Tag Archives: First Amendment

Top 5 Patriotic Movies from the ’80s

american_flag_guidelines-thinkstockThis is another repost from last 4th of July. On this great day, I present to you, once again, the top 5 patriotic movies of the ’80s:

 

5. The Right Stuff
right_stuff_ver1This movie, released in 1983, was based on Tom Wolfe’s book on the history of the U.S. Space program. It begins with Chuck Yaeger (Sam Shepard) breaking the sound barrier, and then tells the story of the pioneers of the space program known as the Mercury Seven. This had a great cast including Scott Glenn as Alan B. Shepard, Ed Harris as John Glenn, Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper, and Fred Ward as Gus Grissom. The story told about the Space Race between the U.S. and Russia, and showed the courage and strength of the astronauts despite their flaws.

4. Glory
glory_ver1_xlgReleased in 1989, Glory told the story of Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), during the Civil War as he volunteered to lead the first company of black soldiers. deal with the prejudices of both the enemy (who had orders to kill commanding officers of blacks), and of his own fellow officers. This is another movie that showed Americans’ resolve and strength. Denzel Washington (fresh off of St. Elsewhere) was incredible in this movie, and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Not too shabby considering he played alongside Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) also starred. This is one of my favorite Civil War movies alongside Gettysburg. The acting is outstanding, and the battle scenes are outstanding.

3. Top Gun
51hbvecdirl-_ac_ul320_sr218320_Remember when Tom Cruise could actually draw in an audience? He was at the top of his game when this movie was released in 1986. Tom Cruise played a navy pilot called “Maverick” who gets an opportunity to train at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School along with his partner “Goose” (ER‘s Anthony Edwards). “Maverick” has a rivalry with Val Kilmer’s “Iceman”, and falls for an instructor Kelly McGillis played called Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood.
Cruise basically plays the same character that he played in The Color of Money, Cocktail, Days of Thunder, and A Few Good Men – the arrogant, cocky jerk who erally has a good heatr, but needs a wake-up call. But this was a fun movie. Especially towards the end, when the pilots need to go into battle for real. And, you can’t go wrong with a Righteous Brothers song (“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”), as well as a couple of great Kenny Loggins songs – “Danger Zone”, and “Playing With the Boys”. I could have done without that volleyball scene, and Val Kilmer’s reaction when Cruise says “That’s right! Ice… man. I am dangerous.”

2. Red Dawn (’84)
This 1984 film showed what we never thought could happen, the U.S. gets invaded by Russia. This movie had a great cast including Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey.
It was freaky to see the Russians parachute in a field outside a high school. And then they open fire on a teacher when he goes out to confront them. The main characters escaped, and equipped themselves, then returned and began an armed resistance against the occupation forces—calling themselves “Wolverines” after their high school mascot. They defy the odds, and become a thorn in the Russians side. With their numbers dwindling, the Wolverines decide to escape the area and try to get more help. It seems that brothers Jed (Patrick Swayze) and Matt (Charlie Sheen) sacrifice themselves to get the rest of the gang free. It doesn’t show them being killed, but in the epilogue of the movie, it mentions that the U.S. successfully repelled the invading forces. And it says “… In the early days of World War 3, guerrillas – mostly children – placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation should not perish from the earth.”

1. Rocky IV
517z2bl9j9dl-_sy300_It seems kind of silly, but if you think about it, this 1985 movie, had underdog Americans against steroid pumped Russians (There’s no truth to the rumor that Ivan Drago went on to become a Major League Baseball star). It had a patriotic song – “Living in America” by James Brown. Not to mention, it had Rocky himself – who was from Philadelphia, home of Benjamin Franklin, the Liberty Bell, and cheese steaks! The fact that the boxers don’t know how to block punches in the Rocky movies makes them more exciting. And it is funny how Rocky, through his strength and perseverance, eventually gets the Russian fans on his side.

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Top 5 Patriotic Songs from the ’80s

american_flag_guidelines-thinkstockThis article was originally posted in preparation for the 4th of July weekend last year. Now that some justice has been served this great day, it seems like a good time to repost the “Top 5 Patriotic Songs from the ’80s”:


5. Pink Houses – John Cougar Mellencamp
This is one of my favorite John Cougar songs. It feels like he’s just driving across the country and singing about the people he is seeing. The people that make up this great country.

4. Living in America – James Brown
The “Godfather of Soul” performed this song in the movie Rocky IV, and it is on the soundtrack for that movie. You can’t help but see red, white, and blue when you hear this song.

