Even pudknockers love these 10 flicks
Today, while the rest of the Wal-Mart-lovin' world known as Uh-Merica is out picnicking, suntanning, swilling beers and congregating for fireworks, the true '80s patriots will be home, savoring leftover Godfathers pizza and enjoying the best Hollywood had to offer during our beloved decade.
Last year, Times film critic Steve Persall and I each picked our five favorite patriotic movies of the '80s. Today, we give you the combined ultimate 10.
TOP 10 PATRIOTIC MOVIES OF THE 80s:
10. 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."
9. 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.
8. GOOD MORNING VIETNAM (1987): Sure, Robin Williams is hilarious. But there's more than jokes here. "Compassion is a frequent casualty of war," Persall wrote, "but not in this flick, in which an irreverent U.S. Armed Force Radio deejay demonstrates what sets us apart from the evildoers, when the system allows it to happen."
7. ROCKY 4 (1985): Are you ready to Cold War rumble? Soviet semi-cyborg Ivan Drago fell harder than the Berlin Wall after Rocky Balboa dished out truth, justice and the American uppercut. "Going in one more round when you don't think you can - that's what makes all the difference in your life."
6. 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.
5. BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989): "Nothing is more patriotic than a soldier (Tom Cruise) fighting for his country," Persall opined. "Unless it is the same soldier realizing a mistaken war and protesting against it."
4. FIRST BLOOD (1982): The birth of an American movie franchise. Mopey Vietnam vet ... moody townies ... blood-gushing violence ... Stallone almost intelligible. A classic, right? "I could have killed 'em all, I could kill you. In town you're the law, out here it's me. Don't push it. Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe. Let it go. Let it go."
3. THE RIGHT STUFF (1983): Great all-around film with a sublime soundtrack and roles so meaty that you have to floss after watching it. No bombs bursting in air, but the rockets' red glare illuminated the best aspects of us, Persall argued. (Who cares if John Glenn hated the movie.) "I tell you, we got two categories of pilots around here. We got your prime pilots that get all the hot planes, and we got your pud-knockers who dream about getting the hot planes. Now what are you two pud-knockers gonna have?"
2. RED DAWN (1984): 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." If Abe Lincoln were alive today, he'd own this movie on DVD.
1. GLORY (1989): This bio-pic of the Civil War's first all-black volunteer company can be tough to love. It's definitely not Matthew Broderick's or Cary Elwes' best acting. But you get the feeling that nothing they can do will hold a candle to performances by Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. Or the story itself. If you're not crying at the end, when Col. Shaw rides his horse onto the beach and stares at the gulls swooping up and down the surf as the score by James Horner begins building, then I have a one-way ticket to Bratislava in your name. "Give 'em Hell, 54!"