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Author Topic: HEARTBREAK RIDGE: Audience Reaction 1: Your Overall Feeling  (Read 22316 times)
Matt
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2004, 08:12:12 AM »

Gunny Highway is a great character, and I do know that was the reason Clint chose this film--he loved the Highway character too. I actually think that Major Powers is a realistic character; but excepting him, Choozoo and Highway, the way every other Marine is presented here is not plausible at all.

As I said in my first post in this thread, there are things that I like about this film and that make the film enjoyable for me. I just have to look past the way the platoon soldiers are portrayed in order to enjoy it.
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2004, 08:16:00 AM »


i think if he did draft then you would be looking at kelley's heroes - i expect he wanted it more modern


Yeah, I agree, I think Clint wanted it more modern too. Also, since the focus of Heartbreak Ridge isn't about going to war, but the relationships, going to Grenada enabled them to keep the entire war at only about 25 minutes of screen time. What I said about this film working better if it was set during a period when there was a draft was simply because that's the only situation where I could accept the attitudes that the soldiers in this platoon display.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2004, 08:18:19 AM by Matt » Logged
allycat
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2004, 09:28:55 AM »

I think the issue of the film being inaccurate in its portrayal of marines is an important one. I would like to believe that most directors strive for accuracy in their films (e.g. Sergio Leone is supposed to have consulted the history books for GBU) but of course, they can't get it right all the time. I think we can overlook a few minor inaccuracies which don't affect the story as such (e.g. in Unforgiven, Richard Harris shouldn't have been able to shoot a pheasant, given that the film is set in 1881 and the bird wasn't introduced to America until a year later - but who really cares about that?!).

But if it's something more major, I think it gets in the way of our enjoyment of the film, as I believe Matt is suggesting. For example, as vik has mentioned, on a slightly-off topic note (if I may), The Patriot is blatantly historically inaccurate. While the supposed brutality of the British forces is stressed, Mel Gibson conveniently neglects to include the negative qualities of his own character, (based on the real revolutionary war guerrila The Swamp Fox), namely his habit of supporting the attempted genocide of Native Americans by taking part in massacres, and also raping female slaves.

My point is, that when such liberties are taken with the truth, it puts you off seeing a film, or spoils your enjoyment of the film. I do really like Heartbreak Ridge but it's rather surprising to me that, if both the army and the marines withdrew their support for the film, that Clint would go ahead and make it anyway. I can't know for sure, but maybe Clint felt that this was the way he wanted to tell the story, and perhaps some of the humour in the film might have been lost had the portrayal of the marines been more realistic - who knows? (However, I know not everyone finds the recon platoon to be that funny). It would be interesting to find out just what it was about the script that made Clint want to film this particular version, and not strive for more realism.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2004, 09:29:29 AM by allycat » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2004, 12:09:04 PM »

nicely summed up allycat

of course being from another country i didn't appreciate all that matt was saying

i can understand why clint went ahead with it - he had made the picture probably by the time they withdrew support - once you have spent the money you are hardly likely to withdraw it

and i expect if they had advance screenings few people would have taken a critical point that matt has

and even now after all he said i still think its a good film
but ok not an accurate portrayal
« Last Edit: May 09, 2004, 12:18:25 PM by vik » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2004, 02:24:52 PM »

vik - I hope you checked out the link Matt gave at the beginning of today's discussion because you will find that I agreed with his point of view in that thread and so did BDC28.  So, he's not the only one.

I can not think of another military movie that depicts enlistees or draftees in this light.  All military branches are very strict disciplinarians.  Every member of this recon group would have either been in the "stockade," like Swede was so often for fighting, or courtmartialed if that kind of behavior had gone on for that long.  It's just not allowed.  So, it bothers me as well that a movie Eastwood makes (or anyone, for that matter) would show our military being this impudent and insolent and this incompetent.  The recruits or enlistees just wouldn't have the audacity to behave like that and, even if they did, it would only take about a day for them to figure out that there were serious consequences and that's usually a good behavior modification tool.

