National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [AKA National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday] (1989, dir. Jeremiah Chechik)

The Griswolds invite their extended family for Christmas, triggering an escalating comedy of errors. The best of the Vacation movies, this balances slapstick and subversion, with enough dark moments to give the movie substance.

Independence Day (1996, dir. Roland Emmerich)

Aliens invadeĀ Earth. Patriotic, team-oriented, and generally satisfactory War of the Worlds update which shoehorns in Wells’ ending and makes space for an ensemble cast having fun plus then-state of the art effects work. Slyly tongue-in-cheek throughout.