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The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies

47. Independence Day (1996)

Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, Mary McDonnell, Harvey Fierstein

There's a time and a place for such things as plot, plausibility, and character development-blockbuster director Roland Emmerich has no fucking clue where that place is, nor when to arrive. Known for his loud, expensive, and ridiculous popcorn flicks (2012 being his most recent brain-number), Emmerich has bestowed several shit-sandwiches upon audiences, like the failed Godzillla reboot and The Day After Tomorrow; as far as we're concerned, though, he earned carte blanche in 1996 with the tremendously ludicrous yet undeniably awesome Independence Day.

The premise is your basic alien invasion set-up: Hostile E.T.'s bypass formalities and begin decimating all of Earth, prompting the military (including Will Smith), scientists, politicians, and everyday people to fight back and survive. Oh, and we can't forget about the dog that leaps out of the way of fireballs, or the gratuitous shot of Vivica A. Fox's rump in lingerie, or how shamelessly Emmerich blows up every major landmark in the U.S., especially the White House.

We could complain about how disappointing the aliens look and the movie's at times overdone "America, fuck yeah!" attitude, but that'd be missing the point. Emmerich made the flick for pure spectacle, and every self-respecting movie buff succumbs to cinematic junk food once in a while. Independence Day is a king-size Butterfinger bar.

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