Thursday, May 13, 2010

Devin's Top 5 Not-So-Natural Disaster Films

What a week it has been thus far! From deadly tornadoes raking the plains, to another violent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull; and from the grim forecast that this hurricane season could be among the top 10 worst ever, to word that that Gulf oil slick could sludge more coastlines this weekend... I think it's time for a break from reality.

That said, here's my top five not-so-natural disaster films! What are yours? Comment on this post and let me know!

1. The Perfect Storm (2000) – Who doesn't love this film!? A semi-true depiction of the late October 1991 storm-of-storms, which was actually dubbed "The Perfect Storm" by the National Weather Service (NWS). The monster storm was the result of late-season Hurricane Grace becoming absorbed by a low pressure center moving off the Atlantic seaboard, and a trailing cold front riding up the coast. The entities merged causing one new, massive unnamed storm which later became "The Perfect Storm." The tempest Nor'easter was responsible for more than $200 million in damage and the sinking of the swordfishing vessel The Andrea Gail, which is the central plot of this awesome film starring Mark Walberg, George Clooney and Diane Lane.

2. The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (1990) – I watched this movie over, and over, and over again when I was a child. It was one of the first natural disaster films I recall seeing and I just loved it! Maybe because it was made for television, maybe because it starred the mother from Growing Pains who in the movie was married to the father of The Wonder Years... maybe because it was just plain disastrous! In any case, it was about a massive temblor that strikes Los Angeles and it's the best darn earthquake movie out there!

3. The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – I saw this film when I was living in Germany during the summer of 2004. It was the only film playing in English, and boy was I glad! The German subtitles could not distract me from a climate-changing flick that sent the northern hemisphere into a new ice age! What!?! A series of winter-like hurricanes descending from the arctic? An epic storm surge engulfing Manhattan, causing a wolf-ridden tanker to park itself on Fifth Ave? Burning books in the New York Library to keep warm? Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid star in this film that depicts the (unrealistic) catastrophic effects of global warming in a series of extreme weather events.

4. Twister (1996) – Is it about a Great Plains tornado outbreak or the characters played by Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton falling back in love? Every weather geek has seen this movie. It's the movie we love to hate and hate to love! Either way, awesome graphics, a fun ride, and a good depiction of a tornado outbreak on an instable, Spring day in Kansas and Nebraska. We have cows!

5. Deep Impact (1998) – Morgan Freeman can do no wrong when he's alongside Téa Leoni. Who doesn't love seeing a rogue comet blast through the atmosphere and crash into the Atlantic Ocean, sending a mammoth tidal wive crashing along the eastern seaboard? Enough said!

Finally, I should also mention these semi-finalists that came to mind (actually, they are pretty awful in my opinion): Dante's Peak (1997), Volcano (1997), Armageddon (1998)... shall I keep going? Probably not.

Coming Soon! Devin's Top 5 Natural Disaster Documentaries!