Admittedly I'm a sucker for a period piece, but World War I dogfight drama Flyboys has the most exciting aerial combat scenes I have ever seen. See it - it's way better that you'd expect.
P.S. Get ready for the hundredth anniversary of World War I - it's only six years away!
Bryan: you are or were a gamer, right?
Have you ever seen a game called Ace of Aces?
It might offer you a similar experience in a table game environment. Great for kids too ...
You can find them on E-Bay. Here's the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_of_Aces
I agree. I watched it with low expectations and the acting lived down to my expectations. But the aerial footage was wonderful. It gives you a great sense of how dangerous is was flying these light construction early planes even before people start shooting at you.
It's really amazing when you think about it. It was a completely different world, less than a century ago. Of course, many would point to the vast technological changes, the information world, the way we are all portably and wirelessly networked to each other 24/7. Things virtually unimaginable (and likely literally unimagined) in 1908.
But many a libertarian thinks instead (or in addition) to a world where currently illicit drugs, including morphine and cocaine, could be ordered by mail without a doctor's prescription, or simply downed in a soda picked up at the corner store. An era of rising rather than falling expectations.
A time of dramatic immigration.
Most importantly, an era of astounding peace, with most citizens blithely unaware of the secret treaties between various great powers that were even 6 years before already pushing the world to war.
A time when one could think the government wasn't supposed to pay for your healthcare and wasn't supposed to force you to save for your retirement without being viewed as a neanderthal antisocial kook. Far from it. A time when, though still a government monopoly, the school system was run at the local level, and parents actually had some substantive input.
A time when it was unconstitutional to establish an income tax.
A time when essentially ALL people had no trouble understanding that the 2nd amendment couldn't possibly be anything other than an individual right.
A time when there was general agreement that it would only lead to trouble if America intervened in foreign quarrels.
Less than a century ago. More than a universe away.
Flyboys stunk. My review here.
I strongly second the recommendation for Ace of Aces.
Have you ever seen either The Blue Max or Wings? (By "Wings" I mean the film which won the first Academy Award for Best Picture, not the 1990's television series, which was still pretty good. Nor yet the band...)
Bryan, I think you'd really enjoy Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.
Just out this week--It's a captivating murder mystery set in Stalinist Russia.
I gave it a try, but this movie was not good.
Come on, a pet lion!
Check the Eroll Flynn movie Dawn Patrol.