Full Metal Jacket Diary (Unabridged)
by Matthew Modine
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In 1985, Stanley Kubrick encouraged Matthew Modine to keep a journal and take photographs while playing the lead role of Pvt. Joker - a combat correspondent - on the set of his Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket. In 2005, Modine published a limited edition book of his diary and photos which later became an interactive experience for the iPad. Now, with the Full Metal Jacket Diary audiobook, fans can listen to Modine as he performs his diary with sound effects and original music. This deeply immersive, first-hand account reveals what it was like to work with Stanley Kubrick, one of cinema's most enigmatic filmmakers.
Mathew Modine's Full Metal Jacket Audio Diary
If you like Kubrick you'll like this. If you like Full Metal Jacket, you'll love this. Emotional and tense. Insightful into process of actor and director alike. The push and pull of creative collaboration in sharp relief. Well read and entertaining. Good stuff. However, there is bias, Kubrick being one of my very favorite artists and FMJ one of my favorite films.
The story was fascinating. I listened to it in one afternoon
“Full Metal Jacket” was released in 1987, one year after “Platoon” opening the gates for the America to start examining how the Viet Nam War had changed us. I remember seeing it at the theater and feeling overwhelmed by the violence and emotion. I do not think the name of the actors or director really crossed my radar. It was just a movie that was being talked about and recommended, so I saw it.
There are so many memorable moments and lines in the film. After listening to “Full Metal Jacket Diaries” I understand how this movie was elevated to the iconic status it now holds. Matthew Modine was a young actor with less than ten films to his name when Stanley Kubrick, one of the greats of American film, hired him to be the main character in his new movie. He encouraged Modine to keep a diary of the filming. It wasn’t until 2005 that the diary and the photographs Modine had taken were published. In 2014 Beacon Audiobooks released the Diaries narrated by Modine himself and running approximately 3 hours and 41 minutes long.
Modine has a nice voice. It is pleasant to listen to. He changes his tone or accent when he is relaying what another person said and it is believable. His narration is smooth and full of color. The production values were very good. The narration comes across very clear. The only part of the production I did not care for was when a date is given. There is a sound like a tape recorder being turned on, Modine’s voice states the date, again sounding like it is on a tape recorder and the sound of the tape recorder being turned off. I just found that gimmick distracting. I also did not care for the sound of someone vomiting in the background of a scene that involved vomiting. Ok, got it. People were vomiting. Do not need to hear it. Thank you. Those are the only things I did not like about the audio book and it is a very minor and personal preference issue.
The story contained in the diaries is the behind the scenes view of the making of a truly great movie. It shows the challenge of living for long periods in a different country, of trying to have a family life while filming at least six days a week, and of the actors carrying their parts into their working relationships.
For anyone who has seen a film Kubrick directed, according to IMDB there were only sixteen of them, it is a glimpse of a genius at work. It is also a cautionary tale about working with geniuses. Working for kubrick was an exercise in patience and a season in purgatory. Modine illustrates in numerous examples how Kubrick was a perfectionist but yet could not articulate what was wrong with a scene, just it had to be done again. And again. And yet again.
Modine also shows how insensitive Kubrick was to anything outside the film. One example is during the filming, in 1985 in England, Modine’s wife needed to have an emergency c-section because the baby was in distress and both mother and baby’s lives were in danger. Modine’s wife was only 7 months pregnant. In 1985 7 months gestation was considered borderline viable. Modine arrives early on the set to tell Kubrick he needs to go to the hospital. When Kubrick finally arrives, he argues with Modine that he will be in doctor’s way and his wife doesn’t need him. Although Modine is not scheduled to shoot at all the morning, Kubrick continues to tell him he cannot leave the set until Modine finally says he is leaving and does. When Modine returns later that afternoon and tells Kubrick he has a son who has been named Bowman, Kubrick challenges him, telling him basically it is a dumb name, to name him something normal like John.
I enjoyed Full Metal Jacket Diaries. The story was fascinating. I listened to it in one afternoon because I was so caught up in it. Modine has a great voice. I hope he decides to do more audio books.
Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.
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