Air America (1990)

Synopsis:  If Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Airplane! had a baby and it was based on true events.

It’s a little weird to me that I watched this movie over 20 years ago and didn’t understand 50-60% of what was going on and why.  I ended up coming back to thanks to Victor Marchetti.  I remember getting this movie all the way back then because the preview looked like good fun.  Mel Gibson was only 34 and Robert Downey Jr. was only 25 and eighteen years away from Tropic Thunder.  I remember thinking it was great for the first 15-20 minutes and then I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

Aside from the disingenuous soundtrack, it was a fun and confusing movie two decades and a whole lot of context later.  We expected Vietnam to suck but then got sucker-punched with something out of Laos.  Sounds like something that has happened before only for some of us, we get an uncomfortable movie with some uncomfortable facts and get to do it in our living rooms.  I think it was dirty pool to use USAID like that, Corinne would’ve been CIA in the real world.

How the hell did this movie get made?  And why in 1990?  We were balls-deep in anticommunist detente bullshit back then, why do a secret CIA war in Laos movie?

I explained to my best friend what I was watching and why.  They asked me, “Did that really happen?”

Yes, yes it did.