This past weekend saw the release of White House Down, just months after the release of the other secret-service-agent-must-save-a-President-under-siege-at-the-1600-Pennsylvania-Ave. movie of 2013, Olympus Has Fallen. With Channing Tatum and Gerard Butler playing the ostensible McClanes — and Jamie Foxx and Aaron Eckhart playing the Samuel L. Jacksons — there’s probably a very good reason both of the dumb action movies were described as being, at best, Die Hard-lite. If we had to pick a winner out of that match-up — and I’ve yet to see either — I would say it’s television’s “24.” Because apparently it did more than prepare the U.S. for its first black President, but it also prepared us for the inevitable White House home invasion backlash, too.
As ridiculous as it seems, two identical movies coming out of the Hollywood system within a year of, even in the same year as, one another is nothing new. And while there is usually a clear victor between these dueling movies in terms of box office and audience/critical reception, that’s less interesting to me than determining the actual non-losers in terms of overall cultural impact. So let’s see who the real winners are when 20 of Hollywood’s Most Identical Movies Go Head-to-Head:
Armageddon vs. Deep Impact
Armageddon is the Michael Bay asteroid disaster movie starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler’s abdominal region.
Deep Impact is the Mimi Leder asteroid disaster movie starring Elijah Wood, Tea Leoni, and Morgan Freeman as the Black President.
And the wiinner is… Not-America! Because no other landmass on Earth seems to suffer any ill effects from either asteroid.
Antz vs. A Bug’s Life
Antz is the Dreamworks animated ant adventure starring Woody Allen, Sylvester Stallone, and Sharon Stone as the uncomfortably attractive love interest.
A Bug’s Life is the Pixar animated ant adventure starring Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, and Julia Louis Dreyfuss as the uncomfortably attractive love interest.
And the winner is… Dave Foley! Because a steady stream of income from Disney ensures he can make alimony payments in night perpetuity.
The Illusionist vs. The Prestige
The Illustionist is Neil Burger’s 19th century magicians movie starring Edward Norton,
Paul Giamatti Rufus Sewell, and Jessica Biel as the woman who loves them.
The Prestige is Christopher Nolan’s 19th century magicians movie starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Scarlet Johansson as the woman who loves them.
And the winner is… Nikola Tesla! Because David Bowie made science-with-an-exclamation-point cool again.
Mirror Mirror vs. Snow White and the Huntsman
Mirror Mirror is Tarsem Singh’s Walt Disney-ish live action fairytale starring Lilly Collins, Armie Hammer, and Julia Roberts as the vamping evil queen.
Snow White and the Huntsman is Rupert Sander’s Brothers Grimm-esque live action fairytale starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron as the vamping evil queen.
And the winner is… Robert Pattinson! Because the scandalous Sanders/Stewart affair got him out of a tabloid relationship and into a David Cronenberg movie.
Like Father Like Son vs. Vice Versa
Like Father Like Son is the 1980s father/son body swap movie starring Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron as the father/son son/father, respectively.
Vice Versa is the 1980s father/son body swap movie starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage as the father/son son/father, respectively.
And the winner is… Alcohol! Because movies like these are why we drink - just ask Dudley Moore.
K-9 vs. Turner & Hooch
K-9 is the 1980s man-meets-dog buddy cop action comedy starring James Belushi and a adorable German Shepherd as the buddy cops.
Turner & Hooch is the 1980s man-meets-dog buddy cop action comedy starring Tom Hanks and a adorable Dogue de Bordeaux as the buddy cops.
And the winner is… Hooch! Because he’s crazy.
The Truman Show vs. EdTV
The Truman Show is Peter Weir’s satirical takedown of reality television starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, and Natascha McElhone as the rebellious love interest.
EdTV is Ron Howard’s satirical takedown of reality television starring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, and Jenna Elfman as the rebellious love interest.
And the winner is… Reality TV! Because we’ll never learn.
Chasing Liberty vs. First Daughter
Chasing Liberty is the romantic comedy about a President of the United States’ teenage daughter falling for a lantern-jawed good guy she probably shouldn’t starring Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, and Mark Harmon as the concerned father-cum-POTUS .
First Daughter is the romantic comedy about a President of the United States’ teenage daughter falling for a lantern-jawed good guy she probably shouldn’t starring Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, and Michael Keaton as the concerned father-cum-POTUS.
And the winner is… Sinbad! Because both movies made everyone forget that First Kid ever happened.
Tombstone vs. Wyatt Earp
Tombstone is the 1990s action adventure take on the shootout at the OK Corral starring Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, and Val Kilmer as the charmingly offensive Doc Holliday.
Wyatt Earp is the 1990s period epic version of the shootout at the OK Corral starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Michael Madsen, and Dennis Quaid as the charmingly offensive Doc Holliday.
And the winner is… Doc Holiday, what other historical figure had two legitimately brilliant portrayals within 12 months of each other?
Mission to Mars vs. Red Planet
Mission to Mars is the Brian de Palma sci-fi flick about the first manned mission to Mars, the “red planet,” starring Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle, Connie Nielsen, and Tim Robbins as the astronauts surviving the ensuing hijinks.
Red Planet is the only Antony Hoffman flick about the first manned mission to the “red planet,” Mars, starring Val Kilmer, Benjamin Bratt, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Tom Sizemore as the astronauts surviving the ensuing hijinks.
And the winner is… Martians! Because these lackluster blockbusters failed to resonate — as evidenced by the Curiosity rover’s interplanetary disrespect — the underground inhabitants could sneak attack us and we’d never see it coming.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He totally cops to
ripping off paying homage to Joanna’s text-on-pics style for this post.