contemplating our demise

Don't know what it is about the Holidays, but as soon as that first stocking is hung, all I want to do is rent disaster films. Maybe I crave death and destruction as a way of balancing out the sugary sweetness of most holiday fare. Or there might be a subconscious link between the season and the genre's formula: everything starts out calm, then little things turn into big things and by the end all hell is breaking loose! But, whatever the motiveÉ the result is the same--pure JOY.

¥ The Core (2003)--Super cutie Aaron Eckhart squeezes his firm arse into a big tube with Hillary Swank, as they journey to the center of the Earth to get the core moving again. Meanwhile up on the surface, crap is hitting the fan, as huge waves and lightning storms make Earth's residents poop their proverbial panties. Above average special effects and an extreme case of the sillies make this prime couch surfing material. I just wish their were more shirtless scenesÉ oh well.

¥ Volcano (1997)--A pre-koo koo Anne Heche and always dependable Tommy Lee Jones head up this little nail biter about a BIG volcano erupting in downtown Los Angeles. With barely any set-up (thank god!), the action immediately cranks up and never really stops. Original effects and killer sound make this a great flick to test out the limits of your new home theater. Besides, I can think of nothing more entertaining than watching red hot magma bombs crashing into million dollar Beverly Hills mansions.

¥ Towering Inferno (1974)--Uber-rich real estate assholes in icky polyester suits build a gigantic glass building in downtown San Francisco. The friggin' jerks use second rate building materials, so within minutes of turning on all the lights for the big opening gala, the whole thing starts to burn. Of course there's an all-star cast (Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner, Richard Chamberlain) trapped on multiple levels and only the hunky architect (Paul Newman) and the scorchin' fire chief (Steve McQueen) can save the day. Lesson: Big Buildings are bad! BRIAN BRAIT