Water Cooler: Americana movies for Independence Day weekend

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Jun. 29—There are few better ways to celebrate all things Americana than American cinema, so here is some recommended watching for your Independence Day weekend.

"Dazed and Confused" — It's the last day of high school in 1976 and freshmen and seniors alike are out to kick off the summer with as much partying and mischief as possible. Directed by Richard Linklater. Starring Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams and Matthew McConaughey. 1993. R. 102 minutes.

"The Best Years of Our Lives" — When three World War II veterans return to their lives in small-town American, they discover that nothing will be the same as it once was. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Harold Russell, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright and Virginia Mayo. 1946. 290 minutes.

"Stand By Me" — Four young boys journey out of town in search of a rumored body found by one of the boys' older brothers. Directed by Rob Reiner. Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Kiefer Sutherland. 1986. R. 89 minutes.

"West Side Story" — Two young people from rival gangs fall in love, causing dangerous tensions and putting loyalty to the test. Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise. 1961. 273 minutes.

"Nashville" — A story of a few chaotic days leading up to a political convention and all the various characters entangled in its preparations. Directed by Robert Altman. Starring Keith Carradine, Karent Black, Ronee Blakley, Shelley Duvall and Ned Beatty. 1975. R. 280 minutes.

"Some Like It Hot" — Two musicians have the unfortunate luck of witnessing a mob hit, so they go into hiding disguised as women in an all-female band. Directed by Billy Wilder. Starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. 1959. 121 minutes.

"Easy Rider" — Two chopper-riding drug mules journey from L.A. to New Orleans, meeting strange American characters along the way. Directed by Dennis Hopper. Starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. 1969. R. 95 minutes.

"The Sandlot" — Follow the misadventures of a neighborhood baseball team during the summer of 1962. Directed by David Mickey Evans. Starring Tom Guiry, Patrick Renna, Mike Vitar, Chauncey Leopardi and Art LaFleur.

"Jaws" — A stubborn mayor refuses to close the beaches for Fourth of July after local shark attacks, tasking a local sheriff, a marine biologist and an eccentric local seafarer to hunt down the shark lurking in their waters. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. 1975. PG. 124 minutes.

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" — A chronicle of the life of renowned composer, dancer, singer and playwright, George M. Cohan. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Starring James Cagney. 1942. 126 minutes.

"American Graffiti" — Before they go off to college, a few high school graduates spend the night cruising the town to live up their last days at home. Directed by George Lucas. Starring Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard.

"Hamilton" — A musical about the life of America's first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Directed by Thomas Kail. Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs and Jonathan Groff. 2020. PG-13.

"Giant" — A saga of family strife, love and bigotry told on the backdrop of Texas oil fields. Directed by George Stevens. Starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. 1956. G. 381 minutes.

"O Brother Where Art Thou" — A tale of America's deep South in the 1930s that follows three escaped convicts on their half-baked search for hidden treasure. Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Starring George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson. 2000. PG-13. 107 minutes.

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