Independence Day: Dumb

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I’ve written about Independence Day before, because it’s a film I loved upon first viewing in 1996, then—with each passing exposure—came to hate and hate and hate even more. It’s just a very bad movie. Sloppy. Dumb. Poor acting. Even worse writing.

Yesterday I found myself watching it with my son, because, well, who doesn’t view Independence Day for the 865,432nd time? And a new little piece of awfulness struck me. I feel compelled to share …

So the flick’s most famous line comes when Will Smith opens a downed alien ship, is greeted by a gross looking creature, punches it in the head, watches him fall to the floor and says, “Welcome to earth!” It’s your typical machismo magic, and it f-u-c-k-i-n-g drives me insane.

First, Smith pops open the hood and is greeted by the alien. He has tentacles, and he’s sorta nasty, and the human’s bewildered facial expression shows this well …

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Second, Smith sees that the alien’s face is an actual skeleton, covered by bone …

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Third, Smith rears back to punch the alien …

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Fourth, he connects, and the alien falls back into the space ship …

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Fifth, Smith celebrates by sitting atop the ship, smoking a cigar. He utters the worst line of all time—”Now that’s what I call a close encounter.”

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Now, there are so many things wrong with this it’s almost impossible to list them. But I’llgo with the two biggies.

• 1. You don’t knock something out by punching bone—you break your own body. Had Smith actually slugged the alien in the head, he would have shattered his fist. Then the alien would have wrapped its tentacles around Smith’s body, dragged him into the ship and consumed him for dinner, piece by piece. Which, oddly, would make for an interesting ending.

• 2. The planet has pretty much been destroyed. Your soon-to-be fiance is presumably dead. Los Angeles is gone—meaning all your friends and relatives are toast. Your entire flight battalion has been extinguished, including your closest chum, Harry Connick, Jr. So it would be more than a tad odd to greet this news by smoking a stogie and saying, “Welcome to earth.”

Anyhow, the film is brutal and unwatchable. But, luckily, the sequel comes out tomorrow. So, hey.