Four Letter Nerd

Top Ten Disaster Movies Part 3

The wait is over! The time to learn the rest of the top ten best disaster movies of all time is upon us! Hold on to your butts…it’s about to happen.

2. Independence Day (1996)- Starring Will Smith, Bill “Lonestar” Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum.

The movie starts out following Jeff Goldblum, who is some kind of engineer, picking up a strange signal that is interfering with our satellites. He soon figures out the source the interference when the alien space ships appear over all the major cities in the world. This sudden appearance of city sized space ships obviously leads to mass panic (duh). You learn that Bill Pullman is President (awesome) and he decides to stay in the White House even though there being a space ship hovering overhead (not awesome). Will Smith is an Air Force pilot, who is called to back to base because of the extra-terrestrial tourists. Goldblum soon realizes that the interference is caused by the aliens using our own satellites against us to communicate a countdown. His ex-wife conveniently works for the President so he is able to give the President this information right before the countdown is over, and the aliens blow everything the hell up. Total destruction ensues, but Smith’s girlfriend, her son and dog are spared, because they hide in a maintenance closet in a tunnel. That’s the only thing that will beat alien hellfire every time. In response, the US Air Force launches their best pilots against the aliens. Cue Smith and his wonderful charming self. He is able to detain an alien (now that’s what I call a close encounter), drag him to an unmapped military base (Area 51 perhaps?) where he meets the President and Goldblum. It turns out the government had known about the aliens the whole time (are you really surprised…”No peace!”). Smith, Goldblum, and the President (with the help of the guy from Taxi. No, not him, the other guy. Everyone watched TV Land reruns of Taxi, right?) come up with a plan to defeat the aliens by giving them a virus. Goldblum and Smith use an alien spacecraft to fly into the mother ship and infect it with a virus. Now I know what you are thinking and no, it’s not Ebola or Motaba, it’s a computer virus. Even in the distant 90’s they had computer viruses. Crazy, I know. Meanwhile back on earth, the military scrambles every available pilot and plane (obviously) in the area, which includes the President (of course it does), and Cousin Eddy. The President gives the best freaking speech ever in the history of movies.

 After this speech you just want to wipe your eyes because all the patriotic feels made your eyes sweat and punch an alien in the face. Of course the virus works (because Jeff Goldblum) and their shields go down allowing the Air Force to kick some alien butt. America remains undefeated in the world war count.

Reasons for making top ten: This is not your typical alien invasion disaster movie. This is one of the most epic movies of all time. This would make my top ten favorite any kind of movie list 100% time. I look forward to the 4th of July, not only because I’m a history buff and enjoy the reason we celebrate the day (America!) but mostly because this movie will be on all the time (it’s the A Christmas Story of this holiday). I’m compelled to watch it every time. The fact that it took me half a page should to rehash the movie should be enough evidence that this is a great movie, or at least prove that I am obsessed with it. The graphics in the movie really help bring it to a whole new disastrous level. Now, whenever I see clouds roll in the way they did when the space ships came, I just assume it’s the aliens coming back for revenge. This is by far my favorite Will Smith movie (Goldblum favorite is Jurassic Park, duh. Pullman favorites: Newsies and Casper, also duh). This is a very dynamic movie because it has aliens, fighting, love, and science. I am not sure what else you could ask for. As far as disaster goes, you really can’t deny that one blast from an alien space ship that can destroy an entire city is pretty awesome (awesome in the sense of the actual word, to inspire awe, not in the totally radical kind). It’s pretty evident that if any kind of alien decided to call Earth their new home we would be in for the fight of our lives. Unless, of course, that alien was like Paul, then we would probably just sit around and talk about life, man.


1. Twister (1996)- Starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.

You follow a team of tornado chasers in Oklahoma (because, Oklahoma). They are following a particularly nasty storm that is dropping tornados all over the area. Each twister has it’s own personality you could say, and each tornado’s personality is progressively crappier than the one before it. One even picks up a cow (those windy bastards, leave the poor cows alone). There is an interesting dynamic between Paxton and Hunt; they are in the end stages of their divorce. He just became a weatherman at a local news station, and is engaged. So he drives out to the middle of nowhere to meet up with his old crew and get Hunt (a member of said crew) to sign the divorce papers. While there they get a report of a tornado touchdown, so as the team scrambles to chase the twister Paxton chases after the team because Hunt “conveniently” forgets to sign the papers. While out there, the team shows Paxton something he never thought he would see, Dorothy. A mechanism designed to be released in a tornado to learn all about what makes one tick (or spin, because tornados don’t tick). They try twister after twister to make Dorothy fly, but are having a hard time getting her actually in a tornado. The soon find out that there is another crew, “Jonas, that son of a bitch…He’s in it for money not the science.” Jonas and his crew are out there with a similar device. “Dorothy! You took her, you damn thief!” So now it becomes a race to get intimate with a tornado. There are several close calls, but things get uncomfortably serious with one twister. Paxton and Hunt almost get Dorothy to fly, but then it gets too intense and they had to bail (science experiments are not generally worth a painful death). They had a conversation about how they basically still love each other, which Paxton’s fiancé over hears (ouch). She decides that she is leaving in the next scene but isn’t able to because of TWISTER!. While at a motel/car repair place/ drive-in movie theater, there is reportedly an F-5 tornado (“The hand of God”) on its way towards them. It completely and utterly destroys everything in its path. After the tornado nearly kills them and Hunt’s aunt things get personal. They figure out how to make Dorothy fly. Somehow this tornado is still on the ground after several hours, which is possible (Not only am I a junior geologist, I am also an amateur meteorologist/storm chaser. My mom has always wanted me to be a weathergirl for some reason so that works out). They try once and fail to get Dorothy to go into the tornado; meanwhile Jonas dies a very painful, tornado related death. At one point, Paxton and Hunt drive through a house that rolls out in front of them (yeah, because that is likely). In a last ditch effort to get Dorothy to work they drive their truck into the tornado. It works! They are getting a ridiculous amount a data, but then the tornado shifts towards them (of course it does). Now they are forced to outrun something that has wind speeds around 300mph (right….). They run to a local residence apparently owned by serial killers because they have a barn full of saws, axes, and other devices that can kill you (but I imagine they are also handy when it comes to farming, sigh…c’est la vie). They, however, survive to chase another storm by strapping themselves to some kind of pipe with leather straps.

Reasons for making top ten: This movie is number one for a reason, because when you think of disaster movies this is probably one of the first, if not the first, that comes to mind. It is incredible. It has everything. It even has Philip Seymour Hoffman, although it took me years to realize that he was in the movie. The soundtrack is great. If you pay attention, they actually use a lion’s roar as the sound for one of the tornados. The best part though, has to be the sheer volume of one-liners in this movie, many of which I use on a regular basis. Twister does a great job of showing the devastation that comes with a tornado. At first, my reasoning for putting this movie on the list was to say “Bill Paxton” and “Dorothy! You took her, you damn thief!” but I thought I needed to elaborate. On second thought, maybe I should’ve just left it at that.


Well there you have it, the top ten disaster movies. Don’t just take my word for it though, (although you should because I know what I am talking about) go out and watch these movies and come up with your own top ten and let me know so I can tell you how wrong you are! There are several more that almost made the cut, but as you can tell I can be a bit long winded… one thing is for sure, I will never forget how to spell the word “disaster” for the rest of my life.

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