I went into the latest of the challenge with a film I had never heard of but with the utmost respect for James Cromwell I knew I wouldn’t be let down.
Writer: Marc Conklin (Screenplay) Jeff Traxler, Marc Conklin (Story)
Starring: Jonathan Bennett, James Cromwell, John Cromwell, Jackson Bond, Mary Kay Fortier-Spalding, Emily Fradenburgh, Charles Hubbell
Plot: Memorial Day, 1993. When 13-year-old Kyle Vogel discovers the World War II footlocker belonging to his grandfather, Bud, everyone tells Kyle to put it back. Luckily, he ignores them. Although Bud has never talked about the war, he finds himself striking a deal with his grandson: Kyle can pick any three souvenirs, and Bud will tell him the stories behind each one. Memorial Day not only takes us on a journey into Bud’s complicated wartime past, but also into Kyle’s wartime future. As the two men share parallel experiences in combat, they come to realize how that magical day on the porch shaped both of their lives.
Verdict: Brilliant Experience
Story: Memorial Day starts by following SSGT Kyle Vogel (Bennett) running a military mission where he gets injured by a bomb fragment, which he can add to his collection. While recovering in the hospital we Kyle start telling a story about his childhood, the story goes back to his grandfather Bud (James Cromwell) who was a military man himself.
In this trip to his grandparents Kyle (Bond) finds a military trunk and challenges Bud to recount his stories of World War II on Memorial Day. The two strike up a deal that Kyle can ask about three items from the trunk and Bud will tell the story behind them.
Memorial Day brings back memories of my late grandfather who never wanted to discuss his time in the war, we get to see how difficult it was for Bud to remember the war, the things he did, the people he lost and the memories that have scared him for life. The connection between the story tellers is unquestionable brilliant and the moments not overplayed feeling like they could have be real memories any war veteran has. This is a little gem of a film where we could all see our elders telling the stories involved. (8/10)
Jonathan Bennett: SSGT. Kyle Vogel is the soldier telling the story of the story he was told, he is involved in the current time war but he is only there because of the stories of his own grandfather. Jonathan does a good job in this role. (7/10)
James Cromwell: Bud Vogel is the grandfather telling the story to his grandson, he doesn’t talk about the war in normal everyday life but because Kyle challenged him he accepts the challenges to discuss a time he long wants to forget. James shines in this role as you feel you could listen to him tell stories forever. (9/10)
John Cromwell: Lieutenant Bud Vogel is the young version of Bid who is involved in World War II, he shows the same courage and calm that Kyle has learnt in the conflict that was a different time. John does a good job showing the emotion James creates. (8/10)
Support Cast: Memorial Day has supporting cast that includes the military men as well as the rest of the family who witness the story telling from behind a window.
Director Review: Samuel Fischer – Samuel gives us a great story about staying connected about the hardest times in life. (7/10)
Action: Memorial Day has limited war action sequences. (6/10)
History: Memorial Day shows what it would have been through the war time period. (7/10)
War: Memorial Day creates the two different time periods of war showing how conflict has changed between the generations. (8/10)
Settings: Memorial Day each setting used feels authentic to the moment of the story. (8/10)
Suggestion: Memorial Day is one to check out, I feel most people will enjoy it. (Check it Out)
Best Part: Third story from Bud.
Worst Part: I feel certain people will be disappointed with lack of war moments.
Believability: This could easily be a real connection between grandfather and grandson. (9/10)
Chances of Tears: You could have a few at the end. (5/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: $4.2 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
Tagline: Two generations. Two wars. One story.
Overall: A special little gem of a film.