Just a couple days ago, the first full-length trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger hit the interweb.
Watching this trailer reminded me of a bygone genre of film. It’s one of the most nostalgic for me, because I grew up on a number of these movies, and they still get me a bit excited when I watch them.
I’m speaking of course of the AMERICA! *#%$ YEAH! genre. The irreverent title of course is from Team America: World Police, a send-up of the hyper-patriotic films of yesteryear. The theme song can be found below. Language warning.
So today I’m honoring my favorite seven AMERICA! *#%$ YEAH! movies.
#7 – Air Force One (1997)
This isn’t a very good movie, but I enjoy it every time I watch it. It has some good tension, and Harrison Ford was the perfect choice to play the President in this movie. Few things are more awesomely patriotic than America’s Commander In Chief punching a terrorist in the face.
#6 – Rocky IV (1985)
Speaking of punching, this movie sucks, but it’s fun to watch Rocky punch Communism in the face.
#5 – Red Dawn (1984)
Speaking of the Cold War, this is one of the iconic movies of the 80s to me. It really spoke to the fears that we as a country had during the Cold War (by “spoke” I mean “enabled” and “fanned the flames”). But watching high school kids from Colorado engage in guerilla warfare made for an interesting movie.
Speaking of unlikely people engaging in military action, nothing is quite as stupidly, blissfully, awesomely and vigorously patriotic as the freaking President getting in a fighter jet and going toe-to-toe with invading aliens. Oh, and Will Smith is awesome too.
#3 – Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
Of the movies on this list, this is the most serious. Obviously. Jimmy Stewart was the perfect choice to play an everyday optimist who goes to Washington (as you might assume) and takes on the established government. It’s a very accurate representation of our political process, as well as a fun watch. This movie is essential viewing for anybody who likes Jimmy Stewart.
#2 – Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The best war movie ever made. Period. Even though Spielberg threw in more schmaltz than he really needed to, this movie is required viewing for everybody. Ever. The fact that this lost Best Picture to Shakespeare in Love still pisses me off.
#1 – The Patriot (2001)
Ok, most of the movies on this list are superior to The Patriot and don’t star a raging anti-Semite, but damn it, I love this movie. It would have made this list anyway for its revisionist history, unrealistic portrayal of our enemy and giving us a hero who is the paragon of virtue, but one particular scene vaulted it into the #1 spot. In the climactic battle, Mel Gibson stares down the villain and charges him armed with only an American flag. I’m not making this up. He runs straight forward with a look on his face that says “I will hereby defeat the enemy with the awesome power of DEMOCRACY! FREEEEEEDOM!”
For Attebiz Movie Reviews, I’m the J-Man.