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Two years ago for Independence Day I chose a few movies that I think exemplify the American Dream. For this year’s 4th of July, I dug a little deeper into the movie archives looking for a few little-heard-of treasures that have some connection to the Fourth of July traditions we hold dear. As always, I enjoyed the process of rediscovering some favorite movies of mine.
So if your plans get rained out over the long holiday weekend, pop one of these movies into your DVD player and enjoy! And if you don’t get to watch them on the 4th, well, I’ll be you will even enjoy them after the 4th of July!
Goodbye Miss 4th of July: Originally a made-for-TV movie, this film is worth hunting for on DVD, especially if you are looking for a new family classic to share with your kids. It’s the story of a young girl and her immigrant Greek family when they move to the South and befriend an aging boxer. The lessons learned are timeless and the performances- especial by Louyis Gosset, Jr. – are amazing.
Miss Firecracker : This is an overlooked , quirky, indie film that features Holly Hunter as -surprise- a feisty Southern woman named Carnelle who thinks she can get her life on track by entering the Miss Firecracker Contest. Long before others made fun of beauty contests , this movie skewered small town life even as it celebrated the power of discovering your own self-worth. There’s also a great supporting cast including a very young Tim Robbins and saucy Mary Steenburgen.


Ragtime: This movie probably should have gone on my list of great movies about the immigrant experience because this film blends powerful music and the touching stories of three different families at the turn of the century.
When Every Day was the Fourth of July : Who else remembers those great Dean Jones, family-friendly movies of the 70s? This is one I had never heard of, and I thought I had seen them all, but I recently discovered it on Netflix. It’s a movie that is a somewhat lighter version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” in that Dean Jones plays a lawyer and his daughter asks him to help a man wrongly accused. It is another great viewing choice for the whole family.

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