Navy SEALs are as bad*ss as they come. As cliché as it sounds, we can’t even imagine some of the sh*t they do to keep this great nation safe. Enter "Act of Valor," a film about a Navy SEAL team fighting terrorism. Not too original, but there’s the hook: The team is entirely portrayed by active duty SEALs and servicemen.
The official website calls it a "fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations.” And according to a Q&A with the directors and one of the SEALs just before an advance screening I attended last week, everything depicted in the movie has actually been done in combat. Knowing that going in made a huge difference, as did seeing it in a theater full of NYPD, FDNY, and members of the Armed Services.
There’s no question casting these guys to essentially play themselves added authenticity to the action scenes, which really are the primary reason to see this movie. And call me a d*ck, but I’m a sucker for a good terrorist headshot (rough estimate: 60 percent of hostiles meet their end via headshots). Perhaps just as important, I never doubted that they could shoot like that. And the shaky, right-in-the-fray style of cinematography used in the action scenes really did build suspense.
But let’s set expectations straight: These guys are not actors. Problem is, the directors tried to force scenes that required, you know, acting. There’s a good amount of that, and mostly what you’d expect: Dramatic goodbyes to wives and unborn children, give-this-letter-to-my-family sort of stuff. Time your bathroom breaks with the scenes shot stateside, it’s hard to sit through some of these parts. I’m sure these moments happen regularly in real life, and in no way do I want to belittle the challenges our servicemen and women face on the home front after extended periods of separation. But real life rarely translates to Hollywood and much of the sappy stuff was over the top.
Still, the movie is definitely worth seeing. There were moments during the action scenes I really wanted to stand up and yell, "That’s what you get for f*cking with America!" Which then got me thinking: What other movies get my patriotic juices bubbling to the point of jubilation?
So here’s my top 10 “F*ck Yeah, America!” movies. But let’s set the criteria. These are movies that get you out of your seat cheering for our country. We’re talking front row at the dunk contest, “I’m sick of these motherf*ckin’ snakes on this motherf*ckin’ plane!”-type cheering. So there are some somber, excellent war movies and miniseries -- "Black Hawk Down," "Saving Private Ryan," "Band of Brothers" -- and American classics like "Forrest Gump" that may trigger patriotic emotions, but aren’t included because they didn’t have that cheer factor.
Spoiler alert! This slideshow contains scenes from each movie, sometimes the final scenes. Proceed with caution. Add your own favorites in the comments.
9. 'The Patriot': Aim Small, Miss Small
This is the most questionable one on the list. Not for lack of fist-pumping awesomeness, but because I tried not to include serious war movies. But Mel Gibson and sons f*cking up Red Coats and getting good and bloodied? That’s what you get for taxing our tea. Oh, also because this list needed Mel.
8. 'True Lies': 'You’re fired!'
Classic Arnold one-liner. Classic sleezy terrorist screaming like a b*tch until the very end. We could have picked any scene from this movie. Neck snap into knife-to-eye maneuver. Stealth neck snap. Dog training 101. Rebuilding our infrastructure. Bottom line: terrorists think they can come into our country. Arnold disagrees.
7. 'Inglorious Bastards': The Way It Should Have Been
Suck it, Hitler. Who hasn’t dreamed of unloading an entire clip point blank into Hitler’s face? America fights global injustice. America kills pussy dictators. America rewrites history to a way more badass version.
6. 'Top Gun': ‘Greetings!'
Even at 30,000 feet, America still kicks ass. “If I can’t shoot this son of a bitch, let’s see if we can have a little fun with him.” America’s finest gave this unidentified MiG the bird and a one-way ticket back to the Third World. Don’t forget to buzz the tower on your way out.
5: 'Apollo 13': ‘It’s good to see you again’
Hell, I knew how this was going to end and the suspense was still tough to handle. But such simple words as “Hello Houston, it’s good to see you again,” got the whole theater on their feet. America never quits. Oh, and f*ck the haters who doubted it could be done. “With all due respect sir, I think this is going to be our finest hour.”
4. 'Rocky IV': Down Goes Drago
“Suddenly Moscow is pro-Rocky!” Going blow for blow with the Ruskis in Moscow at the height of the Cold War is as good as it gets. Over-sized and out-matched, Rocky stands up to Ivan Drago and shows those Kremlin bastards just how big America’s d*ck is. Years from now, historians will say the fall of the Evil Empire came about because Gorbachev bet the Soviet GNP on Drago. Lesson learned: Never bet against America.
3. 'Air Force One': ‘Get off my plane!’
“Whatever happens, you lose, and I win.” Not so fast, d*ckhead. Personally, I was rooting for the First Lady to walk up and blast Ivan in the face. Spread his brains all over the Baltic Sea for f*cking with the U.S. sort of thing. But I love a good presidential beatdown, and this ’97 classic was full of ’em. One president, one parachute, one neck-breaking problem for terrorism.
2. 'Independence Day': ‘We will not go quietly Into the night!’
F*ck yeah. I listen to this speech anytime I need a pump up. What really needs to be said here? Not only does President Whitmore give one of the most epic speeches in Hollywood history, dude hops in a jet to lead our finest on the front lines. And he lands the first blow against those alien a**holes. Like "Air Force One," message received: Take on America and our President will personally fuck you up. God bless America. Oh, and what better way to welcome invaders than Jimmy’s “Welcome to Earth!” knockout.
1. 'Miracle': ‘Who do you play for!?’
“This cannot be a team of common men. Because common men go nowhere.” Perhaps the greatest example of America defeating the Soviet Union -- and it happened in real life 32 years ago today, February 22. "Miracle" overflows with scenes that provoke a fist pump or high-five thanks to quotes like: “The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one the back.” Damn right. America is bigger than one man, Coach Herb Brooks teaches us. Oh, and who doesn't get a patriotic hard-on every time they hear those magical words: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” More classic moments: "Who do you play for?" Final Game Name on the Front
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