I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Jack Marino on Facebook about 18 months ago, soon after he’d appeared as the guest of Nick Polyzos and Kender MacGowen on Young Gun Conservative talk radio. A true patriot and gentleman, one of Jack’s passions is the United States Military, the defenders of the freedoms we hold dear. In particular, he felt a debt of gratitude and obligation to ones who’d served in Vietnam, those “forgotten heroes” who were largely spat upon and repugnantly derided in American society as “baby killers” (quite ironically, I might add, by many Baby Boomers who don’t have the slightest qualms about abortion, nor a clue as to what actually transpired in Vietnam).
Jack set out to create a film in the tradition of John Wayne’s The Green Berets, which attempted to counteract the discontent and hostility at home over the USA’s involvement in the Vietnam War with an unapologetically anti-communist, pro-American message, reflective of Wayne’s support for our troops and our efforts in southeast Asia. Alas, with the subsequent hippie-flower-power takeover of the centers of influence in Hollywood, pro-American, pro-US Military films quickly became the stuff of nostalgia as the box offices began furiously churning out one lefty, anti-war film after another.
From Coming Home to Born on the Fourth of July to Full Metal Jacket and Platoon, Hollywood continually sent a clear message to American movie-goers: if you’re looking for uplifting stories about military heroism and praise for your country’s willingness to send their strongest and bravest to the most hostile places in the world to protect and defend freedom, find something else to do on your weekend. Unlike popcorn, patriotism at the theater was in short supply.
Enter Jack Marino, who’d seen and heard enough. Raised with a strong belief in God, country and family, Marino invested countless hours and hard-earned treasure into producing a film that not only celebrates our men and women in uniform, but also the diversity of a country populated by people of various races, ethnicities and colors — all bound by a common love of freedom.
In a review of the film for Smart Girl Nation last year, I wrote:
The result is an engaging drama that follows the mission of an eclectic squadron of Marines as they attempt to rescue a Russian General who has defected to the United States. Representing the ethnic and racial diversity of America, this group of heroes includes a blond-haired surfer boy from Venice Beach, a young Latino from Los Angeles, a wise-cracking Italian-American from Brooklyn, and a stocky cowboy from Oklahoma. In keeping with the film’s tagline, “it was a time that turned boys into men and men into heroes,” when we first meet our core characters, they appear to behave more like frat boys than American soldiers, playing drinking games and fantasizing about girls on the beach.
Recently, Michael Moriarity raved about Forgotten Heroes for the excellent website, Big Hollywood:
Yes, Jack Marino’s version of a Platoon is the entire American Rainbow Family.
It is a guerilla tribute to the greatness of American guerillas.
You won’t forget it, I assure you … and, after the most disturbing moment begins to sift through your consciousness, you will begin to see the film as a measure of not only American courage but her divine irresistibility.
You won’t regret having taken the time.
Forgotten Heroes is actually unforgettable.
To purchase a DVD copy of Marino’s wonderful film, please visit the Forgotten Heroes website. And tune in to WAFS this Thursday, June 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern. Jack and I will take your calls at (561) 228-4020, and welcome you to join the live chat.