I saw Oliver Stone‘s Born on the Fourth of July tonight at the Aero. I was floored and close to tears when I first saw it in 1989, but now…well, it’s still very emotional and emphatic but it would have been a better film, I think, if it had been a tiny bit dryer and quieter from time to time. The angry cup runneth over…shouting, blood, saliva, spilled urine…but it cares and hits like a punch. I’m thinking particularly of the haunted look on the face of an older armless veteran during a 4th of July parade in Massapequa. I still find it a bit irritating (as I did 25 years ago) that not once does Tom Cruise‘s Ron Kovic ever mention what a huge strategic and political miscalculation the Vietnam War was, and how our belief in the domino theory led to horrific slaughter and the unleashing of the furies. All Cruise/Kovic ever says is that waging war and killing civilians carries bad karma, and that being turned into a paraplegic made him very, very angry — a lament that any World War II or Civil War or Korean War veteran could have shared. Cruise was 26 when Born was made, but during the first third he looks around 18 or 19 at most. And yet costar Willem Dafoe hasn’t aged much at all. Stone and Kovic spoke for about 25 minutes before the screening; both were greeted with standing ovations.