Happy Independence Day, Americans! As you enjoy your day off work, planning barbecues in the sun and/or tossing footballs around with friends in celebration of no longer being part of the British colonies – Trust me, as a former British citizen, I know how that freedom feels firsthand – I thought that perhaps I could suggest some movies to watch to complete that warm, warm glow of patriotism in your heart. Five All-American Movies To Go, dear friends? I think so.
Team America: World Police
America's military might has never been stronger than in this satire of all-American values that somehow ends up being oddly patriotic and adoring of its targets (See also Parker and Stone's Book of Mormon musical, which apparently does the same balancing act). Pretty much the very definition of having your cake and eating it too... and what could be more American than that?
Firstly: It's called Independence Day. Secondly: It's a movie where the President of the United States is a kick-ass pilot who saves the world from an alien invasion along with his all very American sidekick hackers and scientists. You hear that, rest of the world? If it wasn't for America, you'd all be alien slaves or dead or somethin'! Yeah!!!
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
What could be more American than owning your dream house? But, as this old school Cary Grant movie demonstrates, the reality is far far more difficult and far more ridiculous than anyone would expect in advance. For fans of black and white movies - That's everyone, right? I mean, a lack of color never hurt nobody - and wonderfully dry comedies, this is an underrated classic.
Little Shop Of Horrors
I know, I know; you're thinking that I've completely lost sight of the whole "American" thing, aren't you? But I promise you, whether it's in Frank Oz' tongue-in-cheek evocation of 1950s small town Americana, complete with its paranoia over the unknown, a soundtrack that evokes all manner of 20th century American music or just the gleeful tearing up of the schlub-makes-good-and-gets-the-girl story, this is one of the most American movies out there.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
It's tempting to see every single one of the Coen Brothers' movies as a love letter to America, but for me, it really comes to down to this or The Hudsucker Proxy as the best of a pretty damn terrifically American bunch. Filled with all manner of US history, myths (The bluesman who sold his soul for his music? The romance of the open road?) and somewhere between the two, O Brother also has a spectacular soundtrack, the Ku Klux Klan getting some come-uppance and the chance to see some fine American actors giving it their all. It doesn't get much better than this.
Time for the comments - and if you're not filled with food or too busy with family, why not spill on what movies mean America to you? In the meantime, have a good July 4th, everyone. Try not to think about being back at work tomorrow.
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