This is no ordinary year, and this is no ordinary movie list. With our nation shutting back down again and the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of slowing down any more than the runaway train of daily madness that is our political condition, this Fourth of July weekend requires a movie viewing list to both help us forget a little, and put things into perspective. Now, read on for the top five best films you have to watch this Fourth of July.
My criteria for this list is simple — whatever films have some sort of connection to the holiday, direct or indirect, and which serve the purpose as films that are particularly well-suited for watching for a very 2020 Fourth of July. I had fun with this list, not only in the selection process but also while writing out the “why” for each movie. So try not to take it all too seriously. Except for the part about watching these selections, definitely take that part seriously.
Here they are, dear readers, the top five best movies for your dysfunctional Fourth of July viewing pleasure!
Jaws — Because a film about the government denying a problem exists, then claiming they solved the problem, then reluctantly admitting we’re all in danger of being eaten alive is decidedly on point this year. Also, it’s got a new 4K release that’s spectacular (read my review, and my interview with the genius who designed the shark). Also also, Jaws is a movie you should watch for any occasion.
Girls Trip — Because we still need to let ourselves laugh, like watching good friends partying on a hilarious road trip to New Orleans. Also, we need to have a good cry now and then about everything we’re sad about missing… like good friends partying on hilarious road trips to New Orleans.
National Treasure — Because it’s good to see the U.S. Constitution actually being used and seeing people try to protect it (as Stephen Colbert would say, ya know, fiction). It’s also makes no sense, has a wildly inaccurate sense of history, and tries to make the Constitution do all kinds of things it doesn’t really do. So maybe it’ll seem less like fiction after all…
Independence Day — Because it’s literally called Independence Day and is about a a resistance beating invaders who seem bigger and stronger, so it gives you a perfectly good excuse to watch a fun sci-fi popcorn flick with giant spaceships, creepy monsters, thrilling action set-pieces, and a terrific all-star cast. This one’s a freebee, just take it.
Born on the Fourth of July — Because one film on this list had to be serious and serve a greater purpose in this time of turmoil and upheaval, and this film’s themes about militarism, propaganda, war, and the power of popular movements to force progressive change upon society are profoundly resonant today. “This is the lost American dream here tonight, and we’re gonna take it back.” Amen, Ron.
There you have it, five movies sure to make your Fourth of July weekend even better!
Be safe and stay healthy out there — wear your masks, maintain social distancing, and instead of fireworks consider something like (for example) no fireworks as an alternative because a weekend full of constant random explosions in the distance is a little more than some people — or any pets — can take anymore.