It’s the 4th of July, so throw some plump wieners on the barbecue, light some fireworks, and suffocate your unpatriotic neighbors with your Made-in-China American flag. After taking care of those mandatory tasks, why not settle down with an American beer (as a wise man once said, “Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”) and watch some movies? Here are a few recommendations that any Chewer would be proud to display on this red, white and blue-est of holidays.
Independence Day (1996)
It’s kind of strange that this alien invasion/destruction porn flick has become such a 4th of July favorite, but here at CHUD, we dig strange. The film may be as mentally deficient as your Confederate flag hat-wearing cousin, but it’s just as delightfully stupid and loud as him too. And if the combination of Bill Pullman’s cartoonishly inspirational speech and Randy “shitter was full!” Quaid doesn’t make you proud to be an American, then I don’t want to know you.
Rocky IV (1985)
I’ll admit that Rocky IV is one of my least favorite entries in the saga of the Italian Stallion, but even I have to admit that the movie’s over-the-top mood is perfect for America Day. Plus, the movie is about 40% montage and there’s no better way to get pumped than with a montage. Watch Rocky don the red, white and blue trunks as he seeks revenge against a Russian Frankenstein’s monster for the death of his true love, Apollo Creed.
Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
If I was going to pick one Chuck Norris movie to take with me on a desert island, it would be Invasion U.S.A. Directed by a minor slasher film master, Joseph Zito, this Cannon films classic about a one-man army stopping an invading terrorist force is light on plot and heavy on explosions, gunplay, and stunt work. You also get CHUD favorites Richard Lynch and Billy Drago thrown into the mix for good measure. This is a great substitute for when you’re Red Dawn VHS has been worn out.
Those other Captain America movies (1979, 1990)
Sure, you could go watch those better Captain America movies they made recently, but why do that when you can get in a triple feature that offers both Reb “Yor: Hunter from the Future” Brown and Albert “just look at his IMDb page” Pyun? Heck, you’ll even get some Sir Christopher Lee and Ned Beatty action while you’re at it! These may not be good movies, but they sure feel good to watch. Make sure you’ve finished your six-pack before you pop these in.
Any excuse to watch Jaws is a good excuse. And since Amity Island needs those summer dollars, you know they’re gonna keep those beaches open for the 4th of July weekend. Mayor Vaughn doesn’t care if there is an eating machine out there devouring swimmers like they were a bag of beef jerky. Nothing is more American than watching Alex Kintner turn into a blood fountain and listening to Robert Shaw reminisce about his salad days on the U.S.S. Indianapolis.
Team America: World Police (2005)
If there was ever a film that perfectly encapsulated America’s foreign policy, it was Team America: World Police. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone made a marionette masterpiece when they decided to satirize both sides of the aisle in this unfettered piece of vulgar stupidity. There’s no better day than today to remind yourself that freedom costs a buck o’ five and that North Korea is run by a sentient cockroach.
Mr. Freedom (1969)
Way before the Marvel superhero films of today, there was Mr. Freedom. A farcical take on American superiority, this little seen film from expatriate William Klein satirizes the overbearing sense of self-awesomeness that us Yankees love to glorify. Featuring an evil inflatable dragon and Donald “you’re the Duke of New York! You’re A number one!” Pleasance, this Criterion Collection gem is worth seeking out.
Uncle Sam (1996)
If you only see one movie this 4th of July, make it Uncle Sam. This under-appreciated slasher comedy is from William Lustig (Maniac, the Maniac Cop films) and Larry Cohen (The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent), and features some wonderfully goofy kills and a great sense of humor. How can you not love a movie about a reanimated Desert Storm soldier who proceeds to murder anyone who doesn’t hold up to his high standard of patriotism? Toss in an appearance from Isaac Hayes and a lenticular VHS cover that was a video store staple and you’ve got a pretty doofy way of celebrating our nation’s independence.
First Blood (1982)
The other viciously American flick featuring Sylvester Stallone. First Blood is a classic, and while some will probably point to the more rousing and ridiculous sequels, it’s the original entry that deserves your time. John Rambo’s first outing is full of action but also great characters and a moral complexity that Sly is rarely known for. And if you’re feeling a little down by the end of the movie, I guess you can go ahead and pop in Rambo: First Blood Part II. I won’t judge.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
As the day comes to an end and the fireworks explode overhead in the night sky, all you can see are the explosions over the Do Lung bridge as somewhere off in the distance, “Ride of the Valkyries” slowly begins to crescendo as it inches ever closer. Apocalypse Now is America’s heart of darkness torn open for all the world to gaze into. It is the madness and the horror (“The horror.”) of a country coming to terms with its capacity for unprecedented violence. There is no better film to serve as a nightcap than this psychedelic slice of American insanity. …Happy 4th of July!
What movies will you be watching today? What are your thoughts on some of these entries? Let us know in the comments and on the forums. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Kids in the Hall sketches: