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August 03 2009

Total Sci-Fi's 100 greatest science fiction movies. Serenity comes in at no. 88 and gets praised for its witty, snappy dialogue.

Only 88th? I'd have put it far higher than that!
I've seen way too few of those. Might do some hardcore sci-fi watching next time I'm on holidays

[ edited by Let Down on 2009-08-04 12:53 ]
Total number of movies seen: 76. At least half of the remaining films were foreign films that I didn't know about or have access to, and a bunch of the rest are just too gorey for my taste. I had no idea I'd seen so many. How many does one need for the geek movie merit badge?

I don't know if it belongs on this list, but I've always wanted to see Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future. I loved the American t.v. show. Was the movie any good?
I'd put Serenity much higher too. This list seems very nostalgia-driven. For example, I think Serenity is a superior film to A New Hope in every way (though I'm still a Star Wars fan). It seems like they reserved the top spots for all the 'classic' sci-fi films that have been around for years, and that you're 'supposed' to put at the top - the highest rated '00's movie there is Wall-E at #37. Serenity gets a lower spot because it's not as well-known.
A lot of terrible to average films way too high on that list. I like Total Recall, but I wouldn't place it on any best list. As for Independence Day, eugh
BreathesStory, I think 76% warrants a silver merit badge!
It's quite a "broad-church" sort of list which I think is partly a function of having 100 items and maybe only 8 or 10 people deciding - when you don't really have to narrow it down too much it becomes more "sci-fi movies I like" rather than a close consideration of the very best of the genre.

That said, because it's so broad there're quite a few gems on there that almost never get any props on these lists (like 'A Boy and his Dog') and though i've seen most of the list (though my foreign films count is woeful) there're also a few that i'll seek out now to take a look ('The Quiet Earth' sounds interesting for instance). And they've also made a concerted effort to look back through sci-fi's history rather than pick from the last 20 years just because they're easier to remember, which is also laudable IMO.

(and i'm going to see 'Moon' tonight so if it actually deserves to be above 'Dark City' and 'Serenity' i'll be a very happy bunny ;)
No one will believe me, but I have seen all of them. And my order would have been vastly different. I really don't quite understand the "Blade Runner" love- it was good, but not great, in my estimation. Up top for me would be Close Encounters, The Matrix, Star Wars, Serenity and 2001 in my top 5. I also love The Abyss, for some reason.
Total number of movies I've seen: 72
Some I saw many years ago and hardly remember them - I do remember I really liked "Trancers" when I saw it, but that was many years ago (like 30) so I don't know how I'd feel about it now.

It's all down to personal taste but I agree with bivith:
A lot of terrible to average films way too high on that list. I like Total Recall, but I wouldn't place it on any best list. As for Independence Day, eugh

I haven't seen the new Star Trek movie yet (when it is released on Blu-Ray I'll see it). I think Serenity, Galaxy Quest, and Twelve Monkeys should all be higher on the list too.

Overall it looks like a good list.

Edited to change count of movies seen (forgot I saw Moon until I read the description)

[ edited by Passion on 2009-08-04 14:04 ]
No one will believe me, but I have seen all of them.

I would Dana5140, except that'd mean you watched one Tarkovsky and then voluntarily watched another (kidding fans of his, the original 'Solaris' is definitely a film I intend to watch again, now that i'm not a bored 17 year old sitting through it in Film Studies ;).

In all seriousness, I could easily believe any lifelong sci-fi fan over 40 having seen all or most of those (if you exclude the foreign movies i've seen all of them bar 5 or 6, it's not really an "out there" list, a lot of the usual suspects that most fans will have seen are on there).
Yikes, are these maybe not in order? Star Wars 10 spots over Empire Strikes Back? Alien 11 spots over the best action movie of all time Aliens? Total Recall, a campy favorite, all the way at 20, rated over the better Verhoeven movie Robocop?

Dark City at 75? The beautiful but spotty The Fountain at 50? Star Trek 6 THIRTY spots better than the new Star Trek? Barbarella over 12 Monkeys?

And that's just with a cursory glance. What an unholy mess...
Just chiming in to say that Minority Report was indeed ludicrously underrated.
Pretty comprehensive list, though that is to be assumed for a list of that size. I could only think of Pitch Black that was lacking, though I'm sure there are others. The ordering was pretty funky though, especially if they did run it back and forth as claimed, instead of just slapping them in.

