Monday, July 5, 2010



The Outreach Team for THE DRY LAND - a film written and directed by Ryan Piers Williams - has contacted me:

The Dry Land follows a returned U.S. soldier as he struggles to reconcile his experiences overseas with the life and family he left in Texas. The film stars Ryan O'Nan, America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, Jason Ritter and Melissa Leo.

I looked at the trailer and am of two minds; yes PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real and it is LETHAL - but is this more of the usual left-wing, anti-American propaganda along the lines of that Woody Harrelson piece of crap - The Messenger -? While the film seems legit and well done, I am suspect of it's venue:

The Dry Land premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and recently won the Best International Feature Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival; the film opens in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas on July 30th, with additional cities on August 13th.

You can look at it and see for yourself - the situations seem legit, the only criticism I have at this time is the guy's haircut; G.I.'s come home with high-and-tights. This may be a good instrument to alert families about the mindset of our returning heroes, and mixing loaded weapons and alcohol is NEVER a plan.

I am interested in your comments below . . .

. . . and NO I am not going to publicize their page on FaceBook.




  1. I am leery of this. I get fed up with the whole Soldier as victim theme as this film appears to be. Yeah, guys come back with issues...but there's never any prespective, no good for the bad...nothing other than some guy who's been damaged by the war. Frankly I don't need to see another movie like that.

    It would be really great if someone actually made a film about real people who did truly heroic things, there have been plenty of them...hell, I even know some of them if a movie guy needs suggestions.

  2. This film may be the exception, but it is unlikely.

    Films are not just a reflection of our society. They are a mode of communication that also provides direction on how the population should think about itself. Look at how the film industry has tried to define the military over the past 10 years.

    Following the invasion of Iraq, Hollywood and the indies quickly focused on making films showing our soldiers torturing and ruthlessly killing innocents, such as Redacted. Documentaries disparaging the war, and by extension its participants, flourished. Search "documentary" & "Iraq" on NetFlix sometime to bring up a third of their entire DVD stock.

    Then came The Surge.

    Since that time it has been wall-to-wall post-traumatic stress disorder (such as In the Valley of Elah (2007) & The Torturer (2008)).

    Hollywood spent the first few years of the war undermining the troops. The war turns and things get better - do they go to spending their resources portraying soldiers as heroes who have served with honor? Nope. Since 2007 we have had a continual flow of messed-up, used-up, potential psychos/drunks suffering like rape victims with crew-cuts.

    This leads to a two-pronged cinematic look at the war. A) While we were there we were barbarians. B) When we came home, our men & women were broken, pathetic shells. To film makers there are no heroes, no honor, no valor - just destruction.

    IMO, the presentation of soldiers coming home isn't about sympathy - it as agitprop.

  3. For what it's worth, these are my feelings as well. The people who own and operate the Hollywood propaganda machine are liberals who know about as much about the military as I do about nuclear physics - quite possibly less so infact. For Hollywood to portray the military as a bunch of ticking time bombs is a familiar theme that goes back at least as far as the first Rambo flick.

    Their guilt finally caught up to them when the popularity of World War II was too big to ignore (i.e. $$$ ) and so the veterans of THAT war (who saw ten million times MORE intensive combat than veterans of the current conflict EVER did) are the honored Greatest Generation, whereas we are tagged "Generation Kill" - as if we're anywhere NEAR the league that pulled off Tarawa, Iwo, Omaha, Okinawa, the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo and last but not least Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Eff a bunch of leftist peacenik filmmakers. Sure, I've got demons in my head, and I never did sh*t; there are things I see before I go to sleep at night and things I see first thing in the morning when I wake up that I wish would go away and I'm afraid they never will - and I know guys who've got it a THOUSAND TIMES WORSE than me. I know guys who came home and left bodies in their wake, but for every one of those I know for a fact there are ten thousand more who dwell on, work hard, make a success of the cards they are cut, become living examples of all that is good and decent and respectable in this world.

    And yet to the liberals out there who honk on and on about how great the Greatest Generation was; to them we are all trained killers and mercenaries, a class of professional criminals - just ask them; I know because I've heard my own family members say it (albeit not to my face).

