Fourth of July Movie Party + The Best Dessert!

I love the Fourth of July. I love wearing red, white, and blue; I love that it's the very middle of summer; I love the ice cream and hot dogs and celebration of freedom (even though being patriotic is apparently a sin now, according to Twitter. #whoknew) I don't love the fireworks so much now that I have a baby whose precious slumber is disturbed by them, but other than that it's still one of my favorite holidays. 

I'm not throwing any kind of Independence Day bash this year, but I will be home with my movie-loving child and we'll have almost all of these on the DVR ready to go. I may even get fancy with some kind of red, white, and blue dessert (see below!). But let's not get crazy. You certainly don't have to have "theme" foods to enjoy these movies. Chips and hot dogs are more than adequate. (But they better be on a stars and stripes napkin or I can't trust you.)

This little girl takes her movie-watching very seriously. All of these choices are Alice-approved. 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame- let's start with my favorite, shall we? Even the title is all-American. This is such a great musical and one of Alice's current favorites. It stars Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as vaudeville partners who also play professional baseball (totally believable, right?) Of course, when one of them decides to mix business and baseball, hijinks ensue. I've probably seen this movie one million times, and I still love it. Patriotic moment/song: "Strictly U.S.A." What more do you want?

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington- only one of the greatest movies ever made. Jimmy Stewart is just phenomenal here as a young, starry-eyed senator who arrives in Washington full of the American spirit and dreams to make a difference to the boys in his state. Unfortunately, he runs into a huge corruption ring backed by powerful crooks who do their best to destroy him before he can expose their plans. There are funny moments but it will also just give you all the feels. Patriotic moment/song: Jeff's filibuster on the Senate floor... pretty much the whole thing. "I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine." #sobbing

Summer Magic- this movie really doesn't have anything to do with the Fourth of July but it's so quintessentially summer to me. The Sherman Brothers songs, the cast (Burl Ives!), and just the whole experience... when I watch it I'm 10 years old again. Patriotic/summerish moment/song: "On the Front Porch." Just hearing it puts me in a good mood.

At War with the Army- this may be one of the dumbest movies ever, but I don't even care. It's one of the first Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedies, and it's hysterical. I may have screamed in delight when I saw that it was coming on TCM and I was finally able to record it a few months ago. Again, it's reeeallly silly/slapstick, but hilarious. This isn't patriotic or a song, but my favorite line is, "You're driving me crazy!' "That's no drive; it's a short putt!" 

Follow Me, Boys!- talk about being hit in the feels.... I hadn't watched this for years when it recently came on TV and I recorded it. I sat down to watch it with Al and literally teared up within the first 20 minutes, then several more times after that. I think it's a mixture of nostalgia and my old age. But seriously. This is such a classic. A traveling musician puts down roots in a small town and inadvertently becomes the new Boy Scout Master, then becomes a hero to all the boys in town for several decades. Patriotic moment/song: "Follow Me, Boys" and the war games. 

Johnny Tremaine- this is kind of a lesser-known Disney movie from 1957, but there really was a Johnny Tremaine during the Revolution and almost all the other characters are real people too: Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, etc. Johnny joins the Sons of Liberty right around the beginning of the War for Independence. It's really good! Patriotic song/moment: "Sons of Liberty" and the speech that James Otis gives in a meeting. "We give all we have. We fight! We die, for a simple thing. Only that a man could stand." 

The Music Man- this is probably the movie I feel most comfortable talking about since, thanks to Alice, I have watched it too many times to count. (I'm not exaggerating... I have to play the soundtrack in the car to get her to stop crying. No regular lullabies for this girl... just 76 Trombones.) Anyway, this is also just one of those "Americana" movies that makes me feel like celebrating the Fourth. In case you're not familiar, a traveling salesman stops in a little Iowa town and convinces everyone that he's a professor of music who will form a boys' band and teach the kids to play their instruments. Only the local piano teacher isn't fooled, but she eventually comes around when the professor gets her little brother to finally come out of this shell. (There's way more going on than that, but it's a pretty long movie.) I have to say that this one has grown on me over the years and now the songs are some of my favorites... good thing, given my hostage situation with the movie in general. (i'm the hostage.) Patriotic moment/song: "Seventy-Six Trombones" or "Ya Got Trouble."

Honorable mention: Pollyanna, the "America the Beautiful" scene in which Hayley Mills and several other girls are dressed as the American flag in what look like straitjackets, and Holiday Inn, for the Firecrackers dance that Fred Astaire does. AH-mazing. 

Okay, now to The Best Dessert! part. I know I said you don't have to do themed food, and you definitely don't, but this is so good and easy AND uses the appropriate holiday colors. Plus it makes enough to feed a pretty big crowd... or provide leftovers the next day for a small crowd. =)

Berry Cobbler

Ingredients: one stick of butter, 1.5 cup sugar, 1.5 cup self-rising flour/bisquik, 1.5 cup milk, one can cherry pie filling, one can blueberry pie filling 

I know. I should be a food blogger.

1. Turn the oven on to 350 and melt a stick of butter in a 9x13 pan. 

2. Mix 1.5 cups EACH of sugar, self-rising flour (or Bisquik), and milk. 

3. Once the butter is melted, pull the pan out and pour the batter in.

4. Add dollops throughout of cherry and blueberry pie filling. If you want the cobbler to be more cake-like, use less fruit filling (about half the can each.) To make it gooier/fruitier, add the whole cans. (I try to leave a little space between each spoonful so they don't all run together.) Don't mix/stir the batter and fruit... just plop the fruit in. 

5. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. The edges should be golden brown. 

6. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream!

Happy Fourth, everyone! Despite all the craziness, America is still awesome and worth celebrating! I hope your cobbler is delicious and your movie watching experience less painful than mine, given I'll probably have an Alice pulling my hair the whole time. =) Happy Independence Day! 

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