The remake of Born Yesterday as patriotic? Hey we haven’t cracked the top 20 so there will be a few unexpected ones still, and give me a chance to explain…
I know most people prefer the original. I’m not quite sure why—I would rather listen to nails on chalkboard than listen to Judy Holiday speak. Not that I’m the biggest fan of Melanie Griffith, the only other movie that I like her in is Shinning Through (if you haven’t seen it it’s an excellent spy thriller…critically panned, but what the hell do critics know). Still while Griffith is not my favorite actress of all time, this is a fun movie. As a romantic comedy it’s a B- in my opinion…as an example of patriotism it’s quite better.
The story, if you don’t know it, is about Billie Dawn the rather ditzy girlfriend of a corrupt businessman. When in D.C. to grease the palms of key politicos, Billie’s lack of knowledge is so embarrassing the businessman hires a reporter to tutor her to sound smarter…and lo and behold beyond her ditzy upbringing is a very, very intelligent woman.
Overall there is a theme in the film that there is something great about our nation that everyone should know about. This is exemplified in the idea that at the beginning of the movie she is humiliated for not knowing the book Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville…and by the end of the movie finds that she may be one of the dozen people in the entire District of Colombia who has not only read the book and understood it, but memorized whole passages. (Full disclosure: I will admit I have not finished reading de Tocqueville, it’s not the kind of book you finish in one sitting…but over the yeas I have worked through the bulk of it, and highly recommend it).
The other reason I find this movie patriotic is the way it puts the numerous clauses and rights of the Constitution in the forefront by showing how Billie keeps the Amendments straight…via song….
Honestly there is not much more to say….however, so as not to deprive you of my usual voluminous blog, I feel I should point out why certain films will not be appearing on the list of most patriotic films even though I see them endlessly on other patriotic film lists.
Miracle—This was probably the hardest movie for me to cut from the list. However when I re-watched it and heard Russell’s initial speech on giving up individualism for the good of the team as the Soviets do I decided to cut it. That is the attitude you have to have for any team sport, the individual is not important, only the good of the whole matters. This is probably why I loathe team sports so much—they have no relationship to real life in some of the lessons they teach. What makes America great is individuals coming together, each working together for to aid in their own end and it is benefitting everyone. The values of team sports are very different, almost opposed to what makes America great, which is why, in the end I couldn’t call the film patriotic.
Apollo 13—Saw this one on several lists. The great story of how American ingenuity and determination can save heroes in an un-savable position. Very heroic, very complimentary of America…until you consider it’s all because of crappy American government low bidding contracts to union contractors…probably a little graft in there somewhere…it stops being a great American story when you stop to think about it.
Forest Gump—Exactly what is patriotic about this? It’s a passable history lesson…but, Gump survives by luck and what can only be described as the hand of Divine Providence…not exactly the American Dream of hard work and ingenuity we all strive for.
Black Hawk Down—God bless the men who were involved in this situation. Like almost all men and women who have served they are exemplars of courage and patriotism. And it might be a great moment of patriotism…if again, real history didn’t interfere and the knowledge that because of our POS president we turned tail and ran leaving the people of Somalia to a constant stream of anarchy and suffering. Not our finest moment.
The Patriot—Maybe it’s just that I loathe the vicious misogynistic anti-Semite that is Mel Gibson. Maybe it’s just that as film making goes, this movie sucks. But have you ever watched the movie? Gibson’s character doesn’t believe in fighting for his country until his family is murdered. His “patriotism” is only revenge. That is not patriotism.
Born on the Fourth of July—This one seems to make a lot of lists for reasons I can’t begin to fathom. How does anti-American liberal tripe count as patriotism? Are half the movie critics out there on drugs?
Top Gun—Fun movie, but, not a lot about America.
Patton—Great American hero. No question. But I don’t think any argument is made about the movie being more about the country than the man. Love the speech at the beginning.
Dave and The American President I saw these two as well. First just because a president is involved does not make it patriotic. Two corrupt presidents, two corrupt White House staffs. Yeah, that’s great patriotism.