Happy 4th of July
Independence Day is finally here, which means your extra-long weekend is probably stuffed with BBQs, pool parties, and explosions so big you could see them from Mars.
We're out enjoying the celebration America's birthday, but between all the partying and family fun, we've got a selection of our favorite patriotic books, music and movies queued up for everyone to enjoy over the weekend. Here's the patriotic media will keep our 4th of July celebration rocking hard into the weekend.
Your favorite not in our list? Drop us your top 4th of July hits in comments
Liberty's Torch, by Elizabeth Mitchell
2014's best new book all Americans should read in July is undoubtedly Elizabeth Mitchell's in depth look at the origins of the greatest statue ever made: Lady Liberty.
The creation of the Statue of Liberty is shrouded in myth, but Mitchell's research dives into the life of the French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who enlisted the help of France's most prominent figures to make his vision of a colossal female statue to reality. The journey wasn't as rosey or pro-Franco-American as Bartholdi wanted the world to believe, but a cast of the era's most prominent figures like Victor Hugo, Gustave Eiffel, Ulysses S. Grant and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow make the true story of the Lady Liberty immensely more interesting than the fable you were told in grade school.
iTunes - $9.99
Born in the U.S.A., by Bruce Springsteen
July 4th is the one day a year when every single American becomes a Bruce Springsteen fan, for better or worse. The Boss' mega-hit album Born in the U.S.A. is the penultimate patriotic album. It's bound to rock every barbecue from Anchorage to Miami this weekend, thanks to its seven hit tracks all about the hope of the American Dream. Pair it with Surfin’ USA and you’ll have all your bases covered.
iTunes - $9.99
Peter Berg's adaptation of Lone Survivor for the big screen is the best American war movie since Hurtlocker. The courage, commitment and sacrifice on display by the armed forces in this tale of an Afghanistan counter-insurgent mission gone wrong, hit you with a raw force akin to Saving Private Ryan, making Mark Wahlberg's war drama the most timely July release of the year.
Any of the Rocky movies are a solid choice for Independence Day weekend, but numero quatro holds a special place in my heart. Not only does Rocky avenge his nemesis-turned-best-friend Apollo Creed, he essentially ends the Cold War, one uppercut at a time.
Yes, it's beyond cheesy, as Stallone manages to take his underdog character to epic heights in his bout with the evil Russian cyborg, Drago, but it's also so totally "USA" you're practically obligated to watch it to pass the US Citizenship test.
iTunes - $3.99
Hard Choices, by Hilary Rodham Clinton
It's not really patriotic," says Cult of Mac's Nicole Martinelli, "but I'm reading Hillary's 'Hard Choices' which, aside from being a stellar doorstop, is an interesting take on America's place in the world today and the search for ‘smart power.’”
Hillary hasn't submitted her application for President quite yet, but if you want to know what the person most likely to rule the free world in 2016 thinks about how America should conduct itself, grab your own copy for the weekend.
iTunes - $14.99
The Jazz Singer, by Neil Diamond
You know you're going to sing the shit out of “they’re coming to the America" all 4th long, so you might as well dip into the full album of Neil's finest performances ever as Jess Robin in The Jazz Singer. The movie is good, but the soundtrack is way better. And even though it has a brief affair with Acapulco, this is Diamond's greatest love note to America, a place where every young boy can defy their conservative father and to become the greatest singer the world's ever known.
iTunes - $4.26
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Ambrose's definitive book on the Lewis and Clark expedition is one of the most fantastic American adventure stories of all time. Tasked with finding the most direct water route across the continent, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark faced everything from hostile natives, starvation, fierce grizzly bears, impassable mountains, and vast uncharted areas of North America never seen by American eyes.
Undaunted Courage gives readers an incredible look at what America looked like before the U.S.A. empire stretched from sea to shining sea, from the the perspective of two of America’s greatest heroes that formed an incredible friendship to overcome impossible odds with unmatched determination and courage.
What's more "American" than a fake war, Tom Cruise, a killer Kenny Loggins song, a gorgeous blonde and the military might of America's war machine on full display? No, seriously do you know? Because we can't think of any combo that embodies the height of Reagan-era America more than Top Gun.
The jet-powered red, white, and blue adrenaline rush is so intense it even made Anthony Edwards look badass, and even though its been replayed on TV over a billion times since its 1986 release, we'll never lose that loving feeling we got for the battle between Ice Man and Maverick.
iTunes - $3.99