Host a pa­tri­otic film fest this week­end

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Panorama: Weekender - By Kyla Cathey LODI LIV­ING EDI­TOR

On Mon­day, you can cel­e­brate Amer­ica at Hutchins Street Square, and on Tues­day, Lodi Lake will be the place to be from the Ki­wa­nis pan­cake break­fast through fire­works af­ter dark.

But that leaves Satur­day and Sun­day empty. How about fill­ing them with a pa­tri­otic film fes­ti­val?

In­vite some friends, fire up the bar­be­cue, grab a few bot­tles of lo­cally brewed beer and un­cork some Lodi wine. Then, watch a cou­ple movies to get in the In­de­pen­dence Day spirit.

1. ‘In­de­pen­dence Day’ and ‘In­de­pen­dence Day: Resur­gence’

Of course. This hu­mans vs. aliens flick is cheesy sci­ence fic­tion at its finest — evil aliens try to in­vade, and hu­man­ity has to fight back. Set on July 4, the movie will bring out your pa­tri­otic pride as the fic­tional U.S. pres­i­dent and his rag-tag team of he­roes race to save the world.

The 2016 se­quel has hu­man­ity far more tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced, thanks to alien tech, but in no less dan­ger from the in­vaders. Once again, a team of he­roes — this time a lit­tle more global — has to save the world.

Sure, the movies have a few plot holes, but they’re full of good, ex­plo­sive un­der­dog vs. evil ac­tion.

2. ‘Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger’

Capt. Steve Rogers is an em­bod­i­ment of ev­ery­thing Amer­ica should be. He pro­tects those who need pro­tect­ing, stands up for the lit­tle guy, and puts his life on the line to do what’s right, even when it’s not easy.

The se­quels are fun, too, but you can’t go wrong with “The First Avenger.” Set dur­ing the dark­est days of World War II, Cap goes to great lengths to join the Army and gets in­volved in a se­cret ex­per­i­ment to be­come a su­per sol­dier. But while bat­tling Nazis — he’s knocked out Adolf Hitler over 200 times — Rogers un­cov­ers a deeper evil: Hy­dra, which plans to use an­cient, mag­i­cal ar­ti­facts to re­make the world.

It’s an imag­i­na­tive, su­per­hero take on World War II, but a fun romp none­the­less.

3. ‘An Amer­i­can Tail’

This kid-friendly an­i­mated movie shares the story of Fievel Mouseke­witz and his fam­ily as they im­mi­grate from Rus­sia to the United States in 1885. They flee Cos­sacks and Jewish pogroms look­ing for a bet­ter life in Amer­ica, but Fievel is sep­a­rated from his fam­ily.

Af­ter es­cap­ing a sweat­shop, Fievel throws his lot in with Ir­ish and Italian mice who are fight­ing the cats ex­ploit­ing mice work­ers. He also be­friends Tiger, an or­ange tabby cat who wants to help the mice. Fievel’s main goal, though, is to find his fam­ily and live the Amer­i­can dream.

4. ‘Glory’

In the midst of the Civil War, Capt. Robert Shaw, a white of­fi­cer, is in­jured at An­ti­etam and sent home to re­cover, where he is quickly pro­moted and put in charge of the all-black 54th Mas­sachusetts Reg­i­ment.

De­spite the dan­ger — the Con­fed­er­acy an­nounces that any black men in Union Army uni­form will be ex­e­cuted, not taken pris­oner — the men in­sist on fight­ing to free other slaves and keep Amer­ica united.

Dur­ing the war, Shaw lob­bies for his men to be al­lowed to fight, rather than be­ing treated as a la­bor­ers for the other reg­i­ments. Fi­nally, the 54th gets their chance when they vol­un­teer to lead a charge at Charleston Har­bor, de­spite know­ing it will lead to heavy ca­su­al­ties.

(For a sim­i­lar story, check out “Only the Brave,” which fol­lows the seg­re­gated 442nd Reg­i­men­tal Com­bat Team — the most dec­o­rated unit in U.S. mil­i­tary his­tory — as they risk their lives to save the Texas Lost Bat­tal­ion dur­ing World War II.)

5. ‘Born on the Fourth of July’

“Born on the Fourth of July” tells the true story of Viet­nam War vet­eran Ron Kovic.

Kovic — who re­ally was born on July 4 — joins the Marines dur­ing Viet­nam. Through two tours in Viet­nam, Kovic learns that war is not glo­ri­ous, af­ter be­ing in­volved in an at­tack that leaves Viet­namese civil­ians dead and los­ing a fel­low Ma­rine to his own friendly fire.

When he’s in­jured in bat­tle and par­a­lyzed from the chest down, he re­turns to the U.S., where the veter­ans hospi­tal ig­nores him and Amer­i­can cit­i­zens have turned against the war and the sol­diers who fight in it.

Through his strug­gles with dis­abil­ity, PTSD and life in Amer­ica as a vet­eran, Kovic strug­gles with what it means to be truly pa­tri­otic, and whether crit­i­cism of Amer­i­can in­volve­ment in Viet­nam and other wars is right or wrong.

The movie is based on Kovic’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy of the same name.

6. ‘Jaws’

Speak­ing of guilty plea­sures, this movie about a killer shark doesn’t seem to have much of a con­nec­tion to In­de­pen­dence Day — be­yond be­ing set dur­ing the Fourth of July hol­i­day, that is.

But be­tween the schlocky shark-fight­ing fun, there is an in­cred­i­bly mov­ing scene where hard-bit­ten sea­farer Quint shares that he is a sur­vivor of the USS In­di­anapo­lis dis­as­ter dur­ing World War II.

That’s all I can say with­out spoil­ing the film for those who haven’t seen it yet!


The wax fig­ure of Cap­tain Amer­ica, por­trayed by Chris Evans in the 2011 movie “Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger,” stands at Madame Tussauds in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in 2015. The movie is one of sev­eral that can be added to the list for a pa­tri­otic film fes­ti­val.

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