Ryan Remembers…My Fellow Americans


Released in 1996, My Fellow Americans is one of the sharpest, most well-written comedies of that decade. With an all-star cast including Jack Lemmon, James Garner (both of whom are unfortunately no longer with us), Dan Aykroyd, Bradley Whitford, John Heard, and Wilford Brimley, the movie delivers a plot complete with a frame job that goes all the way up to the Oval Office, and loads of laughs along the way. Lemmon and Garner star as two former Presidents who form a most unlikely alliance, forced to set aside their hatred for each other when one of them is framed for taking a kickback on a defense contract while in office.

When the pair suspect that current President Haney (Aykroyd) and his bumbling Vice President Matthews (Heard) are behind the set-up, they set out to prove their innocence. They travel around the country, bickering all the while as they outrun government agents led by Haney’s Chief of Staff, Carl Witnaur (Whitford), who is seemingly intent on killing them before they uncover the truth.

The comedic writing in this film is superb, leaving the viewer with endless one-liners, quotable for days. Hearing Lemmon’s character refer to the pizza made by the chef in the White House as “a wet dream with a crust” will make you laugh every time you watch the movie, and you may find yourself repeating his question “You know what gives me the red ass?” No? Just me? Alright…moving on. The chemistry between Lemmon and Garner is fantastic, with the two still at the top of their game when it comes to witty banter. Wilford Brimley is quite funny in his relatively small role, adding even more laughs to this very entertaining romp. You’ll be glad to know that he can be rather delightful when he’s not advertising for oatmeal or screaming at you about diabetes testing supplies. There is a twist near the end of the movie that is fitting in a strange and funny way.  My Fellow Americans has become a timeless movie, full of actors who had storied careers, as well as extreme political corruption, and more than enough laughs to make you watch it again and again.

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