  4. I work in a capacity in which I see PTSD victims; very few of them have seen actual combat. I had mild PTSD for a couple of years after my first tour of Iraq and thankfully my second tour of Iraq extinguished them once and for all because I knew what was going on. I don't say it as a badge of honor, but I didn't make a claim and I didn't seek therapy outside of myself. I did email LTC Grossman and read On Combat.

    The reality is that most of us will go back to work, raise our families, prepare for the next one and be just fine. In fact the vast majority of us will.

    I too am very suspicious of Soldier as Victim stories. Here is the memo, We are the Sheepdogs. Hollywood is filled with Sheep. Who are we going to let run OUR story; our own, fellow warriors who have done the deal, or the ones that we protect that most of the time couldn't walk 50 yards in the dirt that we have because of the urine and shat that fills their pants at the first thump of a mortar?

    I am for this; I watch movies, a lot of them, but in order to recommend one as a legitimate picture of OUR story, it bettered be written by a real warrior and not some poseur trying to "get into the minds of the men and women..."

    We watched fellow Vietnam warriors endure this shee-ot for decades. We dare not allow it for ourselves. And frankly we dare not bite on the apparently peaceful hand of the liberal left who is trying to "support the soldier and hate the war" or whatever poll tested bull-manure that they are peddling today to try and convince us that they care.

    WE all know that when it serves their purposes, every last one of the cowards would throw us under the bus as soon as they could figure out how to lift 220 pounds of 11B and his 60 pounds of IBAS and kit hanging off of it.

    Watch the movie, dissect it, laugh at the few bits that they got right and then hand it back to Haji and tell him to keep the camera in focus the next time he bootlegs a DVD. I did the same with Hurt Locker...

    MF8 Out...

  5. Scott, you pretty well summed it up. I think most of the folks who read here have BTDT in some form or other and we have a different perspective.

    Without invalidating the concerns about troopers coming home, it boils down to: had some hard knocks? Yeah, OK, deal with it. Ya need some medical because now your leg doesn't work so good? Fine, see the doctors. Ya need to get your head straight? OK, get with some counselling, talk to your preacher, * do whatever it takes * ... but do it.

    Unfortunately we have the victim dynamic permeating our society today. To name a thing and to continually reenforce it will make it so and give it power over any of us. When I got out of the service I started slipping over to the dark side. That's what I was trained to do while in and it just carried with me. Unfortunately I kept slipping over for a number of years before I got myself together but I never considered myself suffering from PTSD, never ever a victim. I just got screwed up for a while and then with the help of others I got back on track.

    The Hollywood actors that went into the service during WWII, folks could learn a lot from them. Google it up, I was surprised about all who served (and not in the rear, singing songs and serving donuts) Some, you wouldn't even notice it, they never bragged it up and that was the way it was not only for them but for all the soldiers. Things were different back then. The attitudes and values and mindset, heck our whole way of life. Guys went over there did their job and came home.

    Sure some were damaged but not with a capital "D". Like ol' Polack Joe, he saw some bad stuff on the islands, now he don't talk so good and he drinks a bit. But he's still running that junkyard and he still helps the young boys with their first car. Lookit James there, he froze a couple toes off at the Bulge but he's still teaching sixth grade. People didn't make such a fuss about it, everybody was supportive and it was not that big a deal.

    All kinds of ordinary folks doing the best they can.

    FWIW I wouldn't see that movie. I don't need to see problems. What I'm looking at these days is solutions.

  6. My name is Ryan Piers Williams and I am the writer/director of the film. It's really helpful to read your comments. As a filmmaker it is always good to know what people are thinking. Whereas I am not a soldier, I hope that I was able to capture authenticity in this story to honor the soldiers that are experiencing PTSD. I invite you to read my filmmaker blog to get a better picture of what we are attempting to do with this film. My hope is that through this film we can bring more awareness to PTSD and the struggles some soldiers and families face when soldiers return from deployments. My blog is:

    There are two posts missing, one from our screening on Thursday at Ft. Carson and the other from my trip to Iraq. I'll be updating the blog shortly with my experience with both. Thank you again for taking the time to think about this film.

