I’ll give you a hint, it’s Starship Troopers. I guess that’s not totally fair, because I have several Favorite Movies of All Time, including The Princess Bride, Big Trouble in Little China and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc. But enough about the Holy List Of Perfect Films, let’s get back to the topic at hand!
Starship Troopers. I own this shit on DVD and I watch it whenever the hell I want. Some people talk smack on it. It’s sort of corny and over the top, but I think the haters fail to realize something. This movie rocks. It rocks non-stop. It rocks so hard that weak minded fools can’t handle the rockin’. And when I say weak minded, I don’t mean dumb, I just mean the kind of sheepish white-plastic-armor wearing bozos who believe Obi-Wain Kenobi when he says ridiculous things like, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
I do harbor a serious nostalgia bias towards Troopers. It was the first ‘R’ rated film I ever saw in theaters, and let me tell you, when that infamous nude shower scene came on my ten year old mind was straight up BLOWN.
But aside from the boobs and butts, I really think that this is the epitome of Paul Verhoven. I mean he’s a sci-fi master, and if you’re not paying attention the tongue-in-cheek of the movie might slip by. It’s been suggested by my father, and I tend to agree, that Starship Troopers is actually an attempt to create a satirical propaganda film from the future. So let’s get deep. Because I got deeeeep feelings on this.
Periodically throughout the film it appears that we, the viewers, are clicking around on other videos on the internet, watching ‘news’ from the movie’s era. Then we come back to the story. At the end of the film we’re encouraged to ‘Join’ and the various characters from the film are shown doing their jobs.
I feel like this frames the movie in exactly the light that it should, and given our current political climate, where we’ve been embroiled in semi-popular wars for the past ten years the dual sides of the military illustrated in the film really speak to me. On the one side there’s this huge military body throwing its troops thoughtlessly (or maybe thoughtfully but very callously) into harm’s way. But on the flip side we follow the men and women in the trenches as they progress through the ranks. Their service is simultaneously glorious and depressing.
It’s just… Oh man. I dunno. Yesterday I was driving from Portland back to Bend, and since it was night time and the mountains are treacherous I was listening to NPR to help stay awake. They were interviewing Phil Klay, the recent winner of the National Book Award for Redeployment, which is a series of short stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s probably totally inappropriate to compare Starship Troopers to Klay’s work, but honestly I don’t think there’s any science fiction that speaks more about the nature of military comradery than this film. Author Phil Klay was talking about that despite that he had a desk job, there were friends of his in the war who had fought in a number of intense battles and how the “big picture” wasn’t something many of them really talked about. They just wanted to get their job done, and they wanted the men standing to their right and to their left to survive with them. In Starship Troopers I see that same message.
But at the end of the day I just love it. I love it. I luuuuuuuuve it. Some things can’t be justified. Comedian Jim Gaffigan observed that we all have “our McDonalds”, our guilty nutrition-less pleasure. Starship Troopers is mine. What’s yours?