Why Armageddon is the best 4th of July movie ever

Armageddon is a typical Hollywood popcorn film. Directed by Michael Bay, this 1998 bonanza goes out of its way to give moviegoers what they get for their money. While the substance can be just as soul-soothing as roller food, it takes guts to create something this big, loud, and obnoxious. (And Bay knows about balls.)

Armageddon is a typical Hollywood popcorn film. Directed by Michael Bay, this 1998 bonanza goes out of its way to give moviegoers what they get for their money. While the substance can be just as soul-soothing as roller food, it takes guts to pull off something this big, loud, and obnoxious. (And Bay knows about balls.)

On this Fourth of July – the 25th anniversary of Armageddon – I decided to write a list of why Bay’s film embodies the American spirit so well. You won’t want to miss anything!

Fireworks

Are you bored of the fireworks this year? Leave the crowds behind and let Armageddon do the work.

Okay – there are no real fireworks per se. But Bay creates an equally dazzling cacophony of thunderous explosions. From the bombastic opening scene in New York to the decisive showdown on an asteroid, Armageddon will delight you with non-stop action and impressive pyrotechnics. Who needs a puny 10-minute show that you have to wait until sundown to watch? Bay delivers a 151-minute extravaganza in the comfort of your home.

Don’t think about the silly conspiracy. Something about a group of oil drillers sent into space to prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth? I think anyway. It makes less sense today than it did 25 years ago. Just sit back and enjoy the show!

Americana

Bay has a flair for montages. Armageddon is a shotgun blast of his patriotic zeal. The running time is packed with over-the-top shots of American flags, kids playing baseball, and people at church—all in slow motion enough to make Zack Snyder envious.

At one point, the US President delivers a rousing speech in which our heroes prepare for the dangerous mission. At the same time, ordinary people gather around televisions and radios to tune in. His speech surpasses President Whitmore’s Independence Day speech – and I will die on this hill.

But it’s not all American propaganda. Our heroes reunite with a Russian astronaut who will help Ben Affleck locate his team on the massive asteroid. I’m well aware of how silly I sound, but I get goosebumps every time Harry spots AJ and says the immortal words, “Damn, glad to see you boy!”

The 90s

There was something hopeful and innocent about the 1990s. This optimism was reflected in the pop culture of the period. Hollywood made a huge leap in innovation and produced huge blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Titanic, Twister, Rush Hour, Mission: Impossible, Terminator 2, The Matrix and Total Recall. Loopable entertainment that raises the bar for visual effects and action. We accepted these images unreservedly, worshiped our movie stars and crowded into the cinemas. All to cheer for our heroes along with a group of strangers who are equally in love.

Yes, I probably sound like Nicole Kidman’s AMC commercial. But the ’90s offered fun, breezy entertainment that modern cinema can’t seem to replicate.

Armageddon marks the culmination of an era that would change drastically after the success of The Matrix, a film that suddenly challenged us everything. Armageddon is bloated, long and silly, but also silly and refreshingly straightforward. Bay’s mission priority is to entertain the masses, who spent a whopping $4 per ticket to enjoy its mayhem. For the low price of admission, it offers the equivalent of a three-hour roller coaster ride.

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The occupation

Part of Armageddon’s great appeal was its amazing cast of superstars. Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Michael Clarke Duncan, William Fichtner, Peter Stormare, Jason Isaacs, Owen Wilson, Keith David…this is a killer lineup of talent. Heck, even Michael Bay was a rock star — the guy who directed “Bad Boys” and “The Rock” in a disaster epic? Count me in! This July 4th, enjoy the stars of a bygone era and watch as they come together to save humanity in the silliest of ways.

Aerosmith

You’ve heard the song a billion times. By osmosis, you probably even know it by heart.

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was a phenomenon, a song that played endlessly on the radio and remains a cheesy piece of pop culture. It’s on par with “My Heart Will Go On” and “I Will Always Love You.” DJs played it at school dances, Will Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite skate to it, and it’s a staple at most Fourth of July events. It’s one of those tunes that everyone fell in love with, got fed up with, and ended up assimilating into everyday life like white bread.

So there you have it. Five reasons to watch Armageddon on July 4th. Get in and enjoy the show. If you cynically berate every silly moment or wrong detail, eat another piece of watermelon or drink another beer – it makes the “Bayhem” easier to digest.