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The top 10 Fourth of July events in movies

The top 10 Fourth of July events in movies (photo)

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The Fourth of July brought independence to the original thirteen colonies that went on to form the United States of America. But it also gave us countless holiday weekends for movie-going. Thanks to the Declaration of Independence telling the Kingdom of Great Britain to take a hike, Hollywood now has both a day to release movies and a day to stage iconic scenes.

From marching band performances to alien invasions, the Fourth of July has meant many things to many films, but the directors who know how to use it correctly have delivered some of the most indelible images of Americana to ever grace theaters. Here are ten of the most memorable Fourth of July events ever to take place in those films.


10. The big parade, “The Music Man” (1962)
It may not be normal to see a marching band with 76 trombones in a parade today. Back in 1912, however, when “The Music Man” takes place, playing the trombone must have been about as common as learning to drive. In the end, River City assembled one juggernaut of a trombone section for their parade, and thanks to their efforts, an instrument retailer somewhere became very, very rich.


9. The signing, “1776” (1972)
After finalizing the Declaration of Independence and singing their way through every step the founding fathers rip one last page off the calendar on their wall and make their treason against England official. There’s not much humor left in the room by the time they finish arguing about birds and receive a somber letter from George Washington, but despite one last disagreement over grammar, everyone in the room seems to be satisfied with their choice.


8. Holly Hunter does the splits, “Miss Firecracker” (1989)
Only in movies could Holly Hunter ever have been an underdog to win a beauty pageant, but she shambles her way through the talent competition with series of strange acrobatics, and the moment she does the splits on stage marks the defining moment of her performance. Her spunk alone set her apart from the competition, but she really sticks the ending.


7. The Overlook Hotel Ball, “The Shining” (1980)
Here’s a weird one, and we’re not going to use this list feature to tell you how to interpret the final scene in “The Shining.” However, the photograph that Jack appears in at the end of the film clearly shows a rollicking party taking place at the Overlook Hotel on July 4, 1921. Presumably, something pretty gruesome occurred after that photo was taken, but how you understand everything that took place before the movie is your business.


6. Baseball After Dark, “The Sandlot” (1993)
In case the rest of this film didn’t get the idea across to you that Benny was destined for baseball greatness, while his pals were just playing for the love of the game, director David M. Evans threw in this scene. In a display of wide-eyed cherubic patriotism, the boys all forget to field the ball and get weak in the knees watching their town’s fireworks display. Meanwhile, the ball rolls gently into the grass.

5. Ronnie watches the parade, “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989)
As a little kid in Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning classic, Tom Cruise’s character played with some seriously realistic-looking toy guns. He also attended a smoky small-town Fourth of July parade. The opening sequence for “Born on the Fourth of July” contains a few heavy, foreboding glimpses of the horrors of war, and it’s one of the most memorable depictions of the holiday in film.


4. Second Zodiac Killer attack, “Zodiac” (2007)
David Fincher gets his serial killer suspense ride off to a hot start as a young couple gets ambushed during a romantic lovers’ lane moment together in their car. From young victim Mike Mageau wearing too many shirts to the false alarm they experience when another vehicle drives by with some Independence Day explosives, the movie starts off at a simmer and bubbles over into a terrifying opening.


3. Shark Attack, “Jaws” (1975)
Despite ample evidence that a killer shark is on the loose, Mayor Larry Vaughn rolls the dice and leaves the Amity Island beach open to attract Fourth of July tourists. Predictably, this turns out to be a very bad choice, and a shark attack makes him quickly start to regret his decision. The rest is the stuff of summer blockbuster history.



2. Lou Gehrig’s Speech, “Pride of the Yankees” (1942)
Gary Cooper brought tears to the eyes of Yankee Stadium in his reenactment of baseball legend Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech. Cooper nails the monologue in his starring role, but the real piece of history in the background is none other than Babe Ruth looking on and playing himself. You don’t even have to be a Yankee fan to enjoy it.


1. The POTUS takes his stand, “Independence Day” (1996)
Bill Pullman made the Fourth of July the world’s holiday with a little help from a bullhorn in “Independence Day.” As Earth prepared to wave goodbye to its new hero Randy Quaid, the President of the United States revved up his troops to take down the ugly alien scum who had just blown up all of our landmarks. This is what watching a summer event movie on Fourth of July weekend is all about.

Did we miss one of your favorite scenes? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Jackie That 70s Show

Jackie Oh!

15 That ’70s Show Quotes to Help You Unleash Your Inner Jackie

Catch That '70s Show Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Carsey-Werner Company

When life gets you down, just ask yourself: what would Jackie do? (But don’t ask her, because she doesn’t care about your stupid problems.) Before you catch That ’70s Show on IFC, take a look at some quotes that will help you be the best Jackie you can be.


