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Monday, July 5, 2010

Ultimate Geek Fu


[Because of the holiday weekend, RUMINATIONS OF AN OLD GOAT will appear on Wednesday this week. We will return to our normal schedule next week. ~brb]

I have a secret, guilty, pleasure. Being from Wisconsin, I am somewhere between ashamed and afraid to admit it, but there are times when I really like—


It's thick, it's gooey, it's nasty: having had friends who worked in the dairy business I have some idea of what goes into making it, and the knowledge frightens me. To put it kindly, it's a mélange of various identifiable cheeses and proto-cheese substances that does not even rise to the minimum legal definition of cheese (although in Australia, apparently, it is passed off as "cheddar").

But carve off a few cubic inches of the stuff; throw it into a fondue pot with a generous scoop of salsa and a diced jalapeno or two; bring the heat up to the point where it's bubbling and seething like something Medieval defenders might try to pour from the battlements onto attackers trying to breach the walls of their castle, and break out the tortilla chips...

Mm-Mmm. It'll clog your arteries. It probably pegs the meter on the unhealthiness scale. It's no doubt very bad for you, but it's so very, very tasty. And if you only eat it once a year, it probably won't kill you, at least not right away.

Likewise, right around this time, every year, we always seem to end up watching the 1996 Roland Emmerich film, Independence Day.

Now, you must understand: I first saw this one when it first came out in the theaters, and my first impression was that I hated, hated, hated it. After I watched it the first time I went home and wrote a long review totally slagging it, and cataloging every scene, image, motif, and bit of dialog that was lifted from an earlier, better movie, which was all of it. This is the single most derivative film ever made. There is not one original thought, idea, line of dialog, or even camera angle in this entire damn movie.

And yet...

Here we are, fourteen years later. And damned if I still don't wind up pulling out this movie off the shelf, throwing it into the VCR, popping up a bowl of popcorn, and settling in to pig out on this 145-minute mound of cinematic junk food once a year, every year, right about this time.

So, how about it? Is Independence Day the Velveeta of movies?

Let the arguments begin.

ULTIMAGE GEEK FU runs every Wednesday. Have a question that's just bugging the heck out of you about Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Battlestar Gallactica, Farscape, Firefly, Fringe, Heroes, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Smallville, The X-Files, X-Men, The Man From Atlantis, or pretty much any other SF-flavored media property? Send it to slushpile@thefridaychallenge.com with the subject line, "Geek Fu," and we'll stuff it in the queue.
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