Mark Metcalf
Metcalf

To qualify as an American, see these movies (Part 1)

Mark Metcalf's 45-film American Filmology course: Start by earning your "High School Diploma" and graduate all the way to "Doctorate."

By - Nov 13th, 2012 03:29 pm
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Mark Metcalf offers his list of films you must see to “seriously qualify yourself as an American.”

It has been said that the largest cash export of the United States of America is entertainment, specifically movies. The sad thing, for me, is that the average American knows little or nothing about the traditions and the history of this industry, much the way that all the average American knows about the car sitting in his or her driveway is where to stick the key and how to put gas in it. And look what happened to the automobile industry. We need to know a little more about the movies that represent us around the world and what cultural nexus they spring from.

I believe that if you want to call yourself an American, and it is still true that many, many people are proud to refer to themselves in that way, you must have at least seen and also have an opinion about each of the following 45 movies. That’s a short list. It’s not the “100 Best American Movies,” or 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. It is only 45 movies that you must see if you want to qualify as an American citizen. You should realize that my list may change in a week, but for now this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

I am going to group them in such a way that you can work your way through as you would through your schooling, starting with High School and finishing—if you want to be considered a serious student of the form—with your Doctorate. In High School you will find good, solid, well-made, even great movies — the basic building blocks of a good American character. By Bachelor’s we move away from the safety of home and begin to dance in the “real (reel) world” — a little more dangerous, a little more demanding. By the time we get to the Master’s Degree, we should have made the decision that this is what we want to do. These films will ask more of us in terms in terms of imagination as well as forgiveness. And the movies at the Doctorate Degree level refine our vision, build in the detail that is necessary in any art form, even a commercial one. Above all, they recognize failure as an asset, as part of the learning process.

But to seriously qualify yourself as an American citizen, you must see these movies.

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Categories: Movies

0 thoughts on “Metcalf: To qualify as an American, see these movies (Part 1)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    interesting list with lots of good movies. on any list like this there could always be arguments for (Some Like It Hot, Wizard Of Oz, Princess Bride) or against specific movies (Rudy?), but overall this list too heavy on war & violence. plus ZERO musicals?

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