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And, the discussion of great American movies continues...

One MNB user wrote:

I am not a movie expert in the least, but I do fall in love with a few camera moves, great edits and in particular a beautifully written line that is delivered by a brilliant actor.

I’m not really submitting this as my view necessarily, but rather to hear your opinion on a couple of pieces of film work. I realize you may not appreciate me using the term film with regard to these, but it makes me sound smarter. I have no idea if a television series would draw a moan from you, but I’m curious how you would review “Lonesome Dove?” I was pretty captivated by it.

Another series by A&E was C.S. Forrester’s “Horatio Hornblower” novels. Those were not shot with an extremely high production values... In fact there are moments of footage I cringe a bit. But the stories and the leadership principles in them are incredible. At United Supermarkets we had a lunch group, including one of our owners, who would gather each Wednesday to discuss one of the Hornblower films and what we could learn from both the good and bad leadership examples  in the film we watched that week. I would love to read your review on that series too.


“Lonesome Dove”....absolutely terrific, and proof that television offers a broader canvas on which artists can work, often surpassing the stuff seen in the movie theaters.

As for “Horatio Hornblower,” I never saw it. Sorry. (I can’t see everything.)

MNB user Kurt Kopinski wrote about the whole genesis of the discussion...my criticism of William Bennett for saying that Independence Day is his idea of the “great American movie.”

Sorry, I may be repeating something you already have heard or know.  I have been a little busy and picking and choosing what I’ve been reading from MNB.  Anyway, I had a little more time this morning and see that you don’t like Independence Day so much, or you feel it is not as American as other movies.  Granted, it is not my favorite movie by far, and would not be in my top 50 and likely not in my top 100, but I can tell you that when I see it, and hear the President’s speech, it fills me with an emotion and pride of humanity that I rarely feel.  If you don’t recall it, or you haven’t read this recently, here is the quote from IMDB:

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!


First of all, I never said I didn’t like Independence Day. It is a fun, popcorn movie ... just not “the great American movie.”

And yes, it is a nice speech.

MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:

Two movies I would  have included on your list of 50 movies.

The Wild Bunch, an aging group of outlaws who’s time is past, they are totally ruthless, but have qualities we can all admire, like sticking together, having each others back, and I will never forget the scene where they walk through the Mexican village to free their partner, knowing they will probably die, but still doing it, together.  Great movie, great acting.

The Shootist,I think it is the best movie John Wayne did, he played an aging gunfighter who is dying of cancer, along the way he befriends the widow whose house he is boarding at, and teaches her son what it means to be a man and accept responsibility while showing him how small the men he admired really were.  As much as I like True Grit, I think this movie on a whole is better, better all round acting performances.


Both good movies, I agree.

I would disagree about how you rank The Shootist ... I think Wayne is better in movies such as The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, though The Shootist does have a lovely elegiac quality because it resonated with Wayne’s own health problems.

Just as a matter of interest ... I was the movie critic for my college newspaper when The Shootist came out in 1976, and I gave it a very good review - at a time when college students were not sympathetic to Wayne because of his political views.

Shortly after the review came out - I went to school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles - I got a very nice note from Wayne in which he thanked me for my comments, said that he’d given his “best efforts” in making the film, and said that he wished that the studios had handled the film better. (How he came to see that review, I’m not sure ... but LMU was and is very well connected in the film industry.)

I treasure that note. So I’m not entirely objective when it comes to The Shootist.
KC's View: