Blue Pill Movies: Independence Day

Donal reminded me on my last post that I also wanted to do an analysis of Independence Day, so here it is.  First, let’s look at the four main “heroes.”  On the plus side, they’re all men; you probably couldn’t do that now.  But how manly are they?  Let’s look:

1. An alcoholic widower who’s screwing up his business by flying drunk.  He’s a father (a plus), but his kids appear to pretty much take care of themselves, and perhaps him, while he screws up in ways that probably make it hard for them to get by.

2. The President, who is pushed around by his underlings until being mentally attacked by an alien appears to give him a testosterone boost.  His wife and female chief of staff are both more assertive than he.  When the movie opens, he’s home playing Mr. Mom while his wife is doing something political across the country.

3. A handsome, clearly alpha, fighter pilot with the qualifications to be an astronaut, but (according to his friend) NASA keeps turning him down because he’s shacked up with a single-momma stripper.  Of course, she’s the good kind of stripper, who’s just doing it for her baby, instead of a head-case who hooks on the side for crack money. When he marries her before going on the Final Mission, he apologizes for taking so long.  We don’t see her thank him for overlooking all her baggage.

4. A nerdy, environmentalist tech guy whose ex-wife (the aforementioned chief of staff) divorced him three years earlier because he wasn’t ambitious enough to suit her.  He was happy with his job and his recycling obsession and their marriage just the way they were, but apparently she thought he should be out chasing Nobel prizes or something.  This is presented as a sad thing, but completely understandable on her part.  He’s still pining for her to the point of continuing to wear his wedding ring, so it’s up to her whether they’re together or not, and that’s how it should be.  She starts to tingle for him again when he saves the world.

The three women characters — the stripper, the chief of staff, and the First Lady — are cool and competent at all times, whether running from fireballs or even dying.

I don’t think it would be exaggerating to call this movie a defining moment of its era.  It was the largest-grossing movie of 1996, breaking records and winning awards.  Everyone saw it and was quoting it.  Everyone remembers the scene of the helicopter swinging away from the White House as it explodes, and the alien ship blasting the buildings with people waiting on top to meet them, causing city-wide explosions for people to run from.  (Fireballs were really, really slow in the mid-90s.)  Tied to July 4th as it was, it reconstructed the idea of non-ironic, fist-pumping, pro-military patriotism as something good, as long as it had a global flavor.

So in this movie everyone was watching and imitating 18 years ago (about the time today’s marriage-delaying 30-year-old girl was growing up), what did we learn?

  • Men have a lot of flaws. Women don’t seem to.
  • Men are sometimes able to get better, maybe good enough to deserve a woman, if they work really hard to redeem themselves and meet her expectations.  Saving the world may improve a man’s odds.
  • Strippers with other men’s children are smart, capable, classy, and generally great wife material.
  • If a man’s wife falls out of love with him, it’s not her fault, and is probably his.
  • A father without a mother will probably crack and be the kind of guy you wouldn’t let take care of your goldfish, let alone some kids.

Am I forgetting any?

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18 thoughts on “Blue Pill Movies: Independence Day

  1. Seems pretty comprehensive to me.

    Before Alla chimes in, I wanted to say real quick that Jeff Goldbloom’s character is not a bad guy at all. In fact, he is clearly a good man who stuck to his vows. The problem with the movie is not him per se, but his wife.

  2. Right, Goldbloom’s character is a good guy. Maybe not the most attractive guy, what with the nerdiness and the beta tendencies — but that’s whom she married. She became disenchanted with him when she advanced professionally and got a chance to work with the alpha big-shots at the White House, and he wasn’t keeping up with her. So basically she labeled him a failure and left him because he wasn’t running the EPA or something on her level. That’s quite the high bar for a man to have to clear, just to get his wife to keep her vows!

  3. Other than the sane stripper, it’s just a realistic portrayal of society. It isn’t promoting any harmful agenda. You can’t be so negative about everything.

  4. Other than the sane stripper, it’s just a realistic portrayal of society.

    It isn’t promoting any harmful agenda.

    One of these is not like the other…

  5. Drew, I’m not being “negative about everything,” I’m being negative about aspects of this particular movie. Actually, I’m not really being negative; I’m pointing out tropes that have been used over and over in media, which has taught people to accept them as normal. I’m pointing them out so we can better identify them and avoid them in the future, which is a positive goal.

    If the tropes in question reflect society, that only makes them more disturbing and in need of response, not less. As Donal suggests, modern society is a “harmful agenda.”

    I do plan to analyze some movies that have a better mix of red and blue, so you can look forward to more positive reflections about those. This particular movie just didn’t have any.

