Sam Strange Remembers: INDEPENDENCE DAY

Hollywood legend Sam Strange looks back at the time he invented America’s birthday so he could have a proper summer movie season.

A long time ago, Michael Bay and I realized that the summer movie season didn’t really have a good holiday to hang its hat on, so we decided to invent one. Luckily, Ken Burns was at the dining room table doing our homework, and in one of his usual bids to impress us with retarded trivia, he told us that July 4th is actually America’s birthday. This made Michael Bay’s penis explode into two penises.

We decided the proper way to celebrate the birth of our nation had to involve explosions. To get people in a real exploding shit mood, we required a film that would highlight both the appeal of loud fire and America itself. Because Bay was too busy exploring life with two dongs, the task fell to me. And I kicked its task ass.

America is the greatest country on the planet. Making a film where we fought another piddly little country would just bring us down to other countries’ levels. This film had to be bigger than that. Besides, Earth’s greatest country shouldn’t be bullying the world; it should be saving its ass. So: Aliens, a science fiction invention always good for highlighting not humanity’s fear of the unknown, but our center-of-the-universe psychology. In this case, Earth is not the center of the universe. America is.

The aliens begin their reign against America by fucking with the moon, the fifty-first state. The vibration from their massive ship moves moon dust over Neil Armstrong’s footprint and knocks over our flag, symbolically erasing us from history books without even firing a shot. This doesn’t really rile Americans up as intended because it involves symbolism, history, and science. But then the aliens fuck with our TV reception.

After this dire beginning, we meet the somewhat large cast of Americans who will all play a part in saving the world, each of them representing a different shade and walk of American life. After all, America is defined by its multitude of person-genres all sharing the same illusion of grandeur. All you need to be an American is a big dick with pants on.

First we meet Nerd American, played by Jeff Goldberg. Nerd American is the only American nerdy enough to realize that TV reception is messed up because the aliens are using our satellites to coordinate an opening attack on the whole country. First, he warns his boss, Gay American, to get to a 5% less dangerous (for him) rural area because the aliens are going to bomb major cities very soon. Before he dies without dignity, Gay American helps save the world by allowing us to laugh at Gay Americans in the face of total catastrophe. After all, if we cannot laugh, what exactly are we trying to save?

Next we meet Nerd American’s dad, Jew American. Jew American is basically around to shame youngsters with his shrugging wisdom and witty ability to level even the most profound events down to nothing more than an expected inconvenience. He saves the world by using his oblivious schtick to get his son through many locked presidential doors at the beginning of the film. After that, he just wanders around looking like the opposite of a shower.

Nerd American gathers his dad and heads to Washington DC to brief Hero American of the aliens’ secret plans. Hero American is, of course, a hotshot fighter pilot named Hal Jordan, who also happens to be the president. He’s played by Bill Pullman’s face working in concert with Michael Wincott’s voice.

Hero American has several other Americans in his posse. First there’s Woman American. She’s strong but her independent success costs her all warmth and love. She used to have a thing for Nerd American, but she traded him for a career. She saves the world with the possibility of sex, which inspires our boys to do their best. There’s also an Old Woman American married to the president, but she’s post-menopause, so I kill her in the first attack. Just to be as inclusive as possible, I went ahead and gave the film a third female character, Stripper American. She works at a Christian strip club where women are objectified yet no one gets naked.

Then there’s Greedy American, a white politician who thinks only of the bottom line no matter how insensitive or inhuman it makes him sound. He saves the world by being wrong all the time thus reinforcing the folky, heartfelt logic it takes to kill aliens with a computer virus.

Finally, there’s Grizzled American, the kind of iron-pissing badass who could save the world all by himself were he only a few years younger. As commander of the American military, he saves the world by shooting the shit out of aliens and representing the kind of American hero Hero American might grow into should he survive. He is voiced by Michael Wincott’s grandma, Roberta Loggia Wincotta.

With this motley group of Americans together, the aliens finally attack. Basically, it goes like this: Up in space rests a super-giant ship. From this behemoth, a bunch of city-sized ships break off and hover over American cities. From these ships, a bunch of little fighter ships break off to take on our military. Meanwhile, the city ships shoot a laser into each city, creating a rolling fire that takes out pretty much everything except one dog. This weapon is so powerful that firing it on July 2nd means it won’t be charged again until July 5th. Stupid aliens, thinking they’ll live long enough to see July 5th.

So now 99% of America is dead. How is the remaining 1% gonna retaliate? To answer this question, we must meet some more Americans. First, we have Hero American (Black), played by LL Cool J. Hero American (Black) is younger, more handsome, and cockier than Hero American (White), but he’s also too care-free to feel the weight of 200,000,000 dead Americans on his shoulders, so he’s not a suitable leader. While the president is outrunning fireballs on Air Force One, Hero American (Black) is trying to outgun little Alien jets with the rest of the American Airforce. Things don’t go very well. All but one of us gets killed, while all but one of them doesn’t die. Hero American (Black) takes his dead alien and drags it through the desert while smoking a victory cigar and dreaming of BBQ, the official food of July 4th.

