Pat Coston Movie Reviews

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Favorite Science Fiction Movies When I first got the idea for this post, I was going to list my top 5 favorite science fiction movies. To do this, I first needed to make a list of all of my favorite science fiction movies. Then I thought maybe I'll make a top 10 and later top 20. Now I'm just going to list all 81 of them. If the movie was special to me in any way, I'm listing it. For each movie, I'll approximate when and where (Theater or Home) I saw it. There are movies I loved at age 12 that I would not like now. You can also check out this list of the top 100 SciFi movies. Here's another list of the Top 20 SciFi Movies of the 1980s. You may not consider some of the movies on this list to be Science Fiction but they have elements of Science Fiction in them, so they qualify in my opinion. For example: The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Donnie Darko, Village of the Damned or Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later. There are literally thousands of genres and movies always belong to multiple genres. A movie can be a highschool, teenage, comedy, drama, cowboy, scifi, horror movie all at the same time. I thought about how to order the list for example by year of release, year I saw it, alphabetically, randomly, etc. but I think it makes the most sense to order them by how strongly I feel about them. The order is roughly how much the movies mean to me. How much did the movie influence me? How much did it make me think? It was very hard to order the movies this way. Sometimes it was like comparing apples to oranges. I just had to go with my gut feeling. To help me sort, I ordered them into 3 groups then ordered them within the groups.

  1. Very Very Meaningful
  2. Very Meaningful
  3. Meaningful
Some movies I may like because they appealed to my intellectual side and made me think and others were just really fun action escape movies and others were both. I list the year of each movie because there are many movies with the same names. If you rent "A Boy and his Dog", you'd better make sure you get the right one! Most of the time, I prefer the original over the remake. I include a picture with each listing. I tried to get an actual shot from the movie instead of a movie poster or publicity shot. If you click on the thumbnails, you can see a larger picture in most cases. Group 1: Very Very Meaningful
  1. 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968) - I remember wanting to see this in the theater when I was 5 years old but my parents would not take me. Later it was on TV when I was about age 10 but I remember I had to go to bed at 9 pm so I couldn't see the ending. Finally in grad school I rented the movie on VHS and finally watched the whole thing. I've since seen it on DVD and one day I'll watch it on an HDTV on a Blu-Ray DVD. The thing I respect most about this movie is that Stanley Kubrick worked very closely with Arthur C. Clark to create a future that was possible in 2001. We did not advance that fast in reality. We rarely do. SciFi is usually too optimistic as far as future change. This movie also tried to be as realistic as possible. There is no sound in space. It is possible for a man to survive in the vacuum of space for a short period of time. When communicating with Earth from a great distance there is a significant time delay so messages will usually be one-way and any interview will have to be spliced together removing the delays. Gravity will need to be simulated by spinning things. You have to watch this movie a few times to full grasp what happens. The Monolith is sent from a superior race to Earth where it alters a small tribe of pre-historic ancestor of man, making them more intelligent. They dominate and evolve into humans. We then discover a Monolith on the moon which then sends a signal out to Jupiter. A ship is then sent out to Jupiter to investigate and we meet up with a third Monolith which helps us evolve to the next step.
  2. Primer (2004) - Theater 2004: I could not stop thinking about it for weeks. It is perhaps the most intelligent time-travel movie ever created. The layers are too many to fathom on a first viewing. I've since rented the movie on DVD many times to unravel the layers but I still can't figure it out. There is a book called The Primer Universe that explains it all. I plan to get that book soon. These two guys invent a time machine accidentally. They were trying to invent some kind of low powered refrigeration unit. It seems totally plausible. The unfortunate side effects of time travel are also explored. It's not so good for your health. The end was the perfect setup for a sequel which I hope to see someday.
