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These Movies Can Still Unite Our Country

Twenty-two years after the shocking events of today, America is experiencing more disarray and division than ever. Is it childishly simplistic to believe a simple film or even set of movies could bring such fundamentally opposed groups together – perhaps even a modicum?

Optimism is not naive, and hope for the future is not a symptom of immaturity. The power of the silver screen to influence lives stretches beyond the red carpet, the neon-lit marquee, and the opening profit-return weekend box office count.

For certain citizens in the US, film and the entertainment industry not only reflect the best and worst in America, but this same medium can also influence the very society it purports to be a mere reflection of. Similar to the recently released Freedom’s Path – clip below – the following three blockbusters cemented patriotism in the hearts and minds of all Americans!

Hollywood possesses the power to inspire, the ability to give a sliver of hope where none exists, and the capability of taking moviegoers on cathartic inner journeys in a way no other medium presents. Indeed, even ordinary citizens occasionally find themselves in the enviable position of being able to espouse their opinions on the entertainment industry at length and be compensated for their efforts – and these outer viewers up in the nosebleeds most likely couldn’t be more grateful! Thus, it is with appreciation that we humbly offer up three films of particular character that still have the capacity to draw American citizens together – even if only temporarily.

Related: Hollywood Remembers 9/11 on 20th Anniversary

Remember Me (2010)

Summit Entertainment

The first inclination when considering the ethereal, somber, and romantically melancholy Remember Me is to dismiss the trope-filled sob-fest as self-absorbed and possessing little patriotism at all. However, that’s a superficial assessment, as the film is filled with contemplative, quiet shots of the citizens and skylines of New York. It is this meditative, inner-focused direction that the writer was truly trying to draw the viewer’s attention to – who we were before.

True, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, and especially Chris Cooper shine supporting the burdened Tyler (portrayed by Robert Pattinson) as he navigates the world after his brothers’ suicide. This stilted insight into Americana and the vagaries of US Society paints a portrait of who we were in this country before… and who we were after. This delicate, nuanced, subtle patriotism through the eyes of a few people leading to a jaw-dropping final scene espoused a different type of love for this country – the gentle reminder of how easily it could be to take it all away.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America the First Avenger
Paramount Pictures

Captain America as a franchise is much easier to make the purposes of patriotism obvious. Yet, the key to Captain America: The First Avenger are the first and second acts. Patriotic enthusiasts, history buffs, and comic fanatics were all satiated and satisfied with the sepia-hued New York suburbs of yesteryear. Of all the available MCU products, this Marvel Captain America film, in particular, demonstrates true patriotism – no one has ever loved America (or what America could be) more than Steve Rogers. Perhaps the most American quote of all time has come from Steve Rogers:

Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, ‘No, you move!’

For the first time in a long time, Americans were treated to a spectacular vision of the US back when patriotism was more than a bumper sticker. In this first Captain America outing, the streets are filled with love and ticker tape after the victory over Japan. Adoration for America and Democracy, in particular, ooze from the screen, infecting moviegoers with an almost vague and undefined feeling of belonging. During these dividing socio-political times, a warm blanket of safety and glossy bronze promises of freedom bathed aficionados in the promise of America’s destiny.

Related: Where to Invade Next Trailer #2: Can Michael Moore Save America?

Armageddon (1997)

Armageddon cast in space suits
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

A bona fide American hit, Armageddon is listed among the most patriotic films ever! Armageddon united not only Americans but indeed the entire planet against a threat that would surely end all existence as viewers knew it. Aside from Bruce Willis, the amazing cast of the last millennium included Steve Buscemi, Billy-Bob Thornton, Owen Wilson, Liv Tyler, William Fichtner, Will Patton, and a newcomer – some guy named Ben Affleck!

Fulfilling the ultimate patriotic crescendo that even the most ardent dissuader of democracy would salute, Armageddon promised the unity of the world through America. Perhaps a bit haughty, perhaps even bogged down with hubris, Armageddon nonetheless promoted a united country, a united human landscape, and a united planet. Aside from being one of the best apocalyptic films of all time, Armageddon had heart, soul, and a sense of humor.

These traits and the ability to move forward – hopefully into better territory – are what define America and patriotism. As we head toward an uncertain future in this country, despite the strikes, political strife, and socio-economic turmoil, it’s worth noting that this country – our America – has survived worse. These patriotic film greats remind us that we will persevere, regardless of extraneous and internal difficulties, and this country will shine on through this century and the next!

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