Movie Picks to Celebrate American Independence

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You cannot celebrate the 4th without films portraying the American Revolutionary War.  One of our longest wars in American History.  Mel Gibson’s The Patriot is a great starting place for the war.  The battles are epic and the desperation of fighting a guerrilla war in the southern colonies is captured very well.  Two mini-series that encompass the entire era HBO’s John Adams and CBS’s 1980’s mini-series George Washington (which is no longer in print, but you can buy DVD rips of the VHS tapes) which covers Washington’s entire life and is considered to be one of the best portrayals of him on-screen.  My Netflix pick is about the first skirmish of the war titled April Morning.  These films will help you get a taste of what the founders of this country accomplished.

Films that embody America and have inspired generations are great for remembering our founding and our Heroes who have sacrificed so much to preserve liberty across the globe.  The iconic Patton played by George C. Scott is a cinematic masterpiece giving one of the greatest speeches in film history.  The epic battle of San Juan Hill in John Millius’s Rough Riders has the greatest portrayal of Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.  Performed by Tom Berenger.  Since I mentioned John Milius let us not forget Red Dawn (both original and remake) is a great reminder for America’s youth.  Last but never least is the one man who will forever be identified with America and that is the one and only “The Duke”  John Wayne.  You could probably just pick any of his films but to hand-pick a few Sands of Iwo Jima, The Green Berets, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and a family favorite McClintock.

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If violence and battlefields bore you and you want something more for the homefront.  Have  no fear I have a few titles for you.  The Best Years Of Our Lives about three WWII veterans coming home after the war.  This is a must see for any military family.  A Hallmark film called An American Story which is based on actual events.  This film is about veterans who come home from the war find that their town has been corrupted by crooked politicians and war profiteers.  Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the all inspiring tale of good man comes to corrupted government.  Second Hand Lions is a great family film about teaching a young boy about becoming a man.  Finally a true story that can only happen in America is Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happiness is a wonderful reminder of what America is famous for, the place where anyone achieve greatness no matter their race, religion, or status.

There are many more films out there, but I hope this helps you understand why we celebrate Independence Day. “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”

― John Adams

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From My Cold Dead Hands!


After enjoying all of the Halloween treats that the season has to offer, it is time to take stock in one of my favorite genres of film, the zombie/apocalypse.  Zombies, alien invasions, breakdown of society films all have a few things in common.  Each story is essentially a survival story where survivors have beaten the odds of disease, famine, occupation, genocide, nuclear annihilation and are trying to establish a new world in the ashes of the old.
This concept of building a new world out of the proverbial wilderness is something entirely unique to Americans.  Since the United States is a rather new to the world stage, it took over a century and a half for us to settle and establish American society.  It is due to our unique history and culture that we have created the modern zombie film.  Everyone knows that George A. Romero and John A. Russo created Night of the Living Dead propelling tales of a mysterious disease that animates the recently deceased back to life and craving human flesh, which in turn caused society and communication to break down.  That is until men and women pick up their weapons and band together fighting creatures and others who might transgress upon them.  This theme of guerrilla resistance saturates Romero’s blockbuster sequel Dawn of the Dead.  Another reason why this type of film is so popular and definitively American is that the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has written down in the Bill of Rights that the civilian population has a right to own military arms.  It is in our nation’s DNA to be the ”armed to the teeth” underdog, and our zombie films reflect that.  From Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series to Robert Kirkman’s very popular The Walking Dead the everyday use of firearms harkens back to pioneer days with musket, knife, and tomahawk strapped on every able-bodied person.


A great comparison is the remake of Dawn of the Dead and the British 28 Days Later.  In Dawn of the Dead a band of survivors shoot their way to a fortified position (the mall).  While in 28 Days Later, survivors barely make it to a military checkpoint in which they are subject to their abuse because in the real world the people with guns make the rules.
American survival not only permeates the horror genre, but sci-fi and action too.

TV shows such as Falling Skies and Revolution show America in two different circumstances.  One has us in a resistance against an alien occupation, Falling Skies, and the other tells the story of an America without electricity, which causes a breakdown in government.  Both shows display America’s will for armed resistance.  Even shows such as Jericho, Red DawnThe Terminator franchise, and Last Resort all display our romantic notion of defiance and our love for the rugged individual. Even with overwhelming odds and when all hope is lost there will always be that American who will cowboy up and give your enemies a little John Wayne.  To quote another apocalyptic movie Reign of Fire, “Envy the country that has heroes, I say pity the country that needs them.”

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