Damon Linker has a list of five movies to watch this Independence Day:

I love my country. But I want to love it truthfully, thoughtfully — for what it is, in all of its moral and historical complexity, not as a purified object of imagined perfection.

The best way to seek out this understanding is through reading history. But other forms of creative expression can be helpful, too. Fiction, poetry, theater, song — and of course the modern age’s most viscerally powerful and technologically advanced form of creative expression: film.

Picking just a handful movies that shine a revealing light on the meaning and struggles of American life can be a challenge. But here are five that fit the bill. All are enduring works of art, and all would make excellent selections for inclusion at a Fourth of July film festival for thoughtful patriots.

His five films include two released in 1989, two starring Robert De Niro, two that are about Vietnam, and three that are about people from New York. If I made a list, it would probably look similar, which just proves we’re both northeastern white guys born around 1970. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Myself, I’m in a more dyspeptic mood, so this Independence Day I’d choose to re-watch “Foxcatcher,” a film I wrote about back when it came out, but which I suspect will cut a bit more to the quick in the current political context.

(Meanwhile, if I don’t make progress on this essay, I’m going to have to do what I usually do when blocked, and re-watch the great writer’s block triptych: “Barton Fink,” “Adaptation” and “The Shining.” Wish me luck; I’m already part-way down that rabbit hole, and I really don’t want to go all the way.)