Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good
By all accounts, the film “The Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good” is a loving, good-spirited film about a celebrity who takes time out of his schedule to do something wholly selfless and fun to do his part to support US troops stuck in a difficult situation in a warzone.
But my question is this: surely there are dozens of other celebrities doing their parts as well, who have visited the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan several times. Heck, World Wrestling Entertainment has done it every year for the past seven or eight years. On Christmas, which means dozens of guys give up Christmas with their families EVERY YEAR to put on a show for our guys and gals in uniform.
So why aren’t they being recognized with a documentary? Why do we get about 90 minutes with Gary Sinise and his cover-band-that-became-something-more? The answer is probably simply connections, but this production still feels a little too “aren’t they great?” considering all of the others who aren’t even mentioned in this film.
But enough criticism, because what Sinise and his crew are doing is pretty spectacular, traveling all over the world with his band to do gigs for the troops overseas, then returning home and doing them for their families.
If you’re not familiar with the name Gary Sinise, if you think about the band’s name you might recognize him. He won an Oscar for his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump.” He plays bass in the title band, and certainly it’s great what he’s done, and it’s certainly more than most of us (myself included) have done for the effort.
The music is surprisingly good considering, as Sinise notes, the band was just a bunch of people jamming in their garages that morphed into public gigs (where one happened to be a rather high-profile actor), which then turned into this special military tour that entertains troops and gives the band in all its incarnations some well-deserved warm fuzzies.
And while this is mostly a celebration of the troops and to a lesser extent the band, one moment stands out as truly emotional. The band plays for the families of the troops in the US, especially the soldiers’ children, who is one group that the public has seemed to overlook in all of this. There’s one moment where the band plays a cover of Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” which would be easy to accuse of being emotionally manipulative were it not so sincere and heartfelt a moment.
I must say it is good to see a film that deals with the wars in a wholly non-political way, taking a completely non-partisan stance on it, simply dealing with what is a bad situation for a lot of people and one small group of people’s insistence on doing something to make it just a little bit better, if just for a few moments.