Happy 4th of July, everyone! Well, everyone who lives in America. How are we doing, Sri Lankan readership? Hopefully your 4 July has been peaceful and productive. Canada, was your own day a festive occasion on Friday? But I digress. This post is dedicated to my fellow Americans who want a little bite with their hot dogs, swimming holes, and fireworks. Here are three films, streaming on Netflix, that will surely make your 4th of July one to remember.
Homecoming (Masters of Horror, Season 1)
What's more patriotic than the right to vote? Fighting in war? The political machine? Bipartisan sensationalist news reporting? Well, you're in luck, as Joe Dante's excellent entry in the Masters of Horror series (based on a must read short story, "Death and Suffrage" by Dale Bailey) hits on all these points with dead veterans rising from the grave. It's strange, creepy, and thought-provoking.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
What's more American than a couple of young, virile men setting out to conquer the harsh terrain of the American west as a way to provide for their families? Probably another film. The gay shepherd epic from director Ang Lee is filled with gorgeous images of American life broken up by two men struggling to follow their hearts. The fireworks scene is especially moving and powerful. This is not my favorite film, but I would consider rewatching it as a representation of some very American values. I'd just fast-forward through all the cloud porn and make it into a short film.
The Producers (1968)
If political and civil rights are too heady for your 4th of July festivities, why not curl up with a heaping dose of capitalism, corrupt business, and American theater? The original version of The Producers is a smart madcap comedy about trying to produce the greatest flop ever through an original American art form: an original musical called Springtime for Hitler. It's a comedy fit for viewing any day of the year. However, the theme of a self-made man and the emphasis on musical comedy ring especially true as we celebrate our independence.
Am I trying to condemn America in this post? Absolutely not. I genuinely think that these three films show a lot about American values. They're just a little more offbeat in their approach than a loving biopic of a president or a glossy retelling of women's suffrage.
Homecoming is all about the cost of war and how we should be honoring the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to preserving our nation. Brokeback Mountain captures the symbolic spirit of the west while tackling a significant civil rights issues being debated all across the nation in a smart and stylish way. And The Producers is simultaneously a send-up of and an example of pursuing the American Dream. Just because Bialystock and Bloom are trying to earn their fame and fortune in horribly illegal ways doesn't mean they put in any less effort than the wise street-kid who built his way up through society in the works of Horatio Alger, Jr..
How will you be celebrating the 4th of July? Are you even going to have time for a film? What's your favorite patriotic film? Sound off in the comments below.