JB: Metropolis (1927, Fritz Lang) I find myself needing to re-watch this film every two years or so, not just for the awe-inspiring art direction and iconic performances, but also to continually remind myself that THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN THE HEAD AND HANDS MUST BE THE HEART!
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick) Wow.
Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott) I have written at length about this film and the special place I have in my little black heart for it. But as we all learned earlier this year at F This Movie Fest, this film is so goddamn great that you can even screen the compromised 1982 original theatrical cut and still enjoy the hell out of it.
Idiocracy (2006, Mike Judge) Every prediction about the future in this film has already come true, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. Fuck you—I’m eating.
It made me sort of fall in love with Terry Gilliam, which is weird (I know, I really do), but it leads me to hold his movies (as uneven as they are) in a special place in my cold, cold movie heart.
Erich: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986, Leonard Nimoy) Star Trek IV isn't my favorite Star Trek movie, but it was a pleasant surprise to find out recently that it's every bit as fun and funny as my kid self remembered. Sure, the mission to go back in time to save the whales is a little bit cheesy -- and about the most '80s thing ever except for going back in time to save an Air Jordan factory or Bill Cosby's sweater. But the way the story is treated shows a lot of affection for the characters, and the movie never takes itself too seriously. The time travel is more Doctor Who than Terminator (a series that should have taken its time travel MORE seriously, in my e-pinion). Instead of fretting over paradoxes and wormhole, Scotty talks into a computer mouse and Spock neck-pinches a boombox-toting punk. Then Spock swears! So great! By the way, does anyone know if they made a Swearing Spock action figure? I've been scouring eBay for weeks, but so far...nothing.
Erika: Idiocracy (2006, Mike Judge) Many classic, beloved films are set in the future -- or the future from when they were originally made. But my choice does not have much to do with being beloved, classic, or even pleasant to look at; instead it has everything to do with OH MY GOODNESS IT’S REALLY COMING TRUE. I’m not sure Idiocracy takes place too far in the future anymore… have you gone anywhere lately without some sort of advertisement staring (or screaming) at you? Do places without corporate sponsorship still exist? Are presidents ever NOT WWE stars? And electrolytes! They’re what plants crave!
Patrick: Demolition Man (1993, Marco Brambilla) One of Sylvester Stallone's most underrated movies imagines the future as a dystopian utopia. Daniel Waters' script tells us that today's commercial jingles will be tomorrow's Top 40 radio, that swearing will be outlawed and that people will wipe their butts with three seashells. How can you not love a future in which the ONLY restaurant is Taco Bell? Enhance your calm.
Avatar, humans have burned out all of the planet's resources and are forced to relocate elsewhere to survive. In both cases, though, he offers the possibility of something greater. We can travel back in time and fix things. We can put our consciousness into a laboratory-grown alien and conquer the frailty of our human bodies. I don't know that I want to live in any of Cameron's futures, but at least it's not all darkness. He gives us hope, too.
Escape from New York (1981, John Carpenter) In the distant future of 1997, crime has gotten so bad that Manhattan is sealed off and turned into a giant prison. I support this idea.