Movies-A-Go-Go: Independence Day

1996 sci-fi blockbuster

Rating: 9/20

Plot: Aliens attack Earth. The filmmakers unleash a similar attack on logic.

I watched this because I saw the preview for the upcoming sequel and thought it looked pretty good. Well, it looks expensive. I'd never seen this movie because I was only watching Japanese movies, David Lynch films, and silent movies in the mid-90s. Anyway, I no longer have any interest in the sequel, mostly because I don't think Harvey Fierstein is going to be in it.

Here are my Independence Day thoughts using the popular Movies-A-Go-Go format. Enjoy.

Title screen with vague alien noises, followed by July 2. Wait a second! They got the date wrong. This is the least patriotic movie ever despite the first shot being a moon-dusty American flag.

This moon footage looks about as fake as Stanley Kubrick’s moon-landing stuff from the late-60’s.

R.E.M.’s signature song has to be “It’s the End of the World As We Know It,” right? More than "Everybody Hurts" or "Losing My Religion"? It’s become almost a cliche to use it in disaster movies like this, but I’m glad that little bald guy is making a killing from its use.

No way I’d ever vote for a president who says everything in the exact same near-whisper rasp like this 27 year old guy. I'm not even sure Pullman is old enough to be president.

I have a feeling Jeff Goldblum wouldn’t shut up when playing chess and be completely unbearable.

This is really setting things up to include every cliche in the book, and the movie isn't even five minutes long. A young president people have lost faith looking for redemption, a smart and eccentric outsider looking for redemption, overbearing military guys, a crazy drunkard looking for redemption, an estranged wife. All we need now is a cool black hero, and it will be even better if he's looking for redemption.

Hey, that didn’t look like checkmate to me. Movies are docked points when they have inaccurate chess. Goldblum should know better.

Who writes dialogue for a guy in a biplane and a guy riding a motorcycle? I don't think they can hear each other.

This movie’s throwing a bunch of characters at me, but so far, I’m not interested in any of them. Drunk Randy Quaid has potential though.

Wouldn’t normal people be able to see something that is ¼ the size of the moon? The movie's practically shown us everybody in America already, but nobody seems to look up.

And there's a Harvey Fierstein and Jeff Goldblum kiss. Great, now I have to watch the rest of the movie with an erection.

I’m glad to see the president and his staff get their news from watching foreign news broadcasts in English on cheap televisions like everybody else.

Hey! I just met those pilot characters, and now they’ve died in expensive but ineffective special effects? It just doesn't seem fair.

Don’t bother Jeff Goldblum when he’s trying to print out something!

Try not to panic there, Harvey Fierstein.

Hey, it’s Link Wray! I guess Link Wray's guitar antics will suffice for a crazy guy's theme music as well as anything else.

One of Russ’s bullies just spit something out of his mouth. In his defense, that “sexual things” joke was pretty hilarious.

Landmarks covered up by giant shadows montage! I guess it was easier to impress people in 1996.

I hope the World Trade Center buildings survive this alien attack.

This alien spaceship sure is gassy.

What an eclectic group of New Yorkers watching this from the same block. I think I spotted several young basketball players, an old Jewish guy, an Asian, and a Hispanic in the same shot.

A lot of these people are acting surprisingly calm.

Will Smith shouldn’t even be allowed to wear shirts in movies.

That's for the ladies. . .

I wish I could watch my neighbors while urinating. In my next house, I’m going to make sure I consider window placement.

Harvey Fierstein is now running. That’s something that should never have happened on the silver screen. Will Smith shouldn't wear shirts, and Harvey Fierstein.

10,000 fender benders and Will Smith and his wife screaming at each other. The aliens haven’t even shown aggression yet, and we’ve already let them win.

“Postpone a Little Freaky-Deaky” will likely be a chapter title in my autobiography.

Wait a second. Is the president’s wife Sarah Palin?

With more references to alien sexual abuse, this has started to develop an interesting subtext.

This Quaid with his two sons scene is some of the finest acting I’ve ever seen.

“Jasmine kind of has a thing for dolphins.” I’m pretty sure that’s a subtle reference to Will Smith’s penis. Or maybe it's not even subtle? I think Will Smith is blatantly comparing his penis to a dolphin.

Speaking of Will Smith and aliens, is this movie Scientology propaganda or not? I’d like to know before I go on. Maybe it's not Scientology propaganda at all--only dolphin penis propaganda.

Who plays Tiff? (She's Kiersten Warren, and I don't believe I know her. I think I was confusing her with somebody else.)

Why did Goldblum need to draw that crappy picture to basically say “Aliens are using our satellites, and that’s causing them not to work correctly.”?

You can’t communicate with aliens using blinking lights. You have to bleat out a few notes on a synthesizer. Where the hell is Richard Dreyfuss when a movie needs him?

Oh, Tiff just went to the roof to hold up welcome signs. These guys must be the Scientologists.

Well, there goes Tiff. We didn’t even get to see her strip. What's the point of making her a stripper if we don't get to see her in action? How am I even supposed to care about this character's death?

R.I.P., Tiff. It would have been nice to see your nipples before you and the other Scientologists exploded. 

And there goes Fierstein. Is this movie even worth watching anymore?

I’d be running from special effects this bad, too. This foamy orange stuff is embarrassing.

Is the Statue of Liberty’s facial expression different?

This picture is awful. 

Every single scene with Randy Quaid and his sons is gold.

You know, if I’m watching The White House, The Empire State Building, and the Capitol Building obliterated onscreen, I should probably feel something. I'm feeling nothing which either means this is ineffective film making or I'm cold-hearted. Or maybe a little of both.

