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HBO's Generation Kill


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#1 Gil Wertheim

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:00 PM

I am curious, What is Generation Kill Shot on?
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 03:10 PM

Most HBO stuff is Super 35mm 3-perf. IIRC, but I am not sure with this show in particular.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:03 PM

It's s16. You can see SR's in a few shots in some of the BTS footage on HBO's website. I don't know what stock or lenses they used though.
I think it looks pretty good, but I've noticed that the grain pops up here and there on some of the car interiors, which makes those scenes a bit uneven looking.
Great show by the way. It's no Wire, but it's pretty darn good. I wish it was a series and not a mini-series. I can't wait to see what David Simon and Ed Burns will do next.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:51 AM

I think it's a marvelous mini series one of the few I've ever had the patience to watch, and in fact never miss a segment and can't wait for the next. It is a perfect study on the ambiguity, arbitrary nature, immorality and irony of war and of being a soldier. I love that the series doesn't candy coat anything. It shows war for what it is in all it's stupidity and brutality and the men who fight it for what they are, all too human. I think the cinematography feels right for the piece. The fact that's it's not quite as sharp and clear and a bit uneven and grainy seems almost a metaphor for the subject matter and story. S16 seem to be the perfect fit esthetically for the piece. It's also the only story I can remember where I don't really like any of the charactars but never the less am able to relate and identify with them and care about what happens to them, which it's self is kind of amazing to me. It's a very well written script.

I'm also utterly amazed that a woman, Susanna White, directed many of the episodes. Given that the script is awash in a rainstorm of testosterone, blood, gunfire, extremely graphic violence and explosions where women are pretty much relegated to sex objects and dirty jokes, it doesn't seem the kind of subject matter women would be able to relate to that well or tell particularly effectively BUT that couldn't be further from the reality. The 4 episodes she directed were quite simply brilliant. Maybe I'm just being too narrow minded and that's a lesson in and of it's self as well. I remember asking a collage girl I knew about Saving Private Ryan when it first came out and her telling me how great it was and me finding that a little surprising because it was a war movie and not your typical "Chick Flick". Well as Dylan once said, "The Times, they are a changing." Welcome to the brave new world. B)
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#5 Ira Ratner

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 05:01 PM

Put me in the negative column.

Boring and unrealistic.

Our troops were in Bagdad in less than 2 months, and it's taking these guys a month to do it in movie time.

Edited by Ira Ratner, 24 August 2008 - 05:03 PM.

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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 05:33 PM

I'm also utterly amazed that a woman, Susanna White, directed many of the episodes. Given that the script is awash in a rainstorm of testosterone, blood, gunfire, extremely graphic violence and explosions where women are pretty much relegated to sex objects and dirty jokes, it doesn't seem the kind of subject matter women would be able to relate to that well or tell particularly effectively BUT that couldn't be further from the reality.


How is this any different than an actual movie set, or this forum for that matter?
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#7 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:07 PM

Put me in the negative column.

Boring and unrealistic.

Our troops were in Bagdad in less than 2 months, and it's taking these guys a month to do it in movie time.


Um, I don't know about the unrealistic part considering several of the actors in the series were actually the 1st Force Recon Marines the show is about and are now playing themselves on the show as well as consulting on the military/ realism aspects. In addition to that, the show is based on the book by Evan Wright (the Rolling Stone reporter) that he wrote from his experiences embedded with these guys for several months.

The US got to the outskirts of Baghdad April 2nd, took the Airport on the 3rd and took control of Baghdad (at least for a time) on April 9th (about 21 days from the official start of the invasion, doesn't mean that Force Recon wasn't there earlier). That said, it also doesn't mean the particular unit on the show was there by then either.
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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 04:34 PM

Put me in the negative column.

Boring and unrealistic.

Wow, that's the last thing I would expect to hear about this show.

Our troops were in Bagdad in less than 2 months, and it's taking these guys a month to do it in movie time.

