JEFF PEARLMAN book giveaway: Independence Day … what the f^%$?

So I haven’t had a really good contest here in a while. No time like the present …

Last night I finally got the wife to watch Avatar. I’d been urging this for a long time; DVRed it forever ago; badgered and badgered and badgered … at long last, accompanied by a foot rub, she watched.

And … it … sorta … sucked.

In the theatre, I friggin’ LOVED Avatar. I mean, I walked out, turned to my mother in law (who accompanied me) and said, “That was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen!” Was I drunk? High? Blind and deaf? Looking back, I’m unsure. Because while it’s a passably enjoyable film (with spectacular visuals), well, that’s that. It’s Titanic in the jungle—with tall blue people. Ho-hum.

I disgress. While Avatar is a film that wasn’t nearly as good as I initially thought, the one that takes the cake—and the crown, and the goblet—is Independence Day. Back in 1996, I was a staff writer at The (Nashville) Tennessean … 24-years-old and psyched to take in the Movie Event of the Summer. A bunch of us went, and I walked out with eyes wide and mouth foaming. Yeah, I was young and immature. But—damn!—Independence Day kicked some serious serious, serious ass.


The year is 2011. This morning, Independence Day was on HBO for the 6,532,223,432,443rd time. I watched about a half hour, and was staggered by how unobjectively inane this flick was. Just dumb, dumb, dumb, with obvious laughs. Among the things that struck me:

• The continued use of cigars to portray power and might. Literally, 50 percent of the scenes involving military personnel involve men either chomping on cigars, puffing cigars and throwing down cigars.

• Will Smith crashes, and the alien crashes, too. He walks up to the alien ship, opens the door—and sees this enormous, tentacle-waving thing from Planet 9. Will rears back and punches the alien in the skull … and the alien is knocked out. It’s so beyond dumb.

• Everyone in Los Angeles dies. Well, not everyone. But 95 percent of the population. Two of the 17 who live are Will Smith’s girlfriend and the president’s wife. Odds of this happening: .000000000000000012 percent.

• Air Force One is engulfed in flames, but doesn’t explode.

• A bunch of guys with no fighter pilot experience bring down the aliens.

I can go on and on and on and on. But I’ll stop. Here’s the contest: Give me, in three graphs or less, why Independence Day is Ludicrously Terrible. Best entrant receives signed copies of my Clemens and Bonds biographies (Truth: Found a big box of ’em in my basement last week). E-mail your responses to: