There was something to offend everyone this week—teenage sexual exploits, Vietnam War violence, a bombardment of bad language, Woody Allen, even a Disney movie that mocks the sick and the religious. Offending audiences doesn't, however, prevent a movie's box-office success—American Pie 2 remains tops at the box office.


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There is a conflict in every human heart between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil. The good does not always triumph. Sometimes the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.
—Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen)
Apocalypse Now Redux

The most critically acclaimed movie of the year was made 22 years ago. Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) stands on many critics' lists of all-time favorites. Some call it the most important war film ever made. Basically an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, which sets the story in the Congo rather than Vietnam, Apocalypse Now is about Americans lost in a war they do not understand. Conrad's novel gave Coppola the perfect vehicle for a cinematic odyssey into the heart of the Vietnam conflict.

Martin Sheen stars as Captain Willard, an American soldier sent upriver through Vietnam into Cambodia to find and assassinate another American, Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Kurtz has gone insane, Willard's superiors tell him; he has disappeared into the wilderness to start some kind of cult. At first, Willard cannot comprehend how this "perfect soldier" could use such "unsound methods." But the farther he travels into the hellish battlegrounds of the jungle, the more he realizes the madness, audacity, and, yes, "unsound methods" of America's participation in the struggle. As young and bewildered soldiers ...

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