When you think about how many movies the Army, the Marines, or the Navy have supported because the movie makes them look so good and encourage new recruits to sign up, you would think they would want to attach their names to a film Eastwood would do about the military.  But, the Army refused support of the film from the very beginning.  The Marines withdrew their support at an advance screening and demanded that their approval be stricken from the credits.  

Grant it...the movie would not be the same if these recons weren't total misfits but, the fact that they are, keeps it from being all that realistic to me and THAT I do find bothersome.  I don't like to see our military presented as a "joke" because they are in no way a joke.

In spite of all of that, I still like the movie but my like for the movie has more to do with the evolving relationship between Gunny and Aggie.
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« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2004, 02:15:01 AM »

sorry - so many war movies don't depict the real events i think you are being very harsh

i understand what you are saying and still say its a good movie

try pearl harbour - ben affleck
try any war movie
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« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2004, 04:24:37 AM »

We're not talking about innaccuracites of events. I don't really care about the inaccuracies that we see about the events in Grenada. That doesn't matter to me. What I care about are inaccuracies in the way our military men are portrayed... not only a little inaccurate, but entirely inaccurate and unflattering and insulting to them. And since it appears there are people out there who don't realize how inaccurate these portrayals are, then I don't see why it's so hard to understand why it would upset those of us who have respect for those men who protect our country to see them portrayed this way.
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« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2004, 04:50:57 AM »

cool matt, mgk - as i said before point taken
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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2004, 05:57:10 AM »

Hi matt.
I dont know who said that s/he felt the way recon was portrayed seemed accurate but it must seem pretty clear to me that whoever said that doesnt have any military training or knowledge about the military, so i dont think you should take that statement too serious.
Even (before i served my country in 92) i could see with half an eye that the soldiers in heartbreak ridge isnt an actual portrayal of ANY army unit way back when i saw it the first time.
The movie never states that this is based on actual events, and it keeps a light mood throughout the entire movie, (profiles death is quickly dismissed, as the fighting scenes are filled with oneliners, not really a thing you got time for during a firefight.) I could point out a lot of strategic and military errors recon bumples through during the entire movie but eastwood didnt make the movie to give an actual portrayal of the marines. He did it to entertain us, tell us a story, and everyone is invited for the ride, be that people who dont know jack about military, or old "leathernecks" ;)  
   
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Matt
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« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2004, 09:09:36 PM »

That's fine, Dane. You and vik and everyone else who enjoys the film ... I'm not trying to change your opinion of the film, just giving mine. I wonder if the fact that those of you that seem to enjoy this aspect of the film (the portrayal of the Marines) are all non-Americans, and those of us who don't like it are American, is something that should be taken into consideration (though it's a small sample size ;) ) Maybe it just simply doesn't offend non-Americans as much because it's not your country's servicemen who are inaccurately portrayed as a bunch of disrespectful incompetents. I'm not trying to start anything here, just making an observation. Considering how our military is viewed by many people outside our country, I don't think it's that far-fetched to see why a film like this that portrays our military men in such a bad light would bother some of us Americans more than those of you abroad.

I also don't know that I would call this a "light" film. It's got a lot of comedy in it, but it also deals with a lot of serious issues. As noted by Dane, they do show one of their men killed in action, but even though they don't dwell on Profile's death for long, they put it in there to show that it's not all fun and games, it's war. And of course, they brought in some history discussing Heartbreak Ridge.

Kelly's Heroes is a true comedy, and I have no problem with that film or the soldier's portrayals at all. But Heartbreak Ridge is trying to be both a drama and a comedy at the same time, but in the end, it seems that just about all of the comedy comes from the portrayal of the "pathetic" Marines.
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« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2004, 02:46:57 PM »

I know I know, I don't get the point of the movie AT ALL. When I think it's serious, it's meant as comedy. But please Matt, can you explain me where the drama of the film is?
Quote
 Heartbreak Ridge is trying to be both a drama and a comedy at the same time, but in the end, it seems that just about all of the comedy comes from the portrayal of the "pathetic" Marines.
 Honestly, it never occurred to me that a film coming out of the entertainment industry could be understood as a documentary! If I want to know how the US marines really are, I guess I need a mix between the "all-positive" publicity image and the "all-negative" news coverage. The truth is always somewhere in the middle.
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« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2004, 02:51:48 PM »

Sure, there's drama in this film. Is it funny when Profile dies? Is it funny when Aggie's crying on Highway's shoulder when she was finally telling him of the months and years she spent worrying if he was dead or alive? Is it funny that a man who's spent his entire life working and gives everything he has to his job is suddenly lost with nothing and nowhere to go... forced into retirement?  If you think any of that is comedy, then let me know. ::) Until then... I think you'll see it's a comedy AND a drama.

