Remember, I’m the blogger. I make the decisions.
10. The Fifth Element — sure, it’s over the top, but that just means it cleared a high bar (and Milla Jovovich is an excellent addition to any Periodic Table).
9. Metropolis — at least as recently restored, it’s deep, complicated, character-driven and visually hardcore.
8. Forbidden Planet — Monsters! Monsters from the id! Nobody can be trusted, except maybe Robbie the Robot, ’cause he’s programmed with the Three Laws.
7. Brazil — there’s a reason paperwork labeled “Form 27B-6” suddenly started appearing in the MIT Student Services Center a few years ago.
6. Ghost in the Shell — the perfect mixture of philosophy and explosions.
5. The Day the Earth Stood Still — Klaatu barada nikto. ‘Nuff said.
4. Blade Runner — you don’t know how many times this past winter Eric and I came back from a Chinese-food lunch through the cold and the rain, intoning to each other, “A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies. . . .” Harvard Square really needs little carts where wizened men sell sushi and noodles, and occasionally Edward James Olmos appears over your shoulder to say, “LÃ³faszt! Nehogy mÃ¡r! Te vagy a Blade, Blade Runner!”
3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — “Khaaaaan!”
2. Dr. Strangelove — “You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!”
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey — the scene where HAL kills the hibernating astronauts freaked me out so much when I was a kid that I had to run out of the house and hide in the back yard. But I always came back (and, for some reason, I really wanted to try the sandwiches that Heywood Floyd and his friends eat on the Moon shuttle-bus).
I almost put RenÃ© Laloux’s Gandahar (a.k.a. Light Years) on the list, but couldn’t quite figure out where to place it. Its visual imagination is as good as or better than his earlier La PlanÃ¨te Sauvage (Fantastic Planet), and the more fluid style of animation works wonders. Plus, you’ve got Isaac Asimov at the top of his form doing the English translation.
In the department of Movies I’m Almost Embarrassed To Admit I Like, Tron has to be way up there. Beneath layers and layers of corn and whole geological strata of cheese, it just clicks. It’s a movie about yesterday’s future, about the 1990s of the ’80s, and a message speaking of what computers should be more than about what they are. And, dude, light cycles. How freakin’ awesome are those?