Sorry for the effusive patriotism there, but Independence Day, or ID4 as we fans call it, does that to me sometimes. It was on cable again this past weekend, as it is on any day when the Earth revolves around the sun, and I’d forgotten just how awesome this movie is. And I mean that almost without any sarcasm at all. This is one of those movies that people feel ashamed to enjoy, like Armageddon or Poseidon Adventure, but I think it’s time we stopped feeling bad about loving ID4. After all, if God hadn’t wanted us to love cheese, he wouldn’t have given us Wisconsin.
First of all, there’s a lot to legitimately love about this movie. In fact, there are nine things and they are:
1) Will Smith being Will Smith
2) Harry Connick Jr. flying a jet and talking with his smooth Louisiana accent
3) Randy Quaid saving the world (oops, spoiler)
4) Mary McDonnell dying gracefully so as not to have to act too much with
Bill Pullman and proving to me just how devastated I’ll be if they ever
kill her off of Battlestar Galactica
5) That jump to safety that the labrador retriever makes just as the tunnel explodes!
6) Brent Spiner as an Area 51 brainiac
7) Adam Baldwin as a dude in a uniform who’s basically anonymous but still cool because, hello, it’s Jayne!
8) Intentionally funny dialogue
9) Spectacular explosions and space battles
And there’s a lot to illegitimately love about this movie. I won’t make a list because basically that love, for me, is best summed up in the president’s rousing speech toward the end of the film, delivered in a slightly confused and understandably ashamed manner by Bill Pullman. I really can't do it justice describing it. You'll just have to watch it yourself:
Everything about that scene is so beautifully, awesomely overwrought and shitty – I don’t think I’ll ever love any other speech more. It’s so pure in its badness, like an ugly, ugly baby. And when it comes to movie magic, you can't ask for much more than that. Except maybe quality.
So the next time ID4 is on, feel free to crank it up, wave your flag, yell a few profanities at the aliens and let your neighbors know how much you love this movie. Because remember, there's nothing to be ashamed of anymore. (Even I don't really believe that....)