Disaster specialist Roland Emmerich had his golden moment in this one, blowing up the White House via blue alien death ray from above. The fascinating thing about it? Audiences cheered (not just Republicans, either). A taste for trashing irreplaceable symbols of governmental power was growing. Meanwhile, if you’re a Will Smith fan, here’s when he was the funniest A-list action star on the planet.
Sue us, but come the summer, there's nothing we enjoy more than a heaping plate of big 'n' dumb. The summer blockbuster is a strange beast (emphasis on beast): an expression of corporate culture and Academy Award-winning technology but often inspired and artistic—especially when directed by baseball-hatted geniuses Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and George Lucas. Our methodology for ranking the best summer movies: All contenders had to be released between May and August (sorry, Titanic fans). All had to have grossed at least $100 million globally, the standard benchmark for blockbuster status. And all had to be intended as high-stakes entertainments: action movies, sci-fi stunners or tentpole extravaganzas, not accidental “sleepers” like The Blair Witch Project.