DISASTER MOVIES, RANKED
Disaster movies are one of my favorite genres of movies. I love the tropey, action-packed goodness that comes with unrealistic plots and heroic ne'er do wells that save the world. It's better when they're so bad, they're good. The '90s were the heyday of this particular brand of world-ending disaster film. I've seen a lot of them.
- •The CoreThis is the premiere example of the genre. It combines terrible and unrealistic plot (they're drilling towards the center of the earth? Really?) with truly excellent actors (Stanley Tucci, Hillary Swank), so that you spend half the movie going "why on earth would these people join this project??" Tropes fulfilled: unexpected hero, socially awkward hacker, evil government project.
- •Independence DayAliens! Will Smith! Jeff Goldblum as comic relief and Bull Pullman as president. What's not to love? Tropes fulfilled: reckless hero, scientist that no one listens to, cute kids to punctuate the story. Bonus: this m-f'er is getting a sequel this summer! Guess who's going on opening night?
- •ArmageddonBaby Ben Affleck! Fresh off his Good Will Hunting fame, Ben joined up with this summer blockbuster about oil drillers on an asteroid in space. Forget a piddly little dinosaur-killing asteroid. This one (as Billy Bob Thornton helpfully tells us) is the size of Texas. Tropes fulfilled: heroic self-sacrifice, dumb politicians almost ruining the plan, protagonists not as dumb as they look. Bonus: that Aerosmith song you couldn't get out of your head all summer.
- •Deep ImpactThe other asteroid movie to come out that summer. My personal favorite of the two. Less action packed and more characters, but perhaps objectively not as high on the list in the genre. Tropes fulfilled: old guy still relevant, heroic self-sacrifice, Morgan Freeman as a comforting authority figure.
- •The Day After TomorrowThe one that tried to be political! Global warming and an aside about Americans immigrating to Mexico. Tropes fulfilled: the young forward thinking scientist who no one believes, gratuitous shots of NYC landmarks.
- •VolcanoTommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche star in this film about a (surprise surprise) volcano. That's under LA. Tropes fulfilled: hot female scientist, landmark destruction, teenage daughter rebellion.
- •Dante's PeakThe poor man's Volcano. I don't actually remember much about this film.