  3. The Prestige (2006) - Theater 2006: This movie had me thinking for weeks. My realization was horrific. David Bowie is amazing at playing Nikola Tesla. I didn't see a shred of Bowie in that performance. A magician uses his wealth to pay Tesla to create a machine that essentially does what a Star Trek transporter does so he could perform the most amazing magic trick. The machine has one major flaw which I won't spoil here. The way in which the magicians works around this flaw is the horrific part.
  4. Westworld (1973) - I saw this on TV when I was about 12 years old. I had a TV set in my bedroom and one night I couldn't sleep, so I turned on the TV and Westworld was just starting. I watched it with amazement from beginning to end. The sequel Futureworld was a disappointment to me. It offered little more than what Westworld had already covered. I'm pretty sure that Robots will become a major part of our everyday lives eventually. It's also quite possible that machine intelligence will exceed our own. When that happens, the robots may turn against us.
  5. Silent Running (1972) - I was about 12 years old when I saw this on TV. I was really intrigued about the preservation of nature. A fleet of ships carry the last trees and plants from Earth. When the order comes to destroy these floating ships, one man is horrified. He kills the crew and hijacks the ship to preserve nature. I've since rented this on VHS and later on DVD watching it many times.
  6. The Truman Show (1998) - Theater 1998: Reality TV to the extreme. A corporation adopts a baby and films it's an entire life until it can escape that massive world in a dome that has been built around him. I'd love to see the sequel because I'm curious how Truman will deal with the real world. Just like the Matrix, it makes you think about our own reality. What would you do if you were in Truman's place?
  7. THX 1138 (1971) - Very early George Lucas movie which deals with how drugs can be used to control society. Everyone simply has a number. The main character's name is THX 1138. It was interesting how religion becomes a computer controlled automated process to sooth the masses. One man and his wife stop taking their mind numbing pills and began to feel again. They awake with passions that have long been suppressed. Suddenly they have illegal motivations. The man decides he no longer wants to follow blindly as society wants and instead rebels and goes on the run. Robot police follow but eventually give up when they exceed their budget for capture and THX makes his way to the surface and sees the sun setting for the first time. Sorry about the spoilers but this why the movie is meaningful to me.
  8. The Lathe of Heaven (1980) - I saw this on TV at maybe age 16. A man learns that his dreams can alter reality. His therapist realizes this and uses him to alter the future but it back fires. Be careful what you wish for!
  9. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) - Theater 2001: Having gone to graduate school to study AI, I found this movie fascinating. We certainly will have issues when robots approach our level of intelligence and begin to look and act just like us. I love how this movie goes thousands of years into the future and shows how mankind is eventually wiped out but our AI beings live on.
  10. Ghost in the Shell (1995) - Theater 1995: At first I dismissed this movie as a futuristic action movie but I was surprised to learn that it dealt with very intellectual issues about our "ghost" or "spirit" and machine intelligence. We can also live a very long time in this future replacing old body parts with new ones and even have an entirely new body with the only thing left of our original selves is our brain. Perhaps even our brain can be downloaded to the Network and we can live virtually but our "soul" (ghost) is gone. This movie, its sequels and TV shows also deal with a lot of different issues we might have in the future. It's a very thought provoking movie and series.
  11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Theater 2004: If you could erase painful memories, would you? A man and woman break off their relationship and want the memory of it erased. During the procedure, the man decides he wants to remember but it's too late. The process has begun, so he attempts to hide the memories in his other memories. Later the two meet again as strangers and begin to fall in love all over again when they receive packages from a disgruntled employee at the memory erasure company containing their interview tapes where they discuss each other. The special effects are amazing and the whole idea of erasing bad memories is fascinating.
  12. Alien (1979) - Theater 1979: I was 14. It was my first R-rated movie and I was freaked for weeks to follow. If you came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder, I'd scream. My parents forbid me to see R-rated movies after this. The look and feel of this movie were amazing. Ripley is our kick-ass chick that must fight the Alien. I'm not such a fan of the sequels even though most people probably think Alien 2 is the best of the series. I'm still loyal to the original. Seeing Sigourney Weaver in her small panties and tiny t-shirt was quite a treat for me at age 14.