I've said over and over again, but in case you're having a hard time understanding... I'm not saying that the events in this film that are inaccurately portrayed bother me. I've said in other threads it's not a documentary, so that doesn't matter to me. But when almost every serviceman is portrayed in this film inaccurately to the point of absurdity, and it's NOT a comedy, then I have a problem with it.
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« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2004, 03:13:58 PM »

Like I've said before, if a film inaccurately portrays certain things, it can spoil your enjoyment of the film. It doesn't have to be made like a documentary, no one's saying that. But you expect certain basic elements to be accurate. As I mentioned before, that's why The Patriot annoyed me.

And as for drama...Heartbreak Ridge is full of it. I find it difficult to believe anyone could find the film entirely pointless. But each to his/her own, I guess.
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« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2004, 03:24:31 PM »

That's fine, Dane. You and vik and everyone else who enjoys the film ... I'm not trying to change your opinion of the film, just giving mine. I wonder if the fact that those of you that seem to enjoy this aspect of the film (the portrayal of the Marines) are all non-Americans, and those of us who don't like it are American, is something that should be taken into consideration (though it's a small sample size ;) ) Maybe it just simply doesn't offend non-Americans as much because it's not your country's servicemen who are inaccurately portrayed as a bunch of disrespectful incompetents. I'm not trying to start anything here, just making an observation. Considering how our military is viewed by many people outside our country, I don't think it's that far-fetched to see why a film like this that portrays our military men in such a bad light would bother some of us Americans more than those of you abroad.

I think you have a point there, Matt. It would make sense that non-Americans would be less offended than Americans. I'm sure that I don't just speak for myself when I say that not everyone outside America would believe it was a true portrayal. I certainly never did. And in light of current events at home here in England, for example, regarding the behaviour of the armed forces (which I won't go into here, but I think you know what I'm talking about) - no one likes their military to get a bad press, because it reflects on the country as a whole. So I can understand how you feel.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2004, 03:25:36 PM by allycat » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2004, 04:58:42 AM »

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Not  favorite or happiest but heaviest at least:

I'll make life takers and heartbreakers out of them sir..."
   
This is a guote from D'Amb in the Favorite quote thread. And I will try to explain you my difficulty with drama vs comedy with that quote. If you interpret the quote the way I do, it shows you a very frustrated, sad view of the army (as D'Amb points out, it's heavy). If you understand it that way, it has nothing to do with comedy, and then I agree that the movie is drama pure. As I pointed out somewhere else, I found most of that language sad. But, as Matt and mgk pointed out, it is meant as comedy, and I apparently understand it all wrong (not just this sentence, but most of them can be understood and interpreted both ways). So, the irony in this is, that I was the one seeing drama and sadness in the film, and I was explained that it is comedy. I agree that the death of  Profile isn't funny. But I don't think it's sad either. Did you feel sad because of his death? I didn't, and I assure you I'm the first one to cry at anything very, truly sad. But I don't think the audience feels any real sympathy to Profile, so the audience doesn't grief his death either.
  I also agree that the moments with Aggie aren't funny. They are sincere, honest. ImBD seems to view them as drama, since the film is also listed as drama there. But I really have trouble to accept that the true drama in my perception (the "becoming a life taker") is supposed to be funny, whereas a simple, honest, true discussion between two ex-married is drama. If I am supposed to understand the major party of the film as comedy, then I'm simply not able to give Highway enough character depth to really feel for him, hence my lack of sadness at the "drama-moments". This also partly explains why I have so much trouble understanding why Aggie would want such a man back. Sorry not to fit in with the rest of you, but maybe you can at least try to accept why I  see this movie from a different angle...
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« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2004, 06:21:48 AM »

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But Heartbreak Ridge is trying to be both a drama and a comedy at the same time, but in the end, it seems that just about all of the comedy comes from the portrayal of the "pathetic" Marines.

