Russian Roulette


I watched The Deer Hunter the other day. It’s on AFI’s top 100 movies list. The first part of the movie takes place in the hometown of a few young men who are about to go off to ‘Nam. I felt immediately invested because the setting is a working-class town in western Pennsylvania. And what is a favorite pastime of men who live in western Pennsylvania do? Hunting deer. I’ll have to ask my dad to confirm, but I think he went on his first hunting trip at the age of 12.

The movie stars a very young Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. Even though I had trouble with the topic, their stellar acting made it as palatable as humanly possible for me. The movie cuts from the men celebrating a marriage a few days prior to their departure to horrific war scenes in Vietnam. Killing, explosions, and a Russian roulette game that Viet Cong soldiers were forcing the protagonists to play.  I was nervous about making it through a three-hour war movie, but I didn’t notice the passage of time.

I read afterward that the film was controversial, even though it won five Oscars. Some people said that Russian roulette was never actually played in Vietnam. Even if it wasn’t, the game is a perfect metaphor for war. Especially this war. The ending of the film is also bold and offended some people.

I’m glad I saw it and would recommend it to people who can stomach war movies.

This was #6 on my birthday list. I’m a little behind, as I should average eight items per month. But I’m planning to tick off another item this weekend. A colleague mentioned making soft pretzels at home recently. OMG, why hadn’t I thought about that before? I used to eat SuperPretzels like it was my part-time job.


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