Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Forty years ago today, Apocalypse Now was released. As they say, it was kind of a big deal at the time, and actually it still is. Unlike some other movies about Vietnam released soon after the war, Apocalypse Now still largely stands up, unlike, say, The Deer Hunter, which is damn near unwatchable today. I know. I tried. Even Christopher Walken can't make two hours in rural Pennsylvania exciting.
Apocalypse Now might be the first example of people in the military turning a movie meant to highlight the horrors of war into a motivational video about killing the enemy.
The Kill Team is a new dramatic feature based on the controversial 2013 documentary of the same name. Documentary director Dan Krauss developed and directed the new movie, which tells the story of an Army unit exposed for killing civilians during a deployment to Afghanistan. Eleven U.S. troops were eventually convicted or crimes related to the killings.
If you've spent much time online checking out videos or posts on veteran-themed social media pages and websites, there's a pretty good chance you're familiar with Mat Best. Over the past several years, the former Army Ranger and defense contractor has leveraged his military experiences into a wildly successful career as an online entertainer, co-creator of the veteran-made zombie flick Range 15, and the co-founder of three popular military-themed companies (Black Rifle Coffee, Leadslingers Whiskey, and Article 15 Clothing), to boot.
Now, Best is adding "author" to a list of titles that include: operator, entrepreneur, coffee aficionado, apparel designer, actor, comedian, whiskey distiller, and master of parody rap battles.
Watch how a psychological operations team helped end the war lord Joseph Kony's reign in Africa where he was kidnapping kids and forcing them to fight as child soldiers. They've been doing inception long before Leonardo DiCaprio made it cool.
When CBS announced that it picked up The Code in 2018, the network clearly thought it had the next JAG on its hands. Instead, it got a disaster of a production that was cancelled after just one season.
The military courtroom drama — developed by Craig Sweeny and Craig Turk and starring Luke Mitchell, Dana Delaney, and Anna Wood — was billed as a gritty look at "the military's brightest minds take on our country's toughest challenges – inside the courtroom and out."
But over its first season, the series failed to cultivate a dedicated audience, lagged in network ratings, and, perhaps more importantly, pissed off an online army of U.S. military veterans incensed by the series' inaccuracies.
This could have been at least partially avoided, according to several sources, if Sweeny and Turk hadn't outright rejected the Marine Corps' help at every turn.
This account is based on conversations with two Marine Corps officials and a source at CBS Entertainment with knowledge of the interactions between the The Code team and the Corps. All three spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal.
In the average American home there are 1,392 objects Chuck Norris could use to kill you, including the house itself, as well as that new flat-screen TV in the living room that you're using to watch Norris' new History Channel special: Chuck Norris's Guide to Epic Military Vehicles.