  13. Donnie Darko (2001) - Rented it when it came out on DVD but wasn't sure what happened. Later I saw the Director's cut and listened to the commentary, then it all made sense. I saw the sequel S. Darko. The "S" stands for Samantha which is the little sister played by Daveigh Chase. She's all grown up in the sequel and undergoes a similar experience to her brother Donnie. I actually enjoyed the sequel but there's nothing like the original. The great thing about the original Donnie Darko was that things were left vague and it left you thinking. In the Director's cut things are made more obvious and explicit. I don't want to be given all the answers. I like movies that challenge me and make me think.
  14. Vanilla Sky (2001) - Theater 2001: I love surprise endings and I didn't see this one coming. What you learn at the end totally changes what really happened in the last half of the movie. I would love to re-watch this movie knowing what I know now. The second half of the movie would be totally different for me.
  15. This Island Earth (1955) - I saw on TV and I've rented on VHS and DVD. I was maybe 14 the first time I saw this movie. My favorite scene is when they are assembling the device from the alien. It was also reviewed in the movie Mystery Science Theater 3000 which was hilarious.
  16. The Quiet Earth (1985) - Theater 1985: I drove about 1.5 hours just to see this movie in Princeton, NJ. It was not playing in many theaters but I've always loved the concept of "last man on Earth".
  17. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - rented in college on VHS and later again on DVD. The remake does not compare.
  18. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) - I learned about this movie a few years ago thanks to a NetFlix recommend. The idea of computers taking over the world is fascinating. Computer programmed to keep us safe disarm the entire world to prevent war. It's not freedom but at least they have peace.
  19. Solyaris (1972) - I saw the remake Solaris (2002) in theaters but later learned it was a remake. I rented the original via NetFlix and thought it was much more powerful. This can be a difficult movie to watch and it makes you question reality and happiness. The planet they orbit somehow reads your mind and materializes people and things from your memories. This is both a good and bad thing. Are these things real? My wife is dead but here she is alive again? Should I be happy or should I use logic and realize she is just a product of my imagination?
  20. Village of the Damned (1960) - This sounds like a horror film but it's really Science Fiction. Some mysterious force field encompasses a small village and everyone in it falls asleep. When the field disappears, everyone awakes but all the women of child bearing age are pregnant. The babies all have blonde hair with mind control powers. They also grow more quickly than normal children. They believe themselves to be the next steps in human evolution. They are also hyper intelligent and can read your mind. They know people hate them so they decide to leave this small town and go into hiding until they are ready to reveal themselves. Realizing they pose a danger to the entire human race, the father of the leader comes up with a plan to destroy them.
  21. Children of the Damned (1963) - I rented a DVD from NetFlix that had both Village and Children of the Damned on it so I watched them both back to back. They both have the same plot but they are both great movies. Children of the Damn does not make them all out to be blonde haired but instead they are normal children but each from a different place in the world. They are all brought together to be studied but they have plans of their own. They can quickly create new and deadly weapons out of common items to protect themselves. We fear what we cannot control and cannot understand.
  22. Dark Star (1974) - I saw this in the theater at age 20. I liked it so much that I watched again and secretly taped the dialog which I wrote into a notebook and later typed up. This is an early John Carpenter movie which is very low budget but it deals with some great SciFi issues. Four astronauts blow up unstable planets to pave the way for colonization. An unfortunate sequence of events leads to Bomb 20 malfunctioning. The bombs have a certain level of AI and each has developed its own personality. Bomb 20 begins its countdown to destroy the planet except that the launch mechanism has failed so the bomb will destroy the ship. The captain tries to reason with the bomb using philosophy and logic and eventually convinces the bomb to stop the countdown. Unfortunately the bomb later concludes that it is God ... let there be light! Various members of the crew survive the blast only be to floating in space moving in different directions. Each one finds a way to make their life meaningful.
