Welcome to our podcast dedicated to discussing well-known movies and TV shows that one of us has never seen. In this episode we’re talking about Apocalypse Now (1979, Rated R).
You can listen to the show by clicking here.
Here are the links to some of the things we discussed:
Apocalypse Now IMDb page; Our Lonesome Dove episode; Apocalypse Now Redux page on Rotten Tomatoes; The Twilight Zone movie helicopter accident; Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; Bechdel test pass or fail?; “Kill the Wabbit” from the Bugs Bunny short, “What’s Opera, Doc?”; Cosmic Potato Podcast Network.
Next time, we’ll be talking about The Blues Brothers, so stay tuned!
Rough Transcript of Episode 49 below:
This program is part of the cosmic potato Podcast Network for more shows like this visit our website at cosmic potato dot com to in the scheme and this is Virginia and this is weight. You’ve never seen a podcast dedicated to discussing well-known movies and TV shows that one of us has never seen as a teen. You alright have a retreat to the good. What about my acting first?
I’m trying to be polite.
What Virginia tells about any trigger warnings, we need the on-at.
So there are plenty of racial slurs against Vietnamese people and Asian people more generally. It’s a war time movie. So, you have slaughter of civilians war-related PTSD graphic depictions of injuries, there are some animal abuse and some mentions of suicide.
Well, I mean did you say or related injury you didn’t? Is I like there’s a Warner’s war crimes or say we’re seeing horrible, horrible blatant violations of human rights also. Yes, in a flippant testosterone is I see a set anyway, this is just the way things are. Yeah, so what three things did you expect from this movie?
I did expect it to be set during the Vietnam War, a Apocalypse Now means we’ll start off the movie within apocalyp.
It’s not a good name for the movie. I mean it did look a little apocalyptic lytic at the beginning ’cause I started off of all this explosion, so it’s like, “Oh okay, they’re trying… We’ll get to the meeting of Apocalypse Now in a second, and then kind of like that I thought Apocalypse Now, is probably a play off of Serenity now.
Nirvana now and Ivana now was a button that people would wear in the…
Okay, we’re getting into it now, so I… Yeah, Serenity now, or Nirvana, now as a button that people would wear in the 70s, the 60s, early 70s, I think, and John milius, who is the writer of Apocalypse Now he… She used to he hated that idea of… We need peace and serene. Now he’s like “No we need Apocalypse Now, so he would take the peace sign and he would make a B-52 out of it.
And put little bombs, and engines and make the peace sign, like a war plane and it would be Apocalypse Now, under it.
So yeah, you’re right.
So a two or three, what’s the third?
That was all three of them said during the Vietnam war apocalypse. Now, start off the movie, which is sorry, it is a Apocalypse Now is a play Officer, and it’s still 66%. I try not to read your screen because I’ve been accused of this, The… So I thought a one, I thought that was like, I thought the second one those combined on saying there’s two things on on how it’s thinking.
Did you expect to like this or not?
I think it will be very graphic which I expect.
Here’s the thing I don’t like. Unexpected graphic-ness.
Yeah, when I sit down to watch a war movie or last week when we watch “londo there’s going to be certain depictions of injuries that they’re accurate and I’m like, “I’m ready. Okay, so I did expect it to be very graphic, but I still didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. I thought it would be too graphic understood.
So I gave it 2-5 star 25 stars right down the middle.
Okay, what is your one sentence IMDB description of this film?
A group of hardened soldiers can that covert military operations at Vietnam and then go surfing in their downtime.
The that I had I’m like… As soon as we finished watching it, I’m like… Yeah, that’s kind of what happened.
So the post you did get to see two posters though you did get to see two posters of apocalypse. Now, if you’re a call, I gave you the official… That’s right, which is just weird and bizarre. Yeah, I got from that one part of the movie here just weird and bizarre. You just see an oil painting of The Godfather Marlon Brando. Thank you, just smile. And brand OS phase. I look it up, and the sun or whatever, right?
So I gave you a I gave you a poster that was A… It was just a siloed of a surfer.
It’s a more modern re-imagining of what the poster for a Pocono would be.
So yeah, there’s a surfer on the beach and it’s this nice beach scene with I think pond trees, but then there is his coming, there’s a tack helicopter scoping it but still still, I gotta give it to you. That’s really close. So, IMDB actually says This rated our film 147 minutes Lord have mercy. Two hours, two and a half hours that quite to that what I mean three minutes.
So he had two hours and 20 7-A… That’s not doing a half hours but by the way, I had mercy on you because we rented, we accidentally rented a popular now really docks.
That’s not produced to redo.
