Welcome to the first part of my PB & J Double Feature! This review will contain spoilers and here is the link to the double feature’s introduction:
1. What is the purpose of Girl Scout fun patches? What is the significance of the PB & J patch that you talked about in the introduction?
Girl Scout Fun Patches are created to commemorate experiences where scouts either spend quality time with their troop or learn a new lesson/skill. They can also be earned by completing an activity or reaching a goal. One example is a Lock-In patch, given to a troop or a collection of troops after they spend the night at a local attraction, such as a zoo. The PB & J patch from my introduction is meant to recognize scout members who participate in the creation of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Some soup kitchens, food banks, or homeless shelters will serve these sandwiches to their patrons, with volunteers pitching in to help make the sandwiches and serve them. This experience can teach scouts about playing a vital role in their community and assisting those in need.
2. How did you come across The Last Full Measure?
I learned about The Last Full Measure when I stumbled across several production/behind-the-scenes photos for the movie on Pinterest. I’ve enjoyed watching Sebastian Stan’s portrayal of Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I was excited to hear he had been given a lead role in this picture. When I read the movie’s synopsis, it sounded like a story that was full of intrigue. I had heard this movie was supposed to be released in October of 2019. For reasons that are unknown to me, the film was pushed back to January of 2020. I was honestly surprised how little attention this project received. It got a small amount of marketing and was in theaters for about less than a month. I’ve also noticed how few movie bloggers have reviewed the film.
3. You elaborated in the introduction how a PB & J sandwich represents a collection of ideas. Can any of these ideas be found in The Last Full Measure?
Absolutely! When reflecting on the story of William H. Pitsenbarger, there are several ideas that come to mind. One of them is how one person can affect the lives of others. Throughout the film, the stories from veterans who fought alongside William are told to Scott Huffman, an employee from the Pentagon tasked with William’s Medal of Honor case. As the movie unfolds, the audience learns how William and his actions impacted the lives of the veterans, as well as William’s parents and Scott’s family. This point is highlighted at William’s Medal of Honor ceremony, where everyone is asked to stand up if they are either a veteran, a family member or spouse of a veteran, or had their life touched by a veteran.
When we think of a PB & J sandwich, it is a singular object that has one purpose: to feed the person that sandwich was created for. When giving the subject more thought, we realize the sandwich itself affects more than the person eating it. There are people who work in the companies creating the peanut butter and jelly. Farmers and agriculturalists grow the wheat to make the bread, as well as the peanuts and fruit to create the peanut butter and jelly. Someone or a group of people make the sandwich, making it whole or cutting it up into separate pieces. If the recipient is given more than one sandwich or has multiple pieces, they can give it to another person. A PB & J sandwich creates an interconnected web where each person plays a role.
4. Are there other patches you can think of that would complement The Last Full Measure?
The most obvious choice would have something to do with veterans. Whether that recognizes sending Valentines to veterans or hosting an Honor Flight, a patch of this nature reminds scouts of a veteran’s importance. Another good choice would be related to history. Events surrounding the Vietnam War are discussed in The Last Full Measure. Age appropriate lessons about a particular war-time era can teach scouts about the event itself and how moments from the past can be applied to the present.
5. Is there anything about The Last Full Measure that you liked or didn’t like?
One element that caught me by surprise was how good the scenery was! When Scott travels to Vietnam to speak with one of the veterans, he is taken to the spot where the battle took place. The place was transformed into a butterfly sanctuary. It was calming and serene to watch, as blue butterflies flew against bright green foliage. The cinematography captured this location well, as soft light radiated within the space. As for what I didn’t like about this film, I found Scott’s part of the story to be the weakest aspect of the narrative. This part wasn’t bad and Sebastian did a good job with the acting material he was given. But I found the veterans’ stories to be much more compelling than what Scott’s story had to offer.
6. Did you develop any thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?
I didn’t develop any questions, but two thoughts did come to mind. When William’s parents are remembering their son’s life, they reflect on small details, like the smell of fresh cut grass on his shoes after he mowed the lawn. This reminded me of when Eric Draven, from The Crow, said that “Nothing is trivial”. When we lose a loved one, little things that may seem insignificant to others are the pieces we use to hold on to that person. On Thanksgiving, William’s parents share with Scott and his wife how they try to keep their son’s memory alive. This reminded me of what Sarah said at the end of The Crow about continuing to love someone after they are gone.
7. As stated in answer number one, fun patches are earned by either completing an activity or reaching a goal. What goal or activity could correlate with this movie?
Because The Last Full Measure is rated R, most scouts would not be able to see the film. However, there are activities that troops can participate in that correlates with the movie. Like I mentioned in answer number four, a troop or multiple troops can organize an Honor Flight. This is a plane ride/trip meant to recognize the military contributions of veterans. Younger scouts can make signs and cheer for the veterans as they arrive at the airport. Older scouts can assist their leaders in the event’s organization, showing them how to build connections in their community and organizational skills.
8. Fun patches are about learning new skills or lessons. Are there any lessons one can learn from this film?
A major overarching lesson that can be found in The Last Full Measure is how our actions and choices can affect the people around us. During the Vietnam War, William’s choice to sacrifice his life for his fellow soldiers greatly affected those soldiers in that battle. It also affected those same soldiers, William’s parents, and even Scott’s family years after the event occurred. This lesson reminds viewers to put a great amount of thought into the things we do before we act on them.
9. Sometimes, patches are created to tie in with a popular movie or IP (intellectual property). If given the opportunity to create a new patch, how would a patch for this movie look? What activity or goal would need to be met?
A patch bearing a picture of William H. Pitsenbarger would be an appropriate choice. Another good choice would be an image of the Medal of Honor with William’s name surrounding it. Any activity involving the recognition of veterans would make sense. It could be a grand gesture, such as the aforementioned Honor Flight or decorating a float for a veteran who is a Grand Marshal at a local parade. The act could be smaller in scale, like raking leaves for a veteran during the autumn season or delivering meals for a veteran who may be home-bound. The patch’s goal would strive to help scouts learn about a veteran’s importance and appreciate their inclusion in society.
10. After watching this film, is there anything you can take away from your movie viewing experience?
While I found The Last Full Measure to be a fine, well-made film, I think the story itself would have benefited more in a documentary format. I said in answer number five how the veterans’ stories were the most compelling part of the overall narrative. If this story were presented in a documentary, it would have given the veterans themselves a chance to share their experiences, especially since The Last Full Measure was based on a true story. In my last double feature, I reviewed the film Over the Edge. I stated in that review how the film was based on true events. This is one of the reasons why I felt that story should have been told through a documentary.
Have fun at the movies!