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Kumerica

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  1. You're forgetting a lot of that movie. I'd give it away, but would instead recommend you indeed give it a rewatch--it's really good.
  2. That's a great question and I did wrestle with it briefly. Ultimately, I figured most post-apocalypse movies tend to be categorized as a sub-genre of Science Fiction, so I let it stand.
  3. 4. Metropolis (13 pts) I’ll be the first to admit that I frequently underestimate old timers when it comes to films, and maybe I still am with this movie. After all, not only did Metropolis damn-near introduce the world to the sci-fi/futurist film genre, but it pioneered a wide-range of movie making techniques that are taught and used today. So beautiful and technically ahead of its time. From a story/narrative perspective, however, it is pretty bananas, and that weakness allows it to climb no higher. Also, I just adore the other movies more. 3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (14pts) Yes, it could be considered slow moving or sappy at times, but damn is it expertly crafted and executed. A slow-burn thriller that keeps its feet in the dirt mound and it’s ambitions beyond the stratosphere, Close Encounters took a very different path than most of the alien invasion films before it and delivered an almost perfect Sci Fi Comes to Earth film. So good. 2. The Terminator (15 pts) I’ve seen The Terminator way too many times to be surprised by anything in this movie. So, for my rewatch of this, I had to try extra hard to pretend I’d never seen it before. Sometimes that approach works well, sometimes not. In this case, it wasn’t easy, but it did briefly highlight something I’d long forgotten over the years: that it could be scary as hell. When the future comes to the past and tries to kill you, RUN. And, by all means, have unprotected sex with an unwashed stranger who’s wearing a drifter’s clothes. Seriously, though, this is one of my all-time favorite movies of any genre, so I could never rank it too much lower. 1. Blade Runner (16 pts) We can argue about different cuts, versions, editions, etc., but it’s still one of the best damn sci-fi flicks of all time. Its pacing can drag sometimes, but everything else about it is just amazing.
  4. 8. Planet of the Apes (9 pts) For me, its reputation exceeds it. It’s a classic, sure—its influence and place in popular culture is forever secured which, frankly, is why I gave it so many points. But, after my first watch in 30+ years, I decided that while it’s definitely entertaining and cute, that’s about all. 7. The Prestige (10 pts) This film (and the next one) were very difficult to rank, because on their faces, they aren’t in the proper category. But, although the “science” of the science fiction is not overt, without it, their plots could not move forward and there would be no story. Case in point: The Prestige, one of my favorite Nolan films, though underrated and underseen. A mystery, a thriller, a period drama, its place in time and the almost steam-punk vibe of its scientific characteristics give it an H.G. Wells quality. The writing, the direction, the production design? Phenomenal. The cast? Aces, all. And big ups for an excellent David Bowie as Tesla. 6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (11 pts) The Prestige and ESotSM were two of my favorite movies of the 00s, which is why they rank higher with me than they might with others in this category. If you saw a basic logline for this film, you might think it sounds stupid. But, with Charlie Kaufman’s odd and heartfelt script, director Michel Gondry’s artistic and technical wizardry, and the beautifully understated performances of Carrey, Winslet, & Co, this movie is sublime. 5. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (12 pts) Post-apocalyptic landscapes have always fascinated me (and this is the standard). Thanks, Cold War! Seriously, not a lot to write here because it’s just terrific, well-done fun. So great.
  5. 12. Arrival (5 pts) Recency bias may have this a bit lower than some might expect, but it feels right to me. There’s not a lot to complain about—the production design is stand-out fantastic—and the overall plot, alien intentions, narrative style, flash forwards, etc. are all woven together nicely. I really liked this movie, in the theater, as well as a few rewatches, but with each viewing I was constantly left feeling as though it’s a well-executed composite of things I’d already seen, and that I wanted it to be better. 11. Robocop (6 pts) 1980s Detroit, baby! It’s not a particularly high ranking for this classic, but that could be because it’s dated . . . or because it’s feeling a bit too real now. That said, I still love it, and will always watch it when it’s on, I just can’t rank it higher than the others above it. 10. Ex-Machina (7 pts) The conversations we have when Science Fiction steps into Science Fact. The production design on this is stellar, the film is tight overall, and the actors are all aces. It’s quiet and meditative, leaning on its script and the nuances of its actors to carry it through—this is its strength, as well as its weakness in terms of ranking. As much as I liked it, in a scenario similar to Arrival, it didn’t resonate long-term with me as much as the films above it (or even some of those below it). Still, a small but mighty film with vision. The lesson? Be nice to your appliances. 9. Snowpiercer (8 pts) My first Bong Joon-ho film, I saw this at the theater and, over the 7 years since, have been insisting to friends that they watch this movie. Liked Okja? Man, you need to see Snowpiercer! Loved Parasite? Yeah, you can see more of his class-based awesomeness in Snowpiercer, which really brought him to the fore! I’ve seen this several times, and although a rewatch in this case wasn’t necessary, I did it anyway. It’s grim, but I love it. I wish I could rank it higher, but there are some classics, surprises, and sentimental choices ahead of it. Still, a worthy contender.
