Cease Fire (1985, directed by David Nutter)

Tim Murphy (Don Johnson, with a huge mustache) is a Vietnam vet who is still haunted by his actions during the war. As a result, he can’t hold down a job, he’s abusive to his wife, and he’s woken up in the middle of the night by constant nightmares.  One day, at the unemployment office, he meets another vet named Luke (Robert F. Lyons) and the two of them bond over their shared experiences.  While Tim tries to come to terms with what happened during the war, his wife Paula (Lisa Blount) tries to keep the household together.

Barely released in 1985, Cease Fire is a largely but unfairly forgotten Vietnam film.  According the film’s imdb page, Don Johnson once told an interviewer that he couldn’t even remember starring in a film called Cease Fire.  That piece of trivia sounded too good to be true and, after doing a google search, I have not been able to come across any interviews where Johnson says that.  In fact, in an interview with the AV Club, Johnson says that he filmed Cease Fire in Miami shortly after doing his first audition for Miami Vice.  According to Johnson this was in the early stages of Miami Vice‘s development, before Michael Mann was even attached to the project.  Since Miami Vice premiered (with Mann producing and Johnson starring) in 1984, that probably means that Cease Fire was filmed in either 1982 or 1983.  Considering that it was a low-budget and talky film about a very unpopular war, it is not surprising to discover that it sat on the shelf for a few years before finally being released in order to capitalize on the sudden stardom of its main actor.

Even though both take place in Miami and feature Don Johnson as a Vietnam vet, Miami Vice and Cease Fire are as different as night and day.  Cease Fire is a low-key and muted character study of a traumatized man who is struggling to face what happened in the past.  There’s not much action but there is a lot of talking.  Some of the dialogue is clumsy and obvious but both Don Johnson and Robert F. Lyons give good performance as the traumatized vets and Cease Fire is honest enough to admit that, even if he does take a few steps in the right direction, Tim still has a long road ahead of him.  Cease Fire, which never got a DVD release but which is available on Amazon Prime, is a sincere look at the reality of PTSD and the struggle that many vets face when they first return home.  It’s not a perfect movie but it’s saved by its own good intentions and Johnson’s sincere performance in the main role.

Cease Fire was also the first film to be directed by David Nutter.  Nutter is today probably best known for directing several episodes of Games of Thrones, a show that has even less in common with Cease Fire than Miami Vice.

Song of the Day: Theme From Frantic by Ennio Morricone

Today’s song of the day comes from the 1988 film, Frantic.  This composition, like all of the other songs of the day that we’ve featured over the past two weeks, was composed by the great Ennio Morricone.

Here is the Theme From Frantic.

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)

Happy Moon Day From The Shattered Lens

Today is the 51st anniversary of Neil Armstrong taking the first steps of any human being on the Moon.  Between 1969 and 1972, 11 more men would walk across the Moon.  As of today, only four of them — Charles Duke, Buzz Aldrin, David Scott, and Harrison Schmitt — are still alive.  The final manned mission to the Moon was in 1972.  No one has stepped foot upon it since.

No one has been to the Moon in my lifetime and it’s sad to think that someday, there won’t be anyone left who has experienced walking on the lunar surface.  We spent years trying to get to the Moon and now, we just take it for granted.  We don’t appreciate the enormous risks that men like Armstrong, Aldrin, and Michael Collins took during the first moon landing.  Today, would we even be able to pull off something like a moon landing or would we be too busy arguing with each other to care about anything beyond our own petty disagreements?

As a photographer, the Moon is one of my favorite subjects.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy to take a good picture of the Moon.  Every time that we’ve had a Super Moon or a Blood Moon, I’ve stood outside in our back yard with my camera and I’ve taken a lot of blurry pictures.  In most of them, the Moon just looks like any other distant star in the night sky.

However, sometimes, I get lucky.  Of all the pictures that I’ve ever taken of the moon, these four are my favorites:

Happy Moon Day from Through the Shattered Lens!  My hope is that you’ll use his day to not only celebrate the first walk across the Moon but also the ambition and the imagination that made it all possible in the first place.