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The Film List Project #2: MASH

Did you know MASH was a movie before it was a TV show? I didn't. Maybe that's a well-known fact. Maybe I'm very out of the loop. Anyway, I watched MASH this week.

I'm just discovering Robert Altman, the director of the film. He made a movie in 1975 called Nashville, which I sort of felt obligated to watch since that's my hometown. I loved the film, especially because it had so many interesting characters mashed together.

MASH charmed me for the same reason. I've never been one for war films (this is set during the Korean War), but I was fascinated by the band of arrogant, witty surgeons in the film. It really didn't feel like a war film, to be honest. It felt like the Korean War was just where they happened to be.

That feeling makes sense when you realize that these men and women are just trying to feel that way themselves. I don't have any personal experience with war, but I have read a few books about the subject, fiction and nonfiction, and the general consensus is that it's awful for anyone involved, so I don't blame the characters for their willingness to do anything they deem necessary to keep their minds off where they are.

These people have to care for those injured during the fighting, so they have to do a lot to keep themselves occupied. Practical jokes and football seen to do the trick.

I got to thinking about why a great portion of our entertainment is centered around both war and medicine. We're not all doctors or soldiers or nurses, but both of these subjects are things that everyone develops a basic knowledge of over time. Everyone gets sick. Everyone watches the news.

These are also subjects that everyone wants to know more about. I'm always curious about what goes on in an operating room, and I've never felt that I have an adequate knowledge of war or current events. Movies like these make us feel like we know more, and while we need to remember that they're entertainment first and about issues second (meaning things are going to be fabricated for the sake of entertainment), we learn from these films. I now know what a fistula is.

I think I'm going to watch something lighter next week. Thanks for reading!

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