Episode 89: Twister (1996)

Film chosen by listener Tom Bhaduri

I gotta go Julia; we got cows. We’re riding with The Extreme in Jan de Bont’s whirlwind 1996 divorce drama disaster blockbuster TWISTER. 

Estranged married storm-chasers Dr. Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) are thrust back into action when a series of powerful tornadoes rips through Bill’s plans to finalise their breakup so he can wed his new fiancée, and tosses them back out on the road with their ragtag bunch of cloud nerds including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Todd Field, and Rewind favourite Alan Ruck. Seeking to map the interior structure of a tornado in better detail than ever before, they are hampered by corporate kiss-butt Cary Elwes and his crew of megabucks-backed sellout scientists, who have swiped the tech that Bill and Jo developed and intend to gazump their triumph.

A blowout entry in the 90s disaster canon, de Bont blends destructive practical sets with nascent digital trickery to capitalise on his Speed success, crafting one of the biggest films of an era not known for frugality. But did it sweep us off our feet, or just plain suck? Were we talkin’ imminent rueage, or did a manly handshake ensue? Grab a huge-ass plate of steak and eggs and hunker down in your rickety basement as we fire up some Deep Purple and drive headlong into the wind.

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