Bad Movies I Love #1: Independence Day

Back when I was in college studying film studies our lecturer, a wonderfully sarcastic Brummie called Rob went through the sci fi blockbuster Independence Day analysing it and pointing out how it was essentially propaganda and reinforced all these values regarding gender, masculinity and race.

Every single thing he said was true but it still couldn’t stop me from loving the flick.

Its a massive, old school disaster movie about an alien invasion where the badass aliens turn up, kick our ass before we finally work out a way to fight back.

Its amazingly stupid in lots of way, and ridiculously patriotic and gung ho, but yet, for me at least, it totally works. Here are 8 things I love about it:

1. Vote Whitmore

Bill Pullman plays Thomas Whitmore, the kind of idealistic President that only exists in films. He’s tough, full of integrity and heroism and leads the final attack himself. Real politicians are never like this, but this film hardly hinges on realism and presents an idealised view of the man who should be leading the free world. Also, its Bill Pullman, the guy screams integrity and niceness everytime he appears on screen. He also delivers a cheesy, yet powerful rallying speech before battle.

"We will not go quietly into the night..."

2. JWA (Jews With Attitude)

The fight back is led by the brains of Jeff Goldblum and its him and his dad, played by Judd Hirsch that provide the heart of the film. Goldblum outsmarts pretty much everyone and Hirsch is comedy gold as the conspiracy believing old man who turns out to be vindicated. The chosen people lead the way in saving the earth.

3. Big Willy Style

Will Smith is, hands down, one of the most charismatic actors working today. Even when he’s in weak films like Wild Wild West he has this easy going charm and likability, and this is no exception, he gets some of the movies best lines and is a joy to watch throughout.

4. Bringing the House Down

The shot of the aliens blowing up the White House remains a visually stunning shot and one of the most memorable images from 90s cinema.

5. “Now that’s what I call a close encounter”

The best scene in the movie? After bringing down one of the aliens, Will Smith punches it in the face (“Welcome to Earth!”) before sitting back, uttering the above line and lighting a cigar.

Will Smith- badass

6. White Trash

I love how in the end its the hard drinking, trailer-trash UFO abductee Randy Quaid, who saves the day. Classic disaster movie redemption.

7. Mad Scientist

A small role for Brent Spiner as the overly enthusiastic nutball Area 51 scientist who meets a sticky end. Having been used to him playing the aloof Data its fun to see Spiner let down his fake hair and really ham it up. Also, is the scene which allows us an insight into what the aliens are about.


No country does OTT patriotism in such a compelling way as the Americans, seriously, I’m a proud Brit, but when Hulk Hogan enters to “Real American” it gets me pumped. This film is a massive ode to American supremacy. The Yanks solve how to defeat the aliens and lead the fight back, giving the impression that the rest of the world has just been sitting around waiting for the cavalry to arrive. Hard to imagine any other country having the stones to make a movie where they are so superior to every other nation.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. TTFN


One Comment on “Bad Movies I Love #1: Independence Day”

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