  23. Children of Men (2006) - Humanity is doomed. Woman can no longer have children. A single woman is found to be pregnant so they must transport her to sanctuary so she can save the human race but the road is full of dangers. There is a fantastic scene about 10 minutes long with no cuts where they are in a battle zone and suddenly the two sides who are fighting realize the woman is carrying a crying baby so the battle stops as the woman walks out with all the soldiers stepping aside in amazement.
  24. Signs (2002) - Theater 2002: Aliens invade Earth and we follow how a single family deals with the invasion. These aliens are both powerful yet weak at the same time. A series of coincidences come together to protect the family and help them to survive the ordeal. Were they truly coincidences or is there a God watching over us? These events help one man find his faith in God again.
  25. Contact (1997) - Theater 1997: SETI makes contact and sends us the plan for a machine to transport us to meet them.
  26. The Time Machine (1960) - It is based on H.G. Wells book of the same name. I love time travel stories and this is done so well. It's a very common theme where society is split into two different classes. We see this in Metropolis with the workers and the thinkers. This movie got me thinking about space and time. If the Earth is revolving around its axis and orbiting around the Sun and our solar system is spiraling around the center of our Milky Way galaxy which is also moving through space then how do we identify a point in space that is not moving? If we did move in time a few minutes but stayed at that point in space, went we arrived, we should be floating in the vacuum of space. A true time machine must transport the person not only in time but also in space and orientation.
  27. Alphaville (1965) - I rented this in 1994 with a girlfriend but after the first 30 minutes, we decided not to finish it. Recently I rented it again and watched the whole thing and loved it. It's a film noir SciFi movie that is very odd at first but you get used to it. If you can stick with it, it's a very rewarding movie dealing with this city controlled by a computer.
  28. Soylent Green (1973) - I saw part of it on TV about age 13 then rented it in college. Over population is the main problem. Suicide is accepted and welcomed. You're helping society. In fact, they have suicide centers to make your last hour very pleasing. The government pays people to commit suicide. Spoiler: Because of the food shortage, the government converts dead people to food and feeds it back to the masses. Soylent Green is people! Not seaweed crackers.
  29. Enemy Mine (1985) - Theater 1985: A human and alien both crash land on a planet during a battle and get stranded. They must work together to survive. The alien has a child but dies during birth so the human raises the alien baby. They discover that humans have enslaved these aliens so the man tries to free the slaves and becomes a hero to the aliens. A great movie about war and friendship. The special effects, sets and makeup are also amazing.
Group 2: Very Meaningful
  1. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) - Theater 1981: I saw this movie six times in the theater that year. That's how much I enjoyed it. I've seen it since then. In a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, gasoline (petrol) is the most valuable commodity. A tribe has setup its village in a refinery but the local gang wants the fuel. Time for battle! I remember the kick-ass little feral kid who threw the steel boom-a-rang with razor sharp edges.
  2. Planet of the Apes (1968) - saw on TV about age 13 then later rented all movies. I also read all the comic books and watched the TV show. I loved Planet of the Apes growing up. I've seen all the sequels including Beneath, Escape, Conquest and Battle. I love how it's circular. By going back in time, they cause themselves to come into existence and the whole story is one big infinite loop. It's not likely we'll enslave apes to do manual labor. It's more likely we'll use robots for that but still, it's a fun set of movies but the first one is still my favorite.
