National Treasure; starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, and Justin Bartha. Directed by Jon Turteltaub.
The Short Version
Take a hefty amount of Indiana Jones; pour in copious amounts of The Davinci Code; add just a splash of The Goonies and a dollop of James Bond. The magical, wonderfully fun result: National Treasure. It’s Nicolas Cage in the role he was born to play. His classic dead-pan manner is the perfect complement to this wacky, historically-themed treasure hunt.
The Plot in a Nutshell
The Reason You (and Your Gentleman/Lady Friend) Will Love it
Conspiracy theories are always fun, and this one is no exception. From the founding fathers, to the Freemasons, to everyday objects and their hidden histories, National Treasure is just full of fun historical references. It’s a reimagined history (read: made-up), but it’s fun to pretend that the founding fathers spent more time finding hiding places for buried treasure than starting a revolution.
I strongly believe that this is the very best Nicolas Cage movie, and the main reason for that belief is Justin Bartha, who is the real national treasure here. His sarcasm and high energy balance out Cage’s deadpan performance beautifully. Bartha is full of snarky one-liners that you can’t help but laugh at, making him the stand-out in an already funny movie. Cage might be the star of the film, but anyone who’s watching can easily see that Bartha is so vital to the plot it’s almost laughable. He doesn’t run and do all the fun stunt work. No, he just uses his completely awesome computer and tech skills to accomplish almost every one of Cage’s outrageous plans, including stealing the Declaration of Independence.
I absolutely cannot think of a more perfect movie to celebrate the Fourth of July (and believe me, I tried). National Treasure centers on the Declaration of Independence, which is the reason for the season after all. Even the soundtrack sounds distinctly American (I’m not even sure what that means), and it kicks in at the slightest hint of a plot point.
The only way you could improve upon the already fantastic movie is to show it on an outdoor screen. Here are some instructions on setting up an outdoor theater.
You should also have a swimsuit on hand in case it becomes a pool party situation.
But, if you’re not into beer, our resident bartender Diana suggests the Gin Ricky. Developed around the turn of the last century in Washington, D.C., the Gin Ricky is both perfectly suited to summer temperatures and a classic American cocktail.
I suggest you go old school and grill up some hamburgers and hotdogs. It’s pretty much a Fourth of July classic. And really, there’s no way to screw it up. Just shape some hamburger meat into patties. Then place on grill. Place hot dogs on grill. Open a bag of chips. Done. For a healthier side, you can make a flag fruit skewer.
As for dessert, I figured that nothing is more American than an apple pie. Then I remembered these little desserts I made for Fourth of July two years ago. Not only is it slightly healthier than apple pie, it’s at least 100 times easier.
- 1 box of instant vanilla pudding, prepared
- A package of strawberries, sliced
- An angel food cake (from a box or pre-made is fine), cubed with at least 5 slices reserved
- A package of blueberries
- Wooden skewers
- Serving glasses (I used my small drinkware)
- Star cookie cutter
In the glasses, layer angel food cake cubes, strawberries, then pudding. Repeat so that each glass has two layers. Line blueberries on skewers. Stick in glass. Using the star cookie cutter, cut the cake. Place a star and a strawberry on top, next to the skewer.