Tag Archives: Will Smith

The Set of 400: #318 – My Favorite Ineffective Nuclear Device

Today! Because that’s what I call a close encounter –

Independence Day (1996)

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring Will Smith (x2), Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Mary McDonnell (x2), Vivica A. Fox, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Harvey Fierstein, Adam Baldwin, Margaret Colin, James Rebhorn, Brent Spiner, Mae Whitman, Harry Connick Jr., Dan Lauria, Rance Howard (x2)

That crowd-pleasingest of crowd pleasers from the glorious summer of ’96, Independence Day is a bombastic, overblown, super-long, mega-destructive alien disaster movie – a War of the Worlds that no movie studio would allow to end with something like a pesky virus wiping out the enemy. Oh no, there had better be shots of the entire country (and a little lip service to the rest of the world) getting decimated by giant warships, the country and general morale laid low, before the stirring rally commences. This was all before 9/11, mind you. It’s hard to say how this would’ve played after. Judging by the thorough rejection of the pointless sequel twenty years later, I’m guesing not well?

In fairness, Resurgence was a bunch of ridiculous nonsense

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The Set of 400: #376 – My Favorite Swamp Gas From a Weather Balloon

Today! Because Elvis is not dead, he just went home –

Men in Black (1997)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub, Jon Gries, Carel Struycken, Siobhan Fallon, David Cross, Mike Nussbaum, Willie C. Carpenter

Ah, that epic summer of 1997! With mediocre sequels (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Batman and Robin), fair-to-okay star-driven actioners (Con Air, Air Force One), decently performing kids fluff (Hercules, George of the Jungle), and the okay start to the worst two-thirds of a film trilogy ever (Austin Powers), came the apex of Will Smith, the zenith of his ’90s run, that in reality was only like five movies long. He’d continue with hits for years to come, but would only top the gross of MiB once on his own, ten years later in I Am Legend.

But what a fun film to solidify Mr. Fourth of July’s stranglehold on the holiday (a grip completely lost two years later by the Wild Wild West debacle). Smith and Jones made such a great comedy team that they even buoy the utterly average sequel that followed in 2002. Vincent D’Onofrio is marvelously unrecognizable as the alien in the Edgar suit, the subject of the men in black man/bughunt through New York City. It’s a movie that fully explores the comic angles of aliens living among us, while not getting too bogged down in the nuts and bolts of the whole thing. Light, goopy, and very funny, Men in Black is kind of the perfect formula for a summer blockbuster. Oh, and Men in Black 3 is okay too. Continue reading

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