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Ask The Mary Sues: Our Unconventional 4th of July Movie Picks

We've got the movie recs for ALL your complicated Independence Day feels.

Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm and Sam Neill as Alan Grant in Jurassic Park

As the holiday weekend kicks off, many Americans are beset with complicated feelings around the national holiday. Independence Day conjures warm fuzzy memories of barbeques, family reunions, and fireworks. But as we grow older, we’re forced to contend with all the ways in which America lets us down. As a country, we’re in the midst of a long overdue discourse regarding the role of racism in our country’s past and present, and how we will educated future generations.

It’s also been a rough four years for patriotism when the highest office in the land was held by a racist, misogynist, malevolent symbol of everything that is wrong with America. But still, there is so much to be thankful for. For one, that guy is gone. And what’s more, we’re slowly coming out of the pandemic, movie theaters are open, and hot dogs remain delicious. It’s the little things.

As we’re heading into a very hot weekend, the indoor women of The Mary Sue are here with your unconventional 4th of July weekend film picks. So if the BBQ is getting too hot or the fireworks too noisy, why not cozy up with these classics?

Chelsea Steiner:

One day, I will write the definitive text on how The Purge is the perfect American film franchise: loud, dumb, violent, and relentlessly entertaining. There’s so much to enjoy in all 5 installments of the grindhouse-inspired saga, including The Forever Purge which hits theaters this weekend. If you like nonstop action thrillers that wear their political message on their forehead, then you’re in for a treat. Go ahead, binge The Purge.

Rachel Leishman:

Jurassic Park doesn’t have anything OVERTLY 4th of July about it, but my tradition has become that I wake up early, watch the movie, and then go about my day. Why? Probably because I love watching Jeff Goldblum movies on the 4th of July, but it’s also just a perfect summer movie. So celebrating America and dinos on the same day feels right to me. Celebrate America by watching Sam Neill and Laura Dern run from a raptor.

Lyra Hale:

Nothing like watching Jaws on the 4th of July weekend and promising yourself to never go into the water again A) because you can’t swim and B) because of sharks. But I can’t help it, year after year, watching Roy Scheider say, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, and then getting that little thrill as the theme music starts playing. An absolute classic with a predator that just won’t stop!

Princess Weekes:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen because my mom loves it, and I still get a kick out of watching Allan Quatermain teach Tom Sawyer how to shoot across the arctic. Stuart Townsend, you weren’t a great Lestat, but you had big Dorian Gray energy.

What movies make your must-watch list for 4th of July weekend? Let us know in the comments!

(image: Universal Pictures)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.