    All the best,

  7. I am a Viet Era vet, never came within a thousand miles of combat.

    Most of my father's generation served in WWII and/or Korea. Dad was a Marine Raider and 6th Division Marine who was in combat all over the South Pacific. He and the others came home to people who cared about them and welcomed them home, glad that they had made it.

    My Dad didn't speak much about it for 20 years or so, and one uncle was never, ever again awakened by anyone touching him -- he came up fighting if you did, even 50 years later.

    OTOH, the guys who came home from Vietnam, while welcomed similarly by family and friends, were not treated the same by the general public. In my local are probably 40% or so of eligible males served during the Nam Era. Many are fine, a few are damaged. One "crazies" himself up every year or so [as he says] in order to keep his benefits.

    Expectations mean a lot, and Hollywood has at least some complicity in deciding what those expectations are. Will the vets be treated as valued and honored members of the group, or will they be treated as potentially lethal crazies? And, of course, many individuals have a tendency to accept the expectations and act accordingly.

    Hollywood has a lot to answer for, but I doubt the bill will ever come due. Unfortunately.

  8. Oh, and Dad and that whole group *were* valued members of the local community and did their share and more. I saw precisely *zero* problems from any WWII/Korea vet due to their experiences during war.

    Those that went in a little damaged tended to come out the same way. Those that went in normal came out that way.

    Expectations do matter.

  9. Redacted Redux IMHO.

    Hollywood has spent too long abusing our trust and the service of our wartime veterans for me to give them the benefit of the doubt any more.

  10. Here's a Q&A with Ryan Paul Williams for those who care to look into him a little further.

    His only previous directing credit was a short film, "Muertas", a love story set against the Juarez killings. He's had other production gigs though.

  11. I work as a service officer for a service organization and assist Vets with claims of PTSD and all other variations, against the VA. Some are SOOOOOO legit, you have to wonder, though, about others. I am never sure because I've never been in their situation, and though a Vet myself, never having been in that situation, what my reaction, and continuing reaction could/would be. This 4th of July, watching the fireworks, and feeling the concussions, watching the "fireworks" and thinking about my Vets seeing this as WAR was really sobering....gave me new prospective. You can be in a relatively "safe" rear camp, but mortars are mortars, and they sound exactly like those fireworks. Gotta be real h*(&

  12. We all come from dysfunctional we deal with it makes us successful or not.

    Same thing with experiences in a war.

    Growing up on John Wayne and Audry Murphy movies makes these current movies a bit lame.

    Most liberals who oppose Military Recruitment sites, change their tune once I point out that if quotas aren't filled from those whose calling it is to serve, their children will be part of a draft.

    Sounds like Hollywood needs a shot of adult supervision and common sense too.

  13. I come as a milbrat who managed to put himself in situations with a lot of memories he doesn't like that an analyst said were almost beyond PTSD and I never killed anybody or hurt anyone and don't wish to.

    I've a older friend that drove AC-130s around S.E. Asia who is Jewish and he's hugely religious now.

    Friend that worked with the yards in VietNam has nightmares at times, but deals with it.

    Had the pleasure of being punched in the face by a returning Desert Storm vet for no Reason and a friend's brother who was in VietNam still shuffles for trip wires when we go hunting.

    PTSD is real.

    There are ways to cope. Some do and some don't.

    Buddy in Kentucky's cousin isn't doing very well right now because he joined up as soon as he could and was in the "surge" and saw a lot of sh*t you wouldn't want to see, and as he says "The only thing I'm really good at is killing people...makes explaining my life and filling out job applications in the civilian world difficult."

    My great uncle that served in the Pacific never entirely got over it and I had a range acquaintance that was on Okinawa and it didn't leave him any lasting injury that anybody could tell.

    An uncle had a bad time as infantry in VietNam and he's fought depression and nightmares ever since. Some years he farms, some years he leases the farm because he spends his time hiding from the world.

    Don't know. All I know is the follow on effects of being in combat and life threatening situations affect everybody differently. Some get religion, some get numb, some don't seem much bothered, and some develop mental problems. It's always been that way