I can agree with that, but i still dont see why anyone should think that this was an accurate description (i´ll assume that whoever said it was an accurate description of the events has no military training or knowledge whatsoever)

Speaking for myself, i can say that the fact that it is the u.s. marines who looks like fools doesnt matter from my point of view, because to me it seems pretty obvious that this movie is all about entertainment, so why should i ever take this movie seriously from a military point of view?
(There is at least two danish movies i can think of now that follows the exact same lines as heartbreak ridge. But maybe it´s just me having a better time swalloving them because the acting and plot is APPALING)

I am certainly not trying to change your mind Matt, different opinions about movies is one of the things that drives this discussion board (it´d be pretty dull sitting around patting each others (and clints) back ;))

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I don't think it's that far-fetched to see why a film like this that portrays our military men in such a bad light would bother some of us Americans more than those of you abroad.
You make it sound like we dont like the marines, Matt  ;)
I find it hard to believe that us "foreigners" ;D take our political view into consideration when we watch eastwood. (anyone who does really needs to lighten up)
That would mean he had to feel with the poor criminals and think of the tragic way that led them down the way of dirtbaggery when harry blows them away...
Instead we hoot, laugh, or sit in awe over the coolness of harry  ;)
Should we sit and be angry about the portrayal of stupid germans (and these should be the elite, since they guard the eagles nest??) who dont seem able to tie their own shoelashes when clint blows them away in Where eagles dare?
i think not  ;D
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Matt
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« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2004, 06:39:37 AM »

This is a guote from D'Amb in the Favorite quote thread. And I will try to explain you my difficulty with drama vs comedy with that quote. If you interpret the quote the way I do, it shows you a very frustrated, sad view of the army (as D'Amb points out, it's heavy). If you understand it that way, it has nothing to do with comedy, and then I agree that the movie is drama pure. As I pointed out somewhere else, I found most of that language sad. But, as Matt and mgk pointed out, it is meant as comedy, and I apparently understand it all wrong (not just this sentence, but most of them can be understood and interpreted both ways). So, the irony in this is, that I was the one seeing drama and sadness in the film, and I was explained that it is comedy. I agree that the death of  Profile isn't funny. But I don't think it's sad either. Did you feel sad because of his death? I didn't, and I assure you I'm the first one to cry at anything very, truly sad. But I don't think the audience feels any real sympathy to Profile, so the audience doesn't grief his death either.
  I also agree that the moments with Aggie aren't funny. They are sincere, honest. ImBD seems to view them as drama, since the film is also listed as drama there. But I really have trouble to accept that the true drama in my perception (the "becoming a life taker") is supposed to be funny, whereas a simple, honest, true discussion between two ex-married is drama. If I am supposed to understand the major party of the film as comedy, then I'm simply not able to give Highway enough character depth to really feel for him, hence my lack of sadness at the "drama-moments". This also partly explains why I have so much trouble understanding why Aggie would want such a man back. Sorry not to fit in with the rest of you, but maybe you can at least try to accept why I  see this movie from a different angle...


bcm, I really don't understand how this can be so confusing for you. The film is both a comedy AND a drama (even as you looked this up on the IMDb to check that, you saw they listed it in both genres, so what exactly are you arguing here?)  mgk never said the movie was a comedy, she said you were MISSING THE COMEDY in those quotes... in those scenes... that you had taken at face value and thought were serious. Are you misinterpreting her now, too?  In every situation that you had mentioned as serious in your posts to prove whatever viewpoints you had, you were missing the comedy in the scenes and thus your view of the character Gunny Highway was wildly distorted. I can't believe that you thought Gunny was serious when he said to Aggie here:

Quote
Aggie: What do they say about ex-wives?
Gunny: Not too much. Just that sex is great because you don't have to establish a relationship or be meaningful.

