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A Few Good Men Directed by Rob Reiner Andrew Reesman 7 th Hour AP Psychology.

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1 A Few Good Men Directed by Rob Reiner Andrew Reesman 7 th Hour AP Psychology

2 A Few Good Men tells the story of Private Lowden Downey and Corporal Harold Dawson, two Marines from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that are being charged with the murder of Private William Santiago. Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise, is the lead defense attorney for the soldiers. Along with two others, Kaffee tries to build a case claiming that the men were given an order, and it was actually a Code Red with no intent to kill. The problem with their defense was that they had no witnesses and no evidence to back their claim. Lieutenant Kaffee calls Colonel Jessup to the stand in the final scene in a last effort to get a confession out of him. Putting his career on the line, Kaffee goes for it all and accuses Colonel Jessup of ordering the Code Red, and then covering up his tracks when the ordeal went wrong. In his enraged state of mind, Jessup confesses to giving the order and is then arrested. The soldiers charges are all dropped except Unbecoming an Officer which they are found guilty of. The movie ends acknowledging that although they were given an order, Dawson and Downey understood that they failed Willie by not standing up for those who can not stand up for themselves; they failed to do the right thing.

3 CRITIQUE Did I enjoy the film? Of course I did! This is my favorite film of all time and I can nearly quote the entire movie. The concepts of morals being tested and deciding right from wrong in the service are portrayed spectacularly in this film. The court scenes are realistic and shot in such a way that you feel that you are there. I strongly suggest this film to anyone and everyone interested in good movies.

4 The Psychoanalytic Perspective explains peoples actions and personalities by examining subconscious desires and conflicts. Most of these conflicts come from childhood experiences and have been pushed back, away from conscious thought. Psychoanalytic Perspective Daniel Kaffee is a young and talented lawyer but is very lazy. He also has trouble accepting and recognizing his strengths as a lawyer. Kaffee seems to have issues with his father, one of the most renowned lawyers of his time. Kaffee may have felt that he disappointed his father and did not live up to his standards. Then, his father died, leaving Danny filled with regret. He begins to stop caring about his future and settles for a plea bargain for every case he has. This conflict comes to a climax when Danny is sitting with Sam reflecting about the case they just lost. Danny begins to ramble about how he thinks his dad would have liked to see him graduate law school. Just before this conversation, Jo told Dan to put Colonel Jessup on the stand but Danny knows it will only get him court-martialed. Sam then tells Dan that his father would never put Jessup on the stand, but if he could pick any lawyer to represent himself, he would choose Danny over his father any day. This motivation allows Danny to recognize he can not do anything about his fathers death, it is not his fault, and that his father would be proud of him if he was there today. Sam has faith in Danny and knows in his heart Danny is a better lawyer than his father. Danny realizes this after this conversation, resolves his childhood problems with his father, and takes a chance by putting Jessup on the stand. Why are you so afraid to be a lawyer? Were daddy's expectations really that high?-Jo Please, spare me the psycho- babble father bullshit.-Danny Chap 15 Pg 596 Sn 24

5 Daniel Kaffee is a very talented lawyer in the film. He is able to make split second decisions and arguments. His thoughts are cunning and creative. This can be explained by a highly developed frontal lobe. Being the part of the brain involved with speaking, planning, and making judgments, the frontal cortex is a key part of the brain to a lawyer. He displays this decision making when he is examining Colonel Jessup. His examination is not going to plan and Jessup is not biting on Kaffees ploy to force Jessup to confess. Danny must stop and reflect on what he is going to say next. Is he going to let off and give up the case, or is he going to swing for the fences, accuse Jessup of ordering the Code Red, and risk getting court martialed? Using his frontal lobe, he decides to go after Jessup and devices a skillfully emotional acquisition to get the confession out of Jessup. With the help of his frontal lobe, Danny displayed his great skill as a lawyer and got Jessup to admit to ordering the Code Red. Frontal Lobe -the part of the brain lying directly behind the forehead that controls decision making, speaking, and muscle movements. Chap 2 Pg 77 Sn 25-26

