Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thinking Man's Sci-Fi

Rotten Tomatoes lists Ten Sci-Fi Flicks for the Thinking Man. If we can substitute the Soderbergh for the Tarkovsky, then I've seen and enjoyed all ten.

They are:
Planet of the Apes
Dark City
Sleeper
Gattaca
Primer
Children of Men
Solaris
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Blade Runner
2001: A Space Odyssey
Sadly, I bet you The Matrix would have made this list if they'd only stopped with the one. But my question to Rotten Tomatoes is, what about the Thinking Woman? Come on...

16 comments:

ces said...

Hmmm. I've seen 4 of them - 2001, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the firs Planet of the Apes. Of the four, Blade Runner is my favourite.

Lou Anders said...

Gattaca and Dark City are both excellent SF.

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro said...

Other thoughtful SF films that I've enjoyed: Donnie Darko has some interesting SF elements, and at times feels slipstream/SF/New Weird. K-Pax could be SF, and is engaging. Also: Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, Soylent Green, The Truman Show, Minority Report, A.I., Strange Days, THX 1138,The Thirteenth Floor, eXistenZ, Videodrome, and even The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ("even" because I hadn't thought of it as SF until right now).

You've mentioned you like the film version of A Clockwork Orange. Have you seen the 1984 film version (John Hurt, Richard Burton) of 1984?

Lou Anders said...

I have seen and enjoyed all of the above except THX 1138, Soylent Green (don't shoot me) and 1984. I particularly like Twelve Monkeys, Strange Days, and Eternal Sunshine. As to K-Pax, I recommend you track down the Argentenian film, Man Facing Southeast. You will be very suprised.

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro said...

Wow, you could literally swap out the blurbs! Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out. Looks like Subiela wrote Hombre mirando al sudeste in the mid-1980s and Brewer published K-Pax in '95. I can think of interesting interview questions for Brewer.

I found Hurt's performance arresting, but it's by no means one of my favorite films. I'm taking it that you saw those three and didn't enjoy them, not that you didn't see them, lol.

ces said...

I cringe to say this Lou, but I've never heard of those 2 films. I hope Blockbuster has them.

On another note, my 3 Sean williams books arrived last night (yes, UPS delivered them in the evening). The first 2 are paperbacks, but the third is hardback. I've already started the first book of the series, and am hooked already!

Lou Anders said...

Alvaro - no I mean I didn't see them. As to K-Pax, I've never read it and don't know Brewer, but I do know there was a lawsuit, and I bet he is sensitive about it, so I would tread carefully with questions. I will say, a friend of mine was reading the book, recommended it to me, and I told him it was too similar to Man Facing Southeast, whereupon my friend said "That's just coincidence." Whereupon I, having never seen the book or film at this point, gave him all the major plot points of K-Pax and told him how it was going to end. So it may be coincidence, but if it is, then the same alien was transmitting his story to do different writing vessels. That being said, I have an old spec script for Deep Space Nine that is EXACTLY like an episode that aired, and nobody ever saw it but me - I didn't even print it out. So sometimes Cosmic Coincidence Control does play these kinds of games.

Christine - very glad you like the Williams. He's a genius!

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro said...

I would have been surprised if there hadn't been a lawsuit.

Interesting. I'm well-acquainted with DS9 -- what episode was it?? (Feel free to e-mail if preffered).

Lou Anders said...

Well, it was early days. At the time, all we knew about Odo's origin was that he was found in space and raised in a lab. I decided their must be one scientist, male, that bonded with him in particular, and that scientist would show up, unannounced, in Quark's bar, whereupon Quark would volunteer to buy a drink for "Odo's Dad" and Odo would get all pissy and say, "He's not my father." Then the characters would break into groups, and Sisko and Dax would talk to them individually about the responsibilities of the parent/child relationship. The episode did the exact same thing, not just pairing the same characters, but having the conversations take place in the same sets I'd picked out (one was a cargo bay).

But way, way more than that - I through something in that had NOTHING to do with the script, just because it had been bugging me. Odo, as a shapeshifter with no internal organs, shouldn't use his eyes at all. They should just be ornamental. So I had his "dad" say, something something "when Odo, sees, well, more like perceives..." and I put the word "perceives" in just to indicate that I was aware of the problem of eyes, and to suggest that they weren't working like other people's eyes work, not having the innards. Well, Odo's dad says the same thing - even though it has nothing to do with the plot, it's just out of the blue - and even qualifies it with the exact wording "more like perceives." I was stunned.

The script was half-written inside my computer. Obviously, I never finished it. I did finish some others though, and on the strength of them, eventually had a standing invitation to pitch Voyager whenever I wanted, but that's another story...

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro said...

Wow, that's a pretty striking similarity indeed. If my memory and google-jitsu are working, that would be the twelfth episode of the second season, "The Alternate" with Dr. Mora. I found a link to the script online, and I think this is the part in question:

ODO
"It was a dilemma for me. I'd never seen anything like these creatures either.
MORA
"Seen" isn't really an appropriate
description. He had no eyes per
se...
ODO
I was only trying to describe it in simple terms...
MORA
(ignoring that)
He had never perceived anything like us before... go on...
ODO
And I knew I had to find some way to communicate with them. So I
transformed myself into..."

(Available at: http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/ds9/season2/ds9-212.txt)

That was a pretty solid episode with what was one of my favorite story arcs at the time.

Though it sounds like good things came of it, my condolences on this instance of Cosmic Coincidence Lou! (And I'm sure we'll get to the Voyager stories at some other point..)

Lou Anders said...

Ah, thanks. I just remembered my version and not theirs. It really was freaky, but later, when I started scriptwriting, as well as talking to scriptwriters, I heard lots and experienced lots more of this stuff. Joe Straczynski told me he believes the Universe sends writers coincidence to tell them they are on the right track.

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro said...

That's a good sentiment. Smart guy, that Joe. I've recently experienced a few of those coincidences, so I'm going to latch onto the thought -- I must be on the right track!

Lou Anders said...

They were everywhere on B5.

dave hutchinson said...

Good to see Primer on the list.

David B. Ellis said...

I'd add Vanilla Sky to the list.

My personal favorite is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Speaking of SF love stories, I'd love to see the story Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt made into a film. Kate Winslet would be great for the part. That's who I picture when I read the story.

Lou Anders said...

Vanilla Sky is a good one. I am heartened at how many good films their are. Fantasy has yet to produce as many good films as SF, but it is catching up (largely with YA).

I need to read more Pratt.