I am not a critic, and I don't pretend to be. I enjoy bad movies almost as much as I enjoy the good ones. Weird Science was as enjoyable for me as Raging Bull. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
I've blogged on this sight about my love for the best show on TV, Friday Night Lights. If you're not watching it, well, I want you to know that in some Islamic countries, they kill you for less of an offense.
But even though it's not really my role, I saw a film last night that I encourage you to see.
The film is Lions for Lambs. It stars three legends: Robert Redford (also the director), Meryl Streep (you may have heard of her), and Tom Cruise.
First, let me say that I enjoy nearly every movie that Tom Cruise has made. From Risky Business to Rain Man, to Mission Impossible, the one thing I always get from a Tom Cruise movie is that he seems to be the hardest working man in show biz. It always seems as if he is fully invested in the role he's playing. I don't care about his personal life.
Here, Tom has found the perfect role. He plays Senator Jasper Irving, a Republican who may be the future of the Party. Meryl Streep is his foil, a liberal reporter but one who once wrote a piece comparing Senator Irving to JFK. Senator Irving, a West Point alum, has conceived of a new plan to win in Afghanistan, and, as the movie opens, the plan is going into motion. The Senator is giving the scoop to the reporter who launched his career.
This is one-third of the story in Lions for Lambs. Another third consists of Robert Redford, playing a college professor, talking to a young, underachieving student about taking risks and fulfilling potential. He compares the student to two other grads, both of whom have gone off together to fight in Afghanistan - and that fight, the battle for the high ground in the Afghan mountains, is the new strategy that Cruise and Streep are discussing, and is the other third of the story.
The two soldiers (one is Derek Luke, the other an actor whose name I don't know) both come from tough backgrounds, and America hasn't given them much. But they believe that change comes from action, and so they have gone off to fight in the war rather than go on to graduate school.
The movie goes back and forth between all three connected tales. I was most taken with the Cruise-Streep story, because it does a good job of portraying two sides of a difficult argument. Senator Irving believes that even though we've bungled the wars, we still have to get it right or we'll be paying the price forever. The reporter played by Streep believes we have failed so miserably that this is Vietnam all over again; no strategy is going to work. It's over. Go home.
My joy from the movie came in watching the great, genuine performances, and I recommend it to all HuffPo readers.