I guess, it’s not the way it’s about re-dock, right?
I don’t know which is a three-hour three-and-a-half and 13 minutes. He didn’t love me that I was using for emphasis.
Yeah, the ridiculous on like, “You know what… No, no, you’re not gonna see this. So the ends of a pan, I don’t know, we have been making me watch these lungs noise recently to a tee-long movies.
I saved you an hour of your life. What are you gonna do with that hour?
Complain about all the other long movies, you made me watch.
Okay, that’s the way to do that about it.
So anyway, that I am DV. Oh, what year… What year did you say it was?
I didn’t… 1979. okay, it’s a a drama and more which I… We’ll get to this, but I don’t think this is really a war movie. It’s more about the whole mission of the movie is removing a cult leader, essentially it’s not really about war, you need war is the secreting. Where is the place that happened at that thing in leader was installed in the first place, because of the backing of the military? He was able to go over there. That wasn’t the military’s purpose in sending there, but he was in sending him there, but he was able to use those resources to basically go off the deep end and create his own little.
He then arthrit.
So we’re really getting had ourselves here, so I am B tells us that this movie is a US Army Officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces kernel who sees himself is a god. It sounds like co-leader to me.
So did this, how did this movie meet or not meet your expectations, again? You got a lot of things, right?
Yes, it was at during the Vietnam war, it was pretty much what I expected from a more type movie, “the is… It did look apocalyptic when the movie first started with the explosions, and… But it didn’t seem to me like Apocalypse Now, was a play-off of because I didn’t know what you had just said earlier, so I thought they would explain that in more detail, but I guess they didn’t but I did like that I at least showed up in the movie even though it was at the very end when we finally get to the cult leaders… Fortress or whatever, and all the people are standing there and it says painted or written on one of the rocks. It says Our motto Apocalypse Now, and I’m like, “Oh okay, well at least it’s in the move, even though I’m not in a really good explanation of it, but I did like it more than I thought I would, so I gave it three-and-a-half stars, three and A. I’m actually a little surprised because it seemed like… ’cause we try not to talk about this movie we saw it a little while ago, and we started talking about it. I’m like, “Oh we gotta wait. We gotta wait and she’s like… Oh, and Virginia is like, “Oh yeah, we’ll talk about this movie.
Oh okay, most she is a heated it.
Well, no, I just… I liked the way that it was done in a sooty as war movies go I thought it was well done, there was an opportunity for it to be a complete disaster, and it wasn’t… And I recognize a lot of the people, which was like, “Oh yeah, that person, that person in fact on besides Robert to all who I guess I did not recognize in this movie, the guy who played blue duck and loans and Dave played the… Not the surfer, the other, the chef, he played the chef.
Yes, Fredrick for us to, I think, post his name anyway, also now is the young African-American man goes by Mr. Clean. Did you recognize him?
I didn’t… Until you were like… Hey, do you know who that is?
And then we post it ’cause we were watching it on a post on “Apocalypse Now” we were watching it on Amazon Prime because we couldn’t get the regular Apocalypse Now, through Netflix.
And when I posed it, it does that X-ray where it shows you like too in it. And I show it was Laurent fish firstborn Fisher, 14 years old, that’s just which we broke some laws, but they were in the Philippine shooting this and they’re too far away from the people who would stop.
So I re-The stenosis love to break rules. They just think that… Well, there’s the whole Twilight Zone fiasco.
We’ll get to that, and… Or in the future, to go ahead.
Something I did not expect was Martin Sheen sort of film noir as narration of this movie, like it was a dark and stormy night, in the Windy City.
Okay, I feel the seriousness. But I was struggling not to laugh at that. It just seems sort of silly to me.
I can’t believe I’m still in SAC. Yeah, I make sure that slow down romantic helicopter to a right to match up with the ceiling you… Yeah, the seeing Van and… And it’s so film the… Are you, he’s in this little room alone and tortured like the light streaming through and he’s drunk and that’s so film they are.
But yeah, I kept expecting Him to do something cheesy and 1930s because it was just sort of so… Well, we’ve seen that parotid so much.
So when we first meet rather to all Roberto all leads that the Calla of a better word, that team of the helicopter squadron is gonna drop the boat where they need it all.
I use one, he’s the one who’s like, Charlie doesn’t serve referring to the Viacom. Was he the one that was always telling that, due to go, sir?
Like I do like those ways there’s… How they’re breaking this way of breaking left in right at the same time it’s gonna be because I was like his voice. Sounds familiar, right? But it just didn’t look like him, so yeah, okay, I mean this character, I’m not gonna look at his name, I guess, but a… He seems to be a superhero, sort of. He’s a loose cannon.