6 Phobia - an anxiety disorder that is characterized by an irrational constant fear of something usually harmless. This is also accompanied by a continuous avoidance of the object. There are two main references towards phobias during the film. Kaffee acknowledges that he is fearful of flying because he is afraid of crashing into mountains. This specific fear applied to flying is very characteristic to phobias. He also mentions that he gets nautilus when he flies because of his fear. He also alludes that he is fearful of water when he complains about having to take a boat to the other side of the bay in Cuba. Again, this is very irrational behavior since he is a member of the United States Navy. Both of these fears can be considered phobias because they are irrational and contact with them causes great anxiety Kaffee: "Whoa! Hold it! We gotta take a boat?" Barnes: "Yes, sir. To get to the other side of the bay." Kaffee: "Nobody said anything about a boat." Barnes: "Is there a problem, sir?" Kaffee: "No, no problem. I'm just not that crazy about boats, that's all." Galloway: "Jesus Christ, Kaffee, you're in the Navy for crying out loud." Chap 16 Pg 650 Sn 7

7 -the idea of putting the values, beliefs, and desires of a group ahead of ones own personal values and goals. They also identify with a group rather than as an individual. In the United States Marine Corps, the soldiers are disciplined to have great honor for their core and value the good of the core over anything else. This idea is strongly emphasized in the movie when Kaffee asked Dawson why they gave Santiago a Code Red. Dawson replied that Santiago broke the chain of command and dishonored the code which he continually repeats as Unit, Core, God, Country. This idea of the code displays the idea of collectivism, where an individual, the marine, does not value his own beliefs as much as he does of what the Core wants from him. The idea depicted in the movie is that the Marines identify themselves with the Core and value the Cores wants rather than identifying as individuals with their own wants and values. Train him do to what? Train him to think of his unit before himself, to respect the code Whats the code? Unit Core God Country Chap 3 Pg 121 Sn 6

8 During the course of the movie, the question of how these Marines could treat another human like this comes up. When thrown into the Marines, one must take up a whole new identity. They most throw away their own personal values and adopt the role of a Marine as the law. When playing this role of a Marine, many get caught up in it and forget who they are. This is why many, when ordered to do something morally wrong, do not question it because they have forgotten their moral compass. Similarly to how ordinary people started abusing others when put into a role playing scenario of a prison in Dr. Zimbardos study of role playing, the marines depicted in this movie lose track of themselves and do not recognize what they did was wrong, whether it was ordered or not, until they are dishonorably discharged for Unbecoming and Officer. It serves as a wake up call for them to be reunited with their moral compass and realize that the orders they were given should never have been carried out. Lucifer Effect -explains why good people do bad things when put into a situation where they take on another role, dehumanize, and lose their moral compass. This explanation was researched by Dr. Zimbardo of Stanford University. Chap 18 Pg 728 Sn 28

9 During Kaffees examination of Lieutenant Kendrick, he brings up a time where an individual was locked in his barracks and withheld food and water. Kaffee considered this action a form of Code Red although Kendrick denied this claim. Kaffee then points out that Corporal Dawson was caught sneaking the soldier food and water and was punished severely. It was the first time Dawson found himself on the wrong side of a punishment. Dawson used his better judgment and developed, abstract morality to decide what order he was going to follow. He felt it was morally wrong to withhold a soldier from food and water despite being ordered to. This decision ended up getting Dawson in trouble but it was worth it to him because he did what he felt was right. Chap 4 Pg168 Sn 21 -a concept developed by Kohlberg that states that a person develops an abstract morality at an older age that allows them to apply their own values and ethics to determine what rules and laws are moral and acceptable to follow

10 Observational Learning One of Captain Jack Rosss main arguments against the possibility of a Code Red being the cause of Santiagos death is that they are not formally taught by the Marines. He illustrates to the court while examining a marine that it does not discuss Code Reds anywhere in the two manuals a marine is given at Gitmo. The marine politely answers back that no, its not in a book. Danny quickly counters this point by taking the books from Ross and asking the marine where in the books does it say the mess hall is located. The marine says it is not in the books. Danny asks if this means he has never eaten at Gitmo and the marine laughs and says that he follows his peers when it is time to eat. Danny is illustrating that the behavior of giving a Code Red is not taught by the Marine Corps, but learned by observing others do the action. Much like many day to day actions, one sees another do it and then mirrors it. There is no Code Red class offered by the Marines, but when a member of a unit slips up and is given a Code Red the other members of the unit learn that that is the correct behavior when someone messes up. This process of learning by watching is an example of Observational Learning. - Albert Banduras theory that an individual watching anothers actions will then learn to mirror that behavior Kaffee: I don't understand. How did you know where the mess hall was if it's not in this book? Cpl. Barnes: Well, I guess I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir. Chap 8 Pg 341 Sn 18

