For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.
Today we have Joe McKinney.I've known Joe since he rolled rolled me up for soliciting back in the '90s. I was in a suit, he was in a dress, it was love at first sight until I discovered he was undercover. Who knew he'd look so good in polka dots.
Just kidding. I count Joe one of my good friends in the industry. There's probably nothing I wouldn't do for him. We first met, when was it, 2004? 2006? Does time fly that quickly? Anyway, Joe's responsible for the Deadworld Series-- smart, procedural, character-driving zombie novels. He also wrote one hell of a ghost story in Inheritance, which I called 'an artful haunting with the gloomy quality of a Terrance Malick crime drama.' For those who don't get the Malick reference, I'm specifically referring to Badlands, the loosely based on the real life murder spree of Charles Starkweather. His book holds the same erstwhile gloom that frames the movie.
1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?
Narrowing down to one is almost impossible, especially when you open the field to books, movies and TV. On the small screen I loved Pacific and the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War. I even have a soft spot for Hogan’s Heroes, which I used to watch everyday after school. My favorite books would probably be Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Shelby Foote’s three volume masterpiece, The Civil War. But since I have to pick a favorite I’m going to have to go with Alfred Hitchcock’s under-appreciated 1944 classic, Lifeboat.
2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.
Well, I could have named half a dozen war movies that are better than Lifeboat. Saving Private Ryan, for instance. Or The Great Escape. Or Patton. Or Full Metal Jacket. Even some of the second tier war movies are better, like Breaker Morant and Victory and The Big Red One. But none of them excited me the way Lifeboat did. It was the first of Hitchcock’s closed space films, a style that he went on to perfect in Rope and Rear Window, and I think the sense of claustrophobia that limited setting created is a big part of the picture’s appeal for me. It creates a natural pressure cooker for the characters as they slip into desperation and mutual distrust. Lifeboat also benefits from a script by John Steinbeck (a good part of it, at any rate). The characterization is strong, creating complex portraits of Germans that aren’t really all that bad and Allies that aren’t really all that good. And of course the final production carries Hitchcock’s stylistic fingerprints all over it, which is never a bad thing. Sure it’s not the grand scope of films like Saving Private Ryan or Toro Toro Toro, but it’s big drama on a small stage, and it’s a film I keep coming back to year after year.
Probably the whole “band of brothers” thing. And I’m not just talking about our modern films like Saving Private Ryan and all the others. Look at the Shakespeare play from which that phrase comes, Henry V. On the surface the play reads like a patriotic pep rally, but it’s actually layered with irony condemning many of the big hero attributes we’ve heaped on Henry. It was clear the “band of brothers” theme was tired even then, in the 1590s. I don’t think it’s gotten any fresher since then.
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And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:
Powell's ~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ Indiebound ~ Overstock ~ WalMart ~ Books-a-Million ~ Mysterious Galaxy ~ Poisoned Pen ~ Dark Delicacies ~ Hastings Books and Music