Friday, July 3, 2020

The July 4th Staycation Movie & Music Playlist (with family friendly options!)

Dear Reader,

Like many, many Americans right now - July 4th doesn't really feel like the ones in the past.  Whatever your personal circumstances are, most likely, you are not traveling - and adapting as best as one can under such trying times.  Now there's about six million five hundred twenty four thousand pins that show you how to host the perfect at home #pinspo party . . . and this isn't one of them haha.

This is the post to pull up for a quick playlist of the music in the background - and at 24 minutes - is perfect to play while people are gathering food, and sitting down at the couch.  Right before you check out one of the movies on this list, because who needs to think of yet one more detail last minute ;)

Oh and don't forget to check out my freebies page, to snag three pages of fun July 4th inspired mini games for the kids. 

So let's dive in!

bohemian catholic staycation july 4th independence day playlist music movies

July is prime peak movie season - the big summer blockbusters.  But (and understandably), most families are not checking out their local movie theaters right now.  So instead, here's a movie list of past movies that are right on theme (and some family friendly options as well).

I did not give age ratings (outside of the official movie rating), only because I know every parent has a different idea of what they are, and aren't okay, with their kids watching.  So obviously use your own discretion when it comes to a family movie night - but once the kids are in bed, I hope you enjoy some of these, too :)
Here we go
bohemian catholic staycation movie playlist july 4th independence day
For the Musical Theater Fan:

Hamilton (the Musical) available TODAY on Disney+
(no movie rating, though some are saying some cuss words will be muted, to give it a PG-13 rating, but I haven't seen anything official about that) I personally am SO excited to check this out!  I was a show choir gleek in high school, and I'm a history buff, so this is a perfect date night movie for me :)  According to some reviews online, they suggest it's suitable for kids ages 10+

For the Adrenaline Junkie:

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
(rated PG-13) I'm pretty sure everyone by now has seen this movie at least once, but if you haven't - well let me enlighten you: Steve Rogers is a precious cinnamon roll.  Add in the 40's sets, costumes, and music nostalgia, sprinkle in some romance, and of course, the big sense of justice throughout the movie, and you got a great movie for Independence Day.

Independence Day (1996)
(rated PG-13) This movie came out when I was 11, and almost every other Independence Day we watched it as a family.  As a military family, my family always laughed when Will Smith had to pack up to go, and his girl is like, "You call them back" - like sorry boo, you can't tell the military to hang on.  And my Dad always enjoyed a good horror/sci fi movie (though this is sci fi action, there are one or two jump scenes!).  Sprinkle in some Will Smith comedic relief, going up against Jeff Goldblum's sarcasm and I think there's enough smiles/laughs that teens would probably enjoy it, too ;)  And the President's Speech right before the big battle? . . . Iconic!!

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
(rated PG-13) Die Hard is hard to top - but LFDH is a close second in my opinion, and it's staying steady with an 82% Rotten Tomatoes rating.  Taking place over the July 4th weekend, Bruce Willis' classic John McClane character gets dragged into a world he knows nothing about - the cyber world of hackers.  Paired up with an asthmatic, nerdy, Justin Long, the unlikely duo save America (spoiler alert I know, but one, as if they'd let John McClane lose, and two, it came out 13 years ago people)  Just sit back and enjoy and giggle at the Kevin Smith cameo :)

For the Family:

National Treasure (2004)
(rated PG) Nicholas Cage's family learned of a massive, hidden, treasure of gold - hidden somewhere in America, with the founding father's leaving clues in plain sight just waiting to be solved.  Of course, there's the good guys vs bad guys, and Nicholas Cage gets grouped with the bad guys so him and his team have to run from the bad guys AND the law while they try to save the treasure from the bad guys.  Oh, and at some point, the Declaration of Independence is stolen.  I almost grouped this one for the history buff - but felt it was a great option for the family with older kids :)

Night at the Museum (2006)
(rated PG) So this one doesn't technically have to do with July 4th, but there's so much American history references strewn through out that I felt it was a great addition for a family movie night this weekend.  I think the kids will love watching Ben Stiller's character, Larry Daley, and his son dealing with the museum coming alive every night.  The late Robin Williams (God rest his soul) gives such a heart warming performance of President Teddy Roosevelt, that it will remind you just how much you miss this bright light on the big screen . . . but - just be prepared that your kids will probably go around saying, "Dum Dum give me gum gum" for a few days after :p

For the History Buff:

The Patriot (2000)
(rated R) Yes, you read that right, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the movie's release.  I was living in South Carolina at the time, and even had a few classmates who got to work as extras on the set!  Though I'm not a fan of Mel Gibson as a person, his performance here is nothing short of breathtaking.  Of course most history buffs will be quick to point out some inaccuracies, especially as it pertains to citizen relations to British soldiers.  But I also think it's a good movie to teach us about the unfair class system happening in the colonies, and what kind of country we wanted to create (ahem, so it feels appropriate today as well!).  And honestly, before this movie came out, I did not know that slaves were allowed to "earn their freedom" with military service for the colonists!  I hope the important role African American soldiers in the Revolutionary War will be better examined in history classes across our nation.

For the Scream Queen:

Jaws (1975)
(rated PG) <-- I have no idea how ha!  Okay, so you might be wondering, how exactly a movie about a shark relates to Independence Day, but turns out the plot of this film takes place over the July 4th weekend ;)  So hey, especially with beach restrictions in place, this movie can be a case of life imitating art, imitating life.

I Know What you Did Last Summer (1997)
(rated R) This is one for after the kids are tucked in, the guests have left, and leftovers are in the fridge.  It's a teen slasher flick with fantastic turns by all the actors involved, and a story about secrets, and friendships, and murder.  Benjamin Franklin himself said, "Three friends can keep a secret, if two are dead."  And so after a night of July 4th revelry, a group of teen friends accidentally run over a man and decide to dump his body - one year later, they are haunted by someone who saw what they did, and is killing people left and right.

the bohemian catholic staycation playlist music july 4th independence day
As for the music, I wanted a few songs with "America" in the title, and a little something for everyone - so the ages are a bit all over the place.  And of course, I had to finish it with Whitney Houston's (God rest her soul) rendition of "Star Spangled Banner", because it still can give you chills!

Here's the embedded playlist - just click for the direct link (no sign up necessary!)

Alright, that's it!  So I can't make your July 4th weekend better with amazing DIY's, fancy travel plans, or great dishes fit for a party of 40 . . . but hopefully I found some music to make you smile, and a movie list to help you not have to worry about one more thing as you celebrate our nation's Independence Day.

Happy Fourth of July!
Much love

Image Source Credit: Jessica Lewis via

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