Last Sunday was a big night at the Oscars for “The Hurt Locker”: Six awards, including Best Picture, left champions of the Iraq War film with plenty to cheer about. And I’m proud of director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, in an I’ve-never-met-them-but-they-seem-nice kind of way.

Unfortunately, my own enthusiasm for the movie’s victory was tainted by the events of the preceding Wednesday, when real-life bomb disposal technician Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver sued the filmmakers for essentially stealing his life. Yeah, I know, Hollywood’s hit with lawsuits every day from misguided citizens who think they can wrangle big bucks out of a half-assed claim that their ideas were stolen. You’d think this one wouldn’t be any different.

But it is. See, Sarver actually has a fairly legitimate leg to stand on, considering that Boal was embedded with his Iraq unit when doing research for the original Playboy Magazine article that inspired the film. That article, by the way, is a full-fledged profile on Sarver himself, and many key scenes from the supposedly fictionalized film were lifted directly from real life.

Like William James, the character played by Jeremy Renner in the film, Sarver also kept a box of disarmed explosives parts under his bed. And like James, Sarver once stripped off his bomb suit when confronted with an unholy amount of death dynamite. Sounds pretty damning so far, right?

Except that because he needs a heart-wrenching, sympathetic story, Sarver couldn’t stop there. Apparently he also invented the phrases “the hurt locker” and “war is a drug.” He was somehow unaware that Boal was planning to write an article about his unit. And he’s upset that Jeremy Renner looks so much like him, because he believes the producers deliberately set out to cast a Jeffrey Sarver lookalike.

It’s the kitchen-sink approach to the legal system. If you complain about one thing, complain about everything. The false claims don’t harm the real ones; in fact, they accentuate the narrative that Sarver is trying to present. This is what happens to anything involving both Hollywood and the American legal system, otherwise known as the two best storytelling organizations in the country. Each side’s job is to get you to believe its carefully constructed tale over the other, whatever it takes.

Not being a law student, I don’t feel qualified to make any statements about the actual validity of the case. But what I can judge is the presentation of the arguments. After all, this is good, old-fashioned courtroom drama, and it’s tailor-made for the movies, from classics like “Anatomy of a Murder” to 2008’s “Flash of Genius.” The side that wins is the side that can use the most special effects to distract from any flaws in the story. Just like how “Avatar” won the box office.

And the hero of any good story is the one who convinces you he’s standing up for the little guy. Take a look at Geoffrey Fieger, the lawyer representing Sarver. He’s a Michigan grad and a celebrity trial lawyer, having previously defended Jack Kevorkian and other high-profile figures. Fieger’s firm is based in Southfield, Mich., and if you grew up watching Detroit-area TV like me, then you saw his commercials all the time.

This is a guy who’s clearly been studying Hollywood-style storytelling all his life, because his ads are shamelessly manipulative. You’ve got the shots of him delivering stirring speeches to his boardroom and the members of his firm gallantly ascending the courthouse steps on their way to fight for your rights.

In 2007, when Fieger was in hot water for alleged illegal campaign contributions to John Edwards, he even exploited Martin Niemöller’s famous Holocaust quote (“First they came for the Communists…”) in a TV spot. Why? Because he needed to construct a narrative that would position himself in a positive light. This is show business, kids. It ain’t pretty.

As consumers of stories, we always search for the same old good guy vs. bad guy trappings. The movies have indoctrinated us to these kinds of black-and-white conflicts ever since 1915, when D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” preached the heroism of the Ku Klux Klan.

The real truth, sadly, is that there are no good or bad guys here. Boal and everyone else responsible for “The Hurt Locker” most likely lifted details directly from Sarver’s life to form a more convincing narrative without properly crediting their inspiration. Sarver most likely fabricated large portions of his claims so that he can more convincingly play the role of the cash-strapped downtrodden veteran who’s just standing up for justice against the Hollywood machine. And you better believe lawyers like Fieger are going to lie through their teeth to present the story they want.

Here’s what I assume is going to happen: At some point in the near future when this lawsuit has been forgotten by the general public, the producers of “The Hurt Locker” will settle with Sarver out of court. Sarver will take his money no matter how small the sum, grateful that he wrangled anything out of those sleazy, soulless Hollywood types, and then fade into obscurity with a great story for his grandkids. And then life in La La Land will return to normal, at least until the next high-profile lawsuit.

Because these are the movies, after all, and successful formulas always repeat themselves.

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