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Many thanks to Jennifer Kachler, Adam Donald, Daniel Sheppard, my homegirl Laine Kaplowitz, and everyone at the fabulous Bethesda Row Theatre .

Get ready to sizzle with “One Hot Summer,” the story of a beautiful Cuban-American lawyer who is torn between her husband and an old boyfriend as she and her two best friends try to follow their hearts to love and happiness. The cast includes Vanessa Marcil, Casper Van Dien, and Jon Seda.

I have copies to give away! Send me an email at telling me what you love most about summertime and you may be a winner.

NOTE: DVDs provided by the production company; all opinions are my own.

A thoughtful commenter named Richard S. Webster added some superb suggestions to the list I published for Memorial Day, and I wanted to post them for families to have as they salute the courage and sacrifice of our armed forces.

1. “The Sands of Iwo Jima” This film both shows the sacrifice and hardship involved in war but also the personal toll it takes on the men. [I would also add Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” — NM]

2. “Bataan” War costs lives to win and this one does so in a hauntingly morose way.

3. “The Guns of Naverone” Perhaps the best behind the lines war film ever. The cast could never be duplicated.

4. “Battleground” Captures the suffering of the common soldier during the Battle of the Bulge.

5. “To Hell and Back” I love “Sergeant York” but Audie Murphy was even more extraordinary. [Note from NM: And the most decorated soldier of WWII plays himself in this story of his accomplishments.]

6. “From Here to Eternity” Captures the disorganization and problems the military had just prior to the onset of WW2.

7. “Flyboys” This extremely underrated WW1 film presents the American volunteer forces known as the Lafayette Escadrille who took to the skies early in WW1.

8. “We Were Soldiers” Despite many who will argue against this statement this is possibly the best Vietnam War film ever made. It certainly captures the feel of the early days of the war when America still had faith that we were doing the right thing.

9. “Midway” Realistically captures the most important naval battle in history…fought entirely in the air.

10. “The Court Marshall of Billy Mitchell” Your list has military court cases and here is one back at you but a better one and a real one. 16 years prior to WW2 Billy Mitchell realized what the Japanese plan of attack in the Pacific would be but nobody wanted to hear it…check this one out.

Reposting from 2008:
In honor of Memorial Day, take a break from picnics and sales and share one of these great films about American soldiers, sailors, and Marines. And be sure to take time thank the military and veterans in your life for all they have done to keep us safe and free.
1. Sergeant York Gary Cooper won an Oscar for his portrayal of WWI hero Alvin York, the pacifist from the hills of Tennessee who carried out one of the most extraordinary missions in military history using lessons from his life on a farm. He captured 132 men by himself, still a record for a single soldier. In addition to the exciting story of his heroism in war, this is also the thoughtful story of his spiritual journey. He is a pacifist, opposed to fighting of any kind. By thinking of what he is doing as saving lives, he is able to find the inspiration and resolve for this historic achievement.
2. Saving Private Ryan Director Steven Spielberg salutes his father and the greatest generation with this story set in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. It frankly portrays the brutality and carnage of war and its wrenching losses, but it also portrays the honor, sacrifice, heroism, and meaning.
3. Mister Roberts There are battles — and heroes — of all kinds. Henry Fonda plays a Naval lieutenant assigned to a cargo ship during WWII who feels very far from the action. He learns that his defense of the crew against a petty and tyrannical captain (James Cagney), on behalf of “all the guys everywhere who sail from Tedium to Apathy…and back again, with an occasional side trip to Monotony,” is an important and meaningful contribution.
4. M*A*S*H Set during the Korean War but released in and very much a commentary on the Vietnam War, this is the story of surgeons stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The emphasis is on war’s essential absurdity — these are doctors whose job is to heal soldiers to they can be sent back into battle — and on the ways that different people respond to those situations, responses that often escalate the absurdity. See also “Captain Newman, M.D.,” with Gregory Peck as a sympathetic Army psychiatrist during WWII as well as the long-running television series this film inspired.
5. Glory The Civil War 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, one of the first formal units of the U.S. Army to be made up entirely of African American men, inspired his film. Led by abolitionist Robert Shaw (Matthew Broderick), and based on his letters, this is a story of heart-breaking courage, as the men had to battle not only with the Confederacy but with the bigotry of most of the white officers on their own side.
6. The Longest Day An all-star cast shines in this sincere re-telling of the events of the invasion of Normandy D-Day, one of the transformational moments of WWII. Many of the military consultants and advisors who helped with the film’s production were actual participants (from both sides) in the action on D-Day, and are portrayed in the film.
7. Band of Brothers This 10-part miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg is based on the best-seller by Stephen Ambrose about the WWII experiences of E Company (“Easy Company”), the members of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, United States Army 101st Airborne Division and one of its officers, Richard Winters (played by Damian Lewis), from basic training through the American airborne landings in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of Bastogne and the end of the war.
8. Patton George C. Scott won an Oscar for his portrayal of WWII General George S. Patton. The film also won six additional Oscars, including Best Picture. Its screenplay, co-written by Francis Ford Coppola, frankly portrays Patton’s mistakes and faults as well as his leadership in turning the tide of the war.
cain.jpg9. The Caine Mutiny/A Few Good Menyou-cant-handle-the-truth.jpg These two movies, one set in WWII and one contemporary, both center on court martial trials with similar themes — what price do we pay for the luxury of feeling safe?
10. Gardens of Stone This underrated gem from Francis Ford Coppola about the “Old Guard,” the regiment responsible for the funerals at Arlington National Cemetery has beautiful performances from James Caan, James Earl Jones, and D.B. Sweeney and subtly but powerfully explores some of the deepest and most troubling questions about the price we pay — and the price we call on others to pay — for our freedoms.

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