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Blog battle: Patriotic movies of the '80s



Tomcruise Are you ready for a red, white and bruisin'? Fantastic, because St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall and I squaring off over the best patriotic movies of the 1980s.

First, a confession: I proudly let Persall's reviews guide almost all my movie-ticket buying decisions, with only a couple notable differences. I'll see any John Cusack, Cameron Crowe or Star Trek movie -- no matter how bad a review he gives them. In fact, I'll be spending July 4 in front of the TV, watching my "Elizabethtown" and "Say Anything" DVDs back to back all day, sobbing onto a big plate of mini corndogs.

But today, all bets are off. We've agreed ahead of time to pick different movies, but no matter how much he intellectualizes the themes of his weepy choices, I think my Commie-bashing, red-blooded approach will win you over.


Rambo_3 5. First Blood (1982): Mopey Vietnam vet ... moody townies ... blood-gushing violence ... Stallone almost intelligible. A classic, right? "Company leader to Raven! Rambo! Acknowledge!"

Platoon 4. Platoon (1986): The acting opus for not only Charlie Sheen, but also Willem Dafoe (though you gotta love him in "Streets of Fire") and Tom Berenger. Plus "Johnny Drama" from "Entourage"? That's the real right stuff. "Feelin' good's good enough."

  Topgungoose_3 3. Top Gun (1986): Remember when Tom Cruise made movies you wanted to watch? Nothing like a bunch of ego-swelled Navy pilots, sweating their asses off, "communicating" with MiG pilots ("Yes, I know 'the bird,' Goose...") to get your pride on. Through in a little Kelly McGillis, some Kenny Loggins and Berlin and it's blast-off time.  "That's right! Ice... man. I am dangerous."

Iron_eagle 2. Iron Eagle (1986): Hear me out on this one. Louis Gossett Jr. as "Chappy Sinclair" -- classic -- leading a teenager in a jet to the Middle East to rescue his father? But some campy dialog and a monster soundtrack, featuring Queen's "One Vision" and Twister Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," and you have Masterpiece Theater for the 80s.

Reddawn_2 1. Red Dawn (1984): I love this one because it truly happened. Yeah, I pretty much figure the Russians and Cubans invaded America back in '84 during those couple weeks when I couldn't tear myself away from my Atari 2600. (I had to get my Asteriods on.) But think about it: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Grey, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Harry Dean Stanton? Don't tell me you're not sobbing at the end during the closing narration ... "In the early days of World War 3, guerillas - mostly children - placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation should not perish from the earth."

Now, my take on Persall's picks:

  • Born on the Fourth of July: Essentially just a dramatic version of Forrest Gump. Seriously. Think about it.
  • Glory: Matthew Broderick's stiffest acting performance -- ever. (Yeah, including "Project X.")
  • The Right Stuff: Great soundtrack surrounding two-plus hours of urination and enema jokes.
  • Good Morning Vietnam: Your basic Robin Williams stand-up performance in fatigues. (I'd have picked "Moscow on the Hudson" instead, but I guess Persall's a closet commie.)
  • Rocky 4: It's got communists, boxing, steroids, Stallone. Oh my, he may have me on this pick.

So there you go. Remember to read Persall's blog and then leave us comments and let us know how we did. And remember, when it comes to patriotism, Persall's ego is writing checks his body can't cash!

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:23pm]


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