If You Liked… Independence Day

As we prepare for the sequel that has been 20 years in the making, lets take a look back at this alien invasion film. Independence Day is a 1996 American epic science-fiction disaster film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, Vivica A. Fox, and Harry Connick, Jr. The film focuses on a diverse and interesting group of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a destructive alien attack and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4th.

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Has anyone not seen Independence Day? Seriously? I want to meet you if you’ve never seen it. I would be highly surprised if you could find anyone between the ages of 30 and 50 in the United States who hasn’t seen Independence Day.

That doesn’t mean everyone loves it. In fact, according to icheckmovies.com, only 2.6% of those that have seen the the movie listed it as one of their favorites, and 1.1% disliked it. This is one of those guilty pleasure movies for me. I saw this film in the theater on opening weekend during the summer between 7th and 8th grade. If you can find a more formative time in a kid’s life I don’t know what it is. It was then that I decided I really liked Jeff Goldblum’s stilted speech and acting style and found out that the Fresh Prince could do more than dance.

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If you are like me and like Independence Day you might be looking for some other movies to watch while you wait for Independence Day: Resurgence to be released next weekend. I told my oldest son (12) that he could only see the sequel if he watched the original with me, so he obliged his old man and we sat down and watched this movie a few nights ago. Time has not been great to the effects on this film. Director Roland Emmerich loves to destroy New York City and threaten the annihilation of all mankind (Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, 2012), it will be nice to see what he can do with the technology that 20 years has given him. In keeping with the guilty pleasure nature of Independence Day, all of my selections will also be selections that I might not often openly admit to loving.

The Day After Tomorrow

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Another of Roland Emmerich’s slate of epic destruction flicks. This one centers on a mega storm that is sweeping in a new ice age. If you liked the crazy pilot in Independence Day you might like that his slightly more handsome and well-adjusted brother is the co-star of this film along with Jake Gyllenhaal who was just starting to take off like a rocket when this film came out. The effects are substantially better in this film just 8 years after the destruction of Independence Day. Fun Fact: In keeping with the movie’s ecological theme, Emmerich paid $200,000 from his own pocket to make the production “carbon-neutral” – the first of its kind in Hollywood – all carbon dioxide emitted by the production was offset by the planting of trees, and investments in renewable energy.

I Am Legend

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Maybe you’re just a big Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fan and you are looking for some more Will Smith to consume. Well, what if the aliens left some sort of intercosmic virus and it wiped out all of humanity leaving in its wake a new mutated race of monsters and Will Smith, the only survivor in New York City, was left struggling to find a cure. Whether you like the alternate or the original ending better, it doesn’t matter. This film is just a wild ride.

Powder

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Some of you may have never heard of Powder, but when I think of Jeff Goldblum, I think of his role in this movie as the understanding high school science teacher Mr. Ripley. I probably watched this movie 2 dozen times over the course of 1995-1996. Maybe it was because I liked the acting and the story or perhaps it was because I was a victim of bullying and wished that i could do the things that Jeremy could. Either way, it is a good film and you should check it out if you’ve never seen it.

Twister

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Maybe alien invasion isn’t your favorite form of destruction, you can enjoy the old fashioned power and destructive force of a tornado in Twister. This is one of those movies that you watch and think, “This is absolutely terrible… but why do I like watching it so much?” It was the 2nd highest grossing film behind Independence Day in 1996. If someone catches you watching it, just chuckle and tell them that you are just getting started watching all of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s films.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the new Independence Day: Resurgence? What is your favorite 90’s guilty pleasure movie?

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