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Disasterpiece Theater: 7 Disaster Flicks to Stream

Some of the best/worst 1990s disaster movies on streaming services

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Sylvester Stallone and Amy Brennemen in Daylight - UNIVERSAL PICTURES
  • Universal Pictures
  • Sylvester Stallone and Amy Brennemen in Daylight

The world's a disaster—so where are all the great disaster movies? The 2000s have been a mediocre, "is Pepsi OK?" period for catastrophe cinema: Geostorm, Moonfall, 2012, San Andreas, like 14 Sharknados—go home, 21st century, you're not drunk enough.

The golden age of summer tentpole disaster movies was obviously the '90s, and here are seven of the decade's best-ish to stream.

Daylight (1996; Tubi): A toxic waste truck explosion traps a demographically acceptable group of survivors in a New York tunnel, and it's up to an ex-EMS chief (Sylvester Stallone) and, of course, a playwright (Amy Brennemen) to get them out. Fire, water, a collapsing tunnel, Stallone attempting to pronounce "hypothermia," a respectable body count—Daylight has it all. And really, any movie that kills off Viggo Mortensen halfway through is doing something right.

Twister (1996; AMC+): Storm-chasing meteorologists Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) work to launch a tornado research device (named "Dorothy"—get it?) during an Oklahoma twister outbreak. You might remember this movie for its then-spectacular special F/X (including those flying cows) and still-baffling push to make Hunt an action star, but don't forget that Twister also marked the last gasp of Van Hagar with their cringe-tastic (and therefore action-flick perfect) theme song.

Adrenalin: Fear the Rush (1996; Crackle, Tubi, Pluto TV): Set in the distant future of 2007, a pair of cops (Christopher Lambert and Natasha Henstridge) track a superhuman mutant in the sewers of Boston. Complicating matters, the city has been quarantined and walled-off from the rest of the country because that mutant has brought a deadly virus with him from Europe. Adrenalin: Fear the Rush is Contagion meets Escape From New York meets C.H.U.D. bloated on Sam Adams lah-gah.

Dante's Peak (1997; Starz): Dante's Peak was first of two volcano disaster epics released in 1997, this one starring Pierce Brosnan as a volcanologist whose fiancée was killed by an eruption in Columbia (traumatic foreshadowing). Years later, he's investigating a potential volcanic eruption in the small Washington town of Dante's Peak (spoiler: it erupts). Brosnan runs about spouting classic action-movie lines like "That ... is a pyrotastic cloud" while 'splodey mountain does its thing. Big, grey fun.

Volcano (1997; Starz): When a volcano forms in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles and lava begins flowing through the streets, it's up to an emergency management officer (Tommy Lee Jones in paycheck-collecting mode) and a geologist (an especially feisty Anne Heche) to save the city. The best part? They have to demolish at least one eyesore condominium to do it. Volcano is flashier and more proudly stupid than Dante's Peak, which is so on-brand for L.A.

Deep Impact (1998; YouTube): The most unbelievable part of Deep Impact is the idea of an MSNBC journalist (Téa Leoni) breaking any kind of story, much less one of a massive comet headed directly for Earth. The best bet to avoid this extinction-level event is to blow up the comet, which a joint US/Russia nuclear space mission effs up spectacularly—buh-bye, East Coast. Fun fact: MSNBC participated in Deep Impact because CNN refused on journalistic principle. Times really have changed.

Hard Rain (1998; Pluto TV): During a Hard Rain that has caused the town to be evacuated, armored truck drivers Tom (Christian Slater) and Charlie (Ed Asner) are ambushed by Morgan Freeman, who's also in most of the above movies, as well. Meanwhile, the town's dam has opened, the corrupt local sheriff (Randy Quaid) and his goons are coming for the armored truck money, and only Tom and his Thinly-Written Eyecandy Costar (Minnie Driver) to stop them. Suck it, Hurricane Heist.