Saturday, July 31, 2010
10 Favorite Movies: 1990 to 1999
The third entry in the Back to the Future trilogy and my favorite of the three. Doc is taken to 1885 when a stray bolt of lightning strikes the time machine. Marty goes back to save him from Buford Tannen's bullet. Immediately after arriving in 1885, Marty damages the DeLorean's fuel line and the gas tank is emptied. Since a gas station won't be available for several decades, Doc and Marty have to come up with an alternative way to get the time machine up to 88 mph while still avoiding Tannen.
Doc, Marty, and Doc's sweetheart risk death while using a steam locomotive to push the DeLorean up to 88 mph. Will the DeLorean be able to time travel before the boiler explodes and the train runs off the cliff?
Although the movie is mostly a spoof of Star Trek and it's fans, it's extremely entertaining in its own right and is never mean-spirited. The cast of the long-canceled sci-fi show Galaxy Quest are asked by the remnants of a peaceful civilization to help them defeat the evil Sarris. It turns out that these beings have seen the entire show in reruns, but have no concept of "fiction" and believe that the show is a documentary. Not realizing that the show's NSEA Protector was a model and the ship's crew were merely actors, they create a real starship and hope that their overwhelmed TV heroes can save them before their civilization is destroyed.
Just about any line said by Guy Fleegman, the one-time extra/fan who played Crewman #6 in an episode that killed off his nameless character in the first five minutes. He's convinced that the same will happen to him in real life.
This is not a very good movie: the acting is mediocre except for Will Smith's and Jeff Goldblum's, the script is full of cliches (take any disaster movie from the '70s and add aliens and you have Independence Day), and the plot is extremely predictable. And yet, I really like this movie. An alien race parks its city-sized spaceships over earth's major population centers and start wasting the place. Some creative thinking involving the remains of the world's air forces and an alien fighter that crashed in Roswell in 1947 may be mankind's last hope.
This is an obvious one: New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. are simultaneously obliterated by alien death rays.
A must-see animated movie for any fan of 1950s pulp sci-fi. A giant robot crash lands on earth, losing his memory in the process. A young boy befriends the robot and tries to hide it from the military and one very nosy CIA agent. When it becomes evident that the robot was actually built for war, the boy teaches it that "you are who you choose to be".
During a one-sided battle with the military, the panicked CIA agent calls in a nuclear strike on the robot, which happens to be in the middle of a populated town. Realizing that innocent civilians will die in the attack, the robot remembers the boy's words and chooses to be "Superman" rather than the giant war machine it was originally built to be. I've seen many nerds on sci-fi boards admit that this is the only movie that ever made them cry.
Probably one of the most famous and influential movies of the 1990s. DNA recovered from fossilized mosquitoes allows the cloning of dinosaurs and the creation of the titular park on a island near Costa Rica. Before the park can even open, industrial sabotage allows the dinosaurs to escape. Although the park's tyrannosaurus gets some of the best scenes, the much smaller velociraptors steal the movie.
This is a hard choice, but I'll have to go with the "kitchen scene". Jurassic Park presents its own version of a classic childhood nightmare scenario when two velociraptors stalk the grandchildren of Jurassic Park's creator in an industrial kitchen.
This movie became a favorite of mine years after I saw it since I was too young to get it the first time. Martians invade earth in darkly humorous fashion. By the end of the movie, nearly every character played by a big name actor is dead. Although the invasion is set during the 1990s, all military equipment, uniforms, and weapons are of '50s vintage. Movies like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers are directly spoofed.
After their flying saucer lands, the martian ambassador addresses earth in a language that appears to be composed of the single word "Ack!" repeated over and over with varying intonation. A machine translates his statement as "we come in peace", at which a group of hippies releases a dove. The martians freak out, zap the dove, and start vaporizing the crowd.
In late 1930s Los Angeles, racing pilot Cliff Secord comes across a rocket pack designed by Howard Hughes and sees it as his chance to make some real money. However, both the FBI and Nazi spies are after the rocket pack, which puts Secord, his mechanic and best friend, and his girlfriend in danger. Secord's superhero alter-ego, the Rocketeer, evokes the various rocketmen characters of comics from the '30s and '40s as well as the hero of the Commando Cody serial from 1955.
After a disastrous test of the rocket pack using a wooden statue of Charles Lindbergh, Secord puts on the rocket for the first time to save an ailing friend in a broken-down Jenny biplane. The rescue takes place in the middle of an air-race, making the Rocketeer instantly famous.
A child psychiatrist tries to help a young boy who claims that he sees ghosts. The psychiatrist gradually realizes that the ghosts aren't just a hallucination; the boy is being contacted by genuine spirits who seem to want something from him.
There are so many, but the most memorable scene for me is the twist ending, which causes you to rethink everything you've just seen. Since some people still haven't seen this movie, I won't say what happens.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation crew follow a Borg starship back in time to 2063, where the Borg intend to interrupt Zefram Cochrane's first faster-than-light flight and the subsequent first contact between humanity and an alien race. Until 2009's Star Trek this was my favorite Star Trek film.
A partially assimilated Data surprises the Borg Queen, declaring that "Resistance is futile" (the Borg's own tagline) and smashing a pipe filled with flesh-dissolving coolant.
The fourth Star Wars movie made but the first episode chronologically. The movie has a lot of flaws, but it's still one of my favorites. Jedi knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi find themselves trying to save the peaceful planet of Naboo and its queen from a Trade Federation Plot. The two come across a young Anakin Skywalker, who shows the potential to become the most powerful Jedi ever. Sith Lords are found to be behind the plot to conquer Naboo, a fact which greatly concerns the Jedi since the Sith are presumed to be extinct.
The three-way duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul is considered by many fans to be the best lightsaber duel of the Star Wars Saga. It doesn't hurt that the actor playing Darth Maul, Ray Park, started martial arts training at the age of seven.