And then there’s Randy Quaid’s character, the film’s most American American. This guy represents pretty much every type not covered so far: Alcoholic American, Redneck American, Conspiracy Theory American, Downtrodden American, Old-school Aircraft American, and thanks to his somewhat Mexican brood of kids, Single Parent American and Bang the Maid American, too. Whew! Isolated, these are all unpleasant American types, but within one American they add up to greatness. Still, I do make sure he dies at the end.

At this point, we’re at July 3rd and everything’s about regrouping and making some kind of plan. Hero American (White) and his crew fly to Area 51 to find out more about these alien shitheads. At the same time, Hero American (Black) is dragging his dead alien to the same place. Randy Quaid American and his RV of kids is coming, too. In fact, everything left of the American human race somehow finds itself sitting on the doorstep of Area 51. It’s the most childish idea, yet everyone shares it. And they are all fucking right.

Deep within Area 51, the crew meets the scientist who will later invent the world’s very first Spock replacement. With his help, they do an autopsy on Hero American (Black)‘s dead alien and find out that it’s not dead at all. They fix this mistake, but no one resumes the autopsy because all the doctors are dead, and it’s almost July 4th anyway. Time for ass-kicking, not algebra.

Nerd American gets a pretty American idea. He and Hero American (Black) decide to fly a captured alien ship to the mothership and infect it with a virus that will disable all the other fighters’ shields. This is an especially exciting proposition for Hero American (Black) because his secret dream has always been to go into outer space, but NASA never accepted him (for (an) obvious reason(s)).

The problem is, the ship is all out of alien gas and won’t fly. “We can help you out with that,” says a mysterious unseen voice. Hero American (White)‘s crew goes outside to find gigantic ghosts of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt: America’s greatest Americans. Washington narrows his eyes at Nerd American. “You, sir. Are you confident this computer virus idea will work?”

Nerd American wipes away a tear and responds, “Uh, well, er, er-er, yeeeea, and, er, but, no sure, er, ah.”

“Well alright, then!” answers the twelve-story tall Roosevelt (and he’s the SHORT one!). “Leave the rest to us.”

Washington proceeds to break down the biggest cherry tree ever and hands it to Roosevelt, who spits on his hands before rubbing them together. Lincoln grabs the spaceship and winds up. “I never lie,” he whispers to the Americans inside, “We are met on a great battle-field of war. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, probably.” Then he unleashes a real burner, which Roosevelt gives every ounce of his muscular self respect to. Before they know it, Nerd American and Hero American (Black) are off Earth and heading to the mothership.

Hero American (White) uses this time to get all the rest of America trained as fighter pilots, so they can unleash one final attack while the shields are down. Randy Quaid is offered an F-15, but he chooses to fly his biplane instead. They go ahead and let him since they don’t expect much from a drunken crazy person to begin with.

Things aren’t going well for the computer virus idea. It turns out that a computer system capable of coordinating multi-dimentional journeys through space does not run DOS. For the idea to work now, Nerd will quickly have to learn to manipulate an advanced alien computer system using only alien language guidebooks with no Rosetta Stone. He spends the next ten minutes pushing buttons just to look busy while praying to God.

But this is actually what saves them. In all the chaos, no one thought to pray to God except Jew American and fuck him. “What can I do for you my sons?” God asks, suddenly sitting with them in the cockpit. Hero American (Black) answers him, “Alien assholes are trying to kill America.” This makes God pretty mad because America is his country. “You won’t need a computer virus. Go back home.” And with that, God grows giant and tosses the little spaceship up in the air so he can hit it back to Earth with a his-sized Louisville Slugger (wooden).

After that, God begins laying waste to the mothership. Before he can deliver the final blow, however, the alien God (Cthulu, but not officially) shows up for an old fashioned God-brawl. Our God rips off its balls and breaks its back over his knee before hurling it into a black hole. The shields are fucking lowered.

Back on Earth, all the fighter pilots get the thumbs up to start fighting back. Even though our numbers are about 1:100, we kick a shitload of ass simply by flying with a herky-jerky rebellious style the aliens can’t figure out. Randy Quaid gets so into it that he flies his biplane directly into a city ship, blowing it up completely. All over the country, squads start telling their most drunken loser pilots to do the same. Five minutes later, America enjoys its first July 4th BBQ / Firework show. Meanwhile, the United Nations are still arguing over its first move. You’re welcome, faggots.

(three stars)

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