Movies For Your Hurricane Party Tonight

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Hola, Edouard.

I hope you won't mind, but we Houstonians are still a little fatigued from taking 12 hours to drive from The Woodlands to Conroe during Hurricane Rita to get too worked up over the "threat" of a [*snicker*] Category 1 storm. And to cheer you up, we've compiled a list of the top five hurricanes in movie history.

Now blow.

5. Condominium (1980)

I can imagine the pitch meeting for this: "It's like Towering Inferno, only on the beach! And with a hurricane instead of an inferno!" No wonder this regrettable John D. MacDonald adaptation went straight to 'made-for-TV' land. On the plus side, you get Steve Forrest and Dan "Grizzly Adams" Haggerty proving that real men sport manly facial hair even in Florida's miserable humidity, special effects that would look right at home in Land of the Lost, and a lesbian love triangle. Stormy weather indeed.

4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

To paraphrase Dr. Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters, "Forget for a second that I know anything about meteorology, thermodynamics, physics, or engineering, and just tell me how the hell a burger grill from Wendy's can stave off murderous subzero temperatures." This entire movie - from the doomed astronauts gazing upon a monster hurricane here, to Los Angeles' gratuitous death by tornado - is an exercise in storm porn, no doubt making it one of Dr. Neil Frank's "desert island DVDs."

3. The Perfect Storm (2000)

Jesus, there's a lot of hollering in this trailer. I also like the implication - through lines like "We never leave anyone behind" and "We're coming home" - that the crew of the Andrea Gail survived. In truth, my throat did tighten up at the end of the movie...not because I was moved by the memorial service, but because I was 99% sure the doors of the church were going to burst open and a bedraggled yet still lustrously sexy George Clooney was going to stride in with his men, Missing in Action style.

2. Key Largo (1948)

Temple's (Lionel Barrymore) story about the 1935 hurricane in this clip - punctuated by the howling of the wind - is reminiscent of Quint's Indianapolis soliloquy in Jaws. To top that off, you get Bogart taunting Edward G. Robinson and the prospect of a damp Lauren Bacall, which sadly never materializes.

Though she sure could tie up a boat, if you know what I mean.

1. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in four Acts (2006)

Spike Lee's two hour and fifteen minute film about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the best documentary of 2006. Lee wisely removes himself (mostly) from the picture, letting the subjects talk freely about enduring the storm's fury and trying to put their lives back together, whether in New Orleans or any of the dozens of cities the displaced were relocated to. It's powerful, moving, and as we see in this clip, often quite profane.

-- Pete Vonder Haar

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