Thursday, August 09, 2007

The greatest American movie ever made in these here American United States of America

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....)


Mickie Poe said...

I think I know why our Pullman/Paxton debate won't fly. I caught the end of "Space Balls" (stay with me here) last night and every single time Pullman delivered a line, I wrenched myself away from the kitchen counter where I was chopping veggies to watch him. There's something about his voice, something about the way he says everything in that odd lisp that makes the world stop for me!

Shan said...

Having spent 10 years in Wisconsin, I can say without reservation that ID4 is indeed "good cheese." I, too caught part of the rerun this weekend, and added it to a list I'm compiling of "guilty pleasures." But the key part of the phrase is "pleasures." Despite my better and critical judgment, I really like this flick, and actually *small voice* own it on DVD.

As for Pullman/Paxton, I can actually tell them apart and quite like both. Despite great work in several vehicles (and I'm a huge fan of Big Love), Paxton will always be Private Hudson. Or Chet in Weird Science. And Bill Pullman will always be Daryl Zero. Or Earl Mott in Ruthless People ("This could very well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth. Perhaps we should shoot him.")

Liz said...

I can one-up you there, Shan. I own a special edition DVD of ID4. It's all silvery and pretty. I kinda love that movie.

Chris said...

Chalk me up as an owner of the Special Edition DVD. I can't wait until I get a real home theater and can truly give ID4 the treatment it deserves (big screen, surround sound, room full of geeks!).