Mediterraneo [1991]

This 1991 comedy by Gabriele Salvatores was knocked for not being deep enough, but it is what it is, and it's actually an easygoing, sunny movie about eight Italian soldiers who manage to strand themselves on a tiny Greek island paradise during World War II. The sort of mutts who would shoot a donkey for not knowing the proper password, these clumsy warriors become a comic variation on the Lotus Eaters of myth, their fighting spirit evaporated in the midst of so much beauty and sexual availability among the local women. There are also sundry opportunities for the men to find another purpose for their lives (one particularly artistic fellow works on the restoration of a church, for example). Amid the sometimes coarse jokes and gratuitous nudity, there are subtle themes about the contrast between what men are truly like in their natural state versus what they are like as killers. (The Thin Red Line this isn't, but Salvatores does, in his own way, touch on some of the same themes.) Watch this one on a cold winter's day and vicariously enjoy the tans as well as the antiwar sentiment. --Tom Keogh

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