Part 5/5 – Review of American Sniper by Clint Eastwood

I am a very fortunate man–more than fortunate. Though I can’t assess that it is random luck. I attempt to live honestly and not just honestly, but nobly. And the historical record proves that that behavior tends to be noticed and supported. I wouldn’t change anything about how I live. Until today.

I’d like to point out that I think I told at least one reader that I didn’t want to watch this movie. I mean, I wanted to, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to watch it because I didn’t like how I felt after watching The Hurt Locker. I didn’t want to watch it because I knew he was going to open the door to the adjoining hotel room in Flight. I didn’t want to watch it because I have known for a long time that like Eastwood’s portrayal of Chris Kyle while he talks to his wife on the phone from the bar in America rather than in person upon arrival back in the US because he “needed a minute”, that like Kyle, when I got back I needed a minute. Unlike Kyle, I have never admitted it. Well, today I’m admitting it. I needed a minute. More than a minute, I needed a week it seems, and honestly, I guess I needed nearly eight years.

I don’t know if I experienced enough trauma to conclude that I have PTSD. And frankly, I don’t see how applying the word disorder to myself could be viewed as anything other than immature white whine. Also, I’m not sure what practical steps follow such an admission. But that’s just me.

I do know that I drink too much. I also know that “too much” sounds less harsh than to say I have a problem with alcohol, so let me try again. I have a problem with alcohol. I know because of how I defend my drinking habit if it’s called into question. I know because any story/movie that remotely comes close to pointing out how alcohol destroys some people makes me think I should probably cut back. I know because I feel like a liar that is about to get caught. I feel like this for too much of too many days as I press on in my new life and start to meet both ugly and beautiful smiling people that I do want to spend time with.

I know because when I saw Eastwood’s lazy film American Sniper I knew exactly how I would have made it better and in doing so made it speak to me. And if I know how to make a movie about coming-to-Jesus moments speak to me more clearly, it’s because I know I needed to be spoken to.

So I’m done drinking. And as I am forging ahead in my new life as a writer, it seemed appropriate to announce my decision via the blog. More because of the cold H- transferred to me than anything else, I haven’t had a drink since the uninspiring visit to the empty dance floor two weeks ago, and so I’m calling that the day I stopped. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do about this practically, but I am pretty sure the first step in problem solving is to recognize the problem. Done. I guess that leads me to a second mention of step two for the week: gather the data. Sounds fun.

In the end, I guess I need to thank Mr. Eastwood’s lazy-good-for-nothing-too-old-and-too-tired-to-make-a-good-movie guiding hand for pushing me to my breaking point. He’s just the best, no?

This isn’t going to be talked about much on here after today, but I mention it here because at the end of the day, the inescapable truth is a blog is for its writer, just like this commitment is for me.

Have a great weekend.

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17 comments

  1. John Love

    I have not yet seen the movie. I am an Eastwood fan, of his directing mostly, so disappointed and my zeal to see another of his movies dampened, to say the least. I don’t know how to comment without telling a story, but when I got back from Nam I only drank on the weekends. I, however, had big gaps in what I actually did on those weekends. I used to go on 4×4 trips and think driving drunk was the most fun I had ever had. We woke up one morning on top of a mountain. Could not figure out how we got there, spent half a day terrified getting our trucks back down. There were four of us in two trucks. We went up the mountain in a rain/snowstorm in the blackest night you have ever not seen. I didn’t quit drinking all together, but I did not ever drive or 4×4 again while drinking! It was no longer fun to drink, as I set rules about when I could do it, so eventually I just quit.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. annkantx

    I am NOT an Eastwood fan and will never watch American Sniper. Having said that, your reviews have been insightful. I have always felt that intellect was both the gift and enemy of healing. “Processing” and perpetual self-discovery curse and delight genius. Writers never run out of words to define the journey. I look forward to your next installment.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sweetpea2love