Well, you the loose can.
Well, yeah, so the first time we see seems unaffected by the dead women and children literally at his feet.
There’s just this flipping, quality. He’s more concerned with the surfing than the mission, he seems even unaffected by war. That shells are hitting. near him. Everyone else is ducking for cover, and he’s just trying to see if the waves are still breaking the way he likes.
Yeah, I that dude. That’s what I knew we were in for this is gonna be a wild ride, because we’re not even to the cult leader yet, and we already got this guy who seems to just have Careless disregard for the men under his command and it like that’s how the good guy who’s supposed to help Martin Sheen, I forget his name, to get to where you can assassinate this other dude. Like how exponentially worse is Marlon Brando character, right? You know what I’m saying?
Yeah, it’s a little messed up.
So Curt, is the guy that they’re going to get, Okay, they’re going to stop. Marlin Brando, character.
Was this based on some kind of true story, I assume the names have been changed to protect the guilty but is it based on some kind of true story? So this is based on, it’s not based on a true story, at all. That happened in Vietnam, it’s based on the novella by Joseph Conrad called ‘the Heart of Darkness from 1899…
Wow, where it’s actually a similar story of a voyage up the Congo River in what was then called the greater the Heart of Africa as it was always known, and there was a narrator Charles Marlow who tells his story about essentially going up and finding this guy who’s obsessed with ivory his name is cut the same name as the cult leader. They’re looking for a… Yeah, there’s lots of parallels. So it’s not like a direct it’s not a direct adaptation, but it is like it’s highly influenced by Heart of Darkness.
I see, so what was the obsession with surfing was that just the dude coping mechanism was it a common was it a comment form of entertainment for the men who were stationed in Vietnam that I don’t know, that’s a good question. I just think that guy was just he didn’t have everything together. I don’t think that he is flew into a village. They intend to exact with surf boards underneath right right now, they did now, so they blasted Wagner’s flight of about Garis, right, which Virginia and I will not perform a ready who or I oratorio now you join it.
I’m good thing.
Virginia, Virginia is that she’s probably gonna cut that all.
I’ll probably cut it out, and then added on again, the… So the play rivalries from the PA system essentially it didn’t sound as good presumably it couldn’t sound as good as it did, so they never…
I didn’t do this the military there never did that, but they did use it to just play music to entertain themselves so they would play Jimmy Hendricks and the Beatles, they would play whatever music they might have on hand, through the PA system on board the helicopters.
You know, something that I thought was really sad, there were lots of sad things would go go ahead.
The last thing that Lawrence fish burns character heard besides the enemy fire was his mother’s voice ’cause he was playing that tape he had just gotten the mail.
Yeah, it was, that was… And it was playing after he was already dead, and she said something like… Can’t wait to see you. So that’s in breaking.
So I don’t know what all you have to discuss.
I have questions about the lighting of Marlon Brando space, I have answers for that.
Okay what, what was with the lighting of Marlon Brando face?
Okay, now, of course, every director can make a stylistic choice which is what we could say was happening here, because this is a mysterious character, and he’s difficult to understand and other people who have gone on this mission to assassinate to stop to arrest whatever, all of these other… We learn as we go down the river up there ever, as we go along our journey towards carts we learned that other people a Try this and failed.
So this is a monumental… He believes himself to be God. So you could say it’s a stylistic choice. We wanna keep him in the shadows, and we don’t really know what we’re seeing and even when he’s talking, I was like, “What the hell is even saying that… Yeah, right, but the Francis Ford Coppola talked with Marlon Brando, and, Brando was at the time they were ready for the filming, he had gained a lot of weight and he was worried about, you know, coming off as you know, didn’t want he didn’t want that to be a betrayed on film so your self-conscious, right? So Coupa was like… That’s no problem. We’re gonna do this thing where it’s gonna… It was kind of inspired by Brando is desire to not be really fully seen on screen.
I see, so the reason that I was like, “Oh we’ll discuss this.
The A, that’s the end. Like he kills the dude Martin, she and kills Moran, brand now who the hero got the guy he was supposed to get. Why is that that again?
But I, he didn’t communicate to his headquarters that the mission had been accomplished. That’s true.
So what if something happens to Martin Sheen on his way back to wherever he purposely turned the radio off, you know what I’m saying? Like we don’t know… We, the audience, have the assurance that Marlon Brando as Did we the people making the decisions in the movie do? Not have that insurance. And how will that effect… Are people gonna still be coming thinking that he’s dead? Like how do we know the Martin Chen’s character didn’t become like this God-like character himself?
