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What 2 veterans think about 'American Sniper' and war in the movies




A publicity image of Bradley Cooper in
A publicity image of Bradley Cooper in "American Sniper."

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Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" is breaking box office records, but it's also getting Americans to talk about how Hollywood portrays the military. We wanted to hear what people who have actually been to war think, so we sent Off-Ramp contributor Robert Garrova to his local American Legion - Post 280 in East Pasadena.

Erik Quiros served with the Unite States Army in Iraq. He says Hollywood's portrayal of the military often mirrors society's view of war. 

"In this latest rendition of Chris Kyle and American Sniper I've been hearing that he's an American hero. And people are saying things to the contrary and that kind of bothers me when I hear that." 

Quiros says he doesn't really agree with pegging "American Sniper" as a propaganda film, as some have chosen to do. "It can't be a propaganda film because it shows the negative consequences of being a veteran," he says. "I feel that any movie that essentially shows a consequence to combat and to war really does a good job." 

Mark Castanon served 13 years in the active duty army, with two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. "You gotta understand Hollywood," he says. "Hollywood's all about entertainment value, so I take what Hollywood puts out about the military with a grain of salt."

Castanon says he hasn't seen a movie that accurately portrays the experience he had in Iraq, but he agrees everyone's time there was different.  "But I think everyone will agree, when you're out there, it's not about politics, it's not about anything else. It's about your brothers and sisters to your left and your right." 

Castanon believes that many people who comment on war in movies have never served, so it would be hard for them to fully understand what he and his fellow soldiers went through. "One thing we did fight for, we fight for the Constitution, so I happily give everyone the right to say whatever they want, and I have the right to not listen," Castanon says. "That's the best thing about America right?"