The War (1994)
Vietnam War vet Stephen Simmons must deal with a war of a different sort between his son and their friends, and a rival group of children. He also must deal with his own personal and employment problems that have resulted from his Vietnam experiences.
- The War tells the story about a young boy named Stu (Elijah Wood) and his father Stephen (Kevin Costner), who is a recovering war veteran. Stu, his sister Lidia Simmons (Lexi Randall), and their friends are determined to build the ultimate tree fort during their summer break. Stu's father has equally high hopes of rebuilding his life and the life of his family. Stu is constantly getting into fights with everyone who says a bad word about him or his sister. Especially a group of children, who Stu considers to be the lowest of the low, the Lipnicki's. Stephen, Stu's father realized what was worth fighting over and what wasn't, and so he tries to help Stu understand that he needs to pick his battles. Lidia, meanwhile, is off in the Lipnicki's junkyard, scavenging for the items they need to make the tree fort. She runs into Billy Lipnicki (Christopher Fennell) on one of her trips, and pays him ten cents to stay quiet. Once the tree fort is completely built, Billy spends all the money he got on ice cream. His father and brothers and sister find him with them as confront him about how he got all that ice cream. His eldest brother shaves a portion of his head and Billy tells about Lidia taking stuff from the yard. The Lipnicki's go to the tree fort and make a dare with Stu, whoever swims across the water tower while it's draining and back, gets to keep the tree fort. The Lipnicki's back out of the dare, but Stu goes through with it. The Lipnicki's promise to not take the fort, and one of the Lipnicki's throw the lock and key to the fort on top of the old water tower roof. Stu gets the lock, but couldn't reach the key. Later that day, Stu's father is in the hospital because of an accident at his work. A few days later, Stephen dies. That day, the Lipnicki's break their promise about staying away from the tree fort, and take it from Lidia and her friends. Stu finds his father's old crate of war items, face paint, smoke bombs, grenades, and his father's army tags. Stu and his friends start a war with the Lipnicki's to get the tree fort back. The tree fort gets ruined in the process, and Billy Lipnicki goes to the water tower to try and get the key, to stop the fighting. Billy falls through the roof of the water tower and Stu jumps in after him. He and Arliss (Donald Sellers) manage to free Billy from the drain and get him on solid ground. However, Billy is ice cold and isn't breathing. Stu and Lidia try everything they can to get Billy to breath again, and after a lot of slapping and yelling, finally Billy takes a breath. After that, the Lipnicki's and the Simmons stopped fighting with each other. The tree fort never got fixed, and Stu was able to come to terms about his father's sudden death.