Well, there is actually a line of dialogue in the show that says this, "21 days to take over a country...". Sounds to me like they followed the timeline exactly.
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#9 Ira Ratner

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:35 PM

You guys actually don't find this series boring and redundant? How many episodes are they going show a guy taking a piss, taking a crap, or masturbating?

EVERY episode? Or at least TWICE or THREE times every episode?

It's just stupid and a borefest, and as an example of it, as HBO often does, they bring back yet another actor from one of their other mini-series.

Who is this guy MARRIED to anyway that makes him so worthy? And he does nothing in the part but smile and look stupid and confused.

The absolute worst HBO has come up with, especially compared to Deadwood.

Of course, every single episode also has the contrived "confrontation," where an American soldier gets into another one's face. And of course, let's not forget the fact that 50% of these guys have no fear of death at all, and just have a grand old time hooting and hollering and making jokes to the next battle.

HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 12:24 AM

Well Ira, everyone's entitled to their own opinion but WHHHATTT!!!!! :blink: Yeah it's boring, blowing up a village of women and children AFTER they call in there's no threat, fire fights in total darkness using night vision goggles, kneeing on a road as a Russian made anti aircraft gun rakes the ground and vehicles all around you, Yeah, totally boring. :rolleyes: Look, I live next to one of the biggest military bases in the world, Fort Bliss Texas, and though the show portrays Marines and Fort Bliss is an Army base, TRUST ME, this show isn't that far off. I KNOW guys like that red-neck gunnery Sargent. I know someone similar to every one of these guys. I used to write plays for their office of equal opportunity and the guidelines they used to edit my scripts where just as arbitrary and absurd as the kind of things they show in the mini-series. As far as pissing, crapping and jerking off, when you're in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a war, those things become VERY important and it really doesn't surprise me they spend as much time on it as they do. It's one of the things that makes it real for me. You may not like this series but it is NOT inaccurate. I also liked Deadwood, but comparing the 2 is like comparing apples to ceiling fans. About the ONLY thing the 2 series have in common is foul language and their treatment of women. BUT as I said at the beginning, you have a right to your opinion......even if it's wrong. :D
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#11 Ira Ratner

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 06:46 PM

This is going to be a FRIENDLY disagreement, correct? But there IS no such thing as a wrong opinion, so I'll address each of your points:

1) "Yeah it's boring, blowing up a village of women and children AFTER they call in there's no threat, fire fights in total darkness using night vision goggles, kneeing on a road as a Russian made anti aircraft gun rakes the ground and vehicles all around you, Yeah, totally boring."

You wait an hour each episode for 2 minutes of totally unrealistic action. (And some episodes, no action at all.) It's a movie, everyone knows it, and they don't even pull it off as nearly believable. It all seems so canned, especially when the actors open their mouths. To sum it up, no one really gives a crap.


2) "Look, I live next to one of the biggest military bases in the world, Fort Bliss Texas, and though the show portrays Marines and Fort Bliss is an Army base, TRUST ME, this show isn't that far off. I KNOW guys like that red-neck gunnery Sargent. I know someone similar to every one of these guys. I used to write plays for their office of equal opportunity and the guidelines they used to edit my scripts where just as arbitrary and absurd as the kind of things they show in the mini-series."

That doesn't make it interesting or good filmmaking. Soldiers, like "regular" people, are basically BORING.


3) "As far as pissing, crapping and jerking off, when you're in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a war, those things become VERY important and it really doesn't surprise me they spend as much time on it as they do. It's one of the things that makes it real for me."

People crap and pee and masturbate in all situations--even films made for FAMILIES like Sound of Music--but when it's not important to the plot, it just isn't important, and it isn't included. How is a soldier masturbating in his tank any more important to the plot than in a thousand other situations in films where the character would naturally masturbate and have every right to do sp? It's just thrown in there for filler here. It means nothing, and adds nothing to the story. And like I said--a few times is okay--but ALL the time!?

My argument here rests on Saving Private Ryan and a lot of other classic war films--no jerking off there and great films.
Generation Kill and a dozen jerking offs--boring.

