Daily Archives: February 8, 2007

15 Geek Movies to See Before You Die

Via SF Signal, a link to Dwight Silverman’s 15 Geek Movies to See Before You Die. Silverman is the Tech Blogger for the Houston Chronicle; see his original entry for explanations on why these particular films made the list. As usual, my own comments follow:

  • Brazil
  • The Matrix
  • The Fifth Element
  • Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • Serenity
  • Dark City
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Darkman
  • Army of Darkness
  • War Games
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Office Space
  • Repo Man

First thought: my geek cred is in pretty good shape, according to these criteria. I’ve seen all but two of these films (Repo Man and Dark City, although it’s been so long since I’ve seen Brazil that it probably qualifies as “never seen” as well) and I own quite a few of them on either VHS or DVD. That said, I have to say that I personally find The Matrix and 12 Monkeys both overrated and depressing as hell to watch. In the case of The Matrix, it’s that grungy, clammy look of the film that gets to me — I’ve mentioned before that I hate the look of a lot of movies that came out of the latter half of the ’90s — while 12 Monkeys depresses me because, well, it’s just a downer of a movie. I’m not a big fan of any of Terry Gilliam’s movies, to be honest. He’s a fine filmmaker, but the stories he’s drawn to rarely engage me very much, certainly not enough to warrant a second viewing. But that’s just me.

Just as interesting as what’s on this list is what’s not on the list. Any true geek is, of course, going to have Star Wars on their “must-see” list, but what about Tron? Blade Runner? Alien? 2001? THX 1138, surely the geekiest titled film of all time? Colossus: The Forbin Project, which anticipated something very like the Internet? How about The Terminator, who was controlled by an evil variant of the Internet? Or John Carpenter’s Dark Star, the climax of which is a philosophical conversation between a frazzled astronaut and an artificially intelligent nuclear bomb? The list could go on and on… and I’m just thinking of the movies of the ’70s and ’80s, when “geek culture” as we now understand it was forming. What about movies from before that halcyon period? Do any of them count? I’m just asking, here…


Let Me Get My Checkbook: Futuristic Cars Edition

A friend of mine just sent me a link to an eBay auction that ought to have plenty of crossover appeal for both the geek and motorhead demographics: somebody is selling was selling one of the three Lexus concept cars built for the movie Minority Report.

[Update: The eBay listing has been removed since this morning. Interesting. Oh, well, the rest of the entry still stands. I’ve added a link below so you can see what the Lexus looks like.]

As much as I love science fiction flicks, I’ve got to be honest: most futuristic movie cars leave me cold. They’re inevitably just bubbles or boxes on wheels, without any attempt to make them look “real-world.” This Lexus, though, impressed me in the movie as something that (a) might actually evolve from current automotive design, and (b) would be a design that people might actually want to own. I know I would. The opening bid on this one is a perfectly reasonable $88,000. Mere pocket change. I ought to have enough left over to pick up a Blade Runner spinner, too.

Oh, and speaking of flying cars (which the spinner is, if you don’t know), it seems they might not be so far off after all: according to this article, an Israeli engineer is working on a flying utility vehicle that he hopes to have on the market by 2010. Rafi Yoeli’s X-Hawk is designed to perform like a helicopter but without a chopper’s big exposed rotor blades that get in the way of snuggling up alongside a cliff or a building. The X-Hawk would instead have two enclosed fans at the front and rear with a cockpit and modular cabin that could be swapped out for different missions. It’ll supposedly be quieter than a chopper, too, which has obvious advantages for the military and, I suppose, for anyone bothered by that “whop-whop” sound. (Personally, I’ve always rather liked the sound of choppers; I was bummed when the Army stopped using Hueys, because I grew up hearing them off in the distance every day in the summertime.)

Yoeli has gotten a prototype to lift off (a mere three feet, but still, it did take off), and it looks much more practical to my admittedly ignorant eyes than a lot of the flying car designs I’ve seen. I’ll be watching further developments on this project closely.

If you’re interested, too, here’s Yoeli’s company web site, which includes conceptual information and a decent technical overview.