After reading this review of George Bush Is the Kindest, Bravest, Warmest, Most Wonderful Human Being I’ve Ever Known In My Life. Bill Clinton, Not So Much I started wondering about the films of director David L. Cunningham. As you can see, he’s not exactly A-list, with a few documentaries, a smattering of TV (50,000 episodes of Law & Order SVU-CSI-MOUSE and they didn’t give him a shot at even one?) and what looks like his big break, To End All Wars starring Jack Bauer which immediately qualified him to make a film about terrorism.
And if you had never heard of To End All Wars (which must not have happened since we’re in the midst of WWVIII according to this mornings NeoCon Morning Piddle) well, it’s probably because it looks like a straight to DVD release. From filmcritic.com:
If you were to take all of the movie clichÃ©s from every prisoner of war film since 1937â€™s The Grand Illusion and string them together, youâ€™d get a film slightly better than 2001â€™s To End All Wars. It would be better because it wouldnâ€™t also pilfer from Dead Poets Society and The Shawshank Redemption.
In 1942, a Scottish division is captured and taken to a Japanese labor camp in Thailand. On the train ride over, Captain Ernest Gordon (CiarÃ¡n McMenamin) narrates in voiceover such mind-blowing insights as, â€œWhen you surrender in war, youâ€™re stripped of your dignity as a soldier.â€ Soon enough, they arrive at the camp, and before you can say â€œAbu Ghraib,â€ the abuses begin. After a series of The Bridge on the River Kwai-like encounters with the campâ€™s Sergeant Ito (Sakae Kimura), the soldiersâ€™ Colonel McLean (James Cosmo) is murdered for refusing to order his troops to build a railroad. His lieutenant, Campbell (Robert Carlyle), witnesses the act and spends the better part of the film seething and plotting revenge. On the other side of the spectrum, Yankee attachÃ© Reardon (Kiefer Sutherland) plays the part Americans usually play in these films â€“ commercial opportunist. Ã€ la William Holden in Stalag 17 (or Bridge, for that matter) Reardon barters his way through the camp, finally succumbing to beatings and torture when Campbell turns him in.
Somewhere in between these POW archetypes lies our protagonist, Gordon, who finds enlightenment thanks to the support of fellow inmate Dusty (Mark Strong), who encourages him to use his education to teach the other inmates. In the filmâ€™s most novel turn of events, Gordon actually organizes a â€œJungle University,â€ where he instructs the other prisoners on the finer points of Plato. Other inmates sign on to teach, including a former Shakespeare professor who never misses an opportunity to quote the bard in such a way as to provide the cheesiest voiceover possible for numerous montages.
Of such stuff are Disney careers born, except Disney isn’t real big on live action directors, preferring their helmsman to be of the computer animation kind. Maybe a shot at The Suite Life of Zack & Cody is in the works.
So what does David L. Cunningham have to look forward to in an industry that may not want the stink of this 9/11 debacle to rub off on them? Probably a guest spot at the Liberty Film Festival followed by dinner with Jason Apuzzo and Govindini, who have their own table at Tommy Burger, and then he can start work on Patricia Heaton’s next Lifetime project: Saving the Blastocyst or Having Another Eyelift: A Mother’s Dilemma.
Pass the popcorn.
Ooooo. It gets better. It llooks like Cunningham is a mole.
Now that we see that LFF’s Govindini and Apuzzo have been connected to the project and yet failed to mention this when they blogged and wrote columns about it, shouldn’t we convene one of those blogger ethics panels?