Six Great Movies to Watch on the Fourth of July
Happy Fourth of July, Movie News Net readers! Today, I’d like to share a guest article from a reader called Poseidon, who wanted to point out a list of movies to consider watching to commemorate the United States’s status as an independent nation.
While sunning, swimming and watching fireworks, our minds naturally turn to the movies (of course), and specifically, we wondered… “Which movie has the best Fourth of July scene?”
- You could opt for Independence Day (1996), obviously, which combines a disaster movie with an alien invasion movie. Independence Day is a fun popcorn movie, with its blowing up of national landmarks and goofball alien antics, and it’s still light years better than the horrific Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), which is quite honestly one of the worst movies ever. But as entertaining as Independence Day is for a Grade B movie, the action and actors are all over the map…. Will Smith is starring in a “Top Gun Meets Aliens” action comedy, while Randy Quaid looks like he wandered in stoned from a National Lampoon’s Vacation movie and no one told him he was in a big budget blockbuster. Bill Pullman and Mary McConnell play it pretty straight as the President and First Lady coping with an invasion, while Jeff Goldblum struggles with a role that has him trying to save the world, win back his ex-wife, and deal with his dad, Judd Hirsch, playing one of the most stereotypical Jewish dads ever. Seriously, this movie is all over the place, but somehow it’s still fun to watch. (Just don’t watch the sequel. Seriously. There’s a good reason Will Smith did not make a sequel to one of his biggest blockbusters ever. Trust Will.)
- Or you could go with a scary movie and choose I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), where teenagers Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillipe, and Jennifer Love Hewitt accidentally “kill” someone while driving one drunken summer night. When they reunite the following Fourth of July weekend, they are terrorized by a hook-handed fisherman who is not happy at all about What They Did Last Summer. It takes a little getting used to seeing Buffy’s Sarah Michelle playing a victim instead of a slayer, but for a teen slasher thriller, this movie is another entertaining popcorn movie that’s fun to watch.
- You could go with Live Free or Die Hard (2007), which, in addition to having a lame title, is probably one of the weaker Die Hard movies. This one features Bruce Willis and Justin Long racing around Washington, D.C., fighting off terrorist hackers on a Fourth of July weekend. Lots of action, lots of dumb explosions, but sadly, no Alan Rickman and no Samuel L. Jackson this time around. Yippee Kay Yay… No.
- You could also opt for Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July (1989)which features an Oscar-nominated Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic, a real-life U.S. Marine turned American anti-war activist.
- Another scary movie option is Zodiac (2007), director David Fincher’s gripping film about the real-life serial killer who terrorized Californians in the late 60s/early 70s. This suspenseful thriller stars Jake Gyllenhall, Robert Downey, Jr., and Mark Ruffalo in a well-acted creep-fest that is all the scarier because it’s true. One of the Zodiac’s first murders occurs on a romantic Lover’s Lane on the Fourth of July, and it’s frightening enough to keep you from ever thinking of hooking up in a car again.
- But, really, when it comes right down to it, Jaws (1975) is the all-time best movie featuring the Fourth of July. You have a young Steven Spielberg making movie magic and scaring several generations of viewers out of the oceans. You have John Williams and his incredibly iconic score. You have Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw all knocking it out of the park with their acting. Jaws scared us to death with that opening scene with poor doomed Chrissy swimming after dark, and we never even get a glimpse of the shark. By the time the shark finally pops out of the water many scenes later, it’s one of the all-time great jump scares in movie history. And that Fourth of July sequence is masterful… Several fake shark “sightings” and a panic at the beach happen before we hear a young woman screaming, “Shark!” and Chief Brody and his wife slowly realize their son is in danger. Spielberg keeps turning the suspense up throughout the Oscar-winning movie, but the Fourth of July scene is still a showstopper.
So, whether you check out one of these Fourth of July movies, or opt for the new Spider-Man: Far From Home (it’s a lot of fun) this weekend, or decide to enjoy a hot dog and just watch fireworks, all of us at MovieNewsNet wish you a very Happy Fourth of July!
Grant Davis is a freelance writer who has covered entertainment news for more than four years. His articles have frequently appeared in Star Wars News Net as well as as other entertainment-related websites. As someone who grew up on Star Wars and comic book movies, he’s completely thrilled with the current era of genre entertainment.