You Know What America's Great At? Movies

Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
“Make America Great Again.” It’s a refrain you’ve likely heard repeatedly over the last 18 months, without pausing to think, What’s so not-great about America, anyway? The answer might be obvious if you’re worrying about how the election results will play out in terms of, say, your reproductive rights, or your family’s ability to stay in this country.

But if there’s one thing America is and has always been great at, it’s making cinema. That glittery escapism that says, "Life is pretty fucked up sometimes. LOOK AT THIS DISTRACTING THING NOW."

Because the country that brought you Erin Brockovich — the literal human but also the glamorized, Julia Roberts version of her life — can’t be all bad. This is the country where a drug-addled mess in a bad relationship can pick up an extremely heavy backpack, hike 1,100 miles from the meadow sedges of Southern California all the way up to a chilly river gorge in Oregon, write a best-selling book about it, and then get THAT made into a movie. Talk about a land of opportunity.

This is the country where Black Americans marched across Georgia by the hundreds for five days straight to demand the right to vote, and got it. It's also the place where a man can build a baseball field in his backyard and then play catch with ghosts — because if you believe it, you can achieve it, in America. And if people say you’re crazy because you hear the voice of James Earl Jones telling you to do expensive and time-consuming things, well, you probably are. But never give up!

If you’re feeling crushing disappointment about the electoral college’s chosen president or just need a mental vacation from political news (or if you've just caught wind that Canada is at capacity), you could probably use some reminders as to why you've loved America before and totally can again. It's an okay place. It can even be excellent (you’ve seen Bill & Ted, right?). So butter some popcorn and kick back — these 15 reminders don’t require leaving the couch.