Top 5 Disaster Movies for Your Thanksgiving Break

There is something about the family bonding, the absolute devastation, the awe-inspiring (or cheesy) CGI effects, the improbable (or impossible) science, the ultimate survival of the protagonist, and a jerk getting killed by a building falling or a helicopter exploding that makes disaster movies the perfect feel-good films for any occasion. Disaster movies, in my opinion, aer perfect for when you would rather be in San Francisco during a big quake than be at home listening to your parents argue over the turkey for the umpeenth time. As a disaster movie buff, I have seen every movie on this list many times, and to clarify, these movies are not necessarily good, but they’ll fill that void of being home for the holidays with their cheesiness, bad dialogue, and big explosions. So without further ado, here are the top 5 disaster movies for when your Thanksgiving break turns into a disaster of its own.

  1. 1. 'Day After Tomorrow' (2004)

    Endlessly rewatchable, this classic 2004 disaster film exemplifies everything I love about this genre from tornadoes destroying LA, the irony of Americans illegally crossing the border into Mexico, to the big wave destroying New York City! Starring Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhall, and Dennis Quaid, this movie’s dialogue can be a bit stiff, and the second half of the movie may be a bit slow, but the magic of human experience during the end of the world as we know it cannot be overstated. 

  2. 2. Deep Impact (1998)

    Chances are you have never seen this. Let me sum it up for you: Elijah Woods in a child wedding, Morgan Freeman as president, and Tea Leoni as an accidental whistleblower. Throw in a Armageddon-esque (they were actually released the same summer, common for the 90s disaster movie genre) race to destroy an asteroid named after Elijah Wood’s character to prevent the end of the universe while Elijah Wood rides a dirt bike to escape a tsunami with his child bride.

  3. 3. Volcano (1997)

    Ridiculous. Cheesy. Impossible. Oh so satisfying. Hot lava rains down on LA as a volcano emerges from the La Brea Tar Pits. Tommy Lee Jones (yep, of Men in Black fame) saves the day. The emotional tension and taut atmosphere from the main characters dodging balls of hot fire while the fire department, police department, the emergency department, and one scientist attempting to solve how to stop magma from taking over LA is unbeatable. 

  4. 4. 'San Andreas' (2015)

    It’s unclear what’s bluer, Alexandra Daddario eyes or the wave that threatens to drown San Francisco? This 2015 summer blockbuster features the Rock’s muscles, a British accent, California being decimated by the biggest earthquake ever, and its aftershocks. The best part of this movie is the ingenuity of Daddario who is NOT a damsel in distress, CGI, and the really genuine family bonding seen. Perfect to watch under the table when your own family is sparking World War III. 

  5. 5. 'Twister' (1996)

    Amazing tornado graphics, a badass heroine, and the infamous image of a cow being sucked up by a tornado make this treat a classic for years to come. You can feel yourself getting blown away with the tension the storm chasers are experiencing as the sky turns green, the wind picks up and the sirens began to wail. You will never look at a cow or drive in theatre the same way again.