Well, once he killed, maybe in a dread pirate Roberts, I have you thought of that.
Now go ahead, what were you thing?
So after he killed Marlon Brando though, everybody just kind of like stopped like nobody went and killed him, right? Yeah, everybody just kind of dropped their weapons.
Okay, this guy is in charge now, I guess, I don’t know, I’m glad that he killed the guy that he got the guy. I just feel like the wrap-up was lacking, you know what it would have been a pretty weird ending but what it made sense because again, I’m obsessed with the title, making sense with everything else.
If the powers that be decided Okay, it’s been too much time and we’re just gonna drop in ocular weapon and just say that it’s a Broken Arrow or missing or confiscated nuclear weapon, and it’s just been de-just been detonated there in Cambodia and Oh my gosh, isn’t that a terrible thing that these terrorists took this weapon and accidentally blew it up?
’cause then you would have a POC lips now, right? Kinda like the end of Dr. strange love.
That’s definitely “apocalyps yeah. What is the L-destruction all over the place?
It’s a sure indeed the mutual you do all the rice so I when they discovered… So I hadn’t seen this since, maybe I was in art school because it’s a pre-requisite, no matter what your major is, that you watch to. Not in year in art school.
So I did, and that was a long, long time ago, so I had forgotten a whole bunch of stuff. And when that puppy when they… So they stop yeah, so when they stopped the fishing boat, or the boat just fill the stuff and they’re filled with you know the “Vimes boat, they stop it and they just start clean starts just killing everybody randomly with the big giant gun and they find a happy, and this woman is hiding something. Yeah, the woman is hiding something in the basket and that’s why clean gets all waged out and just start firing when they see the puppy. I’m like, Okay I don’t, I might need to turn this off. I kill the puppy. But then, of course, the puppy is the only creature. Given any compassion, it’s given more compassion than human babies in children and women and the same sort of compassion that of our… You should of course be extended to everyone. But it was a symbol of all… Another thing I meant to say In the… So, in the heart of darkness in the Heart of Darkness, they were pointing out like, “Oh it was a question of who really is the savage is it like the quote savages, who are in the native or is it these imperialists, who just come in and storm in and just kill everyone and I break everything and they don’t care, but there’s that going on too in this, in this story, of course, whereas we… Rabbit, all characters, all these savages and me in in you are the… Let’s be clear, you were the savage here, right?
Well, just like Native Americans when the Europeans showed up. Yeah, they’re doing the… The Europeans are doing the slaughtering and genocide right to the quite-unquote Haines yeah, yeah.
Oh, I wrote down. Do you know when we got to the… Our motto Apocalypse Now, one hour 51 minutes, one hour, 51 minutes of a 2 hour and 27 minute movie.
Now, next that’s true, I’m just gonna power through this though.
Go now next to that scroll than red was the words drop well, near it, drop the bomb incinerate them all.
Oh, I missed that. So I was like, they wanted the ending that I wanted to… Or how… And so, I like if I can talk about something I like real quick friends. As far as colas Stylistic choices for the transitions were really interesting because you have this fast pace, war movie, and there’s lots of excitement and danger, and death, and the horrible things happening.
But when he does these transitions they’re very long, they’re very deliberate. When you go from one transition meaning one scene to another and you fade out the senior currently in you feed. And the next one yeah I counted. Some of them were like five seconds long, which is a really long time.
I didn’t really like that, I’m sorry, because it was a boring no, because it was, it was visually confusing to me.
Well guess what’s also visually confusing? The Vietnam War.
I’m just stating my opinion.
Well, I, I think the director, did that for a reason. That’s what I’m thinking.
So why do you think this is not a war movie.
Well, I think I said it already, that this is… It’s more about imperialism.
Well, I mean, what I guess any war movie, could be called about about Imperialism I like to think so, it’s not like it’s not trying to be a document of the Vietnam war, this is a story outside of the history of Vietnam. So that’s why I don’t think of it as a… It’s not a Vietnam story, it’s a story of the human brutality, and I don’t think that’s limited to war. I think it’s one.
You could almost use it as an allegory for human terrible-ness.
That’s a good point, thank you.
Are you ready to go to the back to talk?
I do have, I do have one more thing, but then later you always asked me if I have one more thing. She can go into the becomes… So, it fails.
Of course, there are surprisingly three names. Female care really.
Yes, at the Playboy playmates.
Oh right, then now on-the-go here is Miss Virginia, so I see, I just use your name.
There was Miss August this and baby Miss. May Terry to Ray and the Playmate of the Year, carry Foster.
Of course, none of them talk to each other.
