the slogan says it all

the slogan says it all

AFI did a much better job with Science Fiction than with other genres (in their 50 choices on the ballot, most of them either being actual Sci-Fi films, with a few Horror films). The odd omissions were the fact that the only Star Wars film was A New Hope, the complete absence of Dark City or Fifth Element and considering Brazil a Fantasy film rather than Sci-Fi.

The film that is going to be missing here is A Clockwork Orange. It would probably rank second on my list if I considered it Science Fiction, but I don’t. I consider it a Horror film more than anything else, but it’s also Social Drama (or very Black Comedy).

It’s a little weird to do this list this week. Clone Wars opens on Friday and I really can’t make myself care very much. But I’m wearing my Darth Vader “Revenge” shirt. I own hundreds of figures (including all the original figures released from 77-83). I have 17 boxes of Star Wars stuff. But an animated movie in a style I don’t much care for about a story which can’t be that compelling when it comes between two stories we’ve already been told just doesn’t interest me that much. And for the record, if this list was expanded to 20, it would include Revenge of the Sith, so don’t go thinking I’m one of those prequel trilogy haters, because I’m not.

Honorary Mentions: Forbidden Planet (Fred Wilcox) – 1956 / Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer) – 1982

These two get honorary mentions because I love them both but they fell just off the list, but I still wanted to say something about them. Forbidden Planet does an amazing job of taking Shakespeare and adapting him to a 50’s science fiction story. Wrath of Khan is the best of the Star Trek films (the second best, First Contact, also deals with revenge) and has one of the greatest edited sequences in film history (the Genesis countdown scene).

#10 – Brazil (Terry Gilliam) – 1985

Better than every Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers film put together, yet they both still get piles of money to make their crap and Gilliam has to beg for financing (and gets halfway through a film and Heath Ledger dies on him).

#9 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg) – 1977

When Contact was released, Shawn Levy, the idiotic film reviewer for that pathetic excuse for a paper, “The Oregonian” suggested that Zemeckis was the intellectual version of Spielberg’s popcorn. Strong words about the director of Forrest Gump while dissing the director who can make my top 10 list in Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and Drama.

not my brother

not my brother

#8 – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner) – 1980

I walked into my wedding to the Imperial March. My brother said “I’m Luke’s father” (he has a son named Luke). His wife hit him. Remember, the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3720 to 1.

#7 – The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky) – 2006

I hated Requiem for a Dream and was not a fan of Pi. But this was an amazing film. Everyone seems to love it or hate it. I’m in the former.

#6 – Minority Report (Steven Spielberg) – 2002

Such an amazing film. Before Cruise went bonkers. Before we knew Colin Farrell couldn’t act. Before W turned America into this nightmare.

#5 – Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron) – 2006

I didn’t really think of this as a Science Fiction film, but I went with the AFI ballot. It’s amazing how much range Cuaron has (A Little Princess, the third (and best) Harry Potter, Y Tu Mama Tambien).

#4 – Alien (Ridley Scott) – 1979

In one sense, this is a Horror film. That’s what makes it so much better than the Cameron sequel. This one has mood and atmosphere and doesn’t rely on action and special effects.

#3 – 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick) – 1968

Yes, it’s cold and somewhat sterile. Very intellectual. But it’s an amazing film. And not boring! (the exclamation point is aimed at my wife).

the first film I ever saw

the first film I ever saw

#2 – Metropolis (Fritz Lang) – 1926

The best film of the 1920’s. In some ways the Citizen Kane of Science Fiction films. In the 1980’s DC Comics even integrated it into a storyline in All-Star Squadron (that was how I first heard of the film).

#1 – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (George Lucas) – 1977

No one who has ever met me would expect anything differently.