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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Military Intelligence and You! (review)

Oh no they didn’t. Oh yes they did. This wickedly funny satire takes no prisoners as it mixes World War II-era footage with new material to create a “training film” explaining to dunce-headed grunts why “intelligence” is so, you know, like, important and stuff. Meet Major Nick Reed (Patrick Muldoon: Stigmata) who wishes he could manufacture the evidence he needs to invade Germany on a flimsy pretext. Meet Lieutenant Monica Tasty (Elizabeth Bennett), who wonders why all those crazy foreigners hate American innovations like popcorn and notes that at least the Nazis pay lip service to the Geneva Convention. Costarring Ronald Reagan and William Holden! In glorious black-and-white and, well, let’s call it widescreen Snark-o-Vision, writer-director Dale Kutzera offers a hilarious yet bitter takedown of American hypocrisy, arrogance, and perceived exceptionalism within the context of the battle for civilization that was WWII, and makes it look absurd even there, never mind any modern relevance one might happen to see in it today. Part of the, er, “Give Them Liberty… Educational Series,” this is a spoof with a purpose, not merely to teach us how to “distinguish dangerous enemies from merely annoying foreigners” but to remind us that there’s nothing more uniquely American than knowing that we’re always in the right, even when we aren’t. Also included on the disc is a documentary on the U.S. Air Force’s First Motion Picture Unit — no, honestly, that was a real unit.


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watch at home


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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