Happy Birthday ‘MURICA!
Independence Day weekend is a time for the three Fs: Fireworks, Family, and Fucking awesome Movies about ‘MURICA!
In case you forgot, America is the sole contributor of everything that is GREAT in world culture. Rock & Roll? Yeah, that came from us. Monster Track rallies? You’re welcome. Cinema? I don’t think I need to say anymore. Now for those of you who think cinema actually came from the French, you can get fucked. If the French created the art of the moviemaking, why is it they’ve never even created a film festival to celebrate it? I rest my case.
So after you’ve downed 6 beers, another half dozen shots of Jack Daniels, and enough hot dogs to make Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut shit their pants in awe of your Americanness, naturally the next thing you’re going to do is start an illegal fireworks show in your own backyard. Why? Because ‘MURICA!! Think of it as an act of Patriotism and Civil Disobedience AT THE SAME TIME. What can be more American than that?!
Okay, one thing. You sit your ass down and you start a movie marathon in front of your 90″ Panasonic TV and your 7.1 Dolby Surround sound system with a subwoofer so powerful it’ll vibrate the chrome coating off of your Chevy Silverado. ‘MURICA!
So crack open another Budweiser, light some Mexican M-80s, eat a giant slice of apple pie, and salute your American heritage with these 10 classics!
12 Years A Slave
In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner (Michael Fassbender), he also finds unexpected kindness from another, and struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity.
If you can’t tell by the title, he eventually gets freed, and America lives happily ever after.
Do the Right Thing
Salvatore “Sal” Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito), becomes upset when he sees that the pizzeria’s Wall of Fame exhibits only Italian actors. Buggin’ Out believes a pizzeria in a black neighborhood should showcase black actors, but Sal disagrees. The wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to Buggin’ Out and to other people in the neighborhood, and tensions rise.
OOOOOOOOHH SHIT. They’re going to rumble like it’s West Side Story. Like the rumbling we made when we kicked out the fucking REDCOATS! Watch this movie to see how it turns out!
Song of the South
If you can get your hands on this now out-of-print 1946 Disney classic, it tells the story of Plantation handyman Uncle Remus (James Baskett) who entertains a lonely boy (Bobby Driscoll) with Brer Rabbit fables.
One of the first films to mix live action and animation, this movies gets a Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity A for ‘MURICA!
Birth of A Nation
This 100-year-old film tells the story of two families, abolitionist Northerners the Stonemans and Southern landowners the Camerons, whose paths intertwine in director D.W. Griffith’s controversial Civil War epic.
When Confederate colonel Ben Cameron (Henry B. Walthall) is captured in battle, nurse Elsie Stoneman (Lillian Gish) petitions for his pardon. In Reconstruction-era South Carolina, Cameron founds the Ku Klux Klan, battling Elsie’s congressman father (Ralph Lewis) and his African-American protégé, Silas Lynch (George Siegmann).
Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
To get serious for a moment, we’re very glad this dark history of racism in the South is behind us, and that nothing bad has happened since.
The film opens with newsreel footage, including the farewell address in 1961 of outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower, warning about the build-up of the “military-industrial complex”. This is followed by a summary of John F. Kennedy’s years as president, emphasizing the events that, in Stone’s thesis, would lead to his assassination. This builds to a reconstruction of the assassination on November 22, 1963. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) subsequently learns about potential links to the assassination in New Orleans.
Conspiracy theories are to ‘MURICA as privilege is to white males. Why wasn’t THAT on the S.A.T?
Michael Moore’s political documentary uses humor and connect-the-dots investigative journalism to question the Bush administration’s motives for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The film argues that President George W. Bush and his inner circle used the media to further an agenda that exploited the 9/11 attacks. The close ties of the Saudis to the Bush family, the cynical profiteering of corporations and a political elite beholden to special interests are all cited as elements of a corrupt system.
Sounds like the American Way to me!
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
When the idealistic young Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). However, Paine isn’t as noble as his reputation would indicate, and he becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys’ campsite where a more lucrative project could go. Determined to stand up against Paine and his corrupt peers, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor in this 1939 classic.
You Filibuster, Mr. Smith. You Filibuster the fuck out of those windbags. ‘MURICA!
Aging rancher George Washington McLintock (John Wayne), a wealthy self-made man, is forced to deal with numerous personal and professional problems. Seemingly everyone wants a piece of his enormous farmstead, including high-ranking government men, McLintock’s own sons and nearby Native Americans. As McLintock tries to juggle his various adversaries, his wife, who left him two years previously, suddenly returns. But she isn’t interested in her husband — she wants custody of their daughter.
George. WASHINGTON. McClintock. This movie is so full of good ol’ fashioned Indian stereotypes and subduing crazy women with unbridled masculinity. You can’t get more American than this if you dressed like a Bald Eagle and raped the Indians all over again. I’m sorry, I meant to say Native Americans. My bad.
Letters from Iwo Jima
Long-buried missives from the island reveal the stories of the Japanese troops who fought and died there during World War II. Among them are Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic champion; and Shimizu (Ryo Kase), an idealistic soldier. Though Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) knows he and his men have virtually no chance of survival, he uses his extraordinary military skills to hold off American troops as long as possible.
And man, did they lose like champs. We can all learn something about humility from this movie: humility in the presence of American awesomeness.
And there you have it, folks! Ten movies to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about the United States of America. Now, please rise for our national anthem.