The reason Flags of Our Fathers failed “was because the genre was tapped out. First, Hollywood paid tribute to the men who died at Normandy [via Saving Private Ryan]. Then it paid tribute to the men who died at Pearl Harbor [via Michael Bay‘s film]. Then it made a side trip to Iraq with Three Kings and Jarhead.
“But by the time Clint Eastwood got around to paying tribute to the men who fell on Iwo Jima, movie audiences were getting emotionally worn out by all this patriotic gore. Moreover, the young people who go to movie theatres today are [having] a hard time relating to a battle that took place 61 years ago This isn’t Flags of Our Fathers, it’s Flags of Our Grandfathers.” — the crochety Joe Queenan writing in today’s Guardian. (Except it was viewable last night, which means it’s basically a Friday, 12.8 piece, which means HE is behind the curve.)
The other reason Flags failed is because nobody gave that much of a shit about the war-bond tour scenes. Guys feeling fraudulent about making personal appearances across the country in order to raise money for the war effort didn’t strike anyone as being especially painful or arduous, even.