Just about every Iraq war movie to date has bombed at the box office, and there's a reason for that: Like the war itself, most of those movies were bummers. Even "The Hurt Locker," which did well at the Oscars, had a lukewarm reception at the box office. But along comes director Clint Eastwood with "American Sniper," which has become one of the top-grossing films of 2014 in the U.S., and one of the most lucrative war movies of all time. The reason? It's an old-school, John Wayne-style war movie of patriotism and righteous killing, and the American public has lapped it up.

So what if the Islamic State group controls the Iraqi city of Fallujah now? Here's "American Sniper" to show us the blinkered alternate narrative: a U.S. Navy Seal kicking insurgent ass.

In truth, the real-life marksman Chris Kyle — the subject of Eastwood's film, played by a bulked-up Bradley Cooper — did exactly that, with 160 confirmed kills and possibly as many as 250 during his tours in Iraq. He was extremely good at what he did, and if you were serving in Iraq, you were glad you had him behind your lines.