Flashback Friday: White House Down

WHITE HOUSE DOWN opens on June 28 and, in the grand tradition of VOLCANO (“The Coast is Toast) and DANTE’S PEAK (Don’t worry kids, grandma will swim through the lake of sulfur so that our dog may leave, because, really who do we love more?), DEEP IMPACT (“Oceans Rise. Cities Fall. Hope Survives.”) and ARMAGEDDON (“Animal Crackers”), and MISSION TO MARS (“Let There Be Life.”) and RED PLANET (Val Kilmer for Days, Motherf[CENSORED FOR TIME AND CONTENT]!), is essentially the same movie as earlier this year’s OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. Ok, it might not be the exact same movie. But it certainly looks similar, doesn’t it?

In the slogan sweepstakes, OLYMPUS has “When Our Flag Falls, Our Nation Will Rise,” which isn’t bad and is, I believe, a fairly damning assessment of the wave of flag worship we currently find ourselves. WHD, as the kids call it, boasts, “It Will Start Like Any Other Day.” I guess that’s fair enough, but really what day doesn’t? Edge goes to OLYMPUS.

How about Presidents? OLYMPUS went with Morgan Freeman who is both a second time President and a veteran of the great “almost the same movie” wars, having served both roles in DEEP IMPACT. Experience favors him.

On the other hand, we have Jamie Foxx. He says, “Don’t touch my Jordans,” or something to that effect. Advantage Freeman.

 Oh, don't be mad, Gerard. (image from menshealth.com)

Oh, don't be mad, Gerard. (image from menshealth.com)

On the protection side, it is OLYMPUS’s Gerard Butler vs. WHD’s Channing Tatum. Gerard Butler will never win at any head-to-head contest as long as I have my say. Tatum, congratulations.

Finally, directors. Antoine Fuqua helmed OLYMPUS and, in my opinion, is an underrated guy. He’s sort of the equivalent of an actor that chooses bad projects. He has talent, you can see has talent, but there he is, part of a disappointing film. WHD is directed by Roland Emmerich. So, you know, there’s that. He makes stuff blow up pretty well, he doesn’t necessarily care much about “performance” or “restraint.”

In conclusion, WHITE HOUSE DOWN will make like three times what OLYMPUS did. Because, you know, justice.

(I should note here I never show OLYMPUS. It could’ve been a terrible, terrible piece of unrepentant garbabe. Still, it smarts when a later movie directed by Emmerich outperforms yours, I am sure.)

Well, that was a fun exercise. (Right? Right?!) Now onto the suggested viewing.

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY

I prattled on a lot up there, so I promise to be quicker with these. A promise I will, hopefully, not violate.

INDEPENDENCE DAY is probably not as good as you remember it. If you, in fact, remember it being good.

For awhile I kind of took it for granted that everyone had at least a small space in their heart for this alien invasion flick but have, in recent years, found that is not the case. I, however, remain unable to pretend that it doesn’t hook me. That is not to say it is good, as the above statement probably gave away. There are many ways in which it is not a very good movie. I believe it was the film to set off the “making a woman a stripper in your film, but having that be a plot point, just doing it because,” trend that captured American film during the mid-90’s. This is another movie in which saving the dog becomes wildly important even as scores of people are slaughtered or burnt to a crisp. Randy Quaid’s character is ridiculously broad. Most of the characters are sketches, not really people. All true. And yet…

I don’t know. Maybe it is the part of my brain that holds the qualities that made 15 year old Tim who he was, but it largely still works for me. I like the nod/homage/reinterpretation of WAR OF THE WORLDS aliens being undone by human diseases even if it is remarkably silly that a computer virus on a Mac laptop would cripple such a seemingly technologically advanced race. I still get a tremendous kick out of President Bill Pullman’s speech and the Will Smith/Jeff Goldblum dyad that saves are planet and then struts across the desert. It just clicks. It may be silly, overblown, illogical trash, but it’s my trash and I’m fine with that. Recommended, especially if you were born between, say ’78 and ’84 as you were just in the age sweet spot for this one the first time around.

  "Oh, don't mind me...I'm just inspiring a generation." (photo from duskic.com)

 "Oh, don't mind me...I'm just inspiring a generation." (photo from duskic.com)

21 JUMP STREET

On the other hand, there is this movie. A movie who’s name I had no affinity for. I’m too young (I think…maybe just too sheltered from prime time at the time?) to have any meaningful memories of the TV series. It holds zero nostalgic value and all the trailers for this made me think of was “Oh, nice to see Hollywood forgot what we all learned from THE MOD SQUAD.” I had zero expectations and zero interest in cutting it any slack.

Well, shame on me.

 Chemistry (photo from silverscreenslags.com)

Chemistry (photo from silverscreenslags.com)

This is just a damn good comedy. It’s smart. It moves. It doesn’t try to overexplain its premise but never pretends it is unaware of the sheer unlikeliness of it. It is directed with just enough serious flair to sell it as an action-comedy, not a comedy someone threw some cheap action into and the leads are game for both while demonstrating excellent chemistry with each other.

It never feels good to admit you are wrong, but…I was wrong. 21 JUMP STREET is great.

Does that mean I was wrong about Channing Tatum being about as industry as uncooked oatmeal? Well…

Arrgh…

Yeah, probably. Ok? He’s funny. He does good work here.

Arrgh!

Hate being wrong!

Recommended nonetheless, even if it does hurt my pride.