    I’ve been here, reading each of the posts 1-5. I can’t relate to your time spent in the Military, but I can say simply I was a Military wife, but he’s passed now. What I can relate to is the drinking, and the seemingly invisible dangers it can have for people. My father drank himself to death at a young age, trying to fight off his demons. The demons won in my fathers case. My husband also drank too much, until I asked him to partake in an outing with his military buddies and only drink coke, while there for as long as their buddy session in the bar lasted. I asked him to questions how he was feeling during this time. He did this and returned to me saying “I have a problem.” These are only a few of the hard questions we as humans need to sometimes ask ourselves. So, I suppose I can relate to that. I think you’re right in saying that movie needed to be seen by you, so you too could ask the questions, and write about them. I do from my heart wish you the best from this moment forward in your life. “I’m here and I listened to you with an open heart.

    Take care from a military widow.. Laura ~

    Liked by 2 people

  4. larryallenmusic

    I’ve truly enjoyed your series on American Sniper. Mostly because of the heartfelt honesty from you as a writer. You are correct; we write the blogs for ourselves, but they can and do become great gifts for others as well. Your post today is the first one, by anybody, that I took the time to re-read three times. Wishing you all the best of God’s blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. noelleg44

    I’m glad you are over drinking, Pete, and whatever this movie may be, it has clearly brought you out and had a positive effect by making you think. A LOT. So thanks, Clint Eastwood.
    PS Are there any of his movies you do like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      Thank you for reading and commenting so often. I’m trying to cut back on my responses as it is very time consuming, but please don’t stop writing them if you have the time. I love hearing your response. Anyhow, to answer your question quickly, Gran Turino could not be improved upon. But, then, I’m a sucker for sacrificial love. 🙂

      Pete

      Like

  6. gene

    I liked the movie, I like war movies, I am a Clint Eastwood fan, and now I’m a fan of the writer of The Captain’s Log. Your experiences have provided you with insights that most others do not have.
    An art teacher once told me that before I could draw I had to learn to see. You’ve learned to see.
    At some point we do have to pick ourselves up from off the ground and start living again, but we don’t get up empty, we take with us what we’ve experienced, and we use it. I fully expect to hear some insightful articles coming out of you…who knows, maybe even a best selling book.

    Liked by 2 people

      • gene

        Haven’t visited the Simon page yet, but I will. I think everybody might have one good book, one good sermon, or one good song in them. Those three things feed off of first hand emotion, you can’t make that stuff up. No I’m not pulling your chain. Even I wrote a book and I don’t consider myself to be a writer, heck I’m surprised I can spell book much less write one. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Kris Wolfe

    I haven’t seen the movie (plan to). I haven’t read your other reviews on it (this one was enough because it was so sincere.) I hope you talk about this more because I know it will help others (but that’s your bitniss not mine.) And thanks for being real in your stuff (without vulnerability, we are just really bad actors convincing nobody, and helping just as many.) Be blessed. Praying for your journey and your healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jmerkel57

    Pete, this whole series was very good. And if you’re two weeks into a non-drinking life, you’re doing real well. Like you say, the hardest part is identifying the problem and facing up to it.

    It took me eight years to admit I had a problem with drinking. It’s been just over two years since I stopped and it has been the best decision I ever made. Setting myself free from my demons has impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. Now I don’t drink because everything I ever wanted, I have. I know that if I were to drink, I’d just be giving it all away.

    It may suck at first, but it sounds like you know you are done. And that makes it all better. I wish you the best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. "Beware the Sleeping Dog" a mystery by k.a. libby

    Thank you for your posting. Good for you for recognizing a problem and looking ahead to tomorrow. I could have done without the “Mr. Eastwood’s lazy-good-for-nothing-too-old-and-too-tired-to-make-a-good-movie” though. I haven’t yet seen this movie but have read a lot of the passion for and against it. I suspect you are in a far better position to evaluate it than I ever will be. But I admire people who keep creating thought-provoking works without letting age be a barrier. If nothing else, his movie gives someone else an opportunity to say it better. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself and thank you for putting your passion and life on the line that others might live better.

    Liked by 1 person

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