Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned patriotic American movie about the greatness of America and why the world should fall to their knees every morning and thank their lucky stars that we’re still around? Well, pretty much anyone who isn’t American. And maybe Michael Moore. And Sean Penn. And Danny Glover. Basically, if you spend more than a month out of the year in Hollywood on purpose, there’s a pretty decent chance you think America sucks. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from wallowing in jingoism every now and then. And so, in honor of July 4th, here are five ridiculously patriotic movies to watch on July 4th.
5. True Lies (1994)
I always like to start a list off with an easy one: Harry Tasker is your typical American super spy trying to hold together a dysfunctional family while secretly jetting off to exotic locales, meeting exotic women, and shooting bad guys by the bushels in the name of America and apple pie. And terrorism? Forget about it, not while Harry Tasker is around. You’ll never mistaken James Cameron for a particularly patriotic filmmaker (“Avatar” pretty much proves that, right?), but way back in 1994 he was loving the country pretty hard core. In “True Lies”, America was rock solid, its people awesome and badass, while the bad guys were Islamic terrorists bent on nuking the country. Yup, none of that, “Why do they hate us” crap for Jimmy boy back then. “You’re fired”, indeed.
4. The Patriot (2000)
Leave it to an Aussie to play an American revolutionary hero during the War for Independence. According to “The Patriot”, Mel Gibson’s character might have single-handedly defeated the Redcoats. The Brits were pretty much evil bastards in this one, though director Roland Emmerich (a German!) did his best to introduce a slightly less-evil British commander to even things out. Still, when you had Brits burning American colonists alive in churches, shooting kids, and the colonists themselves being incredibly (re: impossibly) progressive towards black Americans in the film, you knew you were dealing with a film that was catering to the unwashed American heartland. Note: “Independence Day”, another Emmerich film was in contention, but I decided against it on the sole reason that that film just keeps sucking the more times I see it, whereas “The Patriot” still holds up pretty well. It must be the muskets.
3. Armageddon (1998)
A giant, planet killing asteroid is on a collision course with the planet and threatens to wipe out all life as we know it? Send in the Americans! And not just any Americans, either, but the out-of-shape, roughneck types with their hatred of paying taxes, love of strippers, and ex-wives that won’t let them see their kids. That’s right, even the lowest of our lows are better than some of your high and mighty citizens, foreign countries not named America! Plus, lots of American flags fluttering in slow motion never hurts to rub in that ol jingoism. The only thing missing from the film? Bruce Willis covering himself in an American flag and bitch-slapping the asteroid in person. Some may be asking: why not Bay’s “Pearl Harbor”? Simple: I don’t consider a film where the main “event” is watching the elaborate massacring of American servicemen to be all that “fun” or “patriotic”.
2. Red Dawn (1984)
America is so badass, even our kids can kick your ass! Or at least, our high school kids in the country, anyway. John Milius didn’t make any bones about it: “Red Dawn” is a pure piece of propaganda back in the day when the Reds were still considered a viable threat. The result: one hell of an entertaining propaganda film. Who doesn’t like a film where high school kids can go from clueless teens one day to hardcore guerilla ninjas the next, able to not only take on whole armies, but punish them so much they start yelling for their commie mommas? Take that, commies! “Wolverines!” indeed.
1. Team America: World Police (2004)
“Team America: World Police” — FUCK YEAH! Nothing says “We’re America, deal with it, bitches!” quite like “Team America”, from the boys behind “South Park”. For a movie made completely with puppets, it’s got surprisingly more soul and laughs than most live-action Hollywood movies. Of course, the fact that it wallows in its own “America rocks, you all suck” message no doubt rubs lots of people the wrong way — which is the whole point, natch. Besides saving the world (by destroying much of it, of course), “Team America” also took time out to bash a variety of clueless Hollywood celebrities, thus guaranteeing that Matt Stone and Trey Parker will never “work in this town again”. Fortunately, their relentless Hollywood celebrity bashing also ensures them a place in the hearts of America-loving Americans everywhere.