|Posted on July 4, 2012 at 1:20 PM|
In between watching the parade and perhaps taking a dip in the pool in the very late afternoon, this 4th of July many of us are beating the record-breaking, scorching heat by staying indoors and watching a film. In fact, the triple digit temperatures will likely generate some pretty spectacular storms in parts of the country, forcing would-be fireworks displays to be cancelled. Here's a fun look at great American movies to stream this Independence Day, as well as where you can find them. We'll look at movies that focus on American life the past several decades.
Coming to America - (Available on Amazon Instant Video). This 1988 flick still has a huge cult following. Starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones and John Amos, the film begins with an African prince coming of age, whose parents announce his impending arranged marriage. The prince, Akeem Joffer, cries foul, shunning his pampered life and the beautiful but controllable future wife who exists only to please and agree with him. He decides to search for a queen that is his intellectual match by traveling to a run-down neighborhood in Queens, New York. There he meets Lisa McDowell and falls in love. The flick is hilarious with the dynamic duo of Murphy and Hall, but also has a sweet, romantic side.
Urban Cowboy - (Available on Netflix) - Who doesn't love seeing John Travolta and Debra Winger two-step around the world's biggest honky tonk, Gilley's, while listening to some of the best music that 1980 has to offer. And watching all of that childish and dysfunctional game playing that the two do to try and get each other jealous kind of makes our boring old lives in our nice, air conditioned living rooms seem satisfying. Nothing is more American than the cowboy, and we love to put the spotlight on our boys from the southwest, where you Don't Mess With Texas!
Casual Sex? - (Available on Netflix) - This 1988 comedy takes a tongue in cheek look at single young adult American women trying to find the perfect man. Realizing that promiscuity is not the answer, not only because of the rise of the Aids epidemic, but also the futility of the empty lifestyle, the female leads, played by Lea Thompson and Victoria Jackson, head out to a swanky holiday resort and health spa for singles. Our heroine Stacy (Thompson) goes through a number of exploits meeting a variety of men, while simultaneously avoiding a loud, obnoxious New Jersey man who calls himself "the Vin Man" (played by Andrew Dice Clay). After some disappointing connection with a struggling musician who ends up being a loser, Stacey and Vinnie end up sharing their disappointments with the entire experience, and then go their separate ways - she back to her home in LA, and he back to New Jersey. Then fast forward a few years later . . . well, I don't want to spoil the surprise, but it's a fun, feel good movie. It is rated R, so be forewarned.
Wayne's World - (Available on Amazon Instant Video) - what's more American than the midwest? Set in Aurora, Illinois, a decent sized city west of Chicago with a lot of small town, neighborhood feel, our heros, Wayne and Garth (played by Saturday Night Live alumnis Mike Myers and Dana Carvey) play two older "perpetual" teenagers who like to party, hang out, listen to great rock music, and host their own rather juvenile but hilarious cable TV show that becomes a cult classic in the Chicagoland area. Wayne is both comedic and romantic protagonist as he woos hot rock-n-roll babe Cassandra (played by Tia Carrere, who is remarkably talented as a lead vocalist). Loaded with lots of quotable lines and nods to American pop culture over the last 50 years, this sophomoric feel-good movie will cater to people who remember this era with fond memories.
An Officer and A Gentleman - (Available on Netflix) - While this movie doesn't follow our theme of light-hearded, this is a great romantic drama that takes a peak into the lives of two Americans just trying to make it in this world. Zack Mayo turns to the Navy's Aviator Officer Candidate School to make something of himself after being "raised" by a drunken Navy boatswain's mate jumping from port to port after Zack's mother commits suicide. Having seen far too much in his adolescent years, Mayo is cynical that there is good in the world, and he has developed a propensity for selfishly looking out only for himself. During his time in bootcamp, he meets and falls in love with a local girl, Paula Pokrifki (played by Debra Winger) who works in a factory and dreams of being an officer's wife. Despite not having a decent role model in his formative years, and having experienced a lot of wounding experiences that broke his ability to easily trust, Mayo comes to grips with what commitment means, both to being an officer, and to being a man in love with a woman.
All photographs sourced from Wikipedia.