Plus a couple crappy ones.
A few weeks ago I reviewed 42, the Jackie Robinson movie, and it got me thinking about movies that contain numbers in the title. It seems like all the best ones are sci fi, and since that is my interest (and, I hope, yours) I thought I would compile a list of really good ones. Of course while composing my list I came up with a couple that really suck so I will list them at the bottom. I am not going to mess around with sequels incidentally. They all have numbers in them.
15. Cherry 2000 – this is one of those movies that almost ended up in the bad pile, but due to the fact that it features the one opportunity I think I will ever have at finding a wife (or second date) I have to give it props. Yes, this movie is the quest to save a super hot sex android, or essentially the only movie plot that makes total sense to me ever. Logan’s Run meets Lars and the Real Doll. However, if you look closely you will see a young Lawrence Fishburne, and if you look even more carefully you will also see a even younger (and hotter) Melanie Griffith.
14. Death Race 2000 – another one that someone who is less a fan of camp might have tossed on the suck pile. However, if you ever wanted to vote for Frankenstein for President (and appreciate the irony in that statement) then this is the movie for you. Plus this movie was made in the glory days of the 70′s, where the one redeeming thing was Hollywood didn’t think it needed to cater to the freaking rug rats in it’s sci fi and was happy to stick rated R nudity all over the place. Plus you get to see Sly Stallone in his first non-porn movie ever.
13. 1984 – anyone else remember when 1984 seemed like a long time in the future, full of sci fi possibilities? No, well actually neither do I. But I’m sure it seemed like a fantasy back in 1948 when Orwell wrote this book. The great thing about this movie is this was when Hollywood was allowed to do a bummer ending in the name of artistry. If (and unfortunately when) they get around to remaking it (2084?) odds are very likely Winston Smith will end the movie leading a counter revolution that ends the film with peace, happiness, and freaking bunny rabbits for everyone.
12. 2001 – yes I probably should rate this one higher, but this movie commits the sin of being kind of boring unless you are a huge Laserium fan. I read the book several times and still found myself snoozing at points. Of course you can never forget or miss the “Open the pod bay doors, Hal” scene. I also sometimes question how much we have actually evolved from the bone club wielding Neanderthals from the beginning. This film also kind of ruined Outland for me by showing a more realistic depiction of dealing with hard vacuum.
11. 9 – post apocalyptic finger puppets fight to destroy a soul sucking steam punk nightmare? There isn’t a single word in that last sentence that doesn’t rock.
10. Six String Samurai – odds are this is another film that only I have seen, but if you haven’t you should try to get it. If you are a Americana, Elvis, or sword fighting fan you will love it (I am all three). Also having Las Vegas be the last free city in the USA is hilarious. This is also the movie that helped me fall in love with the music of the Red Elvises, whom I think more or less inspired most of it. This film could be summed up in the statements “Heavy metal and communism sucks”. Don’t know if I agree with the heavy metal part.
9. House of 1000 Corpses - I’m not doing a lot of horror films, and if you are wondering why Friday the 13th isn’t here I’m not really a fan of franchises that take a decent concept and grind it into a fine, irritating powder. However, this film made my list partly because it is actually a violet horror classic and partly because I’m still feeling guilty for crapping all over Rob Zombies latest film the Lords of Salem. That aside, any movie featuring Captain Spaulding is plus in my book.
8. 30 Days of Night - this is one of those mainstream releases that never got the credit it deserved. I think it’s a kick ass horror flick with a cool twist. It has all the survival horror elements that I love from a good zombie flick plus all of the vampire coolness without any of the sparkle. If you have a daughter who fell in love with vampires thanks to Twilight strap her down and make her watch this, Near Dark, Vampire$, From Dusk till Dawn, and Fright Night. That will do for her for vampires what Fire in the Sky did for me for aliens.
7. Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension – if you call yourself a nerd and/or a movie aficionado and have not seen this film shame on you. This is one of the ultimate hokey camp sci fi classics. Ever want to see a Chevy Luv pickup truck with rockets strapped to the bed drive through a mountain? Do you like Jonathon Lithgow and want to see one of his funniest characters ever? Ever wonder what all aliens use for a first name? Then this is the film for you. Seriously, once you see it you will regret not having seen it in the theater (which I did. Mad nerd cred to me).
