Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Weekly Top Ten- 10 Movies To Watch on Independence Day

Weekly Top Ten-#12

10 Movies To Watch on Independence Day
So its the Fourth of July. A great holiday because for one day, it seems like we unite to the fullest. We as a nation remember how fortunate we are to live in this great country and we dissect what freedom means to all of us. And of course there is great food and fireworks too. 

There have been so many movies made about the American id and the American identity over the years. Some are so brutally clear that you can recognize the connections just by reading the title. Others have their thoughts deep within its text. No matter what you are in for, if you are feeling as patriotic as I am this time of year, I've got a list for you. This is a list of great movies to watch during this holiday weekend. Films to share with family and friends, each representing a piece of our American identity, showcasing why I think we are great. 

I did something similar to this on my Facebook page a couple years ago. It's still published there if you care to read it. When I first did something like this, I wrote about 50 movies instead of 10. It featured ties and overall it was very exhaustive.  I don't plan to write something like that tonight. I kind of chose 10 films at random which I thought were culturally significant, and wrote about them. There is a laundry list of films you can chose from, but I am not interested in that. I just want to highlight ten films which make me feel patriotic, which relate to what the country means to me.

I won't make this terribly long tonight, I'll be cutting down to the chase. I am sure all of you reading have lots of stuff planned for this weekend. And I hope you all get to it and have fun.

10. The Patriot (2000)
Where would we be today if it weren't for our Founding Fathers? Not only them, but the patriots who gave their lives so that we could have a country of our own? "The Patriot" maybe the most obvious choice on this whole list, and I get it is not very historically accurate. But there is no doubt that I shed tears every time I sit down to watch this. I has a powerful charisma I find undeniable. 

9. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Sometime soon, I will write a review for this movie on my Essentials column, because it is that effective. You may wonder why this movie fits on this list. At first glance, this looks like nothing but a much of young people making bad decisions; drinking, smoking, not listening to their parents. What looks like bad behavior represents to me individuals making their own decisions. That is what America is all about, we are witnessing people living free for one night. And its a great ride.

8. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
We are used to seeing James Cagney as a crazy gangster. But here as a sharp, flamboyant gentlemen...he really nails it! This is a movie filled with glory and great music. Something to check out and something for the whole family.

7. The Good Shepherd (2006)
I think as a nation we have a very difficult relationship with secrets and confidentiality revolving around our government. That's apart of what drew to me to check out "We Steal Secrets" early this week. The birth of CIA was a difficult one, I know because I read books about. It's a fascinating story, and this gripping movie really sets the tone for how our relationship with the government got to how it was today.

6. Goodfellas/The Godfather Trilogy (1990/1972, 1974, 1990)
I think there is a very good reason why Americans are so obsessed with gangsters, particularly Italian gangsters. In a country that preaches follow your dreams...these guys stole their dreams, took it because they could think of a better thing to do. These movies are perfect because they capture the American Dream...the only thing is the dreamers cheated to make their dreams come true. 

5. True Grit (1969)
On the Fourth of July, I don't see how you can go wrong popping in a Western. The American Western has burned itself into our cultural id, our psyche of a nation. They are bracing and speak volumes about us. This Western in particular is very descriptive. There is a raw determination to its characters which I find bracing.

4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Americans who lived through WWII are known as "The Greatest Generation" and I think this movie best captures how that generation received that nickname. There is hypnotic sincerity and greatness in each character of the movie. Easily the best WWII movie ever made.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
The main thing I love about this movie is that it shows someone who tries to seek justice, even when he knows for a fact he won't get it. I think it is very American to stand up for your beliefs, even when you know there is no way to those beliefs more for yourself. This film captures that more than effectively and this has been one of my favorite films for awhile.

2. Born of The Fourth of July (1989)
As much as WWII was a huge triumph for us as a nation, the Vietnam war was a very rough dark spot in that history as well. It forever changed how we as Americans thought about warfare. These thoughts I definitely feel still effect us today. Which is why this movie is so piercing and heartbreaking. Also, I don't know if I have ever seen Tom Cruise this alive before in a movie.

1. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Go on my Facebook page, check out my Fourth of July note, and read what I said about this film. I think I got it right the first time.

If you have seen all ten of these, don't fret. Here are some other suggestions

-Apollo 13
-The Right Stuff
-The General
-Taxi Driver
-Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
-Boys N Da Hood
-Gangs of New York
-The Manchurian Candidate
-Boogie Nights
-All The President's Men
-Field of Dreams
-The Grapes of Wrath
-Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
-Wall Street
-Top Gun

There are so many more!

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