John Cusack in 2012Despite all the jokes about Roland Emmerich's love for blowing up cities, how the hell Lloyd Dobbler will save the world, and of course, the infamous line "Download my blog," 2012 earned $225 million worldwide in its opening weekend.

I dislike adding "porn" or "-sploitation" to descriptive phrases (torture porn, poorsploitation, etc. etc.), but if anything could be called an exploitation of our natural fear of an upcoming worldwide crisis, it would be 2012. Eerie shots of crowds praying en masse and major landmarks crumbling are juxtaposed with smaller stories, like the family struggling to stay together, a personal crisis set off by an ethical conundrum, and, of course, the prophet-kook in the woods who's happy to see his greatest suspicions verified.

Orson Welles's radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds sent Americans running for their bomb shelters in 1938, and once everyone realized it was just a radio show (and recovered from their terror), a new type of horror was born: the fear of massive worldwide destruction.

Every US generation thinks it's going to be the last. If it's not the Cold War, it's the Middle East, and if it's not aliens, it's the ice caps. But it's also a reality; it's mind-boggling to turn on the news and see footage of a tsunami that's killed about 230,000 people and injured and displaced so many more.