BEST JULY 4TH MOVIES

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY JAY BOB­BIN

“The Mu­sic Man” (1962) Though it’s ul­ti­mately about more than In­de­pen­dence Day, the hol­i­day does fig­ure into Mered­ith Will­son’s won­der­fully tune­ful mu­si­cal that boasts a ca­reer-defin­ing per­for­mance by Robert Pre­ston as “Pro­fes­sor” Harold Hill, the con artist who prom­ises Iowa towns­folk that he’ll or­ga­nize a march­ing band. The piece’s heap­ing help­ing of nostalgic Amer­i­can life re­mains ir­re­sistible.

“Jaws” (1975) The cen­ter­piece of the block­buster thriller that put di­rec­tor Steven Spiel­berg on the map is the July 4th cel­e­bra­tion on New Eng­land’s Amity Is­land, whose profit-minded mayor (Mur­ray Hamilton) re­fuses to is­sue warn­ings about

the Great White shark that has started to dec­i­mate the pop­u­la­tion. He comes to re­gret that de­ci­sion ... as do Po­lice Chief Martin Brody, hunter Quint and shark expert Matt Hooper (Roy Schei­der, Robert Shaw, Richard Drey­fuss), who be­come sea­far­ing part­ners in track­ing down the lethal ma­rauder.

“Blown Away” (1994) Not a tra­di­tional Fourth of July movie, this melo­drama about old en­e­mies who bring their bat­tle from Ire­land to Bos­ton still uses the hol­i­day in a ma­jor way, since Bean­town’s tra­di­tional In­de­pen­dence Day con­cert fac­tors hugely into the cli­mac­tic se­quence. A ter­ror­ist (Tommy Lee Jones) comes to Amer­ica to tar­get a for­mer com­rade turned Bos­ton cop (Jeff Bridges), and the lat­ter’s new wife (Suzy Amis) just happens to be one of the mu­si­cians per­form­ing in the con­cert.

“In­de­pen­dence Day” (1996) Well, of course. This earth­lings-vs.-aliens ad­ven­ture is a July 4th nat­u­ral, and the ti­tle still does rep­re­sent a bat­tle for free­dom ... if much more so­phis­ti­cated tech­ni­cally than what our na­tion’s fore­fa­thers ex­pe­ri­enced. Bill Pull­man (as the U.S. pres­i­dent), Jeff Gold­blum, Vivica A. Fox and Judd Hirsch are among the stars – but as a fighter pi­lot, Will Smith makes a par­tic­u­lar im­pact, thanks to his fre­quently hu­mor­ous re­join­ders upon be­ing at­tacked by ex­trater­res­tri­als.

”The Mu­sic Man”

“Jaws”

“In­de­pen­dence Day”

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