León Krauze, a media commentator who works both sides of the Río Bravo/Grande, recently posted that the worldwide popularity of Hollywood movies is key to the United States’ formidable lead in “soft power.” (Its hard power isn’t shabby either.)
Krauze felt the need to remind his readers that many in Mexico and across the globe find this fact disturbing. Presumably, that’s due to the widespread misconception that U.S. commercial cinema consists primarily of mindless drivel, glorified violence and obsession with the dark side of life.
Nothing could be further from the truth! To help the good people of Mexico and the rest of the planet to recognize the wholesome underpinnings of U.S. cinema, I offer the following list of a dozen classic Hollywood releases whose inspiring, universal messages can bring Mexicans and Americans closer together, and make the world a happier place:
Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) — A moving tale of an exemplary family, with a father who’s not afraid to show his love for his daughter, and sisters who are truly close.
Goodfellas (Martin Scorcese, 1990) — As in Mickey Rooney pics of yore, a young man and his friends attain fulfillment and financial success by starting their own projects.
Scarface (Brian DePalma, 1983) — A legal immigrant lives the American dream.
Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lyne, 1987) — An uplifting fable of the importance of persistence and commitment in making a relationship work.
All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976) — Two average, hardworking young men are given the chance of a lifetime — getting to know the president of the United States of America!
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) — A cinematic reminder of the
lost art of personal hospitality, as offered in the charming, offbeat
motels along the U.S. blue highways before the chains took over.
Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968) — An actor finds success, his wife finds motherhood, and the neighbors are there to help. Heartwarming!
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973) — A single mother and her spunky daughter explore their Catholic faith.
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorcese, 1976) — An honest working man meets fascinating people as he tours the scenic streets of the city that never sleeps.
The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) — Is there a more therapeutic family value than sharing an interest?
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991) A compelling combination of self-expression, interior decorating and the culinary arts.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974) A timeless testament to that most American of life lessons — get the right tool for the job!