The List – Top Ten Disaster Flicks

By: Bryan Montgomery

We like to start this week with a look back at some of the best disaster movies of all time.  Why? Because Western New York weather sucks, and is also a lesson in Global Warming.  Here in beautiful Brockport, New York, we went from 55 and sunny Friday to 22 and snowy on Monday.  And since Justin Bieber won the celebrity all-star Basketball game, I give up.

With that said, we’re looking forward to the end of the world, where we don’t have to deal with this crappy weather anymore.  That said, here are the best of the worst disaster movies ever.

Criteria for Eligibility:

1.)   Alien Invasion, End-of-the-World Movies and/or Natural Disaster Flicks were eligible
2.)   Zombie flicks WERE NOT – They are more their own genre.
3.)   Monster Flicks weren’t counted either.
4.)   The End-of-the-World Space films only count if they are meteor films  – movies like Sunshine, albeit good, were not counted.

Oh yeah. Spoiler Alert after the Break.  If you have pre-conceived notions about the world ending, don’t watch this.

10.  2012

This movie barely cracked the top-ten, mostly for one reason.  This movie finds a way to kill everyone on the planet with the exception of around 10,000.  I only wish they killed off John Cushak.

Best Disaster Moment: Oh, I don’t know. When the ENTIRE WESTERN COAST falls into the Ocean!

9.     Armageddon

Those of you that have listened to the podcast know, this is one of Bryan’s favorite movies. What makes this movie so great is it totally didn’t take itself seriously.  Unlike Deep Impact this movie went for your eyes, not your heart.

(This is my favorite scene of the film.)

Best Disaster Moment: New York City getting drilled by a Meteor Shower.  Best line of that part? “We at war! Saddam Hussein is bombin’ us!”

8.     Twister

This was one interesting films to be sure.  Essentially, this film helped originate the summer-time, big-budget thriller.  Having a strong cast which included Phillip Seymour Hoffman didn’t hurt either.

Best Disaster Moment: Cow.

Best Quote: “Cow!”

7.     Earthquake

An oldie but a goodie.  One of the original disaster flicks, this movie pulled out all the stops.  As one of the first-class productions of the 1970s, this movie helped usher in the newest generation of disaster flicks.

Best Disaster Moment: When a group of people are killed on an elevator, and a huge, fake, computer edited full-screen blood splatter shows up on screen.

6.     The Core

With a cast that looked minute when the film first came out but is now first-class (Aaron Eckhart, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Greenwood, Hilary Swank), The Core is one of the oft-forgotten disaster flicks.  The Core of the Earrh stops spinning, and a group of terranaughts have to go into into the Earth to re-start it.  Throw in some great-looking visuals, and you have a great film.

Best Disaster Moment: TIE between when the Golden Gate Bridge melts in half and (SPOILER ALERT) when the captain of the ship falls into lava after getting his head split open by diamonds.

5.     The Day After Tomorrow

It was preachy and the story line was way too extravagant, but with The Day After Tomorrow, no one really cares about what’s happening to the characters, it’s all about the visuals.  This global warming flick had some of the best disaster scenes ever, anchored by the best disaster director ever – Roland Emmerich.

Best Disaster Moment: Tornadoes hitting the middle of Los Angeles, and the poor news reporter gets wiped out by a billboard.

4.     Volcano

Tommy Lee Jones and Don Cheadle must have loved making this movie.  Volcano is pure B-Movie fun, and that’s why it ranks so high on this list.  A film full of dumb, little cliches that have driven disaster films over the last twenty years, Volcano manages to use all of them without totally stalling out.

Best Disaster Moment: When the chief engineer of the underground transit authority rescues his driver, jumping into lava and melting into nothing.

3.     Deep Impact

This movie is better than Armageddon on many levels, it’s weird that not as many people like it, but maybe that’s because it ends up being so damn depressing.  Unlike many of the films that everyone knows and loves in regards to disaster films – Deep Impact does what many fear to do – actually have the meteor hit.  And I will always say that Morgan Freeman was the first African-American President.  No reform or economic crisis can stop him, he survived a comet impact!

Best Disaster Moment: Obviously the impact of the comet.  Easily one of the best scenes of the 1990s and the best disaster moment since….

2.     Independence Day

Who doesn’t love this movie?  The best disaster movie of the 1990s resurgence marked the start of a new genre – the special effects-driven extravaganza.  Will Smith started his legacy in this film, and Jeff Goldblum officially achieved legend status when his famous Jurassic Park line “Must go faster” made an appearance in ID4. (I know the video is in Spanish.)

Best Disaster Moment: Oh my….so many.  When the Empire State Buiding gets blown to hell.  When Harry Conick Jr. gets blown to hell. When Bill Pullman tells his boys “Gentlemen, Let’s Plow the Road” and then blow a bunch of space aliens to hell.  And of course how can we forget “Now that’s what I call a close encounter.”

Honorable Mention: Knowing

Shitty movie. But good for this reason:

1.     The Poseidon Adventure

The Poseidon Adventure embodies disaster flicks.  The original War of the Worlds is the original disaster flick, and The Poseidon Adventure is easily the most entertaining old disaster film ever.  With stars like Gene Hackman and Leslie Nielsen in it, you watch The Poseidon Adventure once and you never wish you popped in that terrible 2006 Josh Lucas remake.

Best Disaster Moment: Poseidon Adventure – The chat between the Preacher and God

Just for kicks…

So what do you think? Did Monty take a good crack at the best disaster movies of all time? Put your thoughts in and let the debate commence!

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1 Comment

  1. Sorry to say this, but in what universe is Knowing a shitty movie? Sure a few things could have been improved, and there were a few minor idiosyncracies which could have been ironed out, but that could be said of any decent movie. I personally thought it was pretty damn good, far better than I expected it to be and found it very atmospheric (and better than all the movies I have seen listed in this top 10, (haven’t seen The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake or 2012 though, so can’t comment on those)). The rapture-like aspect toward the end (with the kids being taken to another planet resembling the garden of Eden) was perhaps a bit odd, but reasonable, and certainly wasn’t done in a forceful way.

    I do have to agree with you about the ending – it is one of the most exquisite scenes I have ever seen in a movie.

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