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:


14 thoughts on “ book giveaway: Independence Day … what the f^%$?”

  1. Dear Jeffrey: I would love to enter your contest but I found Independence Day too stupid to watch… or rather, its rank stupidity was insufficiently offset by tall blue people. But I do want to read your books now that I’m a baseball addict.

  2. The best part of Independence Day is when Will Smith’s wife, laden down with a child and tending to a dog, OUTRUNS an explosion.

    Also, in the film’s original version, Randy Quaid’s plane is not a modern fighter, but rather a biplane with a stolen missile tied to its cockpit.

  3. Jeff,

    What strikes me as most ludicrous is the extreme disregard for the president’s safety.
    First off, if I’m not mistaken, the line of presidential succession has been terminated down to Sec. of Defense and they treat him like he’s nothing and fire him. The VP should have been protected but I guess they screwed that up.
    Secondly, THEY LET THE PRESIDENT FLY A FIGHTER JET INTO AIR COMBAT!!! This is what causes me to change the channel every time. I hope this doesn’t have to be a proper paragraph!

  4. Jeff,

    The reason ID4 is terrible is b/c of the implausibility. These are highly intelligent alien creatures that traveled across a galaxy in a ship that is hundreds of miles wide with highly advanced weapons. The alien technology is hundreds if not thousands of years ahead of us.

    Yet, humans defeated them with a simple, run of the mill computer virus. Even the most primitive anti-virus software in 1996 would have quarantined and deleted the virus. Ludicrous.

  5. I remember the kerfluffle when Bob Dole praised the movie. Some Dem wags made hay of the fact that it was a movie where the First Lady was killed and he was praising it as “good family fun.”

    Heh… God bless politics.

    What is ludicrous about the movie:

    Judd Hirsch doing every horrible stereotype known to man

    I wouldn’t elect Bill Pearlman president of an Elks Club, let alone the U.S.

    What Michael said. The line of succession is down to the Deputy Undersecretary for Beet Futures and you’ve got the President zipping around in a plane.

    I will say it is amusing to watch Randy Quaid in any movie now, when you realize just how batshit he is.

  6. Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch drive from NY to DC in about two hours with total gridlock on the highways. Awful, though not as bad as Rocky’s 6 year old cheering him on the TV while he fights Drago in Russia in Rocky IV, then ROcky V opens with Rocky getting oack to America and seeing his now teenaged son. Must have been one long flight back

  7. It’s Pullman, not Pearlman, but you’re forgiven. The dog survived the blast also. And Data got strangled behind the not bulletproof glass. The movie’s a classic, dammit!12

  8. I think the fact that the defense systems on an alien spaceship were compatible with Jeff Goldblum’s macbook was the single greatest commentary on Independence Day’s greatness and its transcendent stupidity. Like a deep fried twinkie, ID4 was a crime against God and a crime against Humanity, yet you’re lying if you said you didn’t love it a little bit.

  9. Ken, Rocky V never happened. And if it did, is it that any more unlikely than Rocky getting an entire arena of Soviet fans into turning on their own for an American? I think not. ID4 and Rock IV: The most American movies ever created. Counter-agruments will not be accepted.

  10. I love how everyone’s reasoning for criticizing this movie is its implausibility… The movie has fucking ALIENS. Aliens with force fields and green lasers weapons. It’s not supposed to play by the rules of physics.

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