ByKari Carlisle, writer at Creators.co

Warning: may contain minor plot spoilers, but you’ve seen all these, so it doesn’t matter

Hoist up your American flag, and turn on your green light. If you really want to honor those who have served our country, give to one of the noble non-profit organizations that serve our veterans, and…

…forget the picnic. Order a pizza, and turn on the big screen for a troop-honoring, sci-fi movie marathon!

Here are my recommendations for alien-busting, planet-protecting, military heroes in 5 awesome science fiction flicks.

1. Predator – Never mind that the alien predator is one of the coolest aliens ever created for the movies. And never mind that this movie has spawned a series of movies and spoofs to rival all other favorite sci-fi movies. This movie features some bad-ass commandos who really know what they’re doing. They’re put into this crappy situation of being hunted by an alien with better camo, and though sadly most don’t make it, they really know how to die, too. This movie is so much fun, you can easily get past the thick Austrian accent of the lead character, and just be thankful that Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired for being too short. This movie just wouldn’t have been the same without Arnold.

2. Stargate – With a plot so intriguing it spun off 3 TV series totaling 16 seasons, it’s really the military team that steals the show. Kurt Russell plays a sympathetic and believable Colonel Jack O’Neill. I’m such a big fan of this character, I named my dog Jack. True story. Anyway, the military guys are so brave, they willingly walk into a wormhole that carries them through subspace to a different planet. There, they kick alien butt and save a whole race of people, but not before leaving things open enough to allow for enough TV episodes it will take weeks to binge watch. Trust me on that one.

3. Aliens – Yes, I’ve picked a movie sequel as one of my Veterans Day picks. Don’t worry, you don’t need to watch Alien first. Aliens stands on its own. It may follow the main character of the first movie, but it’s only with the help of a military team - “…these colonial marines are very tough hombres” – that Ripley manages to survive to make another sequel. My favorite characters are Privates Hudson and Vasquez who love blowing up aliens more than life itself.

4. Starship Troopers – Ignore the political satire. We can debate later. Just sit down and enjoy watching young military recruits destroy world-threatening, giant bugs. Trivia from IMDB: more ammunition was used to make Starship Troopers than any other previous film. ‘Nuff said.

5. Independence Day – I love that this movie relies as much on military intelligence and strategy as it does military might. Here, the soldiers are smart, brave, caring, funny and strong. In other words, realistic. If you watch no other, watch this one. I’m gonna get serious here – it even touches on the issue of PTSD. Add on top of the tribute this movie pays to our troops, it’s also an alien ass-kicking blast!

So relax. Have some fun on your day off. Eat popcorn, watch movies, revel in these freedoms we enjoy. Because they are our nation’s troops who have risked and paid life and limb for you. And if you are a veteran reading this, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Previously published at The Apocalypse Observer

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