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My Favorite Lessons from Independence Day

Independence Day (cover)This weekend is the Fourth of July holiday here in the States, and while that doesn’t mean squat for the rest of the world, it does give us all the perfect excuse to revisit an old-school sci-fi favorite: Independence Day.

A major summer blockbuster of 1996—can you believe it’s almost 20 years old?!—it introduced sci-fi fans to Will Smith’s coveted alien punch, gave us action and heart and explosions, and may yet spawn a sequel next year. I love it! It’s proof that characters and one-liners never grow old, and it’s one of those movies I can watch again…and again…and again. So, here, for your nostalgic reading pleasure, are some of my fondest lessons from Independence Day.

Dogs Survive the Apocalypse

You’re especially safe if you’re a beloved golden retriever outrunning a firewall in a traffic tunnel.

When in Doubt, Hop a Bike or Recycle

If Jeff Goldblum taught us anything, it’s that saving the planet wins you survival points for doomsday. When chaos hits the fan, your best options are to a) make sure your boss and co-workers recycle their cans, b) hop a bike to your dad’s house…it’s faster than a car anyway, or c) don your plaid and practice your cable transmission deciphering skills. The world is going to need them.

Aliens Get Colds Too

Independence Day - Alien

Cyber-colds, that is. Forget Rebel starships, elaborate interlocked shields, or warp capabilities; everyone knows the true kryptonite for space invaders is an Apple PowerBook.

Crop-dusting: The Profession of Champions

Because the world is a safer place in Randy Quaid’s hands.

BBQs and Fireworks are Invasion Proof

Worried about your celebration plans? Don’t be. Will Smith promises barbeques and fireworks, and he ALWAYS delivers.

The Giant Green Portal above You Is Not a Disco Ball

Independence Day - White House

Contrary to popular belief in the world’s most advanced cities, a giant alien portal opening overhead is not cause for sign-making and merriment. We have it on good authority it’s usually a sign to RUN!

Smoking is Bad for You…Unless the Fat Lady Sings

Then, it is perfectly acceptable. Other appropriate occasions include being stranded alone with a buddy inside an alien vessel after releasing a nuclear bomb. Should you break free of said alien vessel, however, it’s proper to douse your cigar till returning to Earth.

Wind on the Moon. Also Bad.

Okay, technically not wind. But anything that erases humanity’s presence from the moon’s surface as its opening act can’t be good for us, right?

Six Degrees of Sci-Fi

Not only are they great in THIS movie, they’re great in other beloved on-screen SFF as well.

– Will Smith: Men in Black; I, Robot; I Am Legend; Wild, Wild West; After Earth
– Bill Pullman: Space Balls; Titan A.E.
– Mary McDonnell: BSG
– Jeff Goldblum: Body Snatchers, The Fly, Jurassic Park
– Adam Baldwin: Firefly & Serenity
– Dean Devlin: Stargate

And I’m probably missing a few.

Bill Pullman Wins at Speechmaking

Independence Day - President's Speech

AKA, give your president the radio. While some call it corny, it goes down in my heart as one of the best and most quotable sci-fi speeches of all time.

Now, let’s go enjoy OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!! Or an ordinary weekend. You know…whichever!


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