  3. Akira (1988) - Rented on VHS about 1990. I also had the comic books. Amazing Japanese anime.
  4. Logan's Run (1976) - my parents would not let me see the movie in the theater but I did watch it on TV about 1977 but had to go to bed before the ending. In high school I read the book and did a book a report. Later in college, I rented it on VHS and have since seen it on DVD. I also had the entire series of the comic book. The idea about a future where nobody grows old is quite appealing. The only problem is everyone must commit suicide when they reach a certain age. There is no marriage and no parents. Children are made in test tubes. Population is tightly controlled. Everyone lives in sealed domes. Life is nearly a paradise. Logan is a sandman (cop) who kills runners (people who don't want to commit suicide). The main computer instructs him to find Sanctuary, this imaginary place runners try to find. Nobody ever makes it past this robot that freezes fish until Logan blasts his way out and into the outside world and meets a man who has grown old. He returns to the dome and the computer reads his mind but cannot accept the truth and goes haywire.
  5. The Matrix (1999) - Theater 1999: I love the entire Matrix series but the first movie is still my favorite. Interesting concept that reality is just a program. Knowing this, would I want it to continue or be cast into a harsh world. I wonder.
  6. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) - Rented in college on VHS about 1990. An alien comes to Earth to collect water to save his dying planet. He is super smart and uses his brain to raise billions of dollars to create a ship to return to his planet but he underestimates the ruthlessness of business men on Earth. I love his invention of the perfect point-and-shoot camera. It takes the perfect picture every time regardless of lighting or motion.
  7. Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) - I saw parts of it on TV as a kid and later rented it on VHS in college and later on DVD. This movie was the start of the whole Dr. Who craze and the longest running TV show. I was quite fascinated by the Daleks. I combined ideas from Planet of the Apes and Dr. Who to create my own comic called Planet of the Robots. This Dr. Who movie really influenced my artwork and the comics I drew at the time.
  8. Night of the Living Dead (1969) - I rented this movie in college. You might be thinking this is a horror movie. It is, but the zombies are created from radiation from a fallen satellite returning from Venus. I've seen the sequels like Dawn and Day as well movies like Shaun of Dead or the funny The Return of the Living Dead. I've even seen the remakes and some of these movie. At its root, it's really a scifi movie. There was fear when the astronauts first went to the Moon that they might bring some disease back with them. This fear was the primary motivation behind the plot of this and many other movies.
  9. 28 Days Later (2002) - Theater 2002: Super scary because Zombies were no longer slow moving idiots. These zombies could run and run very fast. They were also very angry thanks to the Rage Virus. I thought the sequel 28 Weeks Later was also excellent.
  10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) - I had seen the original on TV as a kid and loved it. When I was 14, I saw the 1978 version in Theaters and that left me jumpy for a week. I saw the 2007 version and was very disappointed. I much prefer the 1978 ending where the invaders win taking over 99.999% of humans with a handful of people holding out. I review all 3 movies here.
  11. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - I used to watch this on TV growing up. Now as an adult I realize how ridiculous this is. But it's still good fun. I've seen the remakes but as always, the original is still the best.
  12. A Clockwork Orange (1971) - I was too young to see this in theaters. My first exposure was the comic version in Mad Magazine. I finally rented it while in college and was a bit shocked by the extreme violence but amused by the ending. The movie has a very unique look. I also love when he's shopping for music. Instead of predicting CDs, music is still sold on tape cassettes except they've shrunk to be very small. It's interesting to see how accurate SciFi movies predict the future. It's amusing to see that most of the time, they are not even close to right.
  13. Blade Runner (1982) - Theater 1982: I've seen the original and the director's cut. I prefer the original. I read recently that Deckard, who kills replicants, is actually a replicant himself but doesn't realize it. That idea is used in the new Terminator 4 movie. Based on a Philip K. Dick novel named "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
  14. Twelve Monkeys (1995) - Theater 1995: I read recently that this borrows heavily from the movie La Jette, which I have not seen. NetFlix does not have this movie currently otherwise I'd rent it. Pretty scary that a scientist can unleash a virus that wipes out most of mankind. Also funny that they send someone back in time to change history and yet nothing is changed. Also funny how the future mis-interprets a distorted prank phone call.
