Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holiday Viewing Suggestions

Scene from Rankin/Bass' holiday classic, "Uncle Sam's Secret Life" (1976)

To The Moon For Which It Stands (1953) An attempt to claim the moon as the 49th state goes awry when the crew of the USS U.S. Grant (Tom Ewell, Phil Silvers, Corny the Chimp) take a wrong turn and end up on a hidden planet run by communist bathing beauties. Incensed by the American invasion, the space women put on a fashion show, driving the astronauts to renounce free enterprise, until Corny unplugs the hypno-ray, breaking the commie spell, leading to a beach party the likes of which Tootstopia has never seen! With Beverly Garland and Cloris Leachman.

Kick The Kaiser's Keister (1935) Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey play reluctant Army draftees who somehow end up behind German lines during WWI. The boys trick a couple of drunken plumbers out of their clothes, hook up with two apolitical beer garten waitresses (Sunny Sims and Mabel Jung), con and sing their way to the top of Germany's military command where they not only dismantle the German war machine, but stop the Russian revolution, restore the Habsburg dynasty, and become sauerkraut tycoons, before the plumbers they tricked wake up and demand their clothes back. Songs include "Bavarian Cutie Pie" and "Smile When You Schnitzel."

The Pounding Fathers (1981) Bob Guccione's follow-up to "Caligula." Washington (Dabney Coleman) and Franklin (Mac Davis) are swinging libertines who pimp out high-end colonial call girls, until Betsy Ross (Helen Mirren) wants a piece of the action, sending the young republic into an orgy of betrayal and hard-core sex. Alexander Hamilton (Wayland Flowers) tries to exploit the sexual chaos by making himself America's reigning sovereign, but is stopped by Thomas Jefferson (Norman Mailer), Sally Hemings (Pam Grier), and an army of horny slaves who fuck the Continental Congress back to political health. Jesus (Cheech Marin) descends to bless the new nation, but is so disgusted by the scene that he throws up and takes the next hundred years off. With Evel Knievel as Jumpin' James Madison.

World War WOW! (1969) Nate Nichols (Dick Van Dyke) wants to stage a reenactment of the Normandy invasion for Tuttle, PA's Fourth of July celebration, but can only find unemployed hippies to play the roles. Determined to realize his vision, Nate runs endless rehearsals, until his leading men (Rob Reiner and Beau Bridges) dose his sherry with LSD, causing Nate to rewrite D-Day as a Hopi dance ritual. Angry Tuttlites, led by barber Jake Nester (Ernest Borgnine), try to stop the performance just as Ethel Merman's tour bus breaks down nearby. Merman brings Tuttle together by singing patriotic show tunes set to psychedelic music. The pharmacy suddenly explodes and burns, but everyone's in too good a mood to care. With Scatman Crothers and the 1910 Fruitgum Company.

Independunce Day (1973) Futuristic look at early 21st century America, where widespread ignorance, apathy, and technological distractions turn the US into an overfed mega-state ruled by elite private interests with financial and military designs on energy-rich segments of the Earth. Leonard Nimoy plays The Instructor, who wanders through this nightmare landscape, explaining how average Americans are so deep in debt and lack the political power and will necessary to change matters that they look instead to a smooth-talking Messiah figure (Cleavon Little) who promises to make it all better while actually maintaining the status quo. Chilling to watch even today.