Your point of view: Which films represent American culture?

As summer heat doubles in many places, Americans are flocking to watch the season’s hottest movies in theaters. One of the biggest blockbusters of the summer was “Top Gun: Maverick” starring Tom Cruise and Miles Teller, a story about the Navy’s most prestigious airmen that showcases camaraderie, courage and resilience.

It could be argued that the reason for its popularity stems from the talent of the actors or its action-packed storyline. However, the film’s real appeal comes from its inspiring story of seemingly normal people doing extraordinary things.


Politico says it best: “No one would mistake ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ for social realism, or even (perhaps especially) a realistic portrayal of naval aerial combat.” But rather than the hyper-masculine Reagan-era militarism of Tony Scott’s 1986 original, this movie’s appeal comes from the simple fact that it’s about normal people, doing things within plausible bounds. reality.

Besides that, “Top Gun: Maverick” instills a strong sense of patriotism in its viewers. It depicts the elite nature of the U.S. military and highlights the Airmen’s commitment to defending the country from the United States in times of trouble. It’s overall a feel-good movie that makes people proud of the American lifestyle and culture.

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So we asked our readers: which film represents the best of American culture? What blockbuster movies define who we are? And has it lasted until today?

American culture can be defined by many different things and it can be shown in film in many different ways. As one reader put it, these stories “speak of the experiences of members of the United States who are American [although] their experiences are not part of the mainstream culture.

Still, various stories that often focused on overlooked people, whether the movies were based on real life or fictionalized, were the most common responses. Think “12 Years A Slave,” “Hidden Figures,” and “The Florida Project.”

Here is a selection of reader responses, edited for length and clarity.

I think I could use some help from my wife or one of my sisters, who both have better memories of movie titles and plots. However, off the cuff, I would start to think of films that depict large families coming together (e.g. a big wedding weekend) in amorous chaos of personalities achieving expected and unexpected results, where at least a glimmer or a rush of love and insight appear, even if not at the end of the film. It may feel more like a universal cultural experience, and I think our big national family has many cultures from around the world that sometimes come together in empowering ways, which can lead to growth and happier endings. -Joe Healy

As it is now vorboten to be patriotic and patriotism is considered a punishable offence; I don’t see how any writer will ever be allowed to show America as a great country. The division is accepted and demanded and shown by the separate award ceremonies that the outcast class (Americans) are not able to attend or receive awards. If it’s the “new diversity”, it doesn’t make sense. – Gloria Graham

Honestly, the best movie that helps move our story forward is Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” The opening scene, a takeoff of how white people are supposed to be scared in black neighborhoods, twisting it around to have a black person being kidnapped on a white suburban street, just does more to expose things about our common humanity. , and how our fears keep us from accessing them, than any amount of blockbusters. The ending of this film predicts a better future, a society more open to seeing truths laid before it, and the possibility of justice. There is also a great dog. An incredible movie. -Tod Davies

Anyway, for most people, fictional movies serve as a distraction from reality – a kind of escape from the mundane in a world where hours or even generations are reduced to about two hours, the events Emotion-inducing troubles are usually resolved favorably, and once the credits roll, everything is back to normal.

From that perspective, I would say that – to a large extent – the effect the film has on American culture is in the mind of the viewer. The thing is, there can be more activity in a single action movie than most humans will experience in an entire lifetime. Therefore, there is a potency to this medium that should not be ignored. -Pedro Silva

For me, two relatively recent films have captured contemporary American life. One is “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins and written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, a film about the fractured life of a queer black man. The other is “The Florida Project,” directed by Sean Baker and co-written by Baker and Chris Bergoch, about a little girl and her struggling mother who live week-to-week in a motel near Disney World. Each film depicts the interlocking challenges and moral compromises necessary to live on the margins of American society – where so many Americans live – and the love and joy that exists there in equal measure, almost in retaliation against the systems that created the conditions for their struggle. The humanity of these films is ambitious, even counter-cultural. Not the plot arcs and the tragedies, which are grounded in harsh realities, but the representations of these people as people, their wholeness, their complexities. The love that radiates from the gaze of the camera. Could our country ever love them as completely or as deeply as these movies? -Daniel Pritchard

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