Independence Day

July 4, New York: Independence Day was the first time a teaser trailer really worked on me. Remember that? When tucked into the previews before a film was one little fifteen second spot and that was the first time you’d ever heard of a new film? No stars, not too much detail, just a shot of the shadow creeping over the moon’s surface. I saw it with my best friend Chris and we could not wait for this movie to be released. We stood in line opening night. Then we saw it probably 3 more times that weekend.

Independence Day is the perfect summer blockbuster. Explosions, a too-tidy script, a menagerie of cliched characters, and of course, Will Smith.


“Welcome to Earth!”

Fifteen year old me cheered like crazy when Will Smith punched that alien in the head. This film has everything: it’s pro-American, reminds you to protect the environment, and also promotes diversity— what can bring Israelis and Palestinians together? Alien attack? WE’RE ALL ONE.

And this year it was the perfect rainy July 4th movie. Every single one-liner satisfies like a buttery handful of popcorn. All the nineties jokes still make me chuckle. (“We’re asking all Angelenos not to fire their weapons at the spaceship and inadvertently trigger an interstellar war.”) And what movie President can bring a tear to the eye like Bill Pullman? None. “Today is our Independence Day!”

One thing has changed in all my years of watching this movie. The older I get, the more disturbed I find myself by the sequence depicting the destruction of the major American cities. Death, never shown directly on camera, looms all around. Million upon millions of lives are ending in that short 90 second sequence.

And one other thing I noted as I was watching: how impressive is it that this never spawned a sequel? We can at least all thank Hollywood for that. Though rumors argue the contrary.

Happy Independence Day! You should start a holiday tradition of watching this movie, and you should start it today by renting or buying this film from the Amazon dot com.

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