  6. The part about the sane stripper is somewhat blue pill. The fact that your wife will divorce you if she considers you too boring or unambitious is not blue pill. The fact that women love soldiers and heroes is not blue pill. The fact of having an alcoholic hero, and the part about the president maintaining custody of the children while the wife is away and not enjoying the job of being president, have nothing to do with blue pill or red pill.

  7. Better mix of red and blue? Swingers. Gone With The Wind (Rhett Butler’s character is a study in handling sh*t tests and bitchy women).

    It’s my Lit background, but I look for what’s not said in movies. The women, collectively or individually, do not contribute significantly in the defeat of the bad guys. Joss Wheedon wept.

  8. Cail: You might have missed one.

    If you’re an alcoholic screw up who can’t get by without a woman, the best thing you can do is to die – you can sacrifice yourself.

    She might be a stripper, but she’s faithful and has a heart of gold.

  9. A good redpill film – and a cinematic masterpiece to boot- is gram greenes the third man ( with Joseph Cotten and orson Welles).

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  11. Cail–my vote is for the remake of “Bedazzled” (I never saw the original). There is a fantastic red-pill scene where the Brenden Frazer character wishes to be “sensitive” in order to win the girls heart. She ends up with the A-hole who kicks sand in Frazer’s face at the beach.

  12. I have not seen Independence Day or Godzilla but Red Pill wisdom is there to be grasped in copious movies: I have just finished watching Legend of the Werewolf (1975) from Hammer offshoot Tyburn. Forget the supernatural element and what you have is a young man with a kindly disposition towards animals who comes from the country to the big city and acquires a job at a Zoo. He meets a young woman who is out with her girlfriends and instantly falls for her. He goes to visit her at her place of work and is thrown out (not realising that place of work is a Brothel) but snooping around catches her in the the arms of an older guy. He then goes postal. The next day she visits him and berates him for his behaviour telling him that she is a strong independent woman in control of her own life and the Madame is the best and only mother she ever had – you sense that this is a massive fitness test, which he promptly fails by proposing marriage which she pointing out that he is penniless, rejects.

    Naturally, as he is werewolf, and after slaughtering a lot of Johns (customers of the brothel) you know it is not going to end well, but the one person he will not harm is the woman.

  13. Interesting analysis. The two things that stick in my memory from ’96:
    * Audience members cheering when the aliens destroy the White House.
    * Captive alien in Area 51 giving free advice on what humans should do.

    On review, the whole movie is steeped in blue pill. The only way it could have been more so, maybe, a female F-18 pilot who succeeds when all the men fail?

    Compare and constrast with Battle: Los Angeles of 2011.

  14. I’m way late, but there were no bad guys in this movie with the exception of the alcoholic father.

    Jeff Goldblum’s character was over the top in his pining, but he’s handsome enough (and smart enough) that you can forgive it.

    Will Smith had no faults to speak of, save his taste in women. He wouldn’t be the first guy to make that mistake, nor will he be the last. He was as close to perfect in that film as a flawed male character can get.

    The president was a classic liberal, purported as being slow to use force because they’re all about peace and love not war, but he was assertive enough.

    The protrayals of the women were VERY blue pill/ But the men? Not so much.

  15. I’m way late, but there were no bad guys in this movie with the exception of the alcoholic father.

    Better late than never, but I’m going to disagree.

    Jeff Goldblum’s character was over the top in his pining, but he’s handsome enough (and smart enough) that you can forgive it.

    He’s Beta raised to the Beta power. The only time he gets assertive is within his own area of expertise, i.e. “that signal means….” which is quite realistic. In the academic world there are plenty of men who are pedestalizers, who are dominated by the women in their personal lives, who become extremely competetative and even aggressive in one area, their work.

    Will Smith had no faults to speak of, save his taste in women.

    Ah. Thanks for reminding me of the other memorable scene: “Welcome to Earth!”.

    He wouldn’t be the first guy to make that mistake, nor will he be the last. He was as close to perfect in that film as a flawed male character can get.

    Well, yeah, but he’s still blue pill as all get out.

    The president was a classic liberal, purported as being slow to use force because they’re all about peace and love not war, but he was assertive enough.

    Eventually he was assertive, but only vs. genocidal aliens. With women? Nah. Not even.

    The protrayals of the women were VERY blue pill/ But the men? Not so much.

    From where I was in the cheap seats, it could have been worse (at least all the F-18 pilots were men) but it was still quite blue pill. Different sets of eyeballs see different things.

  16. This movie was on AMC last night, I caught part of it. In the scene where hotshot pilot Will Smith marries the stripper, maybe it was edited but the vows are strictly one way: HE promises to love her, cherish her, keep her, forsaking all others and SHE gets to just stand there beaming.

    There’s modern marriage in a nutshell: he gets duties, she gets choices. Blue pill.

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