Saturday, July 03, 2010

Celluloid for the patriot!

I was talking to some fellow library employees about their plans for the holiday weekend. Many have movies in their plans and the usual patriotic fare kept being mentioned: Independence Day, Born on the 4th of July, Saving Private Ryan…all fine films to watch on the 4th. However, the ones that I found most intriguing were the not so obvious ones….the ones that made them feel proud to be Americans without being conspicuously patriotic.

Musicals! How much more American can you get than watching people break into song at measured appropriate times! My favorite Independence Day musical is a very patriotic one: 1776. What fun to watch our Founding Fathers tell bawdy jokes, watch them sing and dance, watch them flirt, watch them fight with walking sticks! Independence has never been so entertaining! But the musical that kept getting mentioned as a 4th of July favorite, without being overly patriotic, was The Music Man. Younger woman, hanging out with older man, getting his wealth when he passed away….Anna Nicole?? No! Marion the Librarian (♫He left River City the library building but he left all the books to her!♫). A story of redemption, of love and most of all, catchy tunes and 76 trombones!

Jaws: When a colleague mentioned that he/she watched this every 4th of July for the last ten years, it only took a few seconds to think “but, of course!!”. What could be more appropriate than a day of fun in the sun at the beach with friends and family and going swimming on our nation’s day of independence? Throw a man eating great white shark into the mix and you have a fine slice of Americana! Man versus Wild has nothing on Roy Scheider as he shows good old American know how in dealing with this underwater nemesis!

Die Hard, Die Harder (aka Die Hard 2), Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard: I loved it when I asked my colleague what he/she was going to watch and the answer was: (paraphrased) I am going to sit around all day and watch stuff blow up. That’s right! It is our American right to watch things exploding on the big screen! And who does it better than Sgt. John McClane (Bruce Willis)!! In my past, I lived abroad for many years. After being away from the US of A for almost five years, I spent a month in Thailand on my way home. I stayed in the Khao San Road area of Bangkok and all along the streets were cafes that screened movies in the evening. Travelers would stream in to watch films, drink beer and eat delicious Thai food. Every night one of the cafĂ©’s would show Die Hard and for several nights I would be there watching it. It made me oddly patriotic and homesick; Stuff blowing up = America=Awesome!

Whether you will be grilling with friends and/or family, hanging out and relaxing, braving the ocean (see second film above) or watching a big old fireworks show (that’ll be me! I LOVE fireworks!), hopefully you will have a safe and sane 4th of July! Now get out there and do your patriotic duty – CELEBRATE!