Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is the best science fiction comedy film? (Second pass at the question)

I put the first version of this poll up last week and 21 people voiced their opinions. We had a three way tie for first place, and I thought of two films I flat out forgot about because I'm old and that happens. Now instead of ten films to choose from, there are only five and this time, you can only vote for one.

Here they are in alphabetical order.

Back to the Future This is the oldest movie on the list, and the only one to have two sequels. The movie did not completely succeed in turning Michael J. Fox into a movie star, but these things happen. For some reason, the public was happier seeing him on the small screen and barring his health problems, he hasn't had any trouble finding work.

The film certainly works as an action adventure, and there are plenty of laughs as well. Christopher Lloyd is a great comic actor and Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover turn in good performances as both as gawky teens and middle aged parents.

I consider it much better than either of the two sequels and it deserved to be a hit.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure This was one of the favorites in the first round of voting, but it was not a major hit. Still, it's very few movies that you can point to and say "This is where xxx started out." and that's certainly the case with Keanu Reeves in this film.

While it's not my favorite of the five, there are still some great laughs in it and, along with Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it set the tone for all stoner movies in the post-Cheech and Chong era.

Galaxy Quest There's a lot for sci-fi nerds to love about Galaxy Quest. First, it is so true to the spirit of Star Trek that I think it deserves to be part of the "canon" more than the J.J. Abrams movie that was actually called Star Trek. Second, the cast is great. It's my favorite work of Tim Allen ever, it's my favorite comedy from Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shaloub does his usual excellent job, as does Sam Rockwell. The actors playing the adoring aliens in need of help are uniformly terrific, and yes, that was an intentional pun.

Did I miss anyone?

Oh yeah, Alan Rickman, the best thing in the whole movie!

I'll admit it, I laughed like a hyena during this movie but when the adoring alien dies in his arms and Sir Alexander Dane says "Quellek... by Grabthar's hammer... by the Sons of Warvan... you shall be... avenged." I actually wept.

Mars Attacks! This is a movie that really didn't find an audience. I remember when Mars Attacks! bubble gum cards first came out, and there hadn't been anything quite like them before. Trading cards with a story on them! Kids traded them like mad when I was in grade school in Alameda, but then there was the dog getting disintegrated and suddenly, somebody's mom found out and the cards were available anymore.

Actually, it was Mike Musseter's mom who complained. It's only been 48 years, and you never really forget true betrayal.

There's a lot of star power in the cast, with Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker and Natalie Portman just to name a few, but for me, a little Tim Burton goes a long way.

Men In Black This movie made more money than any other on the list, but when adjusting for inflation is was not as big a hit as Back to the Future.

I never read the comic book series the movie is based on, but you didn't need any inside information to enjoy this story both as a comedy and an action movie roller coaster ride. The cast after Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith isn't as well known as the very deep cast of Mars Attacks!, but quality actors like Vincent D'Onofrio, Tony Shaloub, Linda Fiorentino and Rip Torn deliver on the story and deliver on the laughs.

This is probably my second favorite movie on this list. If you read my blurbs, you can probably figure out which movie gets my vote.


The poll will be open until next Sunday. You can only pick one of the five movies. May the best movie win.
Never give up. Never surrender.


Anonymous said...

"Galaxy Quest"

Margaret Benbow said...

For me, The Thing (James Arness version.) There's something funny about the doddering Professor stubbornly wanting to be BFF with The Thing even after the drained corpses have been piling up...

Matty Boy said...

Hi, Margaret. You make a good point. I think real scientists have seen enough of those movies that they have changed their minds. You may have read that Stephen Hawking doesn't think any aliens will be interested in being BFFs. They'll just want to take our stuff.

Karlacita! said...

The trekkies with a sense of humor are trending your results! By Grabthar's hammer!

Abu Scooter said...

I'd forgotten Men in Black, which actually does belong on the finalist list. While MiB does have aliens and super-technology, its very familiar setting (present-day New York) makes it a comedy with a sci-fi twist. The other movies on the list have it the other way around, rendering MiB easier to miss.

Nice catch, though.

susan s. said...

The best thing about Mars Attacks! is Slim Whitman singing Indian Love Call. It has often made me feel like the Martians look after hearing it! It was made in 1996, by the way, not when you were in grade school. Yes, I know, you joke a lot!

Padre Mickey said...

Susan S., the Mars Attacks cards came out in the 1960's, long before the film.

susan s. said...

Thanks, Padre! I was not into trading cards and lived in a very small Southern community that wouldn't have even heard of them! Baseball cards, yes, but not other kinds.

Peteykins said...

"Being John Malkovich"

Matty Boy said...

Forehead slap! Good choice, Peteykins.

There is no exact explanation of how people become John Malcovich, so maybe I'll slip it