I can't comment on many of them, not having seen a third of those, but I'll chime in for Minority Report not being that much underrated. It was a good movie, but not one of the greats. And Dark City, I just rewatched it and it was painful experience, the average length between cuts was ander 2 seconds and it shows. Give me Serenity and its long steady shots any day over that! Also, I think I'll have to give Tarkovsky a new try, I remember disliking Stalker alot during high school, opposed to the book which I liked.
The Tarkovsky's are great, saje! I own one on Criterion (Solaris) which is infinitely better than the George Clooney remake- though to call them langorous would be a bit of an understatment. :-)

Personally, I favor Aliens over Alien, though I think the latter is better made. I love Dark City, think Terminator is good, enjoy Minority Report (the only Tom Cruise movie I can stand), and don't think much of pretty much all of the Star Trek movies. I am not a huge fan of Anime as well. Anbd I smile whenever I watch Tron.
Our BDM certainly deserved to be in the Top 50, at the very least. There were several titles I wouldn't have put on the list at all, and I suspect that someone on their staff really likes Arnold Schwarzenegger. I noticed that A.I. and both of the War of the World films were missing. As for the number of "classic" films, I found it fitting. You have to salute those who blazed the trail, right?

Guilty Pleasure: I think that "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" and "Earth Vs The Flying Saucers" are two great Ray Harryhausen efforts that should have been included.
Beaten by Starship Troopers? Really?
brother_grady said:
"Alien 11 spots over the best action movie of all time Aliens?"

If often seems to come down to personal taste in genre for those two (sci-fi/survival-horror or sci-fi actioner), or director (Ridley Scott vs. James Cameron). And if you were a child or ADD-ish teenager when you saw either of them, that can have an effect on which one you more strongly bond with too (as a kid, I bet I would've liked Aliens way more than the first one, but I didn't see any of them until I was in my early 20s, aside from maybe a few scenes of the third one in my early teens)

I appreciate both, but saw Alien first and it just seemed...smarter and overall more enjoyable. It felt like there were a lot of stupid characters and a heap of stupid dialogue in Aliens, but I've only seen all the Alien films once (except for the second crossover movie with Predator, didn't see that). It was great to see Ridley kick ass and bond with Newt (although that is unfortunately undermined by what the third film does and, because they're a pretty cohesive series up until #4, #3's choices do effect how I feel about #2).

A case of where a sequel should be above its originator in this case, IMO, is T2 above the first Terminator. I like the original a lot too, but c'mon...lightyears better and building on the foundation of the first the best a big explosive Hollywood action flick possibly could've.

Surprised and happy to see The Fountain on there. Hugh Jackman should've got an acting nom for that one, but it was mostly ignored.

Blade Runner doesn't deserve the top spot. The design is great (and I'm a sucker for most of Ridley Scott's output, I admit--I love Legend) and Harrison Ford is great (actually most of the cast is quality--Rutger Hauer's speech/scene at the climax is perfect and sad too), but after finally watching it last's just not all that. I can see how it was for its time though.

Really need to see 2001, Metropolis, Brazil, Tron, The Thing, A Scanner Darkly, Dune, and Flash Gordon (I just finished the `70s cartoon on DVD--it's my kinda pulpy camp sci-fi). Everything else on the list I've either seen, don't know what it is, or I have the (possibly false impression) that it's too old, cheesy, and black & white to care about (hey, I'm not completely against those--I've seen the original Godzilla and Metropolis is on the must-watch list).

Would also like a potential re-watch of Cocoon. I know I saw one of them as a kid (dunno if it was the first or the sequel).
A Boy and His Dog? Really? That is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I love how it shows a scene and then shows the exact same scene again, great editing.

Probably seen 60-70 of the movies on here (thank you Emerson College). Obviously Serenity should be higher but glad it is on there. Good list, will definitely have to check out some of the 1960's-1970's ones that I've missed.
'A Boy and His Dog' is a great bit of post-apocalyptic hokum I reckon. Mileage varies of course.

ETA: Actually, hokum's the wrong word. I dunno, it's almost a kind of knowing exploitation film. Hard to describe but worth a watch.

...but after finally watching it last's just not all that. I can see how it was for its time though.

