Re-watch: Independence Day (1996)

Back in the summer of 1996, I was working full-time at the grocery store that I would go on to work at for a decade. I had just graduated high school and was fortunate to be in the position of having friends from school and friends from work to hang out and do stuff with.

When the ads for Independence Day started dropping, several of those friends and I were getting excited to see this latest summer blockbuster. The little two-screen theater in the town where I worked was a weekly stop for us as we took in at least one movie every week. When Independence Day weekend rolled around, there was no question as to what movie we were going to be watching.

Independence Day is the story of an alien race coming to Earth to take it over for its resources. After a first strike that wipes a lot of major world cities off the map, the US stages a counter attack that is ineffective. Fortunately, the world has an ace up it’s leave in genius Jeff Goldblum. He figures out a way to weaken the aliens, and a rag-tag group of former combat pilots led by the President show the way to bring down the hostile invaders, and the world lives to see another day. One of the hooks of the movie is that the events take place across July 2, 3, and 4 in the movie, leading to the United States declaring it’s freedom on the 4th of July once again.

Independence Day was the major summer blockbuster of 1996, and all of the hyp leading up to it had me very excited to see it. Watching it in the theater there was an electric mood as the packed house loved every minute of the spectacle.

It was also a breakout performance for Will Smith. Up until this point, he had starred in the movie Bad Boys and was still a sensation on the hit TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but this was his coming out party as a major leading man in Hollywood.

With it’s massive scope, incredible effects, and all-star cast, Independence Day became one of the biggest movies of the ’90s, and one I still go back and watch every Independence Day weekend.

4.0 out of 5.0 stars 

Re-watch: The Stoned Age (1994)

Back around 1995, I picked up The Stoned Age at my local video store and gave it a watch late one night. I remember liking it at the young age of 17, and thinking it was a “cool” movie. I saw that it was streaming on Tubi and decided to watch it again for old-time’s sake. 

The Stoned Age is a movie with a very simple premise. It details one night in the life of two young men in the late ’70s whose world revolves around three things: getting drunk, getting stoned, and looking for “chicks”. They hear about two lovely and lonely young ladies who are looking to party, so they go to get in on the action. Various issues arise that the young men must overcome in hopes of achieving their goal of hooking up with these young ladies. We meet a cast of characters along the way, none of which are very memorable. In the end, do they succeed? Do they take any important life lessons from this night? Will they survive the wrath of an angry father? You’ll have to watch for yourself to find out.

Please don’t take that last sentence as a challenge or an endorsement to watch this movie. It’s not good. I’m not really surprised that I dug it when I was 17, but now 28 years later, I could hardly slog through it. I stopped it at three different points and only kept going back to it so I wouldn’t feel guilty about writing a review of it without watching it all. 

It feels like someone was trying to duplicate the success of Dazed and Confused from a year prior, but didn’t have the cast or story to even come close to pulling it off. The fact that both movies are set in the ’70s and weed plays a large part are really the only two things they really have in common. 

I hate to be entirely negative, so I’ll give them props for a decent soundtrack. Otherwise, this is one I can’t encourage you to watch whether you’ve never seen it before or like me, haven’t seen it in a very long time. It hasn’t aged well at all. Or maybe I haven’t. Either way, The Stoned Age is a hard pass.

1/2 a star.