15. She knows her strengths.

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14. She doesn’t let a little thing like emotions get in the way.

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13. She’s her own best friend.

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12. She has big plans for her future.

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11. She keeps her ego in check.

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10. She can really put things in perspective.

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9. She’s a lover…

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8. But she knows not to just throw her love around.

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7. She’s proud of her accomplishments.

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6. She knows her place in the world.

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5. She asks herself the hard questions.

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4. She takes care of herself.

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3. She’s deep.

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2. She’s a problem solver.

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1. And she’s always modest.

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The top 10 obscure Transformers that we’ll never see in a “Transformers” movie

The top 10 obscure Transformers that we’ll never see in a “Transformers” movie (photo)

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“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” has Shockwave, which is awesome. And we think we may have spotted what’s supposed to be Laserbeak in the trailer as well. It’ll be nice to see these two old friends added to the ‘Hey, I used to have that toy!” sightseeing tour that happens with every “Transformers” movie, even if they’re sometimes barely recognizable (uh, that dog-looking thing with the “enemy scrotum” in “Revenge of the Fallen” was supposed to be Devastator?). There are a few Cybertronian pals who will probably never get their own big-screen counterparts, though, if only because even some of the most hardcore Transformers fans can barely remember them. Here are a few such giant robots that will never have sketches faxed to Michael Bay’s office (and the actors who would voice them — you know, just in case).

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10. Twin Twist

The Jumpstarters, Topspin and Twin Twist, were never very popular toys — you pulled them back while in their vehicle modes (a mechanical hang glider and a drill machine, or something, respectively) until they clicked, and upon release they would charge forward for a couple of seconds before “jumping” into their robot modes. They would rarely “jump” into a standing position, though — their constant toppling over made them seem like they were always drunk (much to the chagrin of Optimus Prime, surely). Toy stores were usually always overstocked with the damn things, plus they never appeared in any of the animated series and made only rarely appearances in the comics. Surprisingly, though, Topspin is making an appearance in “Dark of the Moon” (though as what looks to be a completely reinvented character), and there’s so sign of his brother, Twin Twist — which is kind of too bad, as Michael Bay could probably do wonders with a giant alien drill machine thing.

Ideal Voice Actor: Jason Mewes


9. Orion Pax

Orion Pax was a Cybertronian dockworker before the epic war between the Autobots and Decepticons. He was severely damaged during an attack led by Megatron and later rebuilt by Alpha Trion, one of the oldest Transformers, into a mighty Autobot warrior by the name of… Optimus Prime. We’re not sure why the writers of the animated series thought there needed to be a “before he was Optimus” storyline, but there you have it, the moving tale of a mild-mannered working stiff who became the greatest Autobot leader of all time. We are sure, however, that the makers of the “Transformers” movies will ignore this part of Cybertron’s history completely. Alpha Trion had a metal robot beard, by the way.

Ideal Voice Actor: Ed Helms


8. Computron

There are those who would argue that the Technobots would never make an appearance in anything remotely involving Michael Bay simply because they’re some of Cybertron’s most intelligent citizens… and Mr. Bay isn’t exactly known for putting an emphasis on “smarts”. The Technobots — consisting of Scattershot, Afterburner, Lightspeed, Nosecone and Strafe — were a team of brainy warriors that merged into the mighty Computron, the (by default) nerdiest of the Combiner super-robots. Devastator (or that thing that was supposed to be Devastator) made an appearance in “Revenge of the Fallen”, and we have a feeling the Constructicons are going to be the first — and last — Combiner team that we’ll ever see in a “Transformers” movie. Too bad the Autobots will never get to show off one of their gestalts to live-action audiences – and it’s even more of a shame that, even if we did get to see one, it definitely wouldn’t be this over-analyzing, brainiac giant.

Ideal Voice Actor: Frank Welker, though synthesized to sound cool this time, which they forgot to do with Soundwave


7. Xaaron

Xaaron only ever appeared in the “Transformers” comics, a medium which was decidedly much more convoluted and intricate in its Cybertronian mythology than any of the animated series (in other words, the comics would never, ever stoop to something as simplistic as “the Quintessons created the Transformers”). Emirate Xaaron is an old fella, probably even older than Ironhide and Kup — in fact, during the beginning of the Autobot/Decepticon war, it was Xaaron who convinced the Council of Autobot Elders to make Optimus Prime the leader of the Autobot army. After Optimus, Megatron and their respective armies were lost to Earth, Xaaron ended up becoming the leader of the Autobot resistance on Cybertron. He is confident, wise and a bit of a rabble rouser, though by no means a fighter — in fact, he hasn’t transformed into his small attack tank mode in hundreds of years, and to try to do so now could cause such a shock to his system that he could experience permanent shutdown. As we already got the hobbling, farting Jetfire in “Revenge of the Fallen”, we doubt we’ll get another “old” Autobot anytime soon — besides, Mr. Bay and company have seemed so far rather uninterested in any “Cut To’s” to Cybertron goings-on.

