Deep Impact

from dust stilts

This weekend’s release of The Impossible has reminded me of another film involving the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a documentary titled From Dust. You’ve likely never seen it. The IMDb listing shows only 13 users have rated the film (compare that to the already 3,786 voters on The Impossible‘s page), and my review from the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival remains the only one linked there. But it is easily rented or bought through Amazon Instant Video (or seen free on And I think a producer or screenwriter looking for an idea for a movie could be inspired by the David vs. Goliath tale it tells. From Dust is about a fishing village and a coastal city in Sri Lanka dealing with the aftermath of the disaster, which destroyed the area with 13-foot-high tidal waves. The people have been forbidden from rebuilding their homes through a government mandate, which is either for their safety or for the opportunistic benefit of the state, depending on what you believe. Eight years later, I’m unaware of what happened to the subjects in the documentary, or their land, but the idea and the issue of building hotels and resorts upon the ashes of a catastrophe is not exactly limited to this story. Nor is, as we’ve seen post-Sandy, the argument over who is responsible for rebuilding after devastation.



It’s difficult to read a statement like “Happy Earth Day” and not read it as “Happy Earth” Day. Which feels rather trite, as the Earth herself does not seem happy at all. In fact, recent years have proven her to be sort of a bitch, stomping around passive aggressively in response to hundreds of years of humanity using her resources, under-appreciating her majesty and killing off their fellow man so that they can do more of the resource using. She’s not happy, so why should we be happy? Nihilism aside, it is Earth Day after all and we’re not one to turn away from a good party. However, it’s important that while you’re out there celebrating by buying organic, recycling beer bottles and picking up trash and used condoms down by the boardwalk — the boardwalk — that we allow our weekly Scenes We Love feature to remind you of Earth’s fragile state. She may seem like a big hunk of rock from the ground view, but don’t forget that all it takes is a filmmaker like Michael Bay or Mimi Leder to come along and blow it all up with the best computer generated visual trickery that 1998 had to offer. To celebrate Earth Day, we’d like to present two of our favorite renditions of Earth’s demise: the opening of Armageddon and the comet landing scene in Deep Impact.


9/11 on Film: World Trade Center Movie Cameos

When Zoolander came out on September 28, 2001, the production had digitally removed The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers from the New York City skyline in an effort to avoid displaying a devastating image in the middle of a comedy about the world of fashion. If they’d have left it in, it wouldn’t have been the first time the buildings had been featured on film or television. Since they didn’t, it marks the first time the buildings were ever erased. With the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 coming this Sunday, it’s impossible not to be consumed a bit by the gravity of an action that killed so many and lowered a different world view onto all of us. Landon and I talked on Reject Radio regarding the effect that the day had on movies and movie-watchers, but that mostly dealt with the last decade – the world that came after that morning. As a counterpart, here’s a simply-edited montage of the past. Dan Meth has built a view to the movies where the Twin Towers either stood proudly in the background, made prominent appearances in the front of the action, or acted as the set. It’s stirring in its matter-of-factness, and it’s more than a little moving, but it’s ultimately a celebration of a symbol that no longer (physically) exists. Check it out for yourself:



The cinematic doppelganger effect seems to happen on a cyclical basis. Every few years, a pair of movies are released whose concepts, narratives, or central conceits are so similar that it’s impossible to envision how both came out of such a complex and expensive system with even the fairest amount of awareness of the other. Deep Impact and Armageddon. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Capote and Infamous. Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report. And now two R-rated studio-released romantic comedies about fuck buddies played by young, attractive superstars have graced the silver screen within only a few short months of each other. We typically experience doppelganger cinema with high-concept material, not genre fare. To see two back-to-back movies released about the secret life of anthropomorphic talking insects, a hyperbole-sized rock jettisoning towards Earth’s inevitable destruction, a Truman Capote biopic, or a movie about a mall cop seem rare or deliberately exceptional enough as a single concept to make the existence of two subsequent iterations rather extraordinary. Much has been made of the notion that Friends with Benefits is a doppelganger of No Strings Attached (the former has in more than one case been called the better version of the latter), but when talking about the romantic comedy genre – a category so well-tread and (sometimes for better, sometimes not) reliably formulaic that each film is arguably indebted to numerous predecessors – can we really say these films are doppelgangers in the same vein as the high-concept examples, or […]


Boiling Point

Hollywood has on several occasions done things in pairs. Skyline and Battle: LA. Volcano and Dante’s Peak. Debbie Does Dallas and Donnie Does Denver. Every time this happens we ask ourselves two questions: first, why? Second, which one was better? In the grand history of competing, similarly plotted movies, no two films have ever inspired more conversation and debate than Deep Impact and Armageddon. This is ridiculous. Not because it’s a waste of time to debate movies like this, but because there is no debate. Armageddon makes Deep Impact look a pair of monkeys painted the world’s most boring book in baby shit and then populated it with a bunch of actors you remembered from other movies. Armageddon is the vastly superior film and anyone who doesn’t recognize that sends me past my boiling point.



We all love seeing the Earth blow up in movies, even if it rarely happens. We’re in this fight together, and if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’ll be able to witness the complete death of our Earth many times during our lifetime.



We know that the Election Night coverage can be a bit monotonous, but while you’re waiting for the results to trickle down, you might as well watch a couple movies.

Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3