4) "You may not like this series but it is NOT inaccurate."

Okay--where are the guys getting their arms and legs blown off? Getting killed? The reactions of their families? The real FEAR that soldiers carry with them? The crying and screaming and begging for mommy? HBO pussied out on the true horrors of war, and the REALITIES of it, because they didn't want the political fallout. HBO is a business, and reality has nothing to do with it. They wanted to make the war look "bad," but not THAT bad. They wanted to make the soldiers look "human," but not ALL that human. And they wanted to make them look like victims of a situation, which they were--but they didn't really tell the story.

5) "I also liked Deadwood, but comparing the 2 is like comparing apples to ceiling fans. About the ONLY thing the 2 series have in common is foul language and their treatment of women."

You have to be allowed to compare the entertainment and accuracy factors of various "docudramas," right? Or you couldn't have filmmaking discussions in the first place.

Deadwood, and even more so, Rome, fantastic series.

With Generation Kill, it's just viewed with the politics in mind--art has little to do with it--and I think they failed miserably.
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 02:09 AM

I'm always friendly :rolleyes: . You know I loved Saving Private Ryan (in fact almost all of Spielberg's movies except for AI, I think Kubrick really did need to have done that one for it to have worked) as much or more than you did but let's be honest, taking Baghdad was NOT taking Normandy. That's not to minimize what the soldiers did there, they did but themselves in harm's way but we hit with overwhelming force and the best training and most sophisticated weapons on the planet against a nation with obsolete weapons and in many cases an unwillingness to fight that had already had it's ass handed to them by us less than a decade earlier. They were afraid of us and rightly so and except for the "elite"units, no one wanted to die for Saddam. The fact of the matter is one HELL of a lot less of our guys got capped than theirs did the war was, relatively speaking for a war, safe. It was the peace that turned out to be a bitch Plus this is the Marine corp, like it or not it is a different caliber of soldier AND they were in combat from what March 20 2003 till Baghdad fell on April 9th 2003. So there wasn't a lot of time to get combat fatigue. I've talked with guys who've gotten blown outta Humvees multiple times and this is not just one guy, I'm talking 3 or 4 guys here, they don't seem afraid, pissed about getting hurt, but afraid, no. The thing they're most pissed about it the Army not taking care of their medical needs and the stupidity in the way the war was ran, pretty much exactly the same kinda thing the guys are saying in the series and OH they DO have a guy that keeps crying and screaming in every fire fight, remember Captain America?. It's weird, it's not like Vietnam where our guys spent an average of 250 days out of the year in combat for sometimes years on end and were ALL pretty much strung out by the end of their tour.

And as far as HBO being in business, they also did Band Of Brothers, now tell me that was a white wash of war. Did you ever stop to think since it was based on a book written by a journalist who was THERE and he did NOT paint a very flattering portrait of himself, that this may be exactly how it was? The fact of the matter is that they got shot at but they pretty much killed everyone who took a shot at them. Desertion by conscripted soldiers in Saddam's army was epidemic and the tanks of the Republican Guard got CREAMED by the Abrams and their air support. In the first Gulf War, it was statistically safer to be in a front line unit than to drive down the freeway, this war was more dangerous but still less than most wars at least for our guys.

One thing I don't understand is why you find the action sequences so unrealistic. Have toy ever been in a fire fight? I'm just curious what you are basing this on. I find the characters interesting, I don't find them likable but I do fine them interesting. I'm really having a hard time seeing your point of view here but but as you say, this is a friendly discussion so to each his own. I can't stand country music either yet millions do so go figure. :)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 27 August 2008 - 02:13 AM.

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#13 ryan knight

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 12:36 PM

a simple rebuttal to your put downs of the series....

read the book. that'll change your perspectives.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 03:13 PM

This is going to be a FRIENDLY disagreement, correct? But there IS no such thing as a wrong opinion, so I'll address each of your points:


Umm, I haven't seen the series, as I can't afford HBO, so I can't comment either way, but there's no such thing as a wrong opinion? I've been seeing poop like this dozen of times on these fora now, along with "Everything can be art", so I am going to say that that is totally completely wrong, and give samples of incorrect opinions and "not real art":

"The Germans are an superior race. The Jews should be exterminated."

