Independence Day

It's Independence Day here in the United States. That means fireworks, cookouts, and apple pie. And I'll be taking part in all of that. But I'm also going to the movies. No, this is not a fluke. It is quintessentially American. Erin and I have scoped out the theaters in a lot of countries now, and it's always an interesting experience. In Myanmar, there were no previews, but they played the national anthem before the film started. Imagine a theater full of people standing solemnly at attention, juggling popcorn and sodas, while patriotic music plays over the speakers. Korea and Vietnam were a little less formal, but they had some strange movie going snacks. We had kettle corn in Saigon (they were BAFFLED when we wanted something salty) and dried squid jerky in Seoul (which Erin bravely tried). Thailand was the best experience, with massive, luxury theaters. Buying a ticket in Bangkok was like checking into the Hilton.

But we grew up on American movie theaters. And holiday weekends are when US citizens catch a flick. Christmas is especially popular, but any old holiday will do. So this fourth of July, I decided I'd reacquaint myself with the American theater experience. And appropriately, I decided to see Independence Day.

I wanted a big, showy action flick, the kind I used to love when I was a kid. Every summer, studios pulled out all the stops in an explosive orgy so deliriously fun, I barely noticed the many, many plot holes. Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, True Lies, Twister, Men in Black, Spider Man, even the first Independence Day.  They were "leave your brain at the door" popcorn flicks, and I loved every minute of them.

So heading into Independence Day: Resurgence, I had high hopes. No, reviewers had not been kind. But as long as it was fun, I'd be happy.

It wasn't. I don't really need to write a review here. Lots and lots of people have done that for me (here's The Atlantic's particularly vicious entry).

As for the theater experience... well... let's just say Bangkok was half the price and a hell of a lot classier.

BUT... it was still an interesting experience. It was a little like visiting an old neighborhood you barely remember. The previews, the overpriced popcorn, the slightly sticky floor. Sitting in the anticipatory darkness as the studio logo appears, accompanied by thundering, triumphant music. Sure, the movie was a dumpster fire, but oddly, I'm not sad I went.

Maybe I'm turning into an old softy, but I like a bit of nostalgia now and then.

And now, since I just can't get enough of stuff blowing up on the 4th, I'm off to char some brats and see some fireworks.