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Skip these flicks for July 4: Top 5 worst patriotic movies of the '80s

It's child play to pick the best patriotic movies of the '80s. The Right Stuff. Red Dawn. Even Rocky 4. But the bad ones? You have to engage your inner shame. You have to channel the guilty pleasures and then face the awful truth: There was no pleasure at all, was there?

I'm not saying these are truly awful movies, but compared with Top Gun, Iron Eagle and Glory, their musket shots just fizzle in the Fourth of July thunderstorms we're expecting tomorrow. And they're even packed with stars: Tom Hanks, Martin Sheen, Al Pacino. Sean Penn. And even a misstep by Mel Brooks, though maybe I'm being too harsh there; the man's a comedy god. Here we go.


5. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (1980): Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen.
Plot: A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Memorable quote: "For Christ's sake! What is this, some half-assed Princeton debating society? We are in a war situation! This is a United States warship! Or, at least, it used to be. Or will be. Or what the hell ever!"
What Roger Ebert said: "This is the kind of movie that some kids would probably enjoy - it's filled with technology, special effects and action. But it just doesn't make any sense. And It lacks the wit to have fun with its time travel paradoxes, as last year's wonderful Time After Time did. It just plows ahead. Or behind. Or somewhere." [read more]

4. CASUALTIES OF WAR (1989): Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn.
Plot: During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.
Memorable quote: "I told everybody. I told them. You don't have to worry. You don't have to try to kill me, man. I told them, and they don't care!"
What Roger Ebert said: "The dialogue he has with this woman in the movie's last scene is so forced and unnatural and tries so hard to cobble an upbeat ending onto a tragic story, that it seems to belong in another movie." [read more]

3. TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1983): Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft.
Plot: A bad Polish actor is just trying to make a living when what should intrude but World War II in the form of an invasion.
Memorable quote: "Oh, but that's enough talk about me. Let's talk about you. How'd you like me in the first act?"
What Roger Ebert said: "When To Be or Not To Be was originally made, by Ernst Lubitsch in 1942, the Nazis were in Poland, which gave a certain poignancy to every funny line. ... Brooks and Bancroft go in the opposite direction, cheerfully allowing farce, slapstick, pratfalls and puns into the story, until the whole movie seems strung together like one of the revues in Bronski's theater." [read more]

 (1986): Tom Hanks, Moshe Ivgy
Plot: An American flyer who joined the RAF before his country was in the war is recovering from a leg injury in Jerusalem.
Memorable quote: "Damn it, why can't you look terrible? I've been out walking the streets trying to convince myself I wasn't in love with you and I come back here and you're barefoot and you're adorable."
What Roger Ebert said: He didn't review it.

1. REVOLUTION (1985):  Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland
Plot: New York trapper Tom Dobb becomes an unwilling participant in the American Revolution after his son Ned is drafted into the Army by the villainous Sergeant Major Peasy.
Memorable quote: "Daisy McConnahay! You traitorous bitch!"
What Roger Ebert said: Again, he was lucky enough not to review it.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:57am]


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