Recently I had a post about my top nine cinematic guilty pleasure films, with National Treasure coming in a strong first place.
- National Treasure
- O Brother, Where Art Thou
- Night at the Museum
- 1776: The Musical
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Mummy
- White Christmas
- Disney’s Hercules/Mulan
- The Patriot
Well, I realized I had forgotten a film, which rounds the list out to an even ten. I can’t believe I forgot this film. Ready for it?
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed the movie Gettysburg yet. It was only the thing that got this whole historical obsession started in the first place. Fair warning – this is much less of a formal review and much more of an opinion piece since I am certain I have lost the ability to review this movie objectively.
… cuz stuff like this happens when I’m around …
Backstory: Back in 9th grade, the culmination of the unit on the American Civil War involved hiding in a darkened classroom for three days watching this film as a dramatic interpretation of everything we had just studied.
Afterwards, a classmate made an offhand comment about how it compared to the book, which got everyone’s attention because we hadn’t known the film was based on a book. So I had to read the book (Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara). Then it looked like Killer Angels was part of a trilogy, so I read those other two books (prequel Gods and Generals, after which the film was named, and sequel The Last Full Measure, both written by Jeff Shaara.) All three books gave a human voice to these players like nothing I had seen before. So I had to start reading biographies of everyone to see how their fictional selves compared to their real life selves.
And … it just kind of snowballed from there.
I’m sure I’ve stated many times here that I am a fan of both the ridiculous and the sublime, and when they come together in something sublimely ridiculous, so much the better.
Far more time has gone into thinking about this post than I would care to admit, including various searches and lists on the Googles, time on IMDB, and introspection. My desire is to cover all the necessary points without any grievous omissions, for an omission on a list like this would probably be the worst thing ever.
Bearing all that in mind, what follows is a list of my top nine cinematic (history themed) guilty pleasures. These movies are more entertaining than historically accurate, and to list these as “great historical films” runs the risk of opening oneself up to ridicule from hardcore historical nerds.
Whatever. Honeybadger don’t care.
[ Feedback welcome! Am I forgetting anything? Is my taste in movies so poor you’ll never read my blog again? ]
“In its simplest meaning, Public History refers to the employment of historians and the historical method outside of academia: in government, private corporations, the media, historical societies and museums, even in private practice.”
About once every quarter or so, I have an existential crisis of some severity in which I wonder if I made the right decision by not pursuing academia. The answer is usually yes; watching the education bubble inflate, with the number of history students exceeding history job openings, as well as the “publish or perish” mantra all reassure me that that’s something I’m ok without.
To assuage the academia FOMO*, I pursue history in other ways that, I think, prove history can be just as enjoyable outside of the ivory tower, if not more so. Whether that’s historical reenacting (lite, not hardcore), reading books, or staying up to date with historical scuttlebutt online, I keep my brain engaged, if not very organized.
*Fear Of Missing Out
I don’t claim to be a public historian, even by amateur standards, but in my travels across the internet, I have come across public history done many different ways by those of whom the ivory tower would probably disapprove. What follows are some of my favorites:
“The Allison Brothers of PA” by Jared Frederick of History Matters
I may have left the Museum of the American Revolution delirious and hangry, but I was inspired. There had been so much sensory intake that it needed an appropriate release of some sort. Which, in layman’s terms, meant I finished the day watching the musical film 1776 and laughing louder than probably necessary at .. most of it.
Holy macaroni. The holiest of macaronis. 1776 is SO cheesy and ridiculous I LOVE IT.
To conclude this birthday extravaganza:
SO MUCH INFORMATION