This post contains spoilers.
We’re taking a trip to the past for this match-up, two 1996 films of different genres battle it out! First off, Independence Day was a HUGE film. It grossed over $300 million domestically, which after adjusted for inflation would be over $440 million. To put that in perspective, that’s more than any film grossed in 2013 (yes, more than Catching Fire and Iron Man 3). So to repeat myself, Independence Day was a HUGE film.
But bigger doesn’t always mean better, right? That Thing You Do! is a small, romantic-comedy-musical film that will get its titled song stuck in your head for days. Even though it never cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard charts, the song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song (losing to “You Must Love Me” from Evita). But that’s not the point. The point is that That Thing You Do! is an underrated film with plenty of laughs, some good music, and a suitable conclusion.
What That Thing You Do! doesn’t have that Independence Day does have, are aliens! Not like that’s a deal-breaker, but I’m just saying, Independence Day is a freaking cool movie, especially when you’re watching it as a kid for the first time. Will Smith absolutely kills this role as a kick-ass fighter pilot turned to bad-ass alien destroyer. Also, Jeff Goldblum as some computer genius played a nice role too, who’s ex-wife is the Communications Director to the president. Speaking of, Bill Pullman as the President of the United States is laughable, but Independence Day isn’t really concerned about being that serious, and for that reason alone I respect it.
But That Thing You Do! has an impressive cast as well. Led by Tom Everett Scott as Shades, the drummer of the band, he provides the film with a very likable character with an underdog story that we all can root for. Managed by the one and only Tom Hanks, and also with Steve Zahn and Charlize Theron in the mix, this film has its stars to be recognized. And I can’t forget to mention the lovely Liv Tyler, who stars in That Thing You Do! before breaking out with roles in Armageddon and Lord of the Rings.
So what movie am I picking? They’re both very enjoyable films and I am a sucker for a really catchy tune. At the same time, Independence Day has great action, especially for the ’90s, but at 145 minutes it’s definitely too long. While neither films can actually be considered “good,” I’m going with Independence Day as my pick for this Flickchart Battle. The ending is a lot more satisfying than That Thing You Do! When Russell Casse goes kamikaze at the alien craft, along with Will Smith and Goldblum nuking the mother-ship, it’s simply a formula that’s tough to beat.
Winner: Independence Day