are men. This is an unavoidable fact (not that we would avoid it
even if we could). Being a man comes with certain character traits .
. . such as falling asleep during any movie starring Leonardo
DiCaprio. Such as . . . an incomprehensible passion for beer. And
there's also the issue with the damn toilet seat.
there are other things that make us men, too. The knowledge that if
our best friend calls us at two in the morning and needs us to come
get him off a street corner, we're going to bitch like there's no
tomorrow. We're also going to go get him. The fact that if a friend
needs our help, we're going to be there no matter what we have to go through.
is the basis for the latest 20th Century Fox film, "Men of
Honor," which opened Friday, November 10. Starring Robert DeNiro
("Meet the Parents," "The Godfather") and Cuba
Gooding, Jr. ("Jerry Maguire," "Instinct"),
"Honor" is the real-life story of Carl Brashear (Gooding),
the first African-American diver in the Navy. It details his journey
from Podunk, Kentucky, to cook school, to Bayonne, New Jersey and
Navy Salvage and Rescue School, and eventually to becoming the first
African-American Master Diver in the history of the Navy.
movie does have its problems. DeNiro and Gooding, while performing
masterfully, never seem to age in this story, which spans 20 years.
Another deterrent is that while the two main actors are brilliant,
the supporting cast is, well, not.
for us, DeNiro and Gooding take up 90% of the movie. DeNiro is great
again as Master Chief Billy Sunday, an old, crusty throwback to the
days of World War II. He does a fine job portraying the typical drill
instructor type--your worst enemy and your best friend rolled into
one. And Gooding is outstanding as Brashear, even though forced to
maneuver through a wide variety of scenes. At one point, Brashear is
calling out Sunday, and two minutes later he is virtually on his
knees begging his fiancée to turn around. There aren't a lot
of actors that can pull that off.
depending on unlikely sources for moral support when all else fails.
better than the actors is the plot they act out. It couldn't have
been written any better than Brashear lived it. It starts out as your
typical "black man beating the odds in the 1960s" story,
but quickly progresses into a tale of a simple man, regardless of
color, doing everything he can to beat unbeatable odds,
to r) Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr. are Men
this movie had a number of historical errors, as well as technical
flubs regarding diving and Navy ships and the sort, but Gooding and
DeNiro are so damn good at what they do that you don't even notice
any of those. Their excellent performances and the overall strength
of the plot appeal to the male's basic senses of honor, duty, and
just plain being there for your friend when he needs you most. And
watching Chief Sunday and Chief Brashear navigate their way through
one of the more memorable closing scenes of the last few years is
enough to erase any doubts about whether the movie was worth it or not.
you are a man, and you have any sense of honor, integrity, or doing
the right thing, you need to see this movie. But watch out, because
if you're not careful, the power of this movie and the actors that
play in it is almost enough to make you cry.
you won't do that.
all . . . you ARE a man.