Armageddon movie

No. 3: Planet-killing asteroids

The summer of 1998 was a great one if you happened to be a huge mass of iron, nickel and ice prone to spontaneous gas venting and possessed of genocidal intent.

The two biggest movies of the season, "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon," were both centered on the idea of planet-killing asteroids that were about to become unwelcome guests at everyone's backyard cookouts.

"Deep Impact" starred Morgan Freeman, Tea Leoni and Robert Duvall and was a fairly thoughtful, well-plotted yarn that delivered both emotional heft and a tidal wave the size of a televangelist's hair.

"Armageddon" had Bruce Willis. However, it wins because it also had Steve Buscemi in his most crazed role ever as Rockhound, the Dr. Strangelove-quoting geologist with a penchant for automatic weapons.

Speaking of "Dr. Strangelove," Hollywood has spared little expense in teaching us how to love the bomb ...

The Road, Viggo Mortensen

No. 2: The atomic bomb

Anybody knows that if you want a really good apocalypse, you've just got to do it yourself, and since ole Doc Oppenheimer taught us all how to make mushrooms out of common household plutonium, we've spent billions of dollars perfecting our doom.

The examples are endless, from the aforementioned "Dr. Strangelove" to the TV movie "The Day After" to post-nuclear-apocalypse movies like "Mad Max."

The most recent example of post-nuclear funtime, "The Road," starring Viggo Mortensen as a character reminiscent of the "Lord of the Rings'" Aragorn with emphysema and poor hygiene, is the sort of movie you watch when you're almost given up all hope, but just need a teensy bit of help to finish.

I'm not saying it's depressing, but ... well, yeah, I am. Really depressing.

Maybe going out in the sunshine will cheer me up ...

2012 movie image

No. 1: Our own planet run amok

This last is pretty much the specialty of Chief Planet Hater Roland Emmerich.

From the meteorological implausibility of "The Day After Tomorrow" to the mishmash of doomsday scenarios known as "2012," Rollie sure does love showing us done in by our own planet run amok.

In "The Day After Tomorrow," global warming was somehow blamed for weather wallops like tornadoes eating vast swaths of downtown Los Angeles and tidal floods sending cargo ships floating down Broadway in New York.

As best I can tell, the idea behind "2012" was something similar to what happens when you put Peeps in a microwave, with the middle getting all squooshy and the outside sliding around to make new, bizarre shapes.