Independence Day: It Sucks

Independence Day poster 1996Look people. I understand you grew up loving Independence Day. You got its glyphs tattooed on your arm and became a screenwriter because of it. You bought a couple of Will Smith albums and even listened to them. When you think of Jeff Goldblum you don’t think of The Fly or even Jurassic Park, you think of him injecting a computer virus into an alien mothership, as incontrovertibly stupid as that is.

But Independence Day is a terrible terrible film. Terrible. And I know, because I just tried to watch it again. It is like styrofoam, but without the flavor. It is like spray cheese, but without the shelf life. It is basically Top Gun, without Goose or even Kenny Loggins.

I can imagine how one might love it if he or she or they grew up watching it — much like members of my generation love The Goonies — for the same soft-headed illogical reasons, but objectively: it sucks.

o-INDEPENDENCE-DAY-2-facebookIt has exactly one good scene, and that is when Will Smith — playing a fighter pilot with dreams and a stripper not-yet-fianceé (because the film needed some sex and more than one female character who doesn’t die) — ejects from his jet and beats the stuffing out of an alien. Everything else is either ridiculous, inane, shoddy, or all three.

Bill Pullman does his best, but c’mon. His St. Crispin’s Day knock-off speech is given to a field of extras and Randy Quaid, who plays a drunken alien-abductee crop-dusting martyr with three kids. And that character is far from the least well-considered or most offensive. I gave that award to Harvey Fierestein’s gay Jewish momma’s boy therapy-dependent schmuck, after he narrowly edged out Brent Spiner’s creepy disheveled socially-inept genius scientist.


The film isn’t even a ton of fun to watch. Or a modicum of fun. Will Smith may have charisma, but he shares many of his scenes with Harry Connick Jr., exchanging unironic dialogue about cigars. Wait. I remembered another scene I liked, and I want to be fair: the scene where Will Smith goes out to get the morning paper and first sees the spaceship is like a paper doll version of reality, but Roland Emmerich lets the humor play and I enjoyed it. Then Vivica Fox strips to her undergarments to shoehorn in some skin and saves the family dog before happening across the First Lady (Mary McDonnell) who survives just long enough to die melodramatically.

I’m still weeping about that one. It’s a real heartbreaker when President Bill Pullman tells his daughter that her dead mother is sleeping. Just give me a minute to collect myself.


I write all this so we’re clear. Independence Day is not, in any way, good. I appreciate all the articles that suggest otherwise, now online to hype the reportedly even-more-dreadful sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, but those articles are laughing at you, not with you.

They are taking your nostalgia for simpler days, when Britain was part of the EU and Donald Trump wasn’t waggling his tiny orange fingers in your face, and they’re telling you: believe anything you want, regardless of fact or repercussion. You can be right, even if clearly you’re wrong.

And, in this case, the price we pay is only a sequel no one has to see. Next time you opt to believe your irrational urges, and act on them with a deluded sense of entitlement and justice, we might all pay a price we can’t afford.

Like those poor fuckers in Britain. They sure showed those politicians! Independence From the EU Day! Hooray!

I can’t wait for Brexit: the Movie.

Everyone loves a disaster flick.

15 responses on “Independence Day: It Sucks

  1. I look forward to your review of the sequel. Which it is your job as an American to see! (Envision a tiny orange finger pointing at you when you read the preceding.)

    • Nostalgia is a powerful narcotic. We all have our weaknesses. Mine is for terrible 80s music.

    • I appreciate the opinion of anyone who believes The Goonies to be god-awful. Because it is. A veritable soufflé of Spielbergian schmaltz that never rises even to mediocrity, and undeserving of the adoration it receives.

  2. if you were righteously appalled by the first Independence Day movie, don’t even intent to watch the second for it is BIGGER, BAAAADDER and STUPIDDERER.

    I had pre-booked a cinema ticket for Independence Day Resurgence without foreseeing that my screening (somewhere in the South of UK) would coincide with me as resident alien witnessing BREXITers’ Independence Day and the worst movie of all times almost simultaneously, a constellation that nearly cost me what ever precious belief in humanity I might find left in recesses of my mind and heart. While listening to the news I felt compelled to demand a collective apology for allowing this BREXIT farce to happen and then I watched Independence Day Resurgence and I experienced the urge to jump up and offer an unabridged apology to the audience for being German and belonging to a people that had spawned someone like Roland Emmerich. So now thanks to my own coincidences and your review linking the two events intrinsically together, I will perpetually suffer the impact of British and cinematic INDEPENDENCE DAYS both causing urges to cut my brain out or leaving this galaxy …

      • too true! Being in Britain right now does not even feel amusing if you accept reality being a Flying Monty Python Circus and honestly not sure what madness drove me to watch that plonker of a movie. I know we are living in a kind of populist time when intellect and reason are being sniffed at as untimely and unpopular but sometimes one really wonders how much lower we can go with the storylines and leading ideas of our cinematic endeavours.

  3. The first Independence Day movie was terrible. Will Smith didn’t improve the first Independence Day movie so why should I care that he’s not in the sequel? Actually, why is there a need for a sequel?

  4. Need for a sequel? Why is there NEED for a SEQUEL?!?!?! You might as well ask why chocolate makes such a good roofing material or why badgers love lip balm. The answers to all of these questions could not be more obvious.

    It’s because of the space elves.

  5. I never liked ID4 either. I thought it was too dumb. Way too dumb. I like me some dumb movies, but this tipped the scales. And all the weird shit-baggy jingoism, repurposed from its familiar, obsolete cold war setting to this nonsensical alien invasion plot. You’re going to make an ad for the military where they kill grays instead of rooskies? Offensively
    dumb, AND kind of creepy.

    Day After Tomorrow and 2012, however, are both hilarious good funs.

    • I will confess to an illogical regard for The Day After Tomorrow. I am a sucker for ice wolves.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

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