Runtime: 103 Mins
What To Expect: Anecdotes of Milius pulling guns on leftwing studio execs, insight from colossal lineup including Arnie and Eastwood
If there’s only one recent documentary you check out then makes sure it’s this one about John Milius, the ‘right wing gun nut’ who directed and wrote Conan and Red Dawn and wrote Dirty Harry (and it’s superior sequel) as well as Apocalypse Now, among others. When the documentary opens, Sam Elliot sternly and seriously tells the interview that… “he (Milius) doesn’t write for pussies and he doesn’t write for women. He writes for men, because he’s a man.” See, that’s true, and Milius is our kind of guy. He was a rebel who did his own thing. He deserves some recognition and now, he’s got a documentary on his life.
The backbone of this feature it to illustrate Milius’ rise as a prodigy in the business only to face being blacklisted in the late 1980’s due to being a non-conformist. This is told through a long series of anecdotes from people he has worked with over the years, detailing his rebellious nature. These are worth ‘price of admission’ alone. Among them are Stallone, from the set of Bullet to the Head, Clint Eastwood talking Dirty Harry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Sheen and even Powers Boothe speaking fondly of Milius from some bar. It’s a Manly Movie tour de force tribute, a lot of these guys are rarely seen in interviews like this nowadays.
The sad part of this show is the downfall. Here Red Dawn is given precedence. It is described as the ton of bricks that broke the camels back. Old news clips are shown lamenting how Milius and Red Dawn went too far, how a time of a potential Cold War thaw needed less jingoism and less John Milius. The blacklisting is then detailed and we hear, sadly, about how projects like ‘Texas Rangers’ – a big movie Milius has planned for Clint Eastwood, were basically ruined because they had shitcanned Milius’ career. The upside though? John Milius refused to conform, even when he went broke. He never sold out.
John Milius suffered a stroke in the late 00’s and the epilogue of this documentary shows Milius kicking its ass, coming back to regain his speech and confirming that King Conan: Crown of Iron is going ahead with Milius and Arnie on board. What more could you want?