“Just a little anxious to get up there and whoop E.T.’s ass.” That got some laughs. I’m sure glad some people can have a sense of humor about the amount of lives that must have been lost when the two biggest cities in America and D.C. were CGI-blasted to oblivion.

These fighter pilots need to find a trench to fly down.

The sound effect accompanying the “green shit” the aliens shoot sure is cute. Squelchy pew sounds.

“Nooooooooooooo!” Those are my feelings about Jimmy’s demise, too, Will Smith. But at least his celebratory cigar is lit, right?

As long as Will Smith’s screaming heroic things, I’m going to feel safe. I think he’s what we needed during 9/11--just a wise-cracking Will Smith yelling cocky one-liners.

Will Smith just punched an alien. And this movie just became an asshole.

I should have started keeping track of how many characters say “My God!”

Is that “End Has Come” guy supposed to be Lyle Lovett?

The First Lady, who they don’t seem to recognize, doesn’t look “hurt pretty badly” actually.

I love how Will Smith’s character feels the need to say “Hey!” to get the attention of all these RV’s heading to Burning Man. They’re coming in your direction, Fresh Prince. And they probably can’t hear you. And they’re probably stoned.

Another “My God”!

Dr. Okun looks reliable.

Most of this movie is beyond stupid, but letting Jeff Goldblum and his dad into this top-secret place the president didn’t even know about is just idiotic.

“Can they be killed?” First off, that’s a very good question, Mr. President. Second, it’s possibly the most American question that could possibly be asked in a movie like this.

Geez. How many RV’s does it take to transport Will Smith and his new friend to a military base?

El Toro must have been really important to Will Smith. It’s the first time something bad has happened in this that he hasn’t had some witty and loud remark for.

Sarah Palin frowns on exotic dancing.

Dr. Okun and the other scientists don’t seem to know what the hell they’re doing here. Then again, Okun did know there would be a smaller alien guy inside the giant alien head. I wouldn't have known that.

This is like a really expensive B-movie that doesn’t know it’s a B-movie. I’m kind of amazed with how bad this is actually.

President: “What do you want us to do?”
Alien: “Die.”
President: “Ok, but after that, you’ll leave us alone, right?” (Note: This last line wasn't in the movie. It should have been though.) 

“Nuke ‘em. Let’s nuke the bastards.” Fuck yeah! America! Now I have something to scream during any future July 4th barbecues.

Oh, crap. Looks like you jumped the gun with the “we got the bastards” line, James Rebhorn.

Too bad Fierstein’s character died. Since the nuclear bomb didn’t have any effect, Fierstein’s voice being amplified and shot at the spaceships might have made a good Plan B.

What? They brought the First Lady back just so she could die? Now this movie’s turned into an even bigger asshole.

Good, it’s July 4th. Maybe the movie can end sooner than I think it’s going to.

During America’s greatest times of need, there’s still room for product placement. This Jeff Goldblum epiphany has been brought to us by Coca Cola.

Ahh, the sexual subtext is coming back as Goldblum’s plan seems to involve giving the alien spaceships an STD.

Rebhorn just threw out the word cockamamie, a requirement that his manager probably makes sure is in every movie contract he gets.

Why haven’t the aliens just finished us off?

Who would have guessed that Morse would be the real hero of this movie?

That’s a good speech, President Pullman. Anything that gets drunk Randy Quaid excited has to be. And I'm glad you can remain so stoic, possibly even indifferent, after your wife has fucking died!

Recycling propaganda, international circle jerking. And now the president is a combat pilot? I think I’m getting sick to my stomach.

Jeff Goldblum is the smartest person in the world (apparently) yet doesn’t know what “oops” means? I think that’s a plot hole.

I don’t even know where to start with the stuff that doesn’t make sense about how Will Smith is just flying this alien spaceship into space.

Goldblum: “Do it. Do it.” Like a horny teenager trying to talk the object of his lust into taking off her pants.

This score is relentless here. The only way they could have more music in this thing is to put a second score on top of the first one. I’m actually kind of surprised they didn’t do this.

My God! (To borrow an oft-used pair of words from this movie) Teenagers are talking--for the second time--about not wanting to die virgins. I can’t believe I was right about this one. I can't quite put all the pieces together to figure out what this is saying about sex, but it's definitely saying something.

Would Obama get in a fighter jet and attack a big alien spaceship? Doubt it. George Bush wouldn't even be able to work the seat belt or he'd put his helmet on backwards.

What? Randy Quaid’s character is going to end up being the big hero? Who would have predicted that?

Nothing can be easy, can it. Now Quaid’s unable to shoot off his missile. (Note: This is apparently called anejaculation, but I'd prefer "delayed ejaculation" to avoid getting into some Abbott and Costello routine. "I have anejaculation." "You do? Do you need to change your pants?" "No, I said I have anejaculation!" "I know! You had an ejaculation. I heard you." "Ahhh! I oughta. . ."

“All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation--up yoooooooooooouuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrs!” I want you to keep in mind that somebody actually typed these words on purpose.

It would totally suck to have everybody hooting and hollering around you about 7 seconds after your father died, especially right after your father had the dumbest last words in human history.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But c’mon, Will Smith. Jeff Goldblum’s character doesn’t want to die a virgin.

Missiles, cigars, tunnel exits. Can they make it any more obvious?

I think I need a soundtrack like this the next time I have intercourse.

Well, Pullman can pretty much just deliver streams of whispered obscenities in every speech during his campaign and still win his reelection, right? He could just quote Sarah Palin and probably still win.

“Happy 4th of July, Daddy.” If Charles Dickens had written this, he would have ended it the exact same way.

Regardless of who wrote it, I'm really glad it ended.

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