  15. The Butterfly Effect (2004) - Theater 2004: Great time-travel movie where Evan attempts to fix his mistakes in the past only to screw up his future even more.
  16. War of the Worlds (2005) - Theater 2005: I have seen previous versions from the 50s and 60s but this is one of the rare cases where I really love the remake in 2005.
  17. Brazil (1985) - Theater 1985: The future will look like the past. Interesting concept. Very unique movie.
  18. Pi (1998) - Theater 1998: 3.14159265358979323846 ... Max invents a super computer that can predict the stock market. His computer can be used to unlock many secrets of nature and the universe. When others learn of this, they try to use him for their own needs.
  19. Cube (1997) - This is the first movie I rented on NetFlix when I joined in 1999. There is also a sequel called Cube 2:Hypercube (2002) which is very good. Seven strangers awake to find themselves in a massive cube with small rooms with doors on each wall and the ceiling and floor. They can go in any six directions. They work together to get out but some rooms have deadly traps.
  20. Cube 2: Hypercube (2002) - This is the second movie I rented on NetFlix when I joined in 1999. It's the same plot as Cube except there are 8 strangers and the cube is in the 4th dimension and does not follow the normal rules of physics. In some rooms, time runs slow, in others it runs fast. It's possible for multiple versions of you to split and go in different directions and meet later. They must work together to solve the puzzle of the maze and escape the cube to survive.
  21. Dark City (1998) - Theater 1998: Fascinating city where these beings put everyone to sleep at night, then re-arrange their lives for the next day. When everyone wakes up, they continue like nothing happened even though their lives have been altered in major ways. One man with special powers is the only who can see these beings and challenge them and find a way out of this "city".
  22. Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind (1984) - rented on VHS in college and later on DVD. Beautifully done Japanese anime of the future. After most of the Earth has been destroyed there is still small pockets of clean land run by small nations at War. Large creatures roam the Earth as a result of the radiation. One girl finds a way to be in harmony with nature and find a way to communicate with these large animals for the benefit of the planet.
  23. The Andromeda Strain (1971) - saw parts of it on TV growing up and finally watched the entire thing on DVD recently. It was redone quite well for TV in 2008. Similar to Night of the Living Dead, a Satellite from space crashes on Earth bringing something back with it that instantly kills any life it comes in contact with ... except for a small baby and a very old man. Scientists must find out why these two are the only ones resistant to this virus strain. I loved how the underground research lab had multiple levels of decontamination.
Group 3: Meaningful
  1. The Iron Giant (1999) - Theater 1999: Cartoon about a boy who meets and makes friends with a giant robot. A nice mix of hand-drawn and computer generated animation.
  2. Barbarella (1968) - Theater 1978: Saw in theater when I was 14. It was like porno for teenage boys. It was rated PG but they still managed to have nudity and sex. The real fun was the fantastic imagination for the creation of the sets and costumes. Even the music was fantastic. Based on the French comic book from 1962, this movie drips of originality even to this day. The band Duran Duran took their name from a character in this movie. I just read that a remake of Barbarella has stalled or been cancelled. I would love to see a remake!
  3. Star Wars (1977) - Theater 1977: Went to New York city for my 14th birthday to see this movie in a very large theater with amazing sound. My seat vibrated in the opening seat where the large ship passes overhead. I thought maybe these were special vibrating chairs but it was just the sound vibrating everything. We stood outside in a very long line for many hours. It was well worth it. When I first saw black and white 8x10's of the movie at a comic convention before the movie came out, I thought Star Wars was such a stupid name for a movie. The 8x10s of the movie didn't impress me either.
  4. Rollerball (1975) - saw on HBO at friends house about 1977. Later rented on VHS and on DVD recently. I saw the 2002 remake and hated it. This movie held my imagination for many reasons. One is the concept that nations can stop war and fight out the differences in sport.
