Aug 8, 2008

Dystopias on Film

Somebody's posted up their version of the Top 50 dystopian movies of all time. Not a bad list. I mean, shit like this is fairly individual, but it's a good jumping off point.

For the record, I've seen all of:
50. Equilibrium (2002): terrible movie. No, really, it was so bad. And I can't even remember why I found it so bad. It may have been the gun dancing fighting style.
48. Starship Troopers (1997): I get what they were going for, and I'm all in favor of coed shower scenes, but, well. You know. Anyway, I have to admit this is one of my favorite novels, in a weird way that I completely disagree with.
44. Strange Days (1995): This movie made me sick. Not from the story, but from the style - same with Blair Witch. Motion sickness had me in the lobby, dry heaving.
43. Logan’s Run (1976): I'm a sucker for those 70s-era scifi epics. Between the clothes and the antigovernment paranoia, I could watch this shit for days.
42. I Robot (2004): Wasn't this a Converse commercial? It sure wasn't related to the stories collected under the same name.
41. Soylent Green (1973): See "Logan's Run" above. Plus, Chuck Heston.
38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001): A lot of this movie sucked like a Hoover, but bits were exactly as spooky creepy as they needed to be. The Flesh Fair in particular.
35. Escape from New York (1981): Snake Motherfucking Plissken. One of my favorite movies of all time.
30. Dark City (1998): This was a good ride, but I was sort of distracted by the fact that this is the only thing I've ever seen Richard O'Brien in besides Rocky Horror.
28. Mad Max (1979): He may be a crazy, Christian, S/M punchline these days, but Mad Max is still truly awesome. Where did you go, Mel Gibson?
25. Gattaca (1997): I wasn't blown away when it came out, but I do still think about it from time to time.
23. V for Vendetta (2005): I wanted to like this more than I did. I think I kept somehow comparing it to "Children of Men", and it comes out the loser.
22. Planet of the Apes (1968): See "Soylent Green" above. Plus, apes.
21. The City of Lost Children (1995): It was pretty, I was high, and damned if I remember jack shit about what it meant.
18. Battle Royale (2000): Kind of trendy these days, but fuck if it's not a great little flick. I always enjoy movies about killer school kids.
17. Ghost in the Shell (1995): Saw this in the theater, can't remember a damn thing about it, but I seem to recall enjoying it at the time.
14. Twelve Monkeys (1995): My mom's theory is that if Brice Willis is wearing a hair piece, the movie will suck. If not, it should be good. 12 Monkeys lines up with that. Also, I always prefer Brad Pitt when he's playing loopy.
7. The Matrix (1999): It was pretty at the time, but I'm no fanboy. Aside from the Bill & Ted movies and Parenthood, Reeves has no place in film.
6. Children of Men (2006): Blew me away. I'll admit it, I cried all through the last bit with the birth and the gun battle. But it was the nurse's fate that sticks with me.
5. Blade Runner (1982): Just the best.
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971): My mom says the summer she and her friends "discovered" shrooms, Clockwork Orange played for two months at their local cineplex. By the end of that summer, they were all speaking nadsat.

So, which of the rest should I see next?


Leila said...

You haven't seen Death Race 2000? Oh man, that is a great movie. See it! For the love of all that is holy!

Idiocracy was funny. I enjoyed A Scanner Darkly, despite the fact that Keanu Reeves is in it. And Brazil is good, but pretty long.

Kylie said...

I'll admit that I quite enjoyed Artificial Intelligence, and I love Pleasantville. The Planet of the Apes is one of my favourite ever movies. 'Get your stinking paws off me, you damn, dirty ape!'

I didn't make it to the end of Mad Max because I had a dodgy DVD that gave up near the end. To be honest, I was very relieved because that movie was scaring me like nothing else has recently. I'm glad I didn't see the fate of Gibson's missus.

Also, I didn't really 'get' Bladerunner. I'm hoping my opinion will improve on later viewings.

Of the rest, I've seen:

War of the Worlds (brilliant movie, although I have no idea what it's doing on a dystopian list when it's 100% sci-fi)

On the Beach (I've seen the mini-series remake, which is pretty good. Again, not sure about dystopia; it's post-apocalyptic)

Fahrenheit-451 (been a while since I've seen this. I don't remember being overly impressed, but it's not bad as book adaptations go)

Serenity (both the Firefly TV series and this movie are excellent. Again, not sure that I'd classify it as dystopian, although there may have been dystopian elements in the TV series)

The Trial (excellent movie made from a bizarre book)

Code 46 (not bad. At least it's 100% dystopian, unlike most of the stuff on the list)

I reckon a lot of these movies would be hard to get a hold of. I'm dying to see 1984 and Soylent Green, though.

downtown guy said...

Brazil is one that I keep meaning to see but never manage to.

I'll bet Video 21 has Death Race 2000.

downtown guy said...

kylie: Soylent Green is worth getting your hands on, and it shouldn't be too hard. I've seen it in fairly mainstream rental stores.

I've noticed that a lot of people have difficulty drawing a line between post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction.

Anonymous said...

Much obliged for the comment (on my love/hate relationship with dystopian novels)! But seriously, how nifty is this blog? Although I am wondering what sort of mental anxiety 100 dystopian novels in a year are causing you. Hell, I read one and already feel like drowning my nights in gallons of Chick-Fil-A milkshakes and reruns of "Family Matters."

downtown guy said...

Hey sean - so far, it doesn't seem to have done much harm. Of course, that could be because I started out with the assumption that all people in power are hopelessly corrupt, that governments tends to become fascist over time, and that you could be watched any time, if someone wanted to do so. But, I have to admit, it's been fun so far. So many different ways to have society go wrong, so little time.

Leila said...

They definitely do! They also have Brazil, but so do I.

downtown guy said...

Can we watch it while I'm there?

Leila said...

Of course!

downtown guy said...


white rabbit said...

Random thoughts:

Logan's Run is class, isn't it?

Sorry Leila but I think Death Race 2000 is total rubbish...

Rollerball is a good watch though.

Heretical proposition: Mad Max 2 is better than original (oh okay, it got a higher rating).

Terrible fantasy I just had: twentytwelve directed by J.Neil Shulman ;)

downtown guy said...

That's enough to give me the shivers. But, that said, with a decent director I think twentytwelve would be damn good on screen. Any serious talks about that ever happening?

white rabbit said...

Movie version? In my dreams!

I know it's Arnie but why doesn't Terminator 2 show on the list? Another sequel that's better than the original...

Jessica said...

I'll always have a soft spot for Logan's Run. I'm glad you're also not afraid to admit it! And Brazil is one of my favorite movies ever.

downtown guy said...

And I still haven't seen Brazil!