Monday, May 2, 2011

Patriotic Films: Osama is Dead, bring on the Red, White, and Blue

Yesterday was a historical day, and many Americans are celebrating the death of the man who plotted the attack on the the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th.  I heard screams of joy, and cheers like when I hear someone yell when their favorite sports team has won a national championship.  There are some great films that celebrate patriotic moments that did (or did not) happen.  Moments in film where it makes you proud to be an American.  Today we all feel a sense or pride that this moment has come.  There is also a sense of urgency because just as the movies have taught us when you cut off the head of one beast three heads may spring up.  Today I am going to celebrate and talk about movies that make me proud to be an American.

Forrest Gump (1994) The What America is all about Film- The heart of this film is a man who spends his whole life experiencing the different events in American history, from Elvis to Vietnam to AIDS.  Forrest literally runs across the country to find meaning in his own life when rejected by Jenny.  Robert Zemeckis (director) told the story of the evolution of the last half of the 20th Century, and did so from every angle.  Within this film we see the conservative points of view, radicals, and this represents every aspect of how America struggled, and through one man (Gump) there is hope that success is possible.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) American Heroes- Wow, Tom Hanks again.  In the first twenty minutes of the film we get to see the invasion of Normandy and the sacrifice that men went through to die for their country.  The mission in this film is to find one man, and bring him home to his family, because all of his other brothers were killed in battle.  Spielberg does a great job of crafting a tale that highlights the extreme sacrifice that comes from war, and the power of wanting to triumph for a worthy cause.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) The Everyman-A naive politician Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) is appointed to a junior Senator seat by a corrupt governor.  The director of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington captures the spirit of "America" better than any director; his hope idealism, and persuit of the American dreamis paved with "the everyman" being prevented from possibly being the most happy man (with power-like in It's a Wonderful Life) but the the hero learn more about themself and the system.  In this story Smith is seen as seen as naive but can also be viewed as the great hope for politics; he fights the system and represents the idealist in a system full of corruption.  In today's world a politician like this is rare, but when they come along they make me proud to be an American.  The scene below represents just how iconic this film was.

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