I’m a music snob, and over the course of the last four years, I’ve found that the single word most often associated with those two is “prick.” Which is fine. I’m a prick (Case in point: two weeks ago my mother half-jokingly asked me to stop using our family surname in print). I may know every nook and cranny of Flying Saucer Attack’s mostly out-of-print discography (which is actually a misnomer, as most of their work is on vinyl … you see what I mean?), but in the real world, this pretty much means that people don’t like me that much.
In order to remedy this problem, I’ve taken pretty much the opposite stance on film and cinema: I don’t know shit about anything, and as such, I like really awful movies. I think the Die Hard series is the best trilogy ever produced, that “The Day After Tomorrow” was laudably acted and that “Mighty Ducks 3” is not only a fine film, it’s a wholesome look at the state of boarding schools, disadvantaged kids and the fourth most popular professional sport in America. All of this allows me to sleep pretty well at night, except for one thing: People still don’t like me very much. I figured that my awful taste in movies would produce enough guffaws to at the very least balance the amount of hatred my music elitism produces. Worst case scenario, I’m back even, right? Not even close.
As a truce, I figure I’d put it all out there: The 10 Best Non-“Die Hard” Movies of All Time. If we can’t get along after you read this, then just be glad we don’t share a last name.
10. “G.I. Joe”
The classic battle between Joes and Cobras for the Broadcast Energy Transmitter really isn’t all that interesting, but no movie list is complete without an animated feature.
9. “Deep Blue Sea”
The movie in which LL Cool J hangs out with a parrot and shark eugenics produce ultra-intelligent killer sharks. Those who see the movie always seem to remember Samuel L. Jackson’s inspirational speech, in which he is eaten, mid-movie, by an ultra-intelligent killer shark, the single most surprising plot development in any movie on this list.
8. “The Fifth Element”
This movie gets worse every time I watch it, and yet, Bruce Willis in an orange tank-top is somehow enough entertainment to justify this two-hour monstrosity. It also contains Chris Tucker’s most tolerable performance and flying taxi cabs. European!
7. “Reign of Fire”
I’d like to be able to say that this movie has it all, but it doesn’t even come close. Mostly, it just has dragons, axes and trans-continental tension. In the end, the Europeans and Americans learn to work together to destroy the mother dragon. Bonus points for lack of believable romantic subplot.
6. “Bad Boys 2”
The fact that this movie devolves (nay, evolves) into Will Smith and Martin Lawrence fighting the Cuban army would be enough to satiate most appetites. That it clocks in at a robust two-and-one-half hours and still makes you feel all fresh and warm inside is just icing on the embattled, good-cop/bad-cop cake.
5. “Alien: Resurrection”
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve only seen the first 20 minutes of this movie. In those 20 minutes, however, it separated itself from the generally well-regarded original “Alien” in two very important ways. First, there was more than one alien, and by the time I fell asleep, they had already escaped their cage. Second, it contains one of cinema’s finest lines, in which Ron Perlman nimbly avoids ending a sentence with a preposition: “If you hang with us for a while, you’ll find out I am not the man with whom to fuck.”
Besides all of the obvious jokes about how this movie features two men who held the office of state governor, we get lines like “If it bleeds, we can kill it,” gunfights with jungle drug lords and the least compelling female lead, well, ever. The juxtaposition of man and nature vs. alien is the long-lost literary conflict your high school English class skipped.
3. “National Treasure”
I know what you’re thinking. “Nic Cage sucks.” “This movie isn’t even out yet.” “Andrew, you haven’t even seen this movie.” And you see, I agree with all three of those statements on a number of levels. But when it comes right down to it, I think this movie must be one of the 10 best ever, despite Nic Cage. The previews have shown enough raw brilliance to warrant its inclusion on this list.
2. “Die Hard 2: Die Harder”
Alright, I’m really sorry: I simply couldn’t think of 10 other good movies.
1. “Alien vs. Predator”
This might be the pinnacle of my cinema consciousness. The only thing missing is a health meter for Alien and Predator, “Street Fighter 2”-style. They could have left the human characters out, for all I care, but not even that hurdle could detract from this masterpiece. I have not made even a rudimentary attempt to enjoy another film since this was released. I am totally satisfied.
In addition to skipping class to see “National Treasure” this weekend, Andrew is also looking for someone to watch “The Sandlot” with him. If you are interested in making a weekend of it with a guy who thinks the dollar bill is trying to tell him something, let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.