It came to me the other day that everyone has a favourite “so bad it’s good film” and while everyone has different opinions on what’s good and what’s bad, for one reason or another lots of us get drawn to movies that are so cringeworthy that we can’t help but love ’em. For me, that film is undoubtedly “Independence Day”.
The funny thing is, a whole host of critics think that “Independence Day” is really good for the type of movie that it is – whenever it’s on, the TV guides always give it four stars or more. But other than some nifty-for-the-time CGI, why? Why is it so good? In fact, it’s so terribly bad that I have to love it so much – I’m crying with laughter every time I watch the movie, and it led me to actually buying the special edition on DVD.
The main problem I have with the whole of this film is the god-awful script. It’s filled with cliches, gung-ho phrases, posturing and ramblings that mean absolutely nothing. Mix this in with the fact that the characters are so stereotyped it’s unbelievable. For instance, Will Smith’s girlfriend in the movie meets the First Lady and when she tells her that she dances for a living, the First Lady replies “Ah, ballet!”. “Er, no, exotic.” Cue an astonished face. Blech. And then there’s this completely awful speech that happens just before the final battle:
“Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
Urk. Throw in a lot of completely wooden acting and some altogether cheesy shots (close up of man shooting a gun down towards an alien, the president and two other pilots walking out in slow-motion towards their jets to save the day, a final panoramic shot that’s supposed to make you feel proud…) and you’ve got yourself a movie you hate to love.
Still, it has more redeeming features than some other films that I could be secretly in love with. I suppose this begs the question: is there a movie that you love but really shouldn’t? Or is there just one piece of dialogue that you think is really awful?