Did any of them speak at all when the dude started bum-rushing the stage? I think they might have been like, help or get to the chopper or whatever, or the only women who sing anything with names or pleading for their lives.
Yeah, there are a lot of women killed, as well, but the other area of course and name there is a Vietnamese. Well, presumably via “Neeson but not translated. The ewe. There is a… As women saying things, but we don’t know what is yes, or what their names are. A or. Well, has your opinion changed since the last time you’ve seen it?
Yeah, I mean, I’m older now. And I was way more affected as way more affected by… No, just the flip in disregard of human lives, and whatnot, and yeah, the “Eesti guess then the danger of believing the danger of belief, like really was brought home to me. And this one, I like the called CRTS it’s the cult leader is never, he’s never called that which is a shame.
Yeah, it’s dangerous when one person is all the power and they have some destructive ideas, that hit me a different way this time.
Yes, I can see how that would happen.
Can you tell me about disability or try… Well, there seems to be, although not explicitly stated a lot of PTSD happening in the field, people obviously affected by their previous experiences when triggered by new events, but there is also mainly… We saw a lot of injuries, but people either died or we didn’t see their treatment path being put on a stretcher and carried off screen. So right there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for that particularly. We’re in the middle of an adventure. So you’re either continuing on, or you need to be removed in some way. I get it.
So are there any pop culture references you now understand? I never knew where I love the smell of napalm, in the morning. Came from Bobby. Do you just throws that line away too? It doesn’t need… Yeah, I not said like, “Oh this is gonna be my… I’ll be back or… Yeah, I mean I assumed it was associated with some sort of Vietnam more teeth talking about nano for… But yeah, I didn’t… I mean, you hear at every one or… Well, but I had no idea where it came from.
So did you know that the use of the song later the “balcarres by voter what it comes from this movie when you want to have this monumental here come these delivers of death helicopters coming towards you.
I thought that that may be the first time it was used in a movie that way, but I thought that was always what it was associated with.
Again, the… I don’t really speak German that well, so I don’t know what… So, in the play or in the opera, so I was it the first time it was used in a movie.
Oh, I thought you were talking about in the opera itself flag of the Valerie was about, I don’t know what the song was meant to was meant to portray.
Oh, but yeah, there I don’t think Flight of the bourse has ever used in that manner, before Apocalypse Now, I think that’s the first time it was.
That’s on it about “Kill the web and kill the web, no, loris, going to see object of death. And do wasn’t that made after the 197 then maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know, I think we should start talking about this.
So as I use… Do you have anything else to discuss? I feel like a silly Billy, I do have something else, I do have something else to discuss.
Okay, so as the attack helicopter which is embodied by the HUI are huge Cobra was used for the first time in warfare in Vietnam, helicopters, became a symbol of American American military force in Southeast Asia, in South East Asia in the 1960s.
He, there were helicopters of question and I read, but it was more for medical a situation.
So reason that Vietnam and helicopter, the helicopter. So indelible, linked the two reasons, it’s the easiest, simplest way to like, to move people in and out of a very dense jungle area. The way Vietnam was and also it was the first time that was that technology was available for warfare.
That’s very interesting.
So that’s why there’s all these loving shots almost romantic shots of helicopters.
Oh, I know, one more thing.
And then we can move on this movie, the… He’s a great couple of great documentaries about the making of this. I won’t go into all of the making of stuff, but it was a nightmare for ran as for Copa.
He made this movie mostly in the Philippines. So occasionally you’ll see people who are playing Vietnamese villagers and they don’t look like to me, they don’t look like me, in these people and they are not Vietnamese people, they are there. A Filipino and the… The, the Filipino military lent Francis their helicopters for all these shots and he kept wanting them to get closer and closer, which is always bad news and the pilots were all… Because like we’re not listening to you, like France has always envisioned way more helicopters way closer to each other which is of course very dangerous.
So they would often have to be recalled because the military is like Here, you can use them, but if we need them, we’re just taking them off your set.
You’re screwed for like a week while we go do military exercises that I’ve already have been planned or whatever it is.
So anyway, looking to that if you’re interested in the making of this movie, which was up an API call its own you didn’t mention the doors, this is the end.
Yeah, the use of music, there’s so many things. They use a mic to begin your movie with The Doors song, the end and that just… That legendary creepy delivery of the narration. I know that you found parts of it silly, but when I was a child, and so I’m like… Oh that’s so cool, and wild and he’s out of control.
Yeah, anything else I think that’s plenty.
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That’s our show for today.
Next time will be watching The Blues Brothers to the A9 and then on math done.
Thanks for listening and