Let’s put away tribalism and appreciate the many ways in which celebrating American veterans is possible through cinema.
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Today is Memorial Day. It’s a day that is celebrated by all Americans, a day for remembering those we’ve lost in the many conflicts our nation has had over the years. Among these conflicts, you’ll find disagreement about a number of things from various places on the ideological spectrum. One place you’re not likely to find any disagreement: in the fact that those who died are heroes worthy of this day. Here in the United States, we may be divided in so many ways, but we can all agree on this one deeply held truth.
We agree that our dead are to be honored. Which makes articles like the following, from The National Review, so frustrating to see. It’s tribalist, hornet’s nest kicking trash like this that attempts to divide us:
Cool story, but why would one want to drive their liberal friends crazy? Are they not Americans? I see the underlying point the author is trying to make. He’d like you to believe that these films are “more American” because they wholeheartedly support the heroes without addressing any of the larger ideas about the conflicts. But is that really how America works? Blind exceptionalism? Never questioning the reasons why our men and women are sent to die on the battlefield? That idea feels pretty foreign to me. I prefer my Americana to come with real freedom. Which means the freedom to speak openly and criticize if necessary. Said criticism doesn’t diminish the sacrifice. The sacrifice makes all of this freedom possible.
Over the years, we’ve assembled a number of lists that work better as guides to Memorial Day movie viewing. While you’re outside firing up the grill — or perhaps just lazing about, as the Founding Fathers intended — these lists can guide you to the right kinds of films that enlighten, illuminate, and pay tribute:
On this Memorial Day, I hope you’re taking the time to enjoy the company of friends and family. Remember those we’ve lost and remember that they fought for the all the freedoms of all the people in this great country.
Today in Pop Culture History
Both Annette Bening and Laverne Cox were born on this day. We’d watch them in a road trip movie together.
On this day in 1924, Bing Crosby recorded “White Christmas,” which remains one of the most ubiquitous songs in the history of humanity.
Jurassic World premiered in Paris on this day in 2015. They were simpler times, back then.
What You Need to Know Today
Preparations for a Wonder Woman sequel are already underway, according to director Patty Jenkins. This is both expected (it’s a massive tentpole film, after all) and heartening (because the first one took way too long to come to fruition).
Charlie Sheen is currently trying to get a Major League 3 off the ground. As a Cleveland native, I believe I can safely speak for all of us when I say that this isn’t something anyone really wants. Except for Charlie Sheen.
There’s a musical version of The King of Kong in the works. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Our comments section is aflame thanks to the Internet’s many legal scholars coming out of the woodwork to talk about private, post-release Tuesday night screenings of Wonder Woman. Honestly, at this point, it’s best to just let them wear themselves out.
A new video essay tracks the influence of Seven Samurai all the way to Fury Road. It’s a worthwhile 2:28 of your time.
Shot of the Day
For those who fought and died so that I might enjoy the freedom to write snarky shit on the Internet.
THE LONGEST DAY (1962) DP: Jean Bourgoin, Walter Wottitz | Dir: Ken Annakin, and others pic.twitter.com/rlj3qm65Wr
— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) March 22, 2017