11/19/2015
"when I say that THE HURT LOCKER is one of the most overrated and disappointing films to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture, I say so purely from the place of a movie fan."

I feel the same way about Argo...That movie was so boring and the writing sucked because it was just a by-the-numbers movie. Here's the story: Affleck's character wants to do this plan to get the Americans out of Iran, but some of the refugees don't like it, so a new plan is made and once again some don't like
"when I say that THE HURT LOCKER is one of the most overrated and disappointing films to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture, I say so purely from the place of a movie fan."

I feel the same way about Argo...That movie was so boring and the writing sucked because it was just a by-the-numbers movie. Here's the story: Affleck's character wants to do this plan to get the Americans out of Iran, but some of the refugees don't like it, so a new plan is made and once again some don't like it. Then Plan 3 is stated and they all like it and they leave. The End.

Sure, there's an intense moment, but most of the movie is just them talking about their escape plan.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:03AM on 11/19/2015
you could do what you just did about every movie ever made almost.
you could do what you just did about every movie ever made almost.
11:47AM on 11/19/2015
Argo Sucks! I have to rewatch it next week for my film class and I am rather pissed it's the movie we are going out on.
Argo Sucks! I have to rewatch it next week for my film class and I am rather pissed it's the movie we are going out on.
1:00PM on 11/19/2015
"you could do what you just did about every movie ever made almost."

That right there is a poor argument and not really true. As in with top tier movies.
"you could do what you just did about every movie ever made almost."

That right there is a poor argument and not really true. As in with top tier movies.
1:13AM on 11/19/2015
Look at the movies it was up against that year too. Up, District 9 and Inglorious Basterds. Those were all better films by far.
Look at the movies it was up against that year too. Up, District 9 and Inglorious Basterds. Those were all better films by far.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
12:56AM on 11/19/2015

*thundrous applause*

Thank you for articulating so eloquently the problems this movie had and how hugely overrated it was by the general populace. I cannot agree more with everything you said, from the dangling plot threads that go absolutely nowhere to the inaccurate depictions of soldiers and the challenges they face. The Hurt Locker is the worst movie to win Best Picture since American Beauty.
Thank you for articulating so eloquently the problems this movie had and how hugely overrated it was by the general populace. I cannot agree more with everything you said, from the dangling plot threads that go absolutely nowhere to the inaccurate depictions of soldiers and the challenges they face. The Hurt Locker is the worst movie to win Best Picture since American Beauty.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:49AM on 11/19/2015

Good opinion

Spot on, I'd say.
Man, this film is boring as fuck. I would include the "Best Director" award as yet another undeserved prize. This shitty film only won big because the Academy apparently fell into the stupid hype the media and people created, expecting to see the "little film" winning over the James Cameron's blockbuster.
Ultimately, Cameron's film gave Hollywood its current cash-cow (3D), while Hurt Locker fell into oblivion -right where it belongs.
Spot on, I'd say.
Man, this film is boring as fuck. I would include the "Best Director" award as yet another undeserved prize. This shitty film only won big because the Academy apparently fell into the stupid hype the media and people created, expecting to see the "little film" winning over the James Cameron's blockbuster.
Ultimately, Cameron's film gave Hollywood its current cash-cow (3D), while Hurt Locker fell into oblivion -right where it belongs.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More