Hey Eric, have you ever seen Disneyland fireworks show? They're definitely something special. Especially the Christmas shows.
I agree with the OP that the "safe" fireworks you can buy at the stands are getting worse and worse. When I was a kid, we had the cool sparklers with the metal stick that could burn your hands off and the Snakes that actually lasted a long time (and permanently burned black spots into the sidewalk). Also the Piccalo Peets that you could modify to shoot up into the sky and land on people's roofs. I miss those days.
You just reminded me of why I probably don't care about fireworks. I worked at Disneyland for 6 years during school and the only thing that excites me about the Disneyland firework show now is that the lines for the rides get shorter.