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Be Good, Smile Pretty (2003)

Terrence Howard , John Kerry , Tracy Droz Tragos  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Terrence Howard, John Kerry
  • Directors: Tracy Droz Tragos
  • Writers: Tracy Droz Tragos, Lois Vossen, Charlie Pearson, Eric Martin
  • Producers: Tracy Droz Tragos, Cathy R. Fischer, Chris Donahue, Chris Tragos, Craig Harris
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00011Y1NU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,716 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Be Good, Smile Pretty" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Extended interviews
  • Photo gallery
  • Resource guide
  • Filmmaker statement
  • Crew biographies

Editorial Reviews

A powerfully moving, personal exploration of a grief for the father she never knew, this award-winning film chronicles Tracy Droz Tragos' heart-wrenching quest to understand and cope with a loss shared by the estimated 20,000 Americans whose fathers were

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Documentary February 8, 2004
I viewed the DVD and want to say, as a Vietnam Veteran, that this is a truly amazing project. It was quite incredible how Tracy interwove still and 8mm footage of her father's life and death. Absolutely nothing was held back in the interviews regarding the tragedy of one single combat death and how it changed so many lives. It is easy for somebody unaffected to say "get over it" but you can see why people never do. For Tracy's mother to relive the shock, and for us to see it all over again on film, is painfull for the viewer. I especially appreciated the extra footage of extended interviews. A number of other orphans openly explain their feelings and views. For the veterans who knew Tracy's father to speak so openly of their own feelings about his death shows a high level of trust between the veteran and Tracy. The real triumph in this documentary, however, is the total lack of political discussion. In victory or defeat, any death in any war carries the same loss for family and friends.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming to terms with the death of a soldier. July 8, 2004
BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY is a powerful and moving documentary following a daughter attempting to come to terms with the death of her father, U.S. Naval Soldier Don Droz, who was killed in battle in Vietnam. More than three decades later she embarks on an emotional journey to investigate the exact circumstances of his death and to get answers to her many questions. Throughout the film she travels around the country to speak with Droz's former Navy buddies, most notably U.S. Senator John Kerry, in addition to shifting through old letters and photographs from the attic and asking many poignant and evocative questions. It is immediately apparent that the emotional wounds continue to be deep for the loved ones of Don Droz and by the conclusion of this film tears freely flowed down my face which is not a common phenomenon, especially when watching movies.
An amazing feat in this documentary is the abundance of film clips that were utilized throughout. Not only was there audio and video of the battle that ended his life in Vietnam but there were also more innocuous moments such as college graduation and anti-war demonstrations attended by her mother. The inclusion of the video resulted in a more powerful documentary than if still photographs were solely relied upon. While the running length of BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY is short it is packed with an emotional depth and punch that continues to haunt even after the DVD player is switched off. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most powerful Vietnam moives ever February 28, 2005
By George
If there is an orientation class for American Presidents, this movie should be required viewing. Not because the movie makes a powerful political statement, but because the film captures the multi-generational impact of one combat death.

When one soldier dies this is the toll taken. A heartbroken mother, an angry widow, a daughter who never knows her dad and soldiers who hold gruesome memories for a lifetime.

This is a very important and emotional film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War is Personal October 29, 2004
Having written fictiously about Vietnam in a novel, and having had a brother in Vietnam, I am very sensitive to overt or sanctimonious portrayals of Vietnam. Tracy Droz Tragos did neither. War is, above all, deeply personal and the pain it leaves for those who have lost a brother, husband, father, son, cousin, nephew and so forth, is something that can only be coped with as the years go by. The loss is never resolved or the reasons, especially with Vietnam, are never good enough to answer "why." Droz gives us a powerful and generous glimpse into her mother's sorrow, her own, the Droz family, and the men who were friends and comrades of her father. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone brave enough to experience the deep fears, the dread, and ultimately the life-long grief that comes when you lose someone you love in war. If you cannot identify with what our troops face in Iraqi now, what their families face, then I recommend viewing this documentary. Extremely well done and powerful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I showed this video to my high school juniors at the end of the semester of the literature of the Vietnam War. Not only did I enjoy it, but my high school juniors loved it. Quite a few of them were teary eyed by the end of the video. Most of my students are "John Wayne wannabees" and this documentary gave them another angle to think about. However, my students said that they were most impressed with the strong ties among the Marines who served in combat together.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Documentary November 19, 2004
This IS an emotionally charged documentary. It shows the effects of unresolved grief on family and close friends, a daughter's quest to know the father whose presence she missed throughout her childhood and early adult years, and in a more subtle way the consequences of political decisions during wartime.

The Vietnam War movie WE WERE SOLDIERS showed the initial shock and grief that wives experienced when they received the tragic news of the death of their husbands. This film shows the delayed effects of how that grief and loss can impact family, friends, and other veterans who knew the one who was killed.

One theme that others didn't mention relates directly to the title of the film. The phrase "Be good, smile pretty" came from one of the love letters sent by Lieutenant Droz to his wife when he was in Vietnam. A line like that is so special between two lovers who are separated from each other during a war. Those same words become almost haunting to the wife who struggles with tremendous grief over the loss of her beloved and the lingering bittersweet memories of a love that was so cherished and so suddenly and harshly extinguished.

The story is NOT just about the loss of life during the Vietnam War. It's universal to all human loss during wartime, terrorist killings, and other such traumatic events.
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