  5. The Last Mimzy (2007) - I never heard of this movie until I caught it on TV recently. It really caught my imagination. Roger Waters from Pink Floyd sings the song "Hello I love you" during the credits. You can listen to that song and see scenes from the movie here. A girl finds a doll from the future. Future humans are dying and need DNA from the past.
  6. The Day of the Triffids (1962) - I took a class in Science Fiction and we watched this movie. A night of shooting stars cause everyone on Earth to be blind except for those who missed it including our hero who was in the hospital with his eyes covered. The shooting stars carried seeds which sprouted deadly plants which take over Earth. The concept was stolen for the crappy 1984 movie Night of the Comet.
  7. Fantastic Voyage (1966) - saw on TV many times and later rented in college in VHS. Fascinating idea of shrinking people to go inside a human. This idea is re-used again and again in later movies.
  8. Metropolis (1927) - rented in college on VHS. Amazing special effects for 1927! Much like the Time Machine where the world is separated into races, the workers and thinkers, this future also has two societies. The workers and thinkers. They cannot exist without each other. One day a thinker descends into the underground and is astonished at what he sees. It's an over simplification of the real world but basically jobs today are split into physical labor jobs (blue collar) and desk jobs (white collar) so the movie takes that to the extreme. A worker rebellion occurs and a mediator must be found to stop the violence. Maria leads the rebellion but she's actually a robot in disguise.
  9. Next (2007) - Theater 2007: A man who can see two minutes into the future seeing what will happen if he takes different paths. Great concept and wonderfully executed. Based on the novel "The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick.
  10. Total Recall (1990) - Theater 1990: Quaid goes to have a virtual vacation then this huge adventure happens where he saves Mars. In the end you're left wondering if it was all his virtual vacation. Based on the novel "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick.
  11. Terminator (1984) - Theater 1984: The special effects in the first movie look dated now. I'm a huge fan of all of the Terminator movies. I was intrigued by the concept of computers gaining intelligence and wanting to destroy humans and the idea of going back in time to change the future.
  12. Heavy Metal (1981) - Theater 1981: I was a big fan of the adult SciFi magazine Heavy Metal. The movie was a mixed-bag of different stories loosely joined together by a green glowing orb. Some of the stories were awful but others were brilliant. The creativity and artwork of Heavy Metal magazine and the movie was a big influence on me.
  13. TRON (1982) - Theater 1982: I loved the computer graphics in this movie. I also got quite addicted to the arcade game spending $5 a day on it. In fact, I was at Disneyland the day the TRON game was first installed at the arcade. I was one of the first to play it. I liked the speeder bikes the best. I believe there is a remake in the works.
  14. Back to the Future (1985) - Theater 1985: The sequels were OK but the first movie was the most fun. I've enjoyed the Back to the Future ride at Universal Studios, Florida. I've always wanted a DeLorean. It was the perfect car to use in the movie. I still want a DeLorean. It's funny how they pronounce giga-watts as jiga-watts.
  15. Death Race 2000 (1975) - I saw parts of this movie on TV then finally rented it on VHS in college. As with the movie Rollerball, I enjoyed the idea of nations fighting it out over sport instead of war. I did not see the remake.
  16. The Cell (2000) - Theater 2000: Similar to the movie Dreamscape (1984) a technology is used to enter the mind. Also similar to Alien (1979) in that it had a look all its own. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind also had a technology for erasing memories. In the movie Paprika, a technology is invented that can record dreams. The movie Brainstorm (1983) had a technology for recording and playing back your experiences.
  17. Brainstorm (1983) - Theater 1983: The movie Dreamscape (1984) came out shortly after this movie and I thought they were very similar in nature. As I mentioned in my description of The Cell (2000) above, there are many movies about using technology to either enter the mind or record it whether you would be awake or dreaming. Good stuff.
