/Answers: The Most American Movies

Ethan Anderton: Idiocracy

Though writer/director Mike Judge gave us the benefit of the doubt by setting the sci-fi comedy Idiocracy in the year 2505, just 12 year later, we’re sitting in a version of the United States of America that is only a few steps removed from the fictional future that Luke Wilson finds himself in. Anti-intellectual, consumed by stupidity, government in shambles…this version of the future feels more tangible every sing day as our president continues to behave like the petulant reality television star, corrupt businessman and inexperienced politician that he is. Unfolding in a world where misguided people except falsities at face value and laugh at people getting hit in the balls instead of questioning their fearless (brainless) leader, Idiocracy is undoubtedly the most American movie.

Ben Pearson: Top Gun

Fast jets, hot bods, motorcycles, epic guitar instrumentals, a catchy theme song, fist-pumping action, and a young movie star with a thousand-watt smile…what could be more American than Top Gun? The 1986 classic was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, two names synonymous with action movies in the 1980s, which is a decade that this country still fetishizes to this day. The film was emblematic of a borderline-jingoistic type of rah-rah support that resulted in a reported increase of 500% when it came to people joining the Navy to become fighter pilots. But even if that seemingly-unlikely statistic is true, many people saw the film as a pure wish-fulfillment scenario: they wanted to be like Maverick, blasting bad guys out of the sky and bedding his flight instructor. With its unforgettable one-liners, sun-kissed cinematography, and flashy editing, you could make a case that Top Gun was one of the essential films of the ’80s, and in my mind, it’s one of the most American movies ever made.

Christopher Stipp: The Right Stuff

When you think about what kind of individual it initially took to look at a massive cylindrical tube filled with rocket fuel pointed at 90 degrees and think that strapping yourself, literally, to it would be a sensible thing to do it almost becomes unbelievable. Not having read Tom Wolfe’s book I cannot speak with any great authority of what facts were presented, what truths were stretched for dramatic purposes, but I can say that The Right Stuff is about as hopeful about the American spirit and what it meant to be part of the nation’s burgeoning space program. Further, this movie delves deep into what it meant to an American public to have these men be part of the zeitgeist of the time. It’s almost too much to think that even a fraction of these things are true but with all the things that are blown up for the sake of good melodrama (Lyndon Johnson is painted with, perhaps, too wide a comedic brush, with dozens of characters that are kept track of like little satellites whose orbits need to be tracked so that one never interferes with another, this film extols all that is right and hopeful about what Americans can do even if it does come at the cost of the lives we never knew sacrificed themselves for the greater good. A masterwork in storytelling and a lesson that even at over three hours you are absolutely riveted all the way through, The Right Stuff is an accomplishment of cinema and for the American way.

Idiocracy Returning to Theaters

What do you think of our picks? What is the most America movie? Talk about it in the comments below or email your personal answer (a paragraph or more) to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com with the subject title “Most American Movie.” Our favorite responses will be featured on the site in a future post!

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