"All Black people are lazy."

"Women are inferior to men."

"Men are inferior to women."

- - -

A famous artist once exhibited a cardboard box as an art exhibit.

Any episode of "Enterprise"

Any Scary Movie

Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Need I go on?


Again, everyone is *entitled* to an opinion, but that doesn't mean that some of them are flat-out bald-headed lies.
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#15 Ira Ratner

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 06:10 PM

Watch the series, Karl. Then decide.

I know, I know, I KNOW--it's just my own opinion. But the series is, to me, boring beyond BELIEF.

I have no stake at all in bashing Generation Kill, no interest in doing so--financial or otherwise---but to label my opinion as "wrong" IS just wrong.

And Ryan, the book is the book! (Didn't even know there was one until you said so). But that's a different story between literature and film--as always.

Edited by Ira Ratner, 27 August 2008 - 06:12 PM.

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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:21 PM

Watch the series, Karl. Then decide.

I know, I know, I KNOW--it's just my own opinion. But the series is, to me, boring beyond BELIEF.

I have no stake at all in bashing Generation Kill, no interest in doing so--financial or otherwise---but to label my opinion as "wrong" IS just wrong.


I'm really not labeling your opinion as wrong, just saying that some opinions are and were wrong. I am sure that your opinion is, at least in some ways, merited.


As for not reading the book, not only do I see this as an indemnic problem, I see the lack of Hollywood originality, rather they steal it from books or stageplays, as another huge problem. Aren't there any original scripts out there anymore?

I agree that the "shock them" approach is also getting quite old. It is sad when people have to stoop, er squat, as low as "Two Girls, One Cup" to shock people these days. I mean, it was one thing when John Waters made non-mainstream films that did the same, but this is a mainstream phenomenon now. Unbelievable what great lengths people will go to to avoid having to do some decent writing!
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#17 Ira Ratner

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 05:33 PM

I agree that the "shock them" approach is also getting quite old. I mean, it was one thing when John Waters made non-mainstream films that did the same...


This is one of my main points--that not only isn't it shocking to see someone masturbate or pee or crap, it's thrown in there because they somehow THINK it's shocking and it's groundbreaking.

It doesn't add anything to anything, and when the script and character development is so weak to begin with, it's just plain annoying.

Again--my OPINION.
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 12:07 AM

I think it was put in there to lend a sense of reality to the piece much as masturbation was included in Biloxi Blues or burning half drums of human waste from latrines was used in Platoon. It's the way it actually was.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 29 August 2008 - 12:08 AM.

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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:06 AM

This is one of my main points--that not only isn't it shocking to see someone masturbate or pee or crap, it's thrown in there because they somehow THINK it's shocking and it's groundbreaking.

It doesn't add anything to anything, and when the script and character development is so weak to begin with, it's just plain annoying.

Again--my OPINION.


Well, it might not shocking to you, because you have been desensitized, but it is certainly designed to shock people, and that is why it's thrown in.

I agree, that when this sort of stuff is thrown in without any point, it can become distracting.

I really don't know where mainsteam cinema will progress to from here. Possibly it will be men and women running around naked, saying nothing but profanity, with lots of explosions? Would make for a great futuristic scifi epic about a futuristic society :rolleyes:
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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:53 AM

If they ever remade Logan's Run, Karl, I think you might get your wish. . .

What I never got of sci-fi is why everyone wears unitards. . .

To the war aspects, yes the show is pretty realistic from the one episode I saw. Yes, the characters remind me of a lot of people I've known. And yes, the mantra of most soldiers is "Get some." But in the end, it's just a show. Some will like it some will hate it. My girlfriend hates Trek and leaves the room when I pop in The Search for Spock, doesn't mean she's wrong, just means she sees things differently (and in this case, hates William Shatner for his Rocket Man thing).
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