Well that's the thing, you actually kind of can't. I guess with sci-fi when a film comes out is more important than for a lot of other genres. The best of them comment on the times so when the times change, the impact of the film is lessened. Also, sci-fi is partly about novelty (we'd never really seen a future-noir city so well realised before) so if you see it years after, when the imagery is appearing in adverts and countless other films, again, impact lessened.

Re: Alien/Aliens, they're completely different sorts of films (sci-fi horror and action) with different conventions and different ways for the characters to make mistakes. They're both really well realised within their genres though IMO, I love them both.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-08-04 22:00 ]
Wow, I've seen 25 of those. I was expecting the number to be much lower. I'm sort of a Sci-Fi n00b.

I kind of wish Serenity was higher, but like I said, I haven't actually seen most of the films I'd be putting it above. Same for Eternal Sunshine, The Fountain, and A Clockwork Orange. Nice to see 2001 so high, though. Quite possibly my favourite film ever.
Well, saje, im 30, and not only have i seen them all, but i also love Tarkowski (saw Nostalghia, the last in my list, last week).

There are many movies i would put on that list far higher, or even put them, actually, in. Seconds, for example, is a Frankenheimer masterpiece. Quatermass and the Pit belongs in the top ten. The original Blob should be there too. Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind deserves top ten too. Paprika. Phase IV by Bass is another classic. . Also the original War of the Worlds. Little shop of Horrors, original and musical remake. The original the thing. Big movie. The TRuman Show.

Those are real classics.
Kris I agree now that T2 is a better film than Terminator but again, at the time Terminator came out it was a big deal. First it was a surprise. It was not advertised, in fact I had to go to NYC to see it because it only had a limited release and no movies theathers in New Jersey were playing it. I don't remeber seeing any TV commericails for it, my boyfriend heard about it from someone else (or read a review somewhere - in a newspaper, remember the internet wasn't big back then). It became a big hit, but it came out of left field, where T-2 was advertised and had big money behind it. I also had to go to NYC to see RepoMan (that never became a big hit but I loved it).

I remember when Blade Runner was released it got panned by the critics and it bombed at the theather (I went to see it, I remember people telling me it sux, why would I want to see it?) I liked it (except for the naration)

What is really funny to me is that we are saying things like "for its time, movie "x" was great". Then we have Clockwork Orange, which still holds up and it is older than many of the films on the list. IMO it should be at the top of the list.

Edited to add the internet wasn't widely used back when T1 was released. I know it existed but not in a form anywhere near how it exists now.

[ edited by Passion on 2009-08-05 13:38 ]
What is really funny to me is that we are saying things like "for its time, movie "x" was great". Then we have Clockwork Orange...

In that respect I reckon 'A Clockwork Orange' benefits from being quite unusual in look and feel (and in some ways ahead of its time, possibly partly why it was banned in a few places) - nothing's come after to really dilute its impact whereas e.g. 'The Terminator' has had 3 sequels and numerous imitators (plus it's more special effects driven). In some ways it's time/place less in the same way that period films can be (even down to the language).

That said, as far as I can tell it's only actually Kris that's said that so far ;).

(though I still maintain timing is an important factor. Watch 'A New Hope' today and you judge it as a space opera, just one among many in a lot of ways - you can describe in words but you can never really convey the feeling of watching that star destroyer just keep going and kind of knowing, even as a child in my case, that sci-fi films had changed forever. Ironically in that case, by updating a 40+ year old format)
Heh, I've only seen 45 of the movies on this list. I feel like a lightweight now ;). Although, to be fair: if I add 'movies owned on DVD but not yet watched' I'd knock it up to almost-60 and nearly every movie-that-is-not-gory-or-horror (sorry Alien fans that's where I draw the line :)) on this list is also on my want-to-view wish-list. There were only about 3 or 4 where I went "hmm, that wasn't on my radar before". So I'm pretty sure I'll have seen most of this list in a couple more years time :).
I would definitely put 'Serenity' much higher on the list, and 'Return of the Jedi' belongs nowhere near any "Best of." list.
Pah, bionicvapourdude! ;) Return of the Jedi is great! Okay, there's the Ewoks (but honestly, when compared to the newer horror of the Gungans, all is good), but there's also slave girl Leia ;) and Luke rocking his Jedi powers (amongst other cool things). It deserved to be in any "best of" list, just below - but close to - Empire and New Hope :). So, like, there! :p

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