At first, while watching The Three Kings, I did not really notice any similarities in the movie to the book The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. However, as the movie went on, I realized there was an underlying theme that reminded me strongly of The Things They Carried.
War is a difficult thing to deal with. It is harsh, painful, sad, sometimes disgusting, and it changes people. In both The Three Kings and The Things They Carried, the characters experience emotional, physical, and mental pain unlike anything most people will ever experience. What was interesting to me was the similar ways that the characters dealt with these horrible experiences. The Three Kings is a funny movie, and though it may seem like this is only for entertainment purposes, I realized that the characters were using humor and nonchalance to deal with difficult events. By being casual and sarcastic, the situations they found themselves in did not seem so bad.
The same is true in The Things They Carried. At one point, after finding a dead man, the soldiers all pretend to greet him and they sit down and offer him food. Pretending nothing is wrong, and finding humor in a horrible situation, is the only way to possibly deal with the death and destruction all around them.
I think these two war stories are a great example of human nature. I think many people put in that situation would find themselves making jokes and slowly becoming immune to the things happening around them. It just shows that in any situation, nothing can be taken too seriously if you want to stay sane.