Tag Archives: American Sniper

Actor criticized for attending DNC … why?


Bradley Cooper is a fabulous artist.

His most memorable portrayal arguably is of the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the film “American Sniper.” I saw the film and was riveted by it.

Lately, though, Cooper has been taking some flak from Republicans who criticized him for attending the Democratic National Convention in his hometown of Philadelphia. He wanted to hear President Obama’s speech at the convention in which he extolled the virtues of Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Cooper said as well that Obama is a great public speaker. He took his mother to the convention so she could hear the president’s remarks.

So, why the criticism? I can only surmise that it’s because anti-Obama activists and other observers thought that the actor who portrayed the iconic Chris Kyle was somehow disloyal to the late SEAL’s values … and that he since he assumed Kyle’s identity in the film that he also embraced the brave special forces warrior’s politics.


If that’s the case, I only have one response.

That’s why they call it “acting.”


Two sources offer differing versions of same story


Two Internet websites are reporting something about an American war hero that differ in their emphasis.

One of them leans left; the other leans right. The specific subject of their analyses is an essay by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who’s challenging contentions by yet another source about the veracity of a former Navy SEAL’s account of his battlefield exploits.

Here’s the right-leaning site:


Perry questions doubts raised about the late Chris Kyle’s medals. Kyle, who was shot to death after returning from multiple deployments to Iraq, reportedly fudged the number of Silver and Bronze stars he received for his work as a SEAL sniper.

Breitbart.com sides with Perry’s accusation that the doubts have served to smear the memory of Chris Kyle, whose military career was the subject of an acclaimed film “American Sniper.”

Here’s the left-leaning site:


Deadstate.org says the report reflects journalists doing actual journalism.

Gov. Perry, quite naturally, disputes that side of the story.

Perry said the DD-214 — the Defense Department official record of every person’s military service — is the definitive source for this information.

Here’s my take.

I don’t particularly care whether Kyle received two Silver Stars or “merely” one of them, or that he received six Bronze Stars instead of just four, or five.

The man is a hero, no matter how you slice it.

As for whether the report constitutes a “smear,” and has “libeled” a dead man, I’ll make two quick points.

One is that you cannot libel someone who’s dead. The other is that the truth has yet to be determined. If the reporters who dug up the discrepancy in Kyle’s record have done so accurately, well, you cannot libel anyone by telling the truth.

I’m not going to obsess over the number of medals for valor Kyle earned while doing his duty.

‘Sniper’ family excluded from ceremony?


A curious development has popped up regarding a ceremony that honored the memory of the “American sniper,” the late Chris Kyle.

Kyle’s brother and father have stated on social media they weren’t invited to the ceremony in which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott awarded Kyle the Legislative Medal of Honor.

Kyle was the Navy SEAL who has been credited with more kills in battle than anyone on U.S. military history. He returned from four tours of duty in Iraq, but was murdered at a gun range here in Texas. His story became the subject of the film “American Sniper.”

The governor bestowed the state’s highest military honor to Chris Kyle … and it is richly deserved. But the hero’s father and brother are not invited? Huh?

According to the Texas Tribune: “We as the Kyle family (my parents, my wife and our kids) knew nothing about this and were not invited to the ceremony,” Jeff Kyle, Chris Kyle’s brother, wrote on Facebook. “It’s kinda funny how the family isn’t asked to be involved!”

Chris Kyle’ widow, Taya, accepted the award from Gov. Abbott.

The governor’s office hasn’t yet responded to the report.

I hope the governor’s staff has an explanation for it. Is there an estrangement between Chris Kyle’s widow and the hero’s brother and father? Is it an honest oversight? Is it a deliberate snub … which I rather doubt?


Let’s get to the bottom of this curious story, shall we?


Kyle's killer gets life without parole

This is likely the least-surprising jury verdict to come down in most folks’ memory.

Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of murdering Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range south of Fort Worth in 2013.

The case has drawn international attention, as Kyle’s exploits have been portrayed in the acclaimed film “American Sniper.” Kyle was the Navy SEAL sharpshooter who served four tours in Iraq and is credited with 160 confirmed kills, believed to be a U.S. military record.


Routh sought acquittal on the grounds of insanity. The jury, which deliberated in a Stephenville court building for two hours, didn’t buy it.

The verdict and the sentence bring to a close a most dramatic case.

