From natural disasters to alien invasions, these films make us thankful we're safely seated in movie theaters, or comfy in front of our DVD players, and not actually a part of what's happening on the big screen.
The biggest blockbuster of all time tops my list of the best disaster movies not only because of its killer special effects, but also its top-notch acting and decent storyline. Girls went gaagaa over Leonardo DiCaprio
as the handsome, lower-class artist who falls for Kate Winslet's
character, catapulting the actor onto the A-list where he remains today.
The 1974 effects don't hold up but the story does. Directed by John Guillermin and starring Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and William Holden, "The Towering Inferno" finds its victims trapped in a high rise building on fire (thus the film's title) and the audience is kept on the edge of their seats never knowing who amongst the star-studded cast is going to buy the farm next.
"Independence Day" helped Will Smith
become one of the most recognizable - and bankable - actors in Hollywood. Directed by Roland Emmerich, a filmmaker who knows a thing or two about big budget epics ("The Day After Tomorrow," "Godzilla"), "Independence Day" finds the Earth under attack by aliens bent on killing off humans. Smith plays a fighter pilot who has to save the day with the help of Bill Pullman as U.S. President Whitmore and an annoying scientist played by Jeff Goldblum.
Being a Southern California native, the threat of an earthquake is always lingering in the back of my mind. "Earthquake" the movie brings that fear to life - although the acting's pretty campy and the effects are so outdated they're laughable.
We're talking about the original 1972 movie - not Wolfgang Petersen's 2006 remake. 5 Academy Award winners star in this tale of a cruise ship going down on New Year's Eve. The water scenes still look spectacular and many of the cast members did their own stunts in order to make things look realistic.
Remember when Cuba Gooding Jr chose good roles? This was one of his better films. "Outbreak" is a creepy film about the spread of the 'Motaba' virus with Dustin Hoffman being the go-to guy who must save everyone on the planet. And it's all because of one renegade monkey...
"Deep Impact" was one of two movies released in 1998 in which our planet's threatened by a meteor. Mimi Leder's "Deep Impact" battled it out with Michael Bay's "Armageddon" (you know, the one with Ben Affleck
running animal crackers across Liv Tyler
) and although Bay's film had a bigger budget and brought in more money, Leder actually made the better movie.
Alfonso Cuaron directs Clive Owen
in this futuristic thriller in which humankind is facing extinction because women have become infertile. True edge of your seat action, incredible cinematography, and Owen's performance make this one a must-see.
My only beef with Steven Spielberg's
2005 take on the classic HG Wells story has to do with the ending. Otherwise, Spielberg weaves an entertaining tale about aliens and how one family faces the invasion.
There are going to be people who scoff at my choice of "Twister" but this is one of those movies that when it's on cable, I always end up watching. Not the best acting ever in a film, but the tornado action is pretty darn fun.