6. Super 8 – I had some issues with this film but in general enjoyed the hell out of it. Basically this is what E.T. really should have been. I’m still annoyed at the remote control tanks that need a crew of 5 and don’t have onboard computers. Anyone else think Maximum Overdrive got to be dumb when a machine gun turret in a basic swivel had the intellect and motive ability to cover and control a group of humans?
5. 300 – some of you may argue that this movie was not sci fi, but I say fie on you all. Besides, this film wasn’t exactly a bastion of historical accuracy. All I know is that it was awesome, with great fights, blood, and a giant bald guy with a nose ring. Plus where else are you going to see a defensive wall made from the corpses of the very enemies you are fighting?
4. 12 Monkeys - another film that never got the recognition it deserved. It’s rare that I like time travel films but this one did it in a cool and original way. Plus it had Bruce Willis playing the character he plays best – a beat up desperate loser. It also had a young Brad Pitt as a cool wacko. Time travel, biological warfare, crazy people, and lions. How awesome is that?
3. 28 Days Later – some people say this movie isn’t about zombies since the infected weren’t technically dead, but the original Haitian zombies were living people zombified by magic powder (check out White Zombie (the film the band got the name from, not the band) if you want to see. Or the Serpent and the Rainbow) so in theory this movie is actually a better zombie film than most of the post George Romero films. Great film, and one of those rare films that has you really worried for the protagonists.
2. District 9 – if there were awards for how science fiction-y a film can be this one would receive a lifetime achievement award. Plus you have to give a film credit for making aliens as sympathetic as E.T. while having them look like eight foot tall walking potato bugs. The social commentary flew off this film like explosions in a Micheal Bay film, and like most great sci fi (usually zombie) films shows us that humanities biggest enemy will always be humanity itself. Plus I loved the bus stop posters they used to advertize this film.
1. the Fifth Element – yes, we are back to this one. Sorry but I get a happy feeling every time I see it. Not the best story, acting, or special effects but somehow the sub-mediocre elements (haw!) combine to form a much greater whole than the sum if it’s individual parts. Plus the most important two words in sci fi costuming ever: “thermal wraps”.
Of course not all number movies can rule, so here are a couple that will make you never want to look at a number again. Two of these aren’t sci fi, but I needed to pad out the list and pulled in two films that made my frontal lobe especially sad.
5. One for the Money – unless you somehow think Charlies Angels had the most believable premise in TV history than this film will do nothing but either bore or annoy you. It was so boring I can’t even think of a funny line here.
4. One Day – what is the deal with movies that use the number 1? Notice that none of my top 15 use it. God I hated this movie. Don’t watch this film with any sharp instruments nearby. Actually, just don’t watch this film.
3. the 13th Warrior – remember when Antonio Banderas did Zorro and thought his destiny was to do sword fighting swashbucklers? This film derailed that plan for sure. What schlock. Actually I just took a look at Antonio’s filmography and it’s like sticking your head in a broken sewer pipe. He has done some awful movies, and only a few even decent ones. I guess I can add him to the list with Nick Cage of “If he’s in the film odds are it sucks”. As an aside I recall the original title for this film was “Eaters of the Dead which is about 100,000,000 times more bad ass (and would have kept it off this list) but the producers caved in to marketing pressure to make this film more kid friendly. I am really starting to hate PG-13.
2. 2012 - this film did about as much for science as the Holy Inquisition did when it tried Galileo for heresy for daring to suggest the Earth rotates around the sun. Also there is a limit to how many narrow escapes a character can go through per minute before the audience loses interest.
1. I am Number Four – I always laugh whenever Hollywood tries to launch a new franchise based on a previous successful franchise and falls miserably on it’s face. This film was supposed to be the sci fi version of Twilight but never went anywhere. They recently tried to do this again with the Host but I am proud to say that the science fiction world is still immune to the teenage girl demographic. It’s funny in that I have long wished to meet a girl who was as into sci fi as I am but now realize that if those girls really existed we would be up to our collective asses in wimpy metro-sexual man/boy characters. I guess it’s a good thing?
By the way, all the images come courtesy of the Movie T Shirt category.
Anyway, thanks for reading. These lists are always fun to do. I’ll try to do some more. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. Comments or movies that I missed can be placed down at the bottom. Off topic suggestions or questions can be emailed to me at email@example.com. Talk to you soon.