Fourth of July Counter-Programming
Marching bands, fireworks, and war movies – all kinds of patriotic pap will be beamed to your television machines this weekend. Gary Cooper will win World War I single-handedly on TCM, the Macy’s Fireworks show will be on NBC if it isn’t rained out, and PBS is showing another one of those Capitol Hill spectaculars that no one will watch. But there are options, people. The cynical among us, those with a bile-filled heart several sizes too small, or maybe just a cursory knowledge of history, can have our own private anti-Fourth of July film festival. Here are some picks to enjoy and enlighten.
The Ugly American (1963)
Marlon Brando stars in this adaptation of the prescient 1958 book. As the new ambassador to the Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan *cough*Vietnam*cough* Brando comes to embody American arrogance when his good intentions are rebuffed. Good Brando performance, and still eerily timely.
The Quiet American (2002)
Skip the 1958 version starring Audie Murphy (!) and watch this superior remake with Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine. Caine is the world-weary reporter who has seen it all, Brendan Fraser is the wide-eyed wonderboy with no experience and all the answers. They fight over a woman named Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) and the future of Vietnam. Great performances and authentic Vietnam locations make this film a must-see.
Green Zone (2010)
Based partly on the book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, and co-written by him, Green Zone is the essential Iraq War movie. Matt Damon stars as a soldier who grows to realize that the intelligence that sold us into the war is a pack of lies. He investigates, and runs into the fictionalized versions of J. Paul Bremer and Judith Miller. The movie goes off the rails a bit at the end, but it’s Hollywood so what are you gonna do.
Little Big Man (1970)
Classic hippie-era revisionist western starring Dustin Hoffman as a white man adopted into an Indian nation. There are laffs aplenty, but the depiction of the massacres of Native Americans are heartbreaking. You’ll never hear Garryowen the same way again.
I was alerted to the existence of this movie by a mysterious internet personality known only as ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©. He directed my attention to the website DownWithTyranny!, which had posted about the film this Wednesday:
Constantin Costa-Gavras’ 1982 film, Missing, had some pretty big stars– including Jack Lemmon, Charles Cioffi and Sissy Spacek– and won some pretty big awards– including the Palme d’Or at Cannes for best male actor and the Academy Award for best writing– and had a hugely acclaimed score by Vangelis, but there’s a good chance you never saw it– nor read the Tom Hauser book it was based on, The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice. That’s because Henry Kissinger didn’t want anyone to see that film or read that book. He got it banned. Really… in America.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but if Henry Kissinger doesn’t want me to see it, that’s good enough reason to run out and track down a copy. The plot concerns a father’s search for his son who was disappeared in Chile’s 1973 coup (Never forget September 11th!). Just this week a Chilean court admitted that U.S. military intelligence was behind the killing. U S A! U S A!
So there you have it – a full Fourth of July’s worth of movies by American-hating Muslim Communists. Run out to your nearest Blockbuster™ and rent them, or suggest others in the comments. Or just be a couch potato and watch Will Smith in Independence Day for the 87th time.