  18. Escape from New York (1981) - Theater 1981: Fantastic idea of putting all the hardened criminals on the island of Manhattan. It reminds me of how the British took thousands of prisoners to Australia to setup a colony. The US President's becomes a hostage when his plane crashes in Manhattan. One man is hired to rescue the president. His time is limited since he has charges placed in his neck that will explode if he's late. That reminds me of the collars used in Battle Royale.
  19. Battle Royale (2000): Rented on DVD about 2003. In the future Japan, teenage violence is out of control. As a way to scare the teens into submission, a class of teens is kidnapped each year for a battle to the death where only one can survive. They are brought to a remote island and wear collars which will explode if they try to escape. They are given maps and watches and told to be in certain zones at certain times or they will die. If there is more than one survivor by a certain time, they all die. They are given bags of random weapons to kill each other. Some of the kids come up with a plan to turn the tables on their kidnappers.
  20. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964): Comedy about the US accidentally attacking the USSR which will result in the total annihilation of the world. Cult classic where cowboy rides the atomic bomb as it falls. Reminds of the scene in Dark Star where a surfer rides a piece of debris from his exploded ship into the atmosphere of the planet only get incinerated.
  21. Forbidden Planet (1965) - I saw parts of this movie on TV as a kid but finally watched the whole thing in college. Features the now famous Robby the Robot. An alien race of geniuses destroyed themselves but left their technology intact. Later settlers on this planet discover the technology and destroy themselves. A ship is sent to investigate and discovers two survivors. The investigators must then fight this invisible force.
  22. A Boy and his Dog (1975) - I rented this movie about 1984. The title sounds like it's a Lassie flick and in fact it shares this title with a 1946 film. But don't let the innocent title fool you. In a post apocalyptic world, a boy and his telepathic dog scavage for food and sex. They come across an underground world whose men have all gone sterile so they need his sperm to impregnate their women. Sounds like a porno flick. He's excited about the idea of having sex with all these women but they prefer to extract his sperm with their technology and artificially inseminate the women. He's none too pleased so he escapes and is followed by a daughter of one of the leaders. Final revealing quote by dog "Well, I'd certainly say she had marvelous judgment, Albert, if not particularly good taste."
  23. eXistenZ (1999): I missed this in theaters but rented it on DVD and was impressed by the original look and feel of the virtual reality video game with guns made of bones and game consoles that plug directly into your spine. The insane thing is that when they are done playing the game, they are still not sure if they are back in reality or still playing the game.
  24. Charly (1968): Saw parts of it on TV as a kid and later rented on DVD. A mentally challenged man has an operation which turns him into a genius, smarter than the doctors that cured him. He has trouble dealing with the complexities of a world he never fully understood. Unfortunately his cure is only temporary and he reverts to the mind of a child in the end. He was miserable as genius but now he is happy again with the mind of a child.
  25. Zardoz (1974): Rented in college. In the far future, a savage society worships a large floating stone head which they consider God. They call him Zardoz. This God is operating by a community of immortals who are bored with life and want to die. Zed manages to get inside the stone head and meet an immortal who reveals the secrets to him. Zed is then trained to kill the immortals. Very unusual and original.
  26. The Fifth Element (1997) - Theater 1997: A very colorful and fun vision of the future and a very sexy alien. Hard to forget. Looks great on HDTV.
  27. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964): Saw on TV as a kid. Outrageous concept.
  28. Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964): Saw on TV as a kid. Thought it was very realistic. Astronaut is stranded on Mars and must find oxygen, water and food to survive.
  29. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959): Saw in college at a "bad movie" festival. Later watched again on VHS in college. An Ed Wood movie often considered the worst movie ever made. I love when the grave stones sway as they walk over the fake grass or when the police officer scratches his head with the muzzle of his loaded gun with his finger on the trigger. This movie is so bad, it's good.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great list! We share a common interest in these amazing movies-and think alike about them too!

I like the original Blade Runner too...

Anyway...i will post my list -when Ive worked it out!


11:23 AM  

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