The Best Pieces of Pop Culture with the Word “American” In It

People love to slap the word “American” in front of their shit. I guess it just somehow makes their art seem more serious or meaningful. Over the years, many works have been titled with American in it, but the ones below are by far the most supreme.

Grant Wood's seminal painting
Grant Wood’s seminal painting
“American Gothic” by Grant Wood: The frowning faces of the subjects in “American Gothic,” created in 1930, are the very embodiment of being a true American. If you aren’t suffering, you aren’t working, and if you aren’t working, you aren’t making money.
Philip Roth's award-winning novel
Philip Roth’s award-winning novel
American Pastoral, Philip Roth: In Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, the protagonist, Swede Levov is framed in the central plot of a high school reunion–which is one of the worst traditions Americans have created for themselves.
Album cover for American Life
Album cover for American Life
American Life, Madonna: By far her least accepted album, even more so than 1992’s Erotica, American Life was making some bold statements at a time (2003) when speaking out against the Iraq War still wasn’t in vogue. Plus, no one seemed able to handle Madonna’s white girl rap in the single of the same name. But what could be more patriotic than speaking out against the government?

“American Music,” Violent Femmes: Questioning “Do you do too many drugs, I do too many drugs, too,” the Violent Femmes highlight an American tradition as important as filibustering.
The classic scene from American Beauty
The classic scene from American Beauty
American Beauty, Sam Mendes: What lies beneath the perilously thin veneer of suburbia? Some batshit crazy people just trying to pretend to hold it all together. And since suburban sprawl is entirely an American construct, we’ve made our high thread count bed and now we’ve got to lie in it.
Richard Gere as Julian Kaye, an American gigolo
Richard Gere as Julian Kaye, an American gigolo
American Gigolo, Paul Schrader: Being that the 80s were the height of the American dream in terms of being able to satisfy material desires without judgement, American Gigolo focuses on Julian Kaye, a man who prostitutes himself in order to fulfill his needs for the finer things in life: cars, clothes, drugs, etc.
Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle
Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle
American Hustle, David O. Russell: A film the emphasizes the American need for reinvention–even if that means telling more than a few white lies here or there–Russell shows us that it’s possible to achieve any con if you truly believe in it (or if you just have nothing left to lose).
Jessica Lange in American Horror Story
Jessica Lange in American Horror Story
American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk: It seems as though the supernatural is something that only Americans are freaky deaky enough to have such a predilection for. Especially when it comes to witches.
Cover art for American Psycho
Cover art for American Psycho
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis: In this case, the book is the way to go in terms of expressing utter yuppie self-destruction. Patrick Bateman’s careful construction of his identity and the meaninglessness of working so hard to craft a “personality” is the ultimate symbol of American frivolity and dissatisfaction.