Saturday, March 27, 2010

America!: The Movie

When I was struck for the inspiration of this post around noon yesterday, I was excited to get started. But then class, meetings, Tegan and Sara*, and girlfriend goodbyes happened**. Soooo here it is.

*I've seen Tegan and Sara before in concert back in Kansas City (sandwiched between the dually awesome Gogol Bordello and Cake) - and they told a story about how the last time they were in KC condoms got thrown up on stage. Ironic, as they're both lesbians.

**Off to NYC. Not fair.

In my Conflict Management class, we were talking about how the media influences the international perception of America. I.E. thanks to the uber-violent, uber-sexualized movies that we all love and adore make people around the world think that there gang fights on the streets on the U.S., everyone's packin' heat, and all women are looking to throw themselves on the next manly man to come around. While this may be good in terms of sheer intimidation and possible victimization, this isn't really the image we should be sending as a country about who we are.

So, that got me thinking: what movies SHOULD we send overseas as a window into our culture of freedom, opportunity, and cheeseburgers with donuts as buns?


So here is a list of movies and TV shows that I would like for the everyday members of the world to mistake for ACTUAL American culture:


Sure we American youth are irresponsible and our elders are ignorant and stodgy, but look how charming and fun-loving we are! We're just crazy kids, trying to get through life as best as we can by having fun before we get separated from what we love: our pessimistic, hypochondriac best friend and young yet sassy girlfriends.


While this wouldn't exactly be combating the "easy American girl" myth, it would likely create a large influx of transfer students to partake in the crazy life that is "college." Go America.


There are many critics out there who aren't what you'd call big "fans" of Kevin Smith's work. And I say fuck them. I'd love for foreigners to think that even people who man convenience stores have exciting, often profane, and hilarious antics. Plus we might get some bonus points for the fact that we play hockey on rooftops. And have sweet pot dealers like Jay and Silent Bob.


Once again, this wouldn't really dispel any myths, I think it would send an important message: our regular cops are like John McClane. Don't fuck with us, or we'll sic Bruce Willis on your sorry terrorist arsses. Even if you're Severus Snape.

The Daily Show/Colbert Report

As I understand, these two are already pretty high up on the list of internationally-syndicated U.S. shows, but I'm sure plenty of Glenn Beck and his ilk get out as well. If only these two were the only news shows out there....I know I'd watch 24-hour S&C coverage.


This might seem like a gimme, but once again: can't undervalue the greatness of everyday life being made funny. And what's funnier than nothing?


Despite the fact that this movie's prediction of the year 2000 never came true (a tyrannical government having complete control over all of America (which, again, isn't really what we want to show about our country), I think that sometimes the most important part of a country isn't where it is now, but where it wants to be. And who doesn't want the national sport to be a cross-nation death race, where hitting pedestrians gains points?*

*Women: 10 points
Teenagers: 40 points
Race officials: 50 points
Children under 12: 70 points
Senior citizens: 100 points


Who wouldn't want to live in a country where disputes are represented by bent over snaps and the every day citizen can burst into sing-song at any time*?

*This wouldn't work in India. Any fan of Bollywood movies would simply scoff at our feeble attempts at musicals. We have too few explosions, jet ski jumps, and quadruple double spies in ours to try to compete.


I know this is a horribly, horribly incomplete list, and I'm sure that one last selection you have in your mind right now would have absolutely MADE this list. So I'll do something I never, ever do: ask for your input*. What movies do YOU think should have been thrown in, and why? Remember, we're representing AMERICA here, and doing so in a way to make people say "Fuck....why aren't we there RIGHT...NOW?!"

*insert joke about how Girlfriend always says this to me here.


Mr O said...

A blogger friend of mine attended a T&S concert last night and said it was amazing. Small world.

I loved this list. Well, I love the Daily Show/Colbert Report so you could have put that on any list and I would have loved it.

I think your list is great, but to answer the question of "Fuck....why aren't we there RIGHT...NOW?!"

Team America: World Police

Eleni said...

When I was in Paris in the spring of 2001, the movie Bring It On (Kirsten Dunst cheerleader movie) was playing in theaters. Now, I don't speak French, but I knew enough to figure out that the French title on those movie posters translated to "American Girls"! To think that some French person watched the movie and decided that the best way to explain it to the French population was to dub it "American Girls," thus only perpetuating the stereotype... Being an American girl and not a cheerleader type at all, I was indignant. But it is pretty hilarious.

Anyway, I hate to think that people in other countries might be judging us based on things that Glenn Beck says. I would choose Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (provided that everyone understands his irony) to represent me any day.

Also, those doughnut bacon cheeseburger things almost made me lose my breakfast.

soft nonsense said...

@ O - I thought about Team America, but figured that it wouldn't really provide an image of America that the rest of the world would be to keen on ;)

@ Eleni - I've heard the same thing happened to "Not Another Teen Movie" (translated to "Not Another American Movie" in Spanish or something). And I can only assume it made you lose your breakfast so that you could eat THOSE puppies instead of whatever you previously had.

CharleyQuinn said...

i am appalled your list is lacking pirates. one of the finest things this great nation has put out to date.
and thank you for bringing the fact that tegan and sara are lesbians. next time i listen to "walking with a ghost", it will be for the first time.

soft nonsense said...

I desperately wanted to, but couldn't come up with any that I really thought captured the awesomeness of 'Murika. After all, POTC is filled with Brit pirates....

Though the fact that the Revolutionaries basically employed privateers (aka pirates) to be the first American navy is pretty freaking awesome.

The Illustrious D said...

Lest we forget:

- Wet Hot American Summer (We're self-satirical!)
- The Graduate (We're ageless!)
- Forest Gump (We're endearing!)
- Anchor Man (We have many leather-bound books!)

soft nonsense said...

Wait a second....aren't you Canadian D?

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