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Disaster Movies - Poll Time!

* Happy 40th anniversary of the moon landing, everyone!
-- "40 Years After Apollo 11, NASA Maps Out the Future"
-- "NASA Lost Moon Footage, But Hollywood Restores It"
-- "40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Celebrated in Liverpool, UK"
-- "Neil Armstrong Remembers Dead Astronauts 40 Years After His Moonwalk"

* Happy early birthday to faramirgirl, and best wishes for many happy returns of the day!

* sittingduck1313 has been been working on a science fiction version of Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. Visit toughguidescifi and check out his results!

* I've been thinking about disaster movies in preparation for the WorldCon panel "It's a Disaster!" Here's the description: Disaster movies reflect their times. From nuclear war to terrorism to eco-catastrophe, what do these movies tell us about ourselves? Do they help us deal with our fears or just make things worse? (I've found some useful lists of disaster movies here and here, among other places.)

Please let me know what you think in my Disaster Movies Poll! (More than one answer per question is welcome, as are additional comments.) Thanks!

Poll #1432460 Your Opinions on Disaster Movies!

What's the best disaster movie about nuclear war?

What's the best disaster movie about a natural/ecologial/environmental catastrophe?

What's the best disaster movie about a virus/plague/contagion?

What's the best disaster movie about a historical catastrophe?

What's the best disaster movie about an alien or monster attack?

What's the worst disaster movie ever?

Disaster movies...

make us think about the things that are most important while we can still appreciate them.
offer timely warnings about how we should change our ways before we bring disasters on ourselves.
make us scared, and being scared is fun.
panic us for no good reason.
are lame.
provide a useful study about our deepest fears.
foster productive debate about important problems of the day.
exploit ridiculous worries while obscuring important concerns.
blow things up real good
are unintentionally funny.
exploit gullible audiences.
are something I enjoy.
are something I avoid.
ate my mother, you insensitive clod.
don't change the fact ticky-boxes are love.

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store, but that's just peanuts to space.”
- Douglas Adams



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
I've been studying Diasaster Movies with my GCSE students last year. They are mostly just big, dumb fun. But they do provide some useful study about our deepest fears. And they're big, dumb fun :o)

The Day After Tomorrow, as you can see from my answers, is both brilliant and terrible :o)
Jul. 21st, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
I bet your students had a blast with those movies! What a great idea for the classroom.
Jul. 20th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Google's logo is very cool today. ;o)
Jul. 21st, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
That was so clever with the moon craters! Thanks for pointing that out to me (and sorry for the delayed response).
Jul. 21st, 2009 12:48 am (UTC)
It was a tossup between The Blob and Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, but I had to go with Steve McQueen in the end. And Krakatoa, East of Java was more spectacular than Grapes of Wrath, but Henry Fonda trumps special effects.
Jul. 21st, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
Talk about going down memory lane! Wasn't Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster the one with the mannequin body parts bobbing up and down in the polluted water during the credits? (I know that was one of the Godzillas, and I'm pretty sure it was the Smog Monster film.) I remember seeing that during summer matinee season at the theater when I was young, and it freaked me out. ;)

Henry Fonda trumps special effects

LOL! Well said. And great choices! Thanks for reminding me of these.
Jul. 21st, 2009 10:41 am (UTC)
Neither of my favourite disaster films fits into your categories, really - at least I don't think so. But I'll mention them anyway, I hope that's okay.

They are:

The Towering Inferno
A Night To Remember
Jul. 22nd, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you did! Great choices! Thank you. I'm trying to refresh my memory on all of these films, and I suspect the ones hardest to classify (like these) are among the most important.
Jul. 23rd, 2009 10:43 am (UTC)
I'm glad you didn't mind.

Thank you.

I think it's the far more 'real' factor about this kind of disaster film. The fact that when it comes down to it, these are the 'more likely' than alien attack, etc. And of course the Titanic did happen. If that makes any sense.
Jul. 21st, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Thank you for pimping my new blog.

As for the Disaster Movie Poll, you forgot the option Shows that Hollywood writers don't know Jack about science.
Jul. 22nd, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
My pleasure!

Ha! Very true. My sister was a graduate student in meteorology when The Day After Tomorrow came out, and she said that she and her pals (also in the sciences) went to the late showing and heckled the movie throughout. Apparently, even the MST3K factor wasn't enough to redeem it. LOL!
Jul. 21st, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the b-day wish. I will get back to you on the poll.
Jul. 22nd, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
I hope you had a great one! :)
Jul. 24th, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
I can't believe I forgot about Titanic for historical and Invasion of the Body Snatchers for alien attack (And serious kudos to gbsteve for putting in my favorite horror flick, The Thing, John Carpenter flavor, that is). I'm surprised and pleased to see mjolnir1964 share my love for the much maligned Mars Attacks!, an underrated gem IMHO.

I'd like to add The Invasion to the worst list, I would have but I've tried to burn it from my memory despite my love for Ms. Kidman. I'd also like to put The Happening in the worst catagory, but I haven't seen it, so that wouldn't be fair.

Edited at 2009-07-24 10:57 am (UTC)
Aug. 2nd, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
Oh goodness, Invasion was terrible, wasn't it? I'm a huge fan of the 1956 original, and the other two remakes are both very good in different ways, but this one was an awful letdown. With the cast and budget it had, there was no excuse for that film.

The Happening may be one of the worst films I've ever seen in a theater in my life. It's two hours I'll never get back again. *mourns*
Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
Yea, no excuse for Invasion at all. I think I tore it a new one in my review, even with my love for Ms. Kidman.

Thankfully, as I said, I avoided The Happening, learning from the suffering reported by others.
Jul. 31st, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
Today's WSJ has an feature on disaster flicks.
Aug. 2nd, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! Many thanks!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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