“Why is America the greatest country in the world?” I personally found this clip of HBO’s The Newsroom to fascinatingly miss the point on this question.
Even considering the furious stats on socioeconomic performance ("WE'RE 59th IN CIRCUMCISED MALES!!!), the rant ignores the true answer to the question. America is the greatest country on earth because we possess the best trained, most highly-funded propaganda machine of the last three decades: Hollywood.
I've come to this conclusion via a very scientific method: How many movies have I seen that make me think "God Bless America" while making this face?
The answer is 236 movies, but in the interest of time, I've narrowed the list to the eight movies that absolutely dominate their very specific genres.
1. Best Showcasing of America's Game: The Sandlot
Because only The Sandlot had this scene:
Honorable Mention: The Natural
2. Best showcasing of America's Real Game: Remember The Titans
Sorry, baseball, but your time is as lost as the innocence of the sandlot. Titans works double-time as propaganda by showing a country solving its civil strife with a game, a game that's bigger than car wrecks and concussions. "You cannot replace a Gary Bertier" nips "I love Brian Piccolo" for this category.
Honorable Mention: Brian's Song
3. Best Undressing of Russian Arrogance, Team Category: Miracle
Now we're getting into the good stuff. I've always wondered if Russians have a collective consciousness for how much American cinema has dogged them over the years? This one holds no competition.
Honorable Mention: None, unless you count the Russian winter to be on Rocky's side from our next award winner.
4. Best Undressing of Russian Arrogance, Singles Category: Rocky IV
This movie always leaves me thinking three things. 1. I can't believe Brigitte Nielsen grew up to be Flavor Flav's thingfriend. 2. Beards really are the manliest look. And 3. IMDB rankings can't be trusted. A 6.2 for Sly seducing an entire crowd of Soviets with nothing but his ability to get punched in the face? You're better than that, IMDB.
Honorable Mention: This Rulon Gardner YouTube clip (if you can spare seven minutes, this is AWESOME!)
5. Best Portrayal of America During Archaeological Pursuits: National Treasure
Stream of thought: National Treasure was Indiana Jones on bath salts. But it did cover way more American history, including a lot that I didn't know. I'm going to pick Nicolas Cage over Harrison Ford? I must be an idiot. Too tough to think of new reasons though. Just throw Harrison the next one.
Honorable mention: Raiders of the Lost Ark
6. Best Undressing of Russian Arrogance, Presidential Category: Air Force One
Can you believe that this was Ford's last good movie? Or that he turns 70 in eight days? Warning: I'm running out of out of award categories.
Honorable Mention: James Cromwell's role in The Sum of All Fears was a distant 94th.
7. Best Odyssey Through Decades of Americana: Forrest Gump
It's almost like the category was tailored to the film. No challenge
8. Best Showcasing of Self-Aggrandizing American Satire: Team America
And now I'm just out of ideas. Happy 4th, America!