Elessar: Happy 4th of July everyone, and welcome to yet another thrilling edition of Objection! I am, as always Elessar.
Starshine: And I’m the semi-patriotic Starshine.
Elessar: And in honor of the forthcoming holiday, Starshine and I have elected to cover a subject that’s very close to our hearts: Best 4th of July movies. Starshine, you care to start us off?
Starshine: I am all about Independence Day. What’s more American than Will Smith killing aliens? The president flying a fighter jet? A movie made about America’s most patriotic holiday by a foreigner? Nothing. If there were one movie that portrayed the spirit of ‘Murica, it’s this one.
Elessar: I, like most people roughly my age, grew up with Independence Day and I still dig the hell out of it. However, it took a lot of maturity from me as a film viewer to recognize…it’s not a very good movie.
Starshine: It’s not a good movie in terms of actual film making. But don’t tell me that if you had to pick on raunchy, all out action movie that captured the Hell-yeah-let’s-set-off-explosives-for-America craziness, you wouldn’t pick this one. It’s the funfetti cupcakes at the dessert table — it’s not fancy or required a lot of know how, but man are they so satisfying.
Elessar: True. As I said, I dig the hell out of it. It’s just an oddly frustrating movie to watch, because the stuff it does right is so good, but the stuff it does wrong is so very basic. I dunno, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen Roland’s…other, less good movies now, so I just can’t stop seeing the same DNA as them in Independence Day. Still, it’s not like my movie is any better.
Starshine: What is your movie then? And how does it beat Will Smith?
Elessar: Oh you know the answer to that. Take a glance at my author picture, and the answer will come.
Starshine: You’re a National Treasure man, aren’t you?
Elessar: I’m a National Treasure man.
Starshine: Really? You’d trade an annoying third wheel with bad facial hair over a cast of annoying characters we thankfully know little about?
Elessar: Oh there’s lots of things to like and dislike about National Treasure, but I still like it. Part of that might be my…somewhat odd affection for Nicolas Cage, but there is SOME sincereity in it. It’s a mostly well made adventure movie, and I’m a sucker for those.
Starshine: How is more patriotic than Independence Day? Cause it involves actual pseudo-history?
Elessar: More or less. I don’t know if it’s more patriotic, but it’s patriotism is less…I don’t know, frustrating? It’s an entirely American story, so having it be entirely about Americans makes sense. But even at 10 years old, I found it odd that there was so little about other countries in Independence Day.
Starshine: I mean to be fair, National Treasure is 95% about America involving two or three other countries. And hey, they mention other countries in Independence Day, they’re just not as important cause ‘Murica.
Elessar: Fair enough. And I suppose is Mr. Emmerich’s depictions of other countries would be…unfortunate, if The Patriot is anything to go on. Hey, we could also discuss The Patriot?
Starshine: We can but I don’t see why you’d want to. I mean Will Smith and Nick Cage, sure. But Mel Gibson?
Elessar: I wouldn’t but a lot of people did at the time. Though to be honest, I’ve never cared much for The Patriot. It’s got all the same problems as Independence Day, but none of it’s good parts. Plus a lot of that movie, like the way the slaves are treated, or sticking the fist pumping patriotism alongside much more R-Rated violence always struck me as icky.
Starshine: The problem with The Patriot is that’s it’s so lovingly idealized it can’t be taken seriously. You know what else is really patriotic? Django Unchained.
Elessar: …I’d honestly never thought of Django as being patriotic. You might have to elaborate there.
Starshine: Well it’s more modern patriotism that classic. A black man, a representation of the race that actually built this country into a power house, not only faces the men who enslaved him but does so with the tools used to enslave him – guns,steel, and blind determination. He stands up to his oppressors and doesn’t say “no more,” he says “never again,” before blowing them sky high. If that isn’t the American spirit, fighting against all odds and an oppressive force with bloodshed, courage and gun powder, what is?
Elessar: Hm. I’d never thought of it from that angle. Of course that is kind of undercut by the fact that America is the country that allowed him to be enslaved as is therefore metaphorically just as much represented by the slaver as the slave, but I get where you’re going. It’s an interesting interpretation.
Starshine: Fair enough but slavery is older than America and was brought by the Europeans.
Elessar: True, but I stand by it. I don’t know if that makes it more or less patriotic. But hey, I’ll say to Django what I said to Patriot: As historical fiction about America goes, you’re both inferior to John Adams.
Starshine: The HBO show?
Elessar: The HBO show.
Starshine: That’s a sentiment I can agree with. Long live Paul Giamatti.
Elessar: Hopefully with the recent implosion of Gary Oldman I can start getting the public at large to realize just how freaking awesome Paul Giamatti is.
Starshine: Paul Giamatti is the real National Treasure here. Any other honorable mentions?
Elessar: None that are super patriotic. I mean, Glory and 12 Years a Slave are about American history, but you don’t exactly watch them to get pumped up.
Starshine: Also long as you don’t try to pass off American History X as one, we are all good.
Elessar: …No. Just…no. But yeah, most of my American history movies are more…critical of our history. Which is good for being artistic, bad for getting pumped up for 4th of July. How about you?
Starshine: I think any movie that has the feel good fuck yeah America spirit of the holiday all movies rule. But Independence Day the most.
Elessar: Fair enough. And we’ll always have that movie…unless Nic Cage decides to steal it to find clues.
Well with that final awful joke from me, I think we’re done. This is Elessar signing off.
Starshine: And Starshine, riding an alien spaceship back to my home planet.