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Smoke, Flicks, and Chill: Movies of Mass Destruction

In honor of 'Independence Day: Resurgence', smoke one then watch some serious property damage.

by Sean Abrams

by Sean Abrams

Let’s face it: People like it when things go boom. 

It’s clear that big time, bank breaking movies that arrive in theaters nowadays are all about the destruction. It’s the explosions and the excessive property damage that appeals to the masses.

The best scenes of cinematic mass destruction involve the total wipeout of an isolated city, an overtly large area, or sometimes even the whole entire planet. While natural disasters are usually behind the world’s untimely end, sometimes you can blame it on aliens, giant lizards, or otherwordly creatures set to destroy us all. And for some reason, we’re into it.

In honor of Independence Day: Resurgence’s release, and the return of extraterrestrials dead set of blowing up just about everything, here are five films (in no particular order) of mass destruction to watch while high. Just make sure to keep your anxiety in-check.

San Andreas (2015)



With the unsteady nature of the San Andreas Fault being a subject on such high alert nowadays, this earthquake disaster film felt more like a pre-emptive emergency plan instead of a big, box office destruction film. That is, until Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson made the shaking West Coast his bitch and proves that if anything were to ever go down, you should make him your best friend ASAP. San Andreas is big on the falling of buildings, bricks crumbling, and a large of helping of California CGI effects - but that’s probably why you’re watching it anyway.

Munchie: Get your last meal at In-N-Out before it’s no longer there.

Cloverfield (2008)



A found footage masterpiece, this not-so-typical monster movie focuses on six unsuspecting New York residents who attempt to escape off the island before getting eaten by a massive creature, blown up, or.. worse. So much worse. With influence from producer and Lost creator J.J. Abrams, audiences were left with much to ponder just from the film’s short teaser trailer released a few months prior to the film. The biggest takeaway: A giant, menacing roar, followed by Miss Lady Liberty’s head rolling down a city street with an abundance of claw marks in it. And we’ll just leave it at that.

Munchie: Another New York staple - go for the pretzel.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)



Another go at total annihilation courtesy of a natural disaster, this 2004 science fiction film uses the threat of global warming and an impending ice age to put most of the world (with a focus on New York, of course) under the big chill. Swap out The Rock for a much scrawnier Jake Gyllenhaal and the shakiness of an earthquake for the wetness of a tsunami, and you got yourself just another popcorn flick meant to put the tallest Manhattan buildings on display and sort of turn you into an environmentalist. Well.. did it work?

Munchie: Some ice pops will do you good.

The Avengers (2012)



New York takes another beating in this superpowered Joss Whedon film of epic proportions, but luckily, we have a rag tag team available to fight and defend our honor. While this isn’t your typical mass destruction movie, there is plenty of rubble to go around by the ending credits due to the invasion of outer-dimension Chitauri warriors. The destruction may take a back seat to the well-choreographed fighting from our superhero team, but watching Hulk smash evil-doers against skyscrapers is something that you don’t want to miss.

Munchie: Let’s hope there’s a few hot dog trucks left standing.

Independence Day (1996)



The White House has been crushed, blown up, and turn to dust numerous times (on-screen, of course), but it’s never been pulverized like in Ronald Emmerich’s alien invasion film. A jaw-dropping summer blockbuster for the ages, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum are amongst an all-star cast set to defend Earth from an alien invasion right on one of the most patriotic holidays of the year. There’s fireworks-a plenty as the Earth is almost decimated, making for destruction scenes of epic proportions that distract from an otherwise basic plot line. The best way to prepare for the follow-up to this 1996 classic is to watch where it all began, so get your flags at the ready. It’s almost time to celebrate.

Munchie: Something red, white and blue is the most appropriate.


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Sean Abrams

Sean Abrams is a Brooklyn native with a penchant for being the guy who eats only the pink Starbursts. He currently resides in Astoria and is an Associate Editor at Maxim Magazine. Follow him down the rabbit hole on Twitter at @seanybrams.



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