Kyle’s devotion to doing his duty for his country has been honored across the nation. “American Sniper” tells a gripping story of a young man torn by the terrible deeds he did on the battlefield.

The terrible, tragic irony, of course, is that Kyle survived those four harrowing tours of the Iraq War, only to die at the hands of a former Marine who committed an act of brutality against Kyle and Littlefield. He shot them multiple times in the back.

Routh now will be put away for the rest of his life.

The families of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield have been delivered the justice they deserve.


Yep, I watched the Oscar show … all of it!

I can’t believe I watched the who-l-l-l-l-e thing.

The Oscars. All four hours of it. I wasn’t glued to the TV set. I got up from time to time — during the acceptance speeches by the winners of, say, Best Set Design.

The draw for me was whether Bradley Cooper would get the Best Actor statue for his portrayal of the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.” I was pulling for young Bradley. He didn’t get it, but the young man who won, Eddie Redmayne, for his portrayal of the brilliant Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” is a deserving honoree. (Disclosure time: I haven’t seen “Theory,” but from what I’ve read about his portrayal, Redmayne earned the statue.)

But here’s the award highlight of the evening, for me at least: Julianne Moore’s Best Actress award for her title-role portrayal in “Still Alice,” a college professor battling early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. (More disclosure: I haven’t yet seen this one, either; it came to Amarillo, then left — in a hurry.)

My interest in the topic of this film has been noted on this blog. My family and I have intimate knowledge of the destruction that Alzheimer’s disease brings to human beings. My mother died 31 years ago of complications from the disease and another beloved member of my family is fighting it now.

I pray for him, his wife, children and grandchildren. Their journey is fraught with heartache.

My hope is that “Still Alice” will raise the Alzheimer’s awareness level to new heights and spur researchers to redouble their efforts to find therapies and — one must always hope — a cure that eradicates this merciless killer.


Here's a vote for Bradley Cooper

Five men are competing for an acting award tonight that is going to draw more than the usual amount of attention.

I’ve got my favorite and I’ll declare right here: I want Bradley Cooper to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

Am I an expert on films? Hardly. Do I know enough about acting techniques to make an educated assessment of who should win? Not even close.

I haven’t even seen all the performances. But I’ve seen “American Sniper,” the film that stars Cooper as the late Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sniper credited with 160 “kills” while serving four tours in Iraq.

OK, so my wish for Cooper to win the Oscar isn’t even as educated as it should be. But I have heard the debate about the film and have come to my own conclusion about it: To my way of thinking, “American Sniper” does not glorify war; it does not endorse a war policy, nor does it condemn it. The film tells a gripping story about a young man who signed up to fight for his country, did his duty and struggled with the terrible — but lawful — orders he was required to carry out.

“American Sniper” is an important film that has drawn considerable comment from those on the left and the right.

This weekend, I had a conversation with a retired Amarillo police officer who’s also seen the film. He was highly critical of the “far left wackos” who’ve criticized the movie. My friend tilts to the right; I tilt to the left, although I don’t consider myself to be a far left wacko. I tried to calm my friend down a bit by reminding him that the wackos to whom he refers don’t necessarily represent mainstream progressive thinkers.

Indeed, I’ve been critical of some of those critics — such as filmmaker Michael Moore, who labeled snipers as “cowards.”

My former cop friend thinks the left-leaning motion picture academy will be highly reluctant to support Cooper for Best Actor Oscar because of the content of the film.

I remain cautiously optimistic that my friend has it wrong.

Would I think differently if I had seen all the actors’ performances under consideration? That’s a hypothetical question, so I cannot answer it.

I’ll just stand by my hope that Bradley Cooper tonight wins the Oscar.


Mrs. Obama defends 'Sniper'

Michelle Obama has taken a stand in support of a controversial film about a heart-wrenching subject.

Good for her.

She came to the defense this week of “American Sniper,” the film about the late Navy SEAL sharpshooter Chris Kyle, saying the film deals squarely with the emotional heartache felt by combat veterans and their families.


Mrs. Obama didn’t go after some of the critics of the film directly, although she well could have done so; perhaps she should have done so. But whatever her intention, she made a salient point about the film’s theme and the emotions it has brought to those who have seen it.

She said: “I felt that, more often than not, this film touches on many of the emotions and experiences that I’ve heard firsthand from military families over these past few years.”

