Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Measuring Myself Against a Must-Watch List

In honor of the oncoming school year, io9 is conducting a crash course in science fiction this week, and one of their three initial posts has been on classic sci-fi films. The list's geared towards newcomers rather than old-timers or general fans, but I think it can serve as a must-watch list for anyone who wants to be well-versed in SF. (Possibly in the same way those "100 Top Books of All Time" lists can, where you have to take them with a box of salt, but hopefully not. The films io9 lists are good films, important films, and I don't think many people will contest their importance in the sci-fi canon.)

Of course, I had to compare my own viewings to the recommendations, and I was pleasantly surprised! I don't think of myself as well-versed in science fiction, the way I think I'm well-versed in fantasy*, mostly because I've read more fantasy than sci-fi, but I've seen a lot more of the films on the list than I thought I would.

So, the list, with commentary:

Metropolis (1927) - Seen, thanks to SF club at my university. Enjoyed.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) - Have not seen.

Forbidden Planet (1956) - Seen, thanks to the SF club at my university. Thought it was okay, but cheesy and slightly confusing at points.

Planet Of The Apes (1968) - Have not seen.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Seen, because I'd heard about how wonderful and groundbreaking it was. Did not understand in the least. Possibly was too young (17).

Alien (1979) - Seen, because Dad said, "What do you mean, you haven't seen it?" after years of, "Sorry, it's too dark and disturbing for you." Moderately enjoyed.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Seen, because the children of the family friend who babysat after school liked it. Seen several times since. Enjoyed it, and its sequels, far more than I enjoyed the prequels.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) - Have not seen.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) - Have not seen.

Blade Runner (1982) - Seen, thanks to the SF club at my university. Moderately enjoyed, though I'll admit to not following 100% of the mind-bendy-ness.

E.T. (1982) - Seen, because my parents rented it for family movie night—or was it "we want quiet time, have a movie" night? I can't remember. Definitely enjoyed, enough to watch it a few times since.

Tron (1982) - Have not seen. Plan to see before the sequel comes out later this year.

Back To The Future (1985) - Have lost track of how often I've seen. Love it to pieces.

Brazil (1985) - Seen, thanks to Dad's love of Monty Python. Thought it was so-so. Really did not follow much of it. Again, possibly too young for it (early teens).

RoboCop (1987) - Seen, thanks to the SF club at my university. Thought it was okay, if slightly cheesy.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Have not seen.

Ghost In The Shell (1995) - Have not seen.

The Matrix (1999) - Seen, years later, after Dad bought it at a garage sale and said, "What do you mean, you haven't seen it?" Enjoyed more than I would've then when it came out, because I knew about cyberpunk by then.

Primer (2004) - Have not seen. Kind of wanted to at the time, but was on a student budget.

The Incredibles (2004) - Have seen. Want to see again. Definitely enjoyed, but think I'll get more from the rewatch.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) - Have seen. Enjoyed, but didn't love. Found it rather trippy in most places, but that was kind of the point.

Children Of Men (2006) - Have seen, thanks to Father-Daughter Movie Night. Enjoyed, but didn't quite love. Close, though. It's definitely a great film.

Moon (2009) - Seen a few months ago. Enjoyed it a lot. A refreshing break from Hollywood action and a return to thought-provoking, slower-paced SF cinema.

District 9 (2009) - Seen, partly because of all the buzz and partly because a friend said, "OMG you haven't seen it yet! You so have to!" Very, very much enjoyed. I very highly recommend, but not to the squeamish.

Inception (2010) - Seen last week. Definitely enjoyed, definitely a great film, definitely should be on the list—but can't quite say I loved it even though it's brilliant. This seems to be a standard reaction, though.

How do you guys do on this list? Anything that you think is essential and not on it?

*Actually, I may not be as well-versed in fantasy as I think I am, but I plan to persist in the delusion until io9 posts its Best Fantasy Films list.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

OK, here goes…

Metropolis (1927) - Have not seen, but would like to.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) - Have not seen.

Forbidden Planet (1956) - Best sci-fi movie ever, in my opinion. :-) I love it.

Planet Of The Apes (1968) - Have not seen.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - I fell asleep during it. But I was, like, 10 at the time.

Alien (1979) - I want to see this.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - I prefer Return of the Jedi. I was obsessed with Star Wars in junior high.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) - Have not seen.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) - This one's good. I've seen it. Not as funny as the one with the whales.

Blade Runner (1982) - Not seen.

E.T. (1982) - I think I saw it as a tiny kid, but I don't remember it.

Tron (1982) - Not seen, but I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Back To The Future (1985) - I saw the end dubbed into German this summer. I really need to see the whole thing

Brazil (1985) - Nope.

RoboCop (1987) - Nope.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Seen it, love it.

Ghost In The Shell (1995) - Have not seen.

The Matrix (1999) - I saw all three. The first one is good.

Primer (2004) - Nope.

The Incredibles (2004) - Love it.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) - Again, loved it. I like wacky.

Children Of Men (2006) - Nope.

Moon (2009) - Nope.

District 9 (2009) - I saw this and liked it.

Inception (2010) - I loved it, especially the parts that showed how the actual inception and getting in and out worked. The concept was just so cool, and it was very well written to not be confusing. I was less into the emotional parts, but I love heist movies!

Thanks for the list! Very fun.