Tuned In

Generation Kill: Are You Ready to Iraq?

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That screening I mentioned having attended last week, by the way? Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. It was a non-critics’ screening, so I’m going to behave and not “review” it here. (One thing: Neal Patrick Harris + unicorn!) But I will venture a prediction. Whether you love its brand of pot humor or hate it, it will have the rare distinction of being a movie about the war on terror and the post-9/11 era that people will actually pay to see.

This weekend was the debut of yet another earnest attempt to Get the Young People to Watch a Movie About Iraq—MTV Films’ Stop-Loss—and, well, mission not accomplished: it pulled in an anemic $4.5 million over the weekend, estimates boxofficemojo.com.

Does this bode poorly for HBO and David Simon’s Generation Kill, this summer’s miniseries about the early days of the war? HBO has been running a trailer for it (you can see the official version at HBO’s site, but I can’t imagine anyone minds someone embedding their advertising for free):

My gut tells me that the miniseries will do better, in pay-cable terms, than the movies did, because of a distinction thaat’s emerged between TV-watching and movie-going habits. Just as HBO and Showtime have gradually taken the place of the middle-budget, actor-driven film that used to be made for the big screen, so do they seem to have better luck than the movies with issue-driven, even dark movies about history, politics and current events.

I know I’m preaching to David Simon’s choir here, but are you eager to see Generation Kill? More important: do you want to see it more than Harold and Kumar?

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