FILMS: "Armageddon"... Not Quite Bust'in Up The Planet...
I tend to not be the most avid movie-goer... and I finally caught up to Armageddon, a 1998 "oldie & moldie" starring Bruce Willis and unfortunately featuring Ben "Wuss-boy" Affleck. The basic premise of the movie is that a giant asteroid is discovered hurdling towards the Earth on a collision path that will bring about an apocalyptic "planet killer" event like many scientists theorize ended the reign of the dinosaurs. And, of course, the only person who can save us is a burly oil driller played by Bruce Willis and his team of fellow "roughneck" drillers including the ever-annoying Ben Affleck. Billy Bob Thornton, puts in a good performance as a NASA administrator... and Liv Tyler acts pouty and annoying... as well as hot as is her prime talent.
The "Roughnecks" are played by a host of Hollywood "2nd stringers" including quite a few of them who have made their way into "leading man" roles almost a decade later. Among the better-known "Roughnecks":
Steve Buscemi: How this bug-eyed guy makes it in Hollywood is almost beyond me until I remembered that he has an excellent sense of comedic timing... and he doesn't fail in this flick with his comedic talents. Despite specializing in playing sleezeballs, he's likable and ends up both surviving the mission and being rewarded Hollywood-style with a trophy wife who just happens to be a stripper named "Molly Mounds." Only in Hollywood...
Michael Clark Duncan: This guy has become best-known for his role as the giant possessed black guy from Steven King's "The Green Mile." Despite being such a freakishly large man, he's likable as well.
William Fichtner: Will Fichtner has gone through a string of great roles including "Blackhawk Down" and the television series "Invasion." He plays a steely-faced Air Force colonel... pretty much his archetypal character. He will be playing a supporting role in the upcoming movie adaptation of the classic graphic novel "The Dark Knight."
Will Patton: Will Patton has gone onto to many "leading man" roles including as the coach in the very likable 2000 flick "Remember The Titans." His "down-South" accent give him a certain charisma...
Peter Stormare: Best-known for playing a crazy murderous nut in "Fargo," Peter Stormare plays a really stereotypical Russian cosmonaut in Armageddon. I can't blame him since the director undoubtedly wanted him to play such a lousy two-dimensional character. If the Soviet Union had really wanted to win the Cold War bad enough, they should have come up with a "Communist Hollywood" so they could make NASA look bad... although the whole "American cowboy" stereotype has persisted well enough...
Owen Wilson: Owen Wilson as just a pup back in 1998 and it shows because they knock off his character early in the film. He went on to make a number of bad comedies including several with Jackie Chan.
Here's an IMDB (International Movie Data Base) link to the film:
TOP: The "Roughnecks," men we should be...
And the central plot device of a planet-destroying asteroid is a common-enough one... very popular in sci-fi novels. I've easily read a half a dozen or so novels with this theme including:
"The Forge of God" by Greg Bear:
"The Hammer of God" by Arthur C. Clarke:
"Rendezvous With Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke:
"Footfall" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:
"Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:
And lastly, here's a link to everything you could ever want to know about asteroids in science fiction, courtesy of Wikipedia:
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