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By Mark Bell | July 5, 2007

The United States of America turns 231 years old today, so to celebrate why not have a July 4th-themed movie marathon before the evening fireworks show? Here’s five pics to get your personal Independence Day Film Festival going:

The Patriot
Start the day off with some historical perspective. Beyond hating Jews, Mel Gibson excels at killing the British. “Braveheart” was a massacre, and “The Patriot” goes one step further, as Gibson’s Benjamin Martin behaves with a level of brutality unmatched in a period piece. When I think of the Revolutionary War, I think of Mel Gibson ambushing and scalping a bunch of British soldiers.

Born on the Fourth of July
Okay, so this one is more of an expression in depression and may not be the best for a fun celebratory afternoon, but it will make you think. Think about how our country treats its soldiers. Think about how, at one point, Tom Cruise wasn’t known for being a couch-hopping psychopath. Also a nice gear shift from the violent lunacy of “The Patriot” (somewhat).

Team America: World Police
After two films a little too high in the drama, you need to find something to laugh at and cheer with. That film is Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “Team America: World Police.” Patriotism, Happy 4th of July wishes and more summed up in three words: America, F**k Yeah!

The end fight between Apollo and Rocky takes place in the home of freedom, Philadelphia, on January 1st, 1976, the beginning of the country’s bicentennial celebration. Billed as a Bicentennial Bout, the fight technically SHOULD’VE taken place on July 4th. Buy that? The point is, what better film to watch to get that real feeling of an underdog rising up against a superpower (US vs. Britain, Rocky vs. Apollo).

Independence Day
Come on, it was a given, right? Aliens come to town and are not remotely peaceful, blowing up major cities around the globe. How can they be stopped? How about the fictional son of that guy from “Taxi” teaming up with Will Smith to put a computer virus on the alien mother ship while President Bill Pullman waxes poetic about freedom. This may not be the best film to start the day with, but it sure as Hell ends it well.

There’s numerous other films you could pull in, depending on how you decide to group the theme: War movies? Patriotic movies? Movies that show America doesn’t suck? Movies with America in the title? These are my pics for a quality day of film watching for this July 4th, 2007, and I hope you enjoy your holiday.

– Mark Bell, Editor-with-Fireworks

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