11 During the cross-examination of Dr. Stone, Kaffee makes it clear that he does not feel that the lactic acidosis was caused by poison. Danny points out that Santiago suffered from chest pains, shortness of breath, and fatigue, all symptoms of a coronary heart condition. He asks the doctor if it was possible that Santiago had a severe coronary heart condition that caused the lactic acidosis. The doctor says it is not in an effort to wipe his hands clean from putting a soldier on duty with a clean bill of health that could have died from a coronary condition. -a condition where clogging forms in the blood vessels that bring nourishment to the heart. Kafee: Couldn't it have been a heart condition, not a mysterious poison that caused the rapid chemical reaction? Stone No. Kafee: It's not possible? Stone: No. I examined Santiago thoroughly and gave him a clean bill of health. Kaffee: So it had to be poison. If you give a man a clean bill of health, and he later dies from a heart related condition, you'd have a lot to answer for, wouldnt you? Chap 14 Pg 554 Sn 16

12 The movie opens to a scene of soldiers drilling on the lawn. This kind of action, although tricky to learn in the beginning, is hard to forget once you learn. This is an example of an implicit memory, or a procedural memory. The drilling, once repeated many times, falls under muscle memory, and like riding a bike, will not be forgotten. The action portrayed in the opening scene seems so effortless because the soldiers do not need to think about what they are doing before they do it. They have learned how to drill correctly, creating an implicit memory in the memories of the soldiers. The movie opens to a scene of soldiers drilling on the lawn. This kind of action, although tricky to learn in the beginning, is hard to forget once you learn. This is an example of an implicit memory, or a procedural memory. The drilling, once repeated many times, falls under muscle memory, and like riding a bike, will not be forgotten. The action portrayed in the opening scene seems so effortless because the soldiers do not need to think about what they are doing before they do it. They have learned how to drill correctly, creating an implicit memory in the memories of the soldiers. Implicit Memory -a memory that is recalled effortlessly, independent of the conscious mind. This is also referred to as procedural memory or muscle memory. Chap 9 Pg 367 Sn 1

13 Towards the beginning of the trial, Jo tells Danny that she has been named Lowden Downeys attorney by his Aunt Jenny. Danny immediately begins to sarcastically praise Jo and Aunt Jenny saying that they can move the trial to Aunt Jennys barn. He also says that they can sew costumes for the animals and that Uncle Goober can be the judge. Upon hearing the name Aunt Jenny, Danny pictures and elderly woman who lives on a farm. He does not know anything about the woman but makes this assumption solely on the name. On the day of court, he is introduced to Aunt Jenny, a fairly young and well spoken lady. Danny feels ashamed and shocked exclaiming Youre Aunt Jenny? Sorry I was expecting someone older. Representativeness Heuristic -making a preconception about a given situation by assessing the likeliness the term will represent ones own prototype of the term. In other words, judging a situation solely on how you think the term should be applied, rather than assessing all of the different possibilities. Youre Aunt Jenny? Sorry, I was expecting someone older -Danny So was I- Aunt Jenny Chap 10 Pg 401 Sn 12

14 Reflection Overall, I liked this project and did not mind doing it. I chose to spend a couple days doing this project, a couple slides a day, which really allowed me to enjoy the assignment. I did not get stressed out over completing it. I also liked that I was able to combine my favorite movie and my favorite subject into one project. I enjoyed finding quotes and pictures that matched my topic. Also, writing the passages was not difficult at all. Finally, the assignment allowed me to review for the AP test in a fun way. It sent me searching through the entire book, looking over chapters I had not touched in months. I enjoyed the assignment very much.

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