And that you actually used that quote to try to prove that Gunny is a cold, hard character who wasn't ready for a relationship with Aggie.  But, you're also now having difficulty seeing the drama in the film in the Profile scene and others because they didn't make you want to cry? You can't differentiate at all between what's comedy and what's drama?  I'm honestly baffled as to how you're interpreting this film if you're not finding the comedy, and now you're not finding the drama. So what is it to you?

When we do a film discussion, we know there will be other opinions and viewpoints from our members, that's fine. You're free to dislike Gunny's character and think all the ill that you do of him. But when the reasons for your disliking him are because you misinterpret him throughout the entire movie, then we're going to try to explain the film and character to you. But when it's this hard for you to differentiate the moments in the film where someone is joking with serious moments, then I don't know that you'll ever come away with a true understanding of the film or the characters unless every line in the script was dissected and explained to you. And no, I can not accept your viewpoints of this movie because almost everything you've posted in this film discussion has been a total misinterpretation of the film, and I think it's because you can't differentiate between the comedy and the drama.

mgk, Allycat and I have tried to explain the film and these characters, but aside from admitting you were wrong about Gunny having PTSD (thank God you listened to that) you've simply argued your points over and over and over again rather than listening to what's been explained, and you're getting angry and defensive.  At this point, I'd suggest you watch the film again with everything that's been said in these discussion threads to try to understand the film instead of just trying to find more proof, in whatever form you can find it, to substantiate your claims.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2004, 09:59:51 AM by Matt » Logged
Matt
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« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2004, 06:54:21 AM »

I find it hard to believe that us "foreigners"  take our political view into consideration when we watch eastwood. (anyone who does really needs to lighten up)

I'm not saying that "foreigners" take their political viewpoints into consideration watching this movie, but are you going to tell me that our military is as loved outside of this country as it is here? I felt it's worth mentioning that the difference in how we feel about those Marine portrayals is probably due to the fact that the Americans posting here see this as an insult to our military, and meanwhile, every European posting in this thread is having a hard time understanding why we feel that way. It has to do with the men who protect our country being portrayed as a bunch of idiots, and this is especially bothersome when our military is regarded so poorly outside of the States. I know that most will not see this as an accurate portrayal, but how many know just HOW inaccurate it is? How much of that stereotype seeps through the cracks? I'd like to ask how many people here knew before we started discussing this film that a Marine recon platoon is the most elite branch of the entire military and that in order to become a recon Marine you not only had to have exceptional skills, but your scores on varied academic testing had to be in the very highest levels? Maybe not everyone's opinion, or even many people's opinions of the Marines is affected by this film, but in a less conscious way, I think it does help form or enforce opinions in some people, and that does bother me. I know it doesn't bother every American watching this movie, but it bothers me and a few others who have posted in these discussions.


Should we sit and be angry about the portrayal of stupid germans (and these should be the elite, since they guard the eagles nest??) who dont seem able to tie their own shoelashes when clint blows them away in Where eagles dare?
i think not  ;D


Maybe so. Maybe the way I feel about the portrayal of the Marines in this film is similar to what a member said in a different thread in the Off Topic forum about a different film:

I admit I enjoy watching this film, but in the other hand, as a latin american citizen, sometimes I feel tired to see some simple perception from film makers.
I mean, the idea is simple: american soldiers are the good guys, good looking and have the better girls! ;) , In the other hand you have bad russian, worst south americans (always in drugs, rude, and bad looking), terribles japaneses, dirty chineses...you name it....and all with bad aim ...LOL. ...but hurts.....

The point is, sometimes this kind of films have negative connotations from other races than north americans

And this film gives a negative connotation about Americans in general and Marines specifically.

The funny thing about this thread is that I said I actually liked the film, but didn't like this aspect of the film. I've not tried to change anyone's viewpoint here, but was asked to give a more in-depth reason for what I didn't like, and I've provided that.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2004, 07:24:06 AM by Matt » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2004, 07:54:33 AM »

I felt it's worth mentioning that the difference in how we feel about those Marine portrayals is probably due to the fact that the Americans posting here see this as an insult to our military, and meanwhile, every European posting in this thread is having a hard time understanding why we feel that way.