  6. Don't get me wrong, I loved this movie and practically wore out the VHS back in the day. but, after the rewatch, I couldn't quite rank it highly among these other 15 films. Still, it is great. I'm (sorta) sorry I didn't explain in my write-up, but I just felt like posting the vid, which some old friends made back in the 90s, for entertainment purposes.
  7. Sorry for the delay. Eddie Van Halen died and I was inconsolable, listening to VH music, trying to remember how to play riffs, etc. When I looked up, it was later than I wanted to post. Science Fiction On Earth The (Un)Scientific Scoring Methodology: 1. As with every other category, while I was busy watching or rewatching some of the films, I enlisted some trusted and reliable movie-loving friends to assist. I asked them each to force rank everything in the category--without consulting the internet or other sources—according to their preferences. Sure enough, the results often differed substantially. 2. I took the average of their rankings to help create an initial tier. 3. Since they weren’t very helpful previously, I did NOT consult lists from a wide swath of publications this time around. 4. I went ahead and created my own ranking based on the following, in no particular order: - My personal enjoyment watching and/or rewatching the movie, as well as my history with it. - Does it belong in this category? - Weight (i.e. Legacy, influence, timelessness, awards (rarely), average rankings of my friends, etc.) In the end, there is such a thing as “best” vs. “favorite,” and as far as these rankings are concerned, in case it was close, my favorites tended to edge out what might be technically/ commercially/critically considered a better film within the genre. The movies listed here are all great films in their own rights. But, before you get upset at the point assignments, please remember, whatever you think . . . I make this look good. 16. Independence Day (1 pt.) I remember seeing this for the first time in the theater. As the credits began to roll, my friend turned to me and said, “It was bad, but I liked it.” And that kind of sums it up for me. It was a 90s popcorn-and-Cherry Coke summer blockbuster. Poop, yes, but fun poop. 15. The Fly (2 pts) Do You Have Room? 14. Men In Black (3 pts) I feel kinda bad for ranking this film so low, I remember enjoying it a lot and it was tremendous fun. But when I rewatch it now, I just don’t enjoy it as much. It could be that it feels too much like a cartoon, or a a kids’ movie . . . I don’t know. More likely is that I’ve simply become jaded by the Will Smith swagger, particularly from this era, apparently. 13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (4 pts) Cold War paranoia at its finest, this movie was a template for many a SciFi horror trope, but not necessarily for the positive. It’s a classic, to be sure, but a classic B-movie that my rewatch only hindered and did not help. Sorry, drafter.
  8. I'll post Sci Fi on Earth Tonight--about 1/3 through my write-ups before work and outside interference took me away.
  9. Re: Pink Panther, I'm not really sure--I haven't seen any of them since I was a kid, maybe high school at the latest. They were always favorites of, say, my older cousins. Might need to throw those in this fall and watch with fresh eyes.
  10. Yeah, very subjective. Some Like It Hot (and others) simply rated lower for me because the 8 above it are so embedded into the DNA of my life, experience, and personality that if King Solomon tried judging my Top 8 I’d be hanged for regicide.
  11. RA and WfG in the Top 7 or 8 for sure, BiS likely in the Top 12 (higher if WfG was not also selected).
  12. 4. Animal House (13 pts) I mean, college . . . every movie with aspirations to comedy and college-aged characters has tried to copy and surpass this film for 40 years, and all have failed miserably. 3. Young Frankenstein (14pts) I love this film so much. Not only is it hilarious, it’s a beautifully crafted all-around film that makes it clear it belongs in this category, and it means to rule the genre. Terrific. 2. Blazing Saddles (15 pts) So much Mel! “We don't care if it’s the First Act of Henry the Fifth! We're leaving!” Even Mel Brooks admitted he went too far with this movie, and that's why it's awesome. And Madeline Kahn is a treasure. 1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (16 pts) “That rabbit is dynamite!” In the summer of ’91, a friend gave me his VHS copy of this film, and I watched all or parts of it nearly every day for weeks after. Insanely smart, smartly insane, this is the best of the very best Monty Python, and is my favorite comedic film ever made.