As the good old U. S. of A. celebrated yet another year around the sun, Film Comment editors Clinton Krute and Devika Girish invited critic A.S. Hamrah to hold forth on the varied, colorful, and often bleak visions of America on the screen. They asked him to pick some movies that evoked the stars and stripes, or the spirit of ’76, and Scott responded with 13 picks—one for each of the original colonies. 

Each one of Scott’s choices—which include The Wolf of Wall Street, Kajillionaire, Good Time, Leave No Trace, Class Relations, and Trash Humpers—sparked a spirited conversation about the state of the nation. Devika and Clint added in some of their own picks: John Sayles’s The Brother From Another Planet, Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames, and more. We hope you enjoy the conversation, and may God bless America…

Links & Things:

A.S. Hamrah’s 13 Movies that Capture America:

Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)
Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970)
Hustle (Robert Aldrich, 1975)
Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry, 1984)
Class Relations (Straub-Huillet, 1984)
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet, 2007)
Stuck (Stuart Gordon, 2007)
Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, 2009)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
Good Time (Josh & Benny Safdie, 2017)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, 2018)

Kajillionaire (Miranda July, 2020)

Other movies discussed:

Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden, 1983)
Kelly Loves Tony (Spencer Nakasako, 1998)
Two Cabins (James Benning, 2007)