Hey, not every European ;) Like I said before though, you make a valid point.

Quote
I'd like to ask how many people here knew before we started discussing this film that a Marine recon platoon is the most elite branch of the entire military and that in order to become a recon Marine you not only had to have exceptional skills, but your scores on varied academic testing had to be in the very highest levels?

Another valid point. I didn't know this myself. I doubt few of us outside America (except perhaps those who have served in the military themselves) would know this.

Quote
Maybe the way I feel about the portrayal of the Marines in this film is similar to what a member said in a different thread in the Off Topic forum about a different film. And this film gives a negative connotation about Americans in general and Marines specifically.

Yeah, I agree with [email protected] here. Cultural stereotyping gets to us all, I think. I'd be lying if I said it didn't get to me that English actors often play bad guys in films  ::) Not just that, but the fact that certain films such as those starring Hugh Grant  >:( give a very 'quaint', tea-and-crumpets view of my country which just isn't true  ??? So I think many of us outside America know why this misrepresentation of the Marines in Heartbreak Ridge would be upsetting for some Americans, because we can relate to it in other, similar ways.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2004, 07:56:03 AM by allycat » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2004, 09:52:59 AM »

This is a guote from D'Amb in the Favorite quote thread. And I will try to explain you my difficulty with drama vs comedy with that quote. If you interpret the quote the way I do, it shows you a very frustrated, sad view of the army (as D'Amb points out, it's heavy). If you understand it that way, it has nothing to do with comedy, and then I agree that the movie is drama pure.

How can you conclude that "if you understand it that way........" then the movie has nothing to do with comedy and is therefore "drama pure"?  How in the world did you decide that?  As we have stated before, this movie is a drama with a lot of comedy thrown in to "lighten it up."  I don't think you will ever be able to understand this movie if you can't determine when it's supposed to be serious and when it's supposed to be funny.  If you can't accept it as both then we can argue this until hell freezes over and never get anywhere.  Maybe this is just one of Eastwood's movies that you are never going to fully understand and, most likely, never going to like.

I agree that the death of  Profile isn't funny. But I don't think it's sad either. Did you feel sad because of his death? I didn't, and I assure you I'm the first one to cry at anything very, truly sad. But I don't think the audience feels any real sympathy to Profile, so the audience doesn't grief his death either.

Yes, I felt sad when Profile was killed and I felt really sad when the faces of his fellow marines were shown as they looked at Profile's lifeless body and couldn't believe he was actually dead.  And, I found it profoundly sad when Gunny said, "It's not up to me."  Of course it wasn't up to him.  He had spent all of this time trying to get them ready for any battle they may eventually face to keep them from being put in a body bag and shipped home.  You said in that quote above, "But I don't think the audience feels any real sympathy to Profile, so the audience doesn't grief his death either."  Which audience are you talking about?  You can't lump everyone into the same "audience."  You obviously didn't feel any "real sympathy to Profile" but I did.  

But I really have trouble to accept that the true drama in my perception (the "becoming a life taker") is supposed to be funny, whereas a simple, honest, true discussion between two ex-married is drama.

The quote that D'Amb used is NOT supposed to be funny.  Nothing is funny about becoming "life takers and heartbreakers."  To me, that quote just emphasizes how difficult it is to become a soldier who is prepared to actually go into war.  You seem to be hung up on making this movie EITHER a drama or a comedy but you are not accepting that it is BOTH.  A movie doesn't have to be one or the other.  Look at Honkytonk Man.  This is a movie about a man who suffers from tuberculosis and is dying.  He only has a few weeks to live.  That's about as "drama pure" as you can get........you would think.  And, when he dies at the end?  Can anything be sadder?  However, that movie is filled with comedic scenes.  What about when Red takes a bath outside in that field and is attacked by the bull and has to run up that tower dressed only in his underwear?  What about the scene where he and Whit end up stealing chickens?  Those were hysterically funny yet this movie is basically about a man dying a slow death.
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