The HAMMER (AKA: The Best of the Worst)

The HAMMER (AKA: The Best of the Worst)

Back in the day when my group organised the yearly retreat, we would also plan for a movie night. Usually, we would not get far because a heated discussion would break out about the quality of the movie:

“…but this is a terrible movie!”, my colleagues would scream in agony and despair.

In my opinion, that was exactly the point! The movies are so bad they passed the threshold of badness and entered a new category: “So bad, it’s good.”

Over the years, I would encounter people who did not watch Geo-movies because they believed them too bad to actually enjoy them. There seems to be a fine line between simply “bad” and ”So bad, it’s good“ but what are these movies? We thought we should ask the specialists and over two weeks, the film-loving Geo-Community voted onTwitter for the one and only “The best of the worst” geo-movie!

The competition was fierce but in the end, it boiled down to:

San Andreas
The Core
The Day After Tomorrow

“If they go outside… the storm will kill them.”

With 106 votes on the 3rd place

The general story of “The Day After Tomorrow” is that the melting of the polar ice drastically disturbed the North Atlantic current. As a result, a super deadly ice storm (Geostorm could be the continuation of this story) catapults the northern hemisphere into a new Ice Age. The beginning of the movie features a heroic Dennis Quaid risking his life to safe some ice cores from being swallowed by an ice chasm. (Would actually anybody of you do that?) What burned itself into my brain is the scene where Jake Gyllenhaal and Co. are running from the viscously deadly creeping ice. “Close the doors!”, seems to slow down the cold. They save themselves by enlightening a tinny fire in a fireplace. Do you feel the cold creeping up?

“Ok… who wants an A in an independent class study? I’m starting a new class: How to save lives by Hacking Media Outlets?”

With 107 votes on the 2nd place

San Andreas is clearly an entertaining movie, featuring Paul Giamatti as a quirky seismologist at Caltech. Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson is a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter-rescue pilot “who is just doing his job”. The film lives from a never-ending supply of collapsing skyscrapers and “The Rock” running, jumping, flying, and saving the day! The end showcases a classical American blockbuster ending, where The Rock stares with teary eyes at a giant American flag unrolling from the Golden Gate Bridge. “Now we rebuild.” Oh yes, this bad.

“You want me to hack the planet?”

With 156 votes the winner

Words are an inadequate medium to explain the genius of The Core. Clearly, you also thought so, since The Core won the “best of the worst” title of the 2020 Geo-movie cup. Maybe this conversation (compilation from the trailer) can give you a pinch of understanding why it is so bad… good… :

We killed the planet!
So, how do we fix it?
We can’t. The core has the size of Mars […] you’re talking about jumpstarting a planet!
What if we could?
[Cut to the crazy hermit scientist building an “Earth-mantle-ship”]
We are here about your legendary ship. What would it take to get it ready in three months?
15 billion dollars [laughing]…
Do you take a check?

Alone for this, The Core deserves the award! It is already an epic classic. It is full of memorable dialogues (e.g.: “Ok, I know these look like computers – totally not!”), it is fast-paced and between saving the world from self-inflicted destruction, there is even time for a bit of romance between Swank and Eckhart. I am sure you already (re-) watched it after the announcement of the winner! If not, what are you waiting for?

The result was not unexpected, but it was good to finally settle this question and future Geo-movie nights are saved!

We will continue our Geo-movie cup next year with another category, for instance, “The most realistic one” (The Core would have little chance here) or “My absolute Favourite” (maybe Megafault would make the cut?). What category would you like to vote on next year? Did you miss a movie you would have liked to vote on? Let us know!

Thanks, everyone for voting!



This blog post was written by ECS representative Maria Tsekhmistrenko
with revisions from ECS representative Javier Ojeda.

We are a team coming from mixed places with various interests: Janneke does her DPhil in DIAS, Dublin and is the Seismology ECS point of contact. Javier joint recently from Chile and is doing his DPhil in DGF, Universidad de Chile. Eric is finishing up his DPhil in Vienna, Austria and takes care of our Twitter account. Michaela is doing her DPhil in ETH, Swiss. Maria is doing her first PostDoc in DIAS, Dublin and since recently she is the editor-in-chief for the blog. Nienke hangs around in the University of Cambridge, UK and Walid is starting a PostDoc in Washington University in St Louis, US.

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