No major theatrical releases are making their way to video this week, so it seems like the perfect time to suggest some movies that are sure to put an exclamation point on your July 4 holiday. All of the following are readily available on home video.
“Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942): This charming film tells the life story of real-life entertainer George M. Cohan (James Cagney). That may not sound patriotic, but the movie smacks of the red, white and blue because Cohan wrote a number of America’s most-beloved patriotic tunes. His songs “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” are all featured in the movie, and James Cagney is outstanding in the lead role.
“The Patriot” (2000): This Revolutionary War saga isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice choice for Independence Day. The film is set in 1776, and it tells of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), a veteran soldier who has settled into a peaceful life as a farmer. Alas, when a cruel British officer (Jason Isaacs) kills his youngest son, he decides to fight again. Directed by Roland Emmerich (“2012,” “The Day After Tomorrow”), “The Patriot” is a big, loud blockbuster, but the cast – including Heath Ledger and Chris Cooper – keep things earthy and enjoyable.
“Independence Day” (1996): This Roland Emmerich film is even bigger and louder than “The Patriot,” but it wouldn’t make sense to exclude it from our list. After all, it was named after our July 4 holiday. The plot centers on a widespread alien invasion and the Earthlings who fight back. Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Mary McDonnell star.