by Kate Evans
After your Fourth of July holiday cookout, celebrate America’ s birthday by watching an inspiring, patriotic movie or miniseries with your family. Here are a few top picks:
Apollo 13 is a 1995 American space film directed by Ron Howard that starred Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise and Bill Paxton that focused on the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission.
Hanks plays astronaut Jim Lovell who orbited the moon on Apollo 8. Lovell watches Neil Armstrong first steps on the moon and tells his wife he plans to go back to the moon to walk on its surface.
Three months later Lovell is told his team will fly Apollo 13 and they start training. But Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) is exposed to German measles a few days before launch and is replaced by Jack Swigert. (Kevin Bacon)
On the third day in space, one of the liquid oxygen tanks explodes and another is soon leaking. The moon landing has to be aborted.
Freezing conditions, illness, dangerous carbon dioxide levels and arguments plague the crew as they try to find a plan to get them all home safely. Lovell wonders as they splash-down in the Pacific Ocean if and when man will return to the Moon.
“John Adams” miniseries
John Adams became the second president of the United States after serving as George Washington’s vice-president. The “John Adams” miniseries follows Adams, his political career, his life after the White House and his family’ s troubles until his death.
Adams, an outspoken lawyer, defended the British
soldiers who were involved in the Boston Massacre and won the case. Adams became a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress. He helped lead the push to declare American independence and shaped the laws and policies of the new United States. Adams also served as an envoy to France and England in the early years of the American Revolution.
The episodes show John Adams’ long friendship with Thomas Jefferson, his close relationship with his wife Abigail Adams and his family’ s trials and heartbreaks. The series features America’ s earliest leaders in an inspiring saga about the birth of our nation.
Aliens attack the earth on July 2 in Roland Emmerich’ s 1996 science fiction action film “Independence Day.” Will Smith plays Marine pilot Captain Steven Hiller, Jeff Goldblum a satellite technician, Bill Pullman president of the United States and Randy Quaid as a former combat pilot that come to the rescue.
The alien mother ship deploys smaller spaceships across the earth targeting major cities. David Levinson (Goldblum) discovers a signal embedded in the satellites that the aliens are using and with his father reaches the president, his chief advisors and David’s former wife Constance-the White House communications officer-to rescue them just before Washington, D.C. is destroyed.
Nuclear missiles seem ineffective in destroying the alien ships. But Levinson and Captain Hiller have a plan to take out the aliens and the president has their back with every available pilot. Humanity fights for freedom from annihilation and the right to live and survive.
“Independence Day 2”
A sequel-“Independence Day-Resurgence”-features Goldblum as Earth Space Defense Director David Levison, Judd Hirsch again playing his dad and Bill Pullman as the former president who telepathically knows the aliens are returning 20 years after their first invasion.
An alien mothership answering the distress call sent 20 years before shows up and destroys much of the earth’ s planetary defenses before starting to drill down in the North Atlantic Ocean for fuel in the earth’s molten core.
Earth Space Defense pilot Captain Dylan Hiller, Captain Steven Hiller’ s stepson, pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), his fiancée Patricia Whitmore- daughter of the former president, Morrison’ s co-pilot Charlie Miller and others attack the alien mothership but get trapped inside.
Dylan, Jake, Charlie and pilot Rain Lao take two Harvester fighters from the mothership and follow the Queen’s ship which is heading to Area 51 on Earth. Will they prevail and will the world survive another alien invasion?
An asteroid the size of Texas is on its way to hit Earth in 18 days and destroy all life on the planet. NASA scientists contact Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) to train a team of astronauts to drill a hole in the asteroid, insert and detonate a nuclear bomb and split it in two. Stamper insists on bringing his own men to do the drilling.
Harry’ s team trains for 12 days. They and a team of astronauts take two shuttles to fly to the asteroid, first docking with the Space Station Mir to fuel up for the rest of their journey. A fire breaks out
from a spark that ignited fuel from a leaky fuel line. A.J., Harry’ s daughter Grace’ s boyfriend, and the Russian cosmonaut are almost killed but make it to the Independence shuttle before the space station is destroyed.
The Independence is hit by debris and crashes and only A.J. Bear and the cosmonaut survive. They leave in the shuttle’ s Armadillo to search for the Freedom shuttle which missed its landing site by 26 miles and landed on iron ferrite, nearly impossible to drill. More disasters occur, but A.J. and crew arrive in the nick of time. But it’s Bruce Willis that saves the world.
“Air Force One”
U.S. President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) attends a diplomatic dinner in Moscow after a joint American-Russian Special Forces team captures General Ivan Radek, dictator of a rogue Soviet regime that’s threatening a new Cold War. A group of Radek loyalists disguised as journalists led by Korshunov (Gary Oldman) hijack Air Force One with the president, his family and several cabinet members and advisors aboard.
The loyalists kill many of the plane’ s military and security personnel. Marshall is rushed to the escape pod in the cargo hold as Korshunov and his men kill the cockpit crew and take the rest of the passengers hostage. They try to stop the escape of the president but the pod is ejected. Unknown to the loyalists, Marshall, a Vietnam War veteran and a Medal of Honor recipient, stayed hidden in the cargo hold.
Will President Marshall, his family and the other hostages make it? You’ll cheer when Harrison Ford tells Gary Old man “Get off my plane!”
Whether a gripping war movie like “Saving Private Ryan” or “Pearl Harbor” or an inspirational film like “Lincoln,” “Hidden Figures,” or “Forrest Gump,” enjoy a great flick that shows the heroism and legacy of being an American on our country’s Independence Day.