Indeed, she and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, have made the care of veterans and their families a hallmark of their tenure during the Obama administration and both of these women deserve to be applauded for the attention they have given to this important matter.

As for the criticism of the film — notably by filmmaker Michael Moore — much of it has bordered on the ridiculous. Moore, of course, referred to snipers as “cowards.” He knows nothing of which he spoke on this matter, but his comments got considerable play anyway — I suppose because of his celebrity status and his previous tangles with political conservatives over an array of other issues.

I believe the first lady has put the film in its proper perspective and that should stand as a more credible assessment of a gripping story of triumph, struggle and immense emotional heartache.


Back to the 'cowards' tweet, please

Michael Moore has been taking grief lately over a tweet he put out in which he called military snipers “cowards.”

I’ve commented on it here. Others have, too. Now, though, the filmmaker is fighting back, accusing his critics of “making sh*** up about me.”

I am beginning to think many on both sides of this argument are seeking to change the subject.


Moore’s tweet was in response to the film “American Sniper,” in which Bradley Cooper portrays the late Chris Kyle in a gripping story about Kyle’s emotional struggles while serving as a Navy SEAL sharpshooter in Iraq.

The criticism has been ferocious, mainly from conservative media outlets. For the record, I do not consider myself a fan or follower of most of the conservative media talking heads. I tilt the other direction. However, I found Moore’s comments about the so-called cowardice of snipers to be highly offensive.

Moore’s comment on snipers being cowards had nothing to do with the nation’s war policy in Iraq. Moore, though, is seeking to turn that argument back on his critics, some of whom have called him “un-American” for his opinions, I guess, about snipers and about his general world view.

I won’t go there. He’s entitled to express his opinion. My own notion is that he messed when he expressed this particular opinion about this particular man doing with this particular duty.

As is often the case with these controversies, someone in the public eye puts something out there that others find offensive and then tries to cover his tracks by changing the subject, or trying to broaden the argument to include elements that really have no bearing on the misstatement made in the first place.


Rogen seeks to clarify 'Sniper' remark

Seth Rogen’s talent as a comic actor isn’t in question.

His judgment, though, on others’ work is open to discussion, such as his commentary on “American Sniper,” the Clint Eastwood-directed film about the Chris Kyle and his four tours of duty during the Iraq War.


Rogen likened the film to the third act of “Inglourious Basterds,” the 2009 fantasy about killing Nazis during World War II.

Rogen then compared “Sniper” to a “Nazi propaganda film,” which generated lots of reaction, almost all of it highly critical. It came from conservative media outlets and from those identified with conservative political causes.

Allow me to step in here. I’m an unapologetic lefty and I, too, disliked Rogen’s comments, along with those of filmmaker Michael Moore, who had the bad taste to say that snipers are “cowards.”

Rogen then issued a classic non-apology. He said in a statement: “My comment about the movie was not meant to have any political implications. Any political meaning was ascribed to my comment by news commentary.”

No, young man. There’s no need to tell us what you intended to convey. The message received seemed clear enough. Here’s what you ought to say:

“I messed up badly by speaking thoughtlessly about a film that has touched many Americans deeply. For my carelessness I am deeply sorry.”

'Sniper' wasn't about reasons for war

Zack Beauchamp has written on Vox.com that the film “American Sniper” whitewashes the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, suggesting that it was in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Well …


I think I’ll chime in with one more comment about the film. Then I’ll let it rest.

“American Sniper” is the story of one young man, Chris Kyle, and deployment through four tours of duty during the Iraq War. He was a Navy SEAL sniper, and he reportedly set some kind of kill record for U.S. military personnel while doing his duty.

The film tells the most riveting story possible about Kyle’s emotional struggles with being away from his young family, the post-traumatic stress he suffered and the extreme danger to which he was exposed during all those tours of duty.

I sat through the film and never once considered whether it told the complete story of the Iraq War and put the policy decisions under any kind of microscope. I do not believe that was director/producer Clint Eastwood’s intention. I believe Eastwood wanted to tell Chris Kyle’s story as accurately and completely as possible and from what I’ve read from those who knew Kyle the best — including his wife Taya — Eastwood accomplished his goal.

Zack Beauchamp’s assertion about the historical inaccuracy of “American Sniper” misses the essential point of the film.

One young man did his duty, placed himself in harm’s way, came home, and sought to return to a normal life as a husband and father.

Then his life ended in tragedy.

That was the story I saw.