Ideal Voice Actor: Ian McKellen


6. Firestar

Hey, where are all the female Transformers, anyway? Well, four million years ago, a whole group of female Autobots, led by Elita One (unfortunate name, that), tried to board the Ark with Optimus Prime and his team of boy Autobots but were supposedly destroyed during a Decepticon attack. They weren’t. They’re alive. And they’re hot! Firestar, Elita One and the rest of the female Autobots continued to enrage the likes of Shockwave and other Decepticons on Cybertron with their robberies and acts of sabotage. Firestar is particularly close with the Autobot known as Inferno (they share that whole fire motif, and they’re both red, so it makes sense), and who knows? Maybe if this crazy Autobot-Decepticon war didn’t keep tearing their attentions away from each other, they could be more than just friends. But alas, there’s no time for that. And there’s no room for Firestar — or any other female Autobot, for that matter — in a “Transformers” movie, ’cause if a lady can’t “arch her back” on cue like Megan Fox can, Michael Bay has little to no interest in her.

Ideal Voice Actor: Mila Kunis


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The top 10 worst teachers in movie history

The top 10 worst teachers in movie history (photo)

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Cameron Diaz may play the title role in “Bad Teacher,” but many, many terrible teachers have come before her to the big screen. The film, which opens this week, joins a proud tradition of movies featuring educators with questionable intentions.

In fact, Diaz looks like a candidate for a Golden Apple award for teaching excellence when compared with some of the classroom authority figures envisioned by John Hughes and Ingmar Bergman. Any child would be lucky to have her in charge if their alternative involved a psycho from Park Chan-wook’s “Lady Vengeance” or Arnold Schwarzenegger as an undercover cop.

While Diaz may be worthy of the label “Bad Teacher,” these ten characters deserve to be recognized as “The Worst Teachers in Movie History.”

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10. Detective John Kimball, “Kindergarten Cop” (1990)

Male action stars fought bad guys in all kinds of unlikely places and with shockingly mismatched partners during the 1990s. Hulk Hogan had “Mr. Nanny.” Sylvester Stallone starred in “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.” And Arnold Schwarzenegger shook down a classroom of little brats to find a kidnapped child in “Kindergarten Cop.” As Detective John Kimball, he fires off one-liners like “It’s not a tumor!” and “Who is my daddy and what does he do?” that have gone on to become quotable classics.

Despite his success in find the missing child, Kimball fails to keep his class under control in virtually ever scene and even drops a kid, making him a terrible guardian and a potential insurance liability.


9. Mrs. Tingle, “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” (1999)

Helen Mirren certainly ranks as the classiest horrible teacher on this list from her performance in “Teaching Mrs. Tingle.” She’s smarmy, she’s witty and she knows precisely which buttons to push with her overachieving student Leigh Ann (Katie Holmes). Tingle treats Leigh Ann so harshly that the young girl and her friends visit her home and end up careening down a spiral of bad choices that result in a kidnapping situation. Throughout the whole ordeal, however, Tingle remains as charming as she is vicious and unrelenting.


8. Pai Mei, “Kill Bill: Vol. 2″ (2004)

As a kung fu instructor training Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” Pai Mei makes Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid” look like Mr. Rogers. He knows how to turn an apprentice into living weapon, but his teaching strategy involves endless insults and hard labor–and don’t even think about trying to talk to him in Japanese. This is the one teacher above all others that you do not want to mess with, but his tutelage is only for the strong-willed and thick-skinned.


7. The Economics Teacher, “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” (1986)

Ben Stein set the bar for boring in his emotionless, iconic performance as the teacher calling out Ferris Buehler’s name during an epic act of truancy. He wasn’t necessarily the worst teacher of all time, but his rapport with his class seemed to be totally non-existent. You can’t blame a free-spirited lad like Ferris for wanting to be somewhere else.


6. Diane Marshall, “The Teacher” (1974)

According to the trailer for this bizarre 1974 film (but let’s face it, what wasn’t bizarre in 1974?), teacher Diane Marshall (Angel Tompkins) “corrupted the youthful morality of an entire school.”

“How did she do this?” you may wonder. Well, she likes her male companions scandalously young, and she exercises some extremely poor judgment by using the student body as her personal dating pool.


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