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Feelin' good's good enough: Patriotic movies for a rainy July 4th

tomcruise.jpgThe Fourth of July is usually a good occasion for parades, picnics, Pabst and ... well, I'm out of printable "p" words here. Trouble is, here in Tampa Bay, it's been raining for three straight days and by the look of the monsoon out my window, the only fireworks I can expect is the kind that happen after I ate those dueling chili dogs with kraut for breakfast. (It's like starting a revolution ... in my stomach.)

That means it's a day of celebrating American independence with movies. Thankfully, here in the sanctity of my Lair, I have more than 300 to choose from, including a handful of some of the best patriotic movies of our beloved decade.


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

 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."

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.jpg2. 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.

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, guerrillas - 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."


BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY: Essentially just a dramatic version of Forrest Gump. Seriously. Think about it. Also marks the point where we HAD to see every Tom Cruise movie.

GLORY: Matthew Broderick's stiffest acting performance -- ever. (Yeah, including "Project X.") Still a fantastic movie, despite a slew of historical inaccuracies.

THE RIGHT STUFF: Great soundtrack surrounding two-plus hours of urination and enema jokes. In his autobiography, John Glenn went out of his way to say how much he hated the movie.

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM: Your basic Robin Williams stand-up performance in fatigues. Seriously, if there's ever a Robin Williams movie I don't need to see again, it's either this or Bicentennial Man.

ROCKY 4: I can't endorse any movie in which a Carl Weathers character dies. We'll miss you, Apollo!

[Last modified: Sunday, July 4, 2010 10:04am]


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