I may have done this before, or one like it, last year, but the other night when I stayed up to watch CHARADE on the RETROPLEX channel, the movie I caught before it was INDEPENDENCE DAY. I was amazed at how well it took me in again, despite the schmaltzy and sometimes really terrible dialogue and direction.
But the action moves fast enough (great editing) and the stars are compelling enough (especially Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, and Viveca A. Fox) and the special effects not too campy to keep my attention and interest, despite the sci-fi and action movie conventions and clichés.
The scene when Will Smith arrives in the stolen helicopter to rescue Fox’s character (and Mary McDonnel’s underused “first lady”) made me think of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in GONE WITH THE WIND, until they uttered the trying-to-be-clever dialogue that in this scene unfortunately wasn’t.
But the thing that struck me most about this 1996 flick was how much I wish Bush Jr. had watched it before 9/11 and then emulated it afterward. Especially when Bill Pullman’s not very realistic but heroic president faces an already proven violent alien threat, and he decides not to go to the bunker, but to send his vice president and cabinet instead. He stays in the White House and broadcasts to the nation, so that the populace doesn’t panic.
There were more parallels with 9/11 than I expected, not having seen the movie in its entirety since before that tragedy. Anyway, it got me thinking of Sci Fi flicks and their metaphoric relationship to current events in many cases. So last night while falling asleep, I decided to make a favorite “science fiction” alphabet film list. As always, I welcome any suggestions for the missing letters.
BLADE RUNNER (and I have to add BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET)
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE
GODZILLA (not really a “favorite” except for the campy monster and the idea of it)
HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS
LOGAN’S RUN (the original—also, like many of these, kind of campy, but still somehow relevant to current events at the time they were made, as many of these still are)
MEN IN BLACK
ON THE BEACH
PLANET OF THE APES
QUIET EARTH, THE
RUNNING MAN, THE (especially cheesy in that so-bad-it’s-good way)
STARMAN (and of course the original STAR WARS, renamed A NEW HOPE)
V FOR VENDETTA
WATERWORLD (I may be one of the few people who dug this movie)
X THE UNKNOWN (‘50s flick, but still metaphorically, at the least, relevant)
Z? [Ray DiPalma suggests ZARDOZ for this letter, but unfortunately I never saw it, I'll have to check it out as it stars Sean Connory back in the day when he was always fun to watch on screen no matter what the film was]