If you are like any other human being living in our newly minted post-WTC America, you have been saying to yourself, "what if..." Well, here are a few hand-picked pieces of Americana that try to answer that burning question. Now remember these are only movies... it isn't real--yet.
• Red Dawn (1984, dir. John Milius)--The Commies have invaded the U.S. After Mexico is plunged into revolution, the Reds use it as a doormat into the unsuspecting Midwest corridor. Now, it is up to a band of high schoolers (most with mullets), led by Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell, to defend the heartland. Much scenery chewing occurs, and the tone is overall macho and redneck, but hey, it was the first film to garner the new PG-13 rating.
• "V" (1983, dir. Kenneth Johnson)--All across the Earth, huge flying saucers have suddenly appeared. But the newcomers are our friends and need our help. Soon, their red Nazi-esque banners are hung in every nation. Although this mini-series basically boils down to "Dynasty in Space," we are treated to some great conspiratorial subtexts (ALL SCIENTISTS ARE TERRORISTS) that work to give it a bit more depth than the average TV movie. Marc Singer stars in all his chesty post-Beastmaster glory.
• Testament (1983, dir. Lynne Littmann)--This film is a somber non-exploitative work that shows the descent of a small California community in the aftermath of a nuclear war. Jane Alexander (nominated for an Oscar) is the mother trying to hold it all together, as her family becomes sick, and her community starts to fall apart. This movie will put a rock in your stomach.
• Outbreak (1995, dir. Wolfgang Petersen)--A deadly airborne virus has entered the U.S. via a cute monkey. The virus (a U.S.-made, super-lethal germ warfare device) begins to spread through a small California town. The CDC quickly mobilizes, but the Army has a better plan: Drop a bomb on the town. The threat in this film is scary, especially today, but the film itself turns out to be a big pool of sick. M. LON FREE