It is Memorial Day, May 31, 2010. So, of course, we watched a war movie last night. I have seen Saving Private Ryan about three times beginning to end, plus I tend to linger when I am changing channels and happen to bump into it. So last night I popped in the DVD.
One thing I like to do is to see if I can place the bit part actors in other movies they have appeared in. Saving Private Ryan has an incredible cast, and with five Academy Awards, plus another six nominations, it is sure to be considered a classic. The movie is only 12 years old.
What I noticed this time is that there are a great many famous stars in bit roles. That is mainly because of the story, with a patrol moving around France, looking for Pvt. Ryan. They interact with many people, but each one, only for a short time.
Stars like Paul Giamatti and Ted Danson have relatively small roles. I didn't even recognize Giamatti until my wife said, "Isn't that John Adams?" and of course he played Adams in the wonderful mini series of the same name.
The actor who played Gen. George Marshall in the beginning of the movie was Harve Presnell. Presnell has a wonderful, deep voice so he comes across in the role as definitely the one in charge. If you remember the 1996 movie, Fargo, Presnell played the equally controlling father-in-law, Wade Gustafson, who ultimately gets killed by the bad guy, another great bit actor, Steve Buscemi.
I also noticed an actor named Leland Orser. He played the crash-landed glider pilot, Lt. DeWindt, who uses the term, FUBAR. I had just watched a movie on-demand on my new Verizon FiOS (a great value, IMO) called Taken. Taken is a violent Luc Besson film starring Liam Neeson, and Orser is one of Neeson's compatriots.
So, go rent or buy Saving Private Ryan. It is an excellent movie, although the realistic carnage is a bit much in the name of entertainment. I love everything about it, right down to the Edith Piaf music playing over the approaching German tanks. Don't pick up this movie at the $5 bin at Walmart, get one with extra features!!!
Have a good holiday. The grand kids are coming!