In the midst of the holiday season, I have noticed that some cable television outlets have taken to showing disaster movies. I don’t know whether to be alarmed or amused but of course, it started the old gears turning in my head. Why is it that when an impending cataclysm is looming on the horizon Hollywood feels the need to turn to a beefcake-o-rama to save the day? Look, I am not getting on a feminist rant or anything but think about it. Besides Deep Impact, has any crisis thriller been helmed by a woman? Have we ever gone to Meryl Streep or Julia Roberts to rescue us from impending destruction? I know for a fact that Meryl could save us by just reading a story from Dr. Seuss. She is a national treasure after all.

So, I decided to do the research on this matter. Can everything be solved with some muscles and a hunky grin? Can we really affect world peace with “Blue Steel” from Derek Zoolander?  See, I ask the hard questions. 60 Minutes really needs to make me a correspondent! I have the time to delve into these topics that are troubling Americans. Well, it’s just me and truth be told I have nothing better to do.  It’s not like I need to do shopping for the holidays or laundry or… you get the picture.  Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. The Day After Tomorrow – Since the subject matter of this film was rather serious, (advanced climate change), we needed more than 1 impossibly good looking guy to lead us to safety. We can’t expect Jake Gyllenhaal to bat his big, blue eyes and make tsunamis recede now, can we? No! That is why Dennis Quaid is along for the ride. He’s rugged, he’s trustworthy, he’s 80 but he’s got killer abs so we are in good hands! More than likely, Harrison Ford was unavailable due to some scheduling conflict. While he was off making an Oscar caliber movie, Dennis raised his hand and said, “Why the hell not? It’s a big budget flick. I’ll get paid a ridiculous amount of money. The script is totally based in pseudo-science. I’m game! Where do I sign?” Don’t get me wrong, the special effects are pretty exciting but that doesn’t make up for the thin storyline.  Just to drive my point home, Jay O. Sanders, a wonderful character actor with credits like JFK plays second banana to Quaid. Since he is not photogenic, he gets to plummet to his death. Quaid and Gyllenhaal survive. Surprise!
  2. I Am Legend – An incredibly fit and cut Will Smith is a survivor of an epidemic that has turned ordinary citizens into vampires. Don’t you just love it when 2 beloved genres mate? If you want a treat, check out the 1971 version of this film, “Omega Man” starring the late Charlton Heston. This actor played Moses for crying out loud. There is a guy with serious credibility. He was also prone to overacting but who cares? Back to Will Smith, Smith plays Robert Neville. Neville is a brilliant scientist struggling to find a cure for the contagion. The movie is based on a wonderful novel by the sci-fi genius, Richard Matheson. Smith turns in a moving performance as he searches for other survivors. Your heart will break at his loneliness but turn that frown upside down! We get plenty of shots of a shirtless, glistening Smith doing pull ups and running on a treadmill. What more can you ask for? If Will Smith can’t save the world, who can?
  3. San Andreas – A massive earthquake hits California. Fear not, people. Guess who just happens to be a rescue helicopter pilot? Dwayne Johnson, formerly “The Rock” of WWE fame, that’s who! Of course, he is going through a pending divorce and is trying to get along with his daughter. As hackneyed plots go, he has to join forces with his soon-to-be ex-wife to save his teenage daughter. Along the way, we get to enjoy his bulging biceps and impeccable white teeth as he pilots a speed boat and performs other acts of courage. He is our modern-day equivalent of Hercules. He took out all those bad guys for Vince McMahon, he can certainly deal with a 9.6 magnitude earthquake, no problem!
  4. War of the Worlds – In this Spielberg version of the H.G. Wells classic book, Tom “Fricking” Cruise is the hero. Yes, TC of the toothy, boyish grin and the floppy Hugh Grantesque mane. First off, we have to believe that he is a working-class stevedore from Hoboken. Really? However, once we get past this, we find that he is a divorced father of two kids. An estranged teenage son who detests him and Dakota Fanning who loves him completely. The story begins on a typical weekend where he has his kids. Of course, that is the way it starts. All of a sudden, boom! Out of the blue (literally) aliens land and havoc ensues. Tom has to protect his children and outrun/outwit creatures from another planet while trying to get to his ex-wife. Even covered in alien mess, Tom manages to stay looking like, well, Tom Cruise. This is the hero of “Top Gun”, he had “All the Right Moves” and he took on a menacing Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” He’s got this world! Aliens beware. The grin is going to get you! If that doesn’t work, there is always Scientology (no disrespect intended to my Scientologist friends, just a little humor).
  5. Armageddon – A blondish Bruce Willis is a roughneck who is one of the best at drilling oil. He and his rag tag crew of misfits are approached by NASA to save the planet by planting explosives on an asteroid that is going to decimate the Earth. Never mind that this is Hollywood fantasy at its best! Just go with it. Much like “The Day After Tomorrow,” we need 2 hunks to save the day in this film as well. If the sight of a tanned beachy looking Bruce doesn’t set your heart aflutter than perhaps, a buff and camera ready Ben Affleck will do! This film was box office gold and it gave Aerosmith the chance to win an Academy Award for Best Song with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Yes, Steven Tyler has an Oscar. Let that sink in.

Maybe it is time for females to step up to the plate. I think society is ready for a film where women save the world. How about this for a potential plot? A retired model as played by Angelina Jolie is recruited by Meryl Streep and Dame Judi Dench to stop an uprising on a distant planet that could have devastating impact on Earth’s future plans to colonize the universe. Angelina enlists the help of Jennifer Lawrence, Olivia Wilde and Charlize Theron to help her end the rebellion. Think of the fabulous form fitting Seven of Nine spacesuits, great hair and awesome make up! This smells like a blockbuster! Does anyone have JJ Abrams number?    @SusanontheLedge

Published by Susan Leighton Woman on the Ledge