“Land of the free...and the home of the braaaaaave!”
Star-spangled celebrations will be in full swing across the pond today as our colonial cousins mark their day of independence.
But before the fireworks and burger barbecues this evening, they’ll be doing their patriotic duty by flocking to the movie ‘theaters’ (cinema, to you and me) for the latest jingoistic blockbuster - Independence Day: Resurgence.
I’ve yet to have the pleasure of seeing this summer Hollywood hit, but can only imagine the world will be once again be forced to show its gratitude as America becomes the global defenders, successfully repelling aliens with clever lines of dialogue alone.
So in a tribute to Uncle Sam, we look at those ‘classic’ films in which America’s self-appreciating style of movie making really hits home.
1) Rocky IV: Decades of the Cold War came to an abrupt end in 1985, and all it took was Rocky Balboa to be punched senseless for 15 rounds, then push over a big Soviet to prove that the world can be friends after all. The movie had his opponent as a drug-taking cheat, so how the film was actually received in 80s Moscow is anyone’s guess. One would assume it didn’t go down that well and ironically, probably damaged US/Soviet relations that little bit more. Cheers Sly.
2) Rambo First Blood, Part II: Stallone annoys the rest of the world again with this early-80s fantasy war story. In real life the Americans spent more than a decade fighting in South East Asia without much luck in defeating the North Vietnamese Army. Then, in Hollywood, Sly comes along goes it alone to rescue hostages still captive during the war. Why didn’t they just use him in real life to begin with?
3) U571: The danger of recreating historical events is that they will come under close scrutiny for accuracy. That didn’t matter to Hollywood with this 2000 film. Rather than bending or twisting the truth, artistic licence stretched to simply changing it. The movie has a Gung-ho gang of submariner Yankees chasing and capturing the German Enigma machine under the high seas in World War II. Problem is, the British did this in 1941 well before the Americans entered the conflict and without a high-five or baseball cap in sight.
4) Armageddon: The greatest nation on earth saves us all from total annihilation after persuading a meteor not to hit earth in this 1997 smash. A gang of All-American oil drillers are tasked with entering space to blow up the offending rocked, backed by a cheesy soundtrack from rockers Aerosmith. Filled with sickly-sweet clichéd dialogue and packed with endless explosions, it was somewhat of a hit, despite being bloody awful.
5) Independence Day: The original movie from 1996 had audiences flocking for a slice of classic apple pie cinema, and it doesn’t get worse than this. Not only do America save the planet by killing the invading aliens, but their president (played awfully by a husky-voiced Bill Pullman) becomes the lead pilot in the grand finale dog fight with those pesky invaders. And then to add further insult to injury, he declares the world will forever celebrate Independence Day in eternal gratitude to the US. You have to wonder if the Americans believe their own hype sometimes - I bet they even cheered and applauded in the cinema.