3. America – Neil Diamond
A great patriotic song by Neil Diamond. It was a hit single in 1981, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and appeared in his movie The Jazz Singer. It’s a positive about immigrants coming to this great country.

2. Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
The Boss released this song in 1984 on the album of the same name. The song was in part a tribute to Springsteen’s friends who had experienced the Vietnam War, some of whom did not come back; it also protests the hardships Vietnam veterans faced upon their return from the war. It doesn’t say much for the government, but it is sympathetic for the Vietnam veteran and the working man.

1. God Bless The U.S.A. – Lee Greenwood
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest patriotic songs of all time – not just the ’80s. The song was written by Greenwood, and appears on 1984’s You’ve Got a Good Love Comin’.
It reached #7 on the Country charts when it was released. It gained popularity during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, and boosted morale.

Then it came into prominence once again after the September 11 attacks, and it was re-released as a single in 2003 after the war in Iraq began. It was released as “God Bless the USA 2003”.

Will this song be re-released once again?  It seems like as good a time as any.

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Airplane! released 30 years ago today. Surely you can’t be serious!

I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley. Airplane!, one of the funniest movies of all time was released on July 2, 1980. The movie was directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, and influenced many other satires including the Naked Gun, as well as the Scary Movie franchises. It was a satire of disaster movies, and was basically a remake of a 1957 movie called Zero Hour. Airplane! starred Robert Hays as Ted Striker – an ex-fighter pilot who was traumatized after an incident during the war, leading to his fear of flying and his “drinking problem”. Of course his “drinking problem” was not alcoholism, but the problem was that he always missed his mouth whenever he tried to drink something. Striker attempts to regain the love of his life from the war, Elaine (Julie Hagerty), now a stewardess. In order to win her love, Striker overcomes his fear and buys a ticket on a flight she is serving on, from Los Angeles to Chicago. During the flight a major case of food poisoning breaks out, and knocks the pilot, co-pilot, and navigator out of commission. Ted needs to overcome his fear, and take over as pilot, and landing the plane safely.
Airplane! also starred several actors playing against the type of roles they were used to playing.
This movie changed Leslie Nielsen’s career. Before Airplane!, Nielsen had leading roles in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet and as the ship’s captain in The Poseidon Adventure. His last role before Airplane! was in the 1977 action movie Project: Kill. In Airplane!, he played Dr. Rumack:

Rumack: What was it we had for dinner tonight?
Elaine: Well, we had a choice of steak or fish.
Rumack: Yes, yes, I remember, I had lasagna.

Sadly, Leslie Nielsen passed away November 28, 2010 from complications of pneumonia.
Peter Graves, who died on March 14 this year, was better known as Jim Phelps from the Mission: Impossible television show. But, he was great as Captain Oveur. The things that he said to little Joey probably would not appear in any movies today without causing an outrage:
“Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?”
“Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?”
“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”

Robert Stack was also known for serious roles, such as Eliot Ness in the television drama The Untouchables (1959–63). Most of us also know him from hosting Unsolved Mysteries from 1987-2002. In Airplane!, Stack played Captain Rex Kramer, Ted’s former commander, who is called in to air control to talk Ted down.
[continuing to talk into the radio after Striker lands the plane] “Ted, have you ever been face down in the mud, and been kicked in the head with an iron boot? Of course you haven’t! No one has! It’s a stupid question! Forget I even asked!”

And who could forget Lloyd Bridges as Steve McCroskey, the tower supervisor!? He sure picked the wrong week to quit his many vices:

“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.”
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.”
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.”

There are so many comedic moments in this movie that you can not possibly catch everything the first time you watch the movie. 30 years later, there are still things I see in the movie that I had missed or had forgotten about.

And here is my favorite scene of the movie. Talk about playing against type! Check out Barbara Billingsley (aka Mrs. June Cleaver) as the Jive Lady:

Randy: Can I get you something?
Second Jive Dude: ‘S’mofo butter layin’ me to da’ BONE! Jackin’ me up… tight me!
Randy: I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
First Jive Dude: Cutty say ‘e can’t HANG!
Jive Lady: Oh stewardess! I speak jive.
Randy: Oh, good.
Jive Lady: He said that he’s in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
Randy: All right. Would you tell him to just relax and I’ll be back as soon as I can with some medicine?
Jive Lady: Jus’ hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da’ rebound on da’ med side.
Second Jive Dude: What it is, big mama? My mama no raise no dummies. I dug her rap!
Jive Lady: Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’ want no help, chump don’t GET da’ help!
First Jive Dude: Say ‘e can’t hang, say seven up!
Jive Lady: Jive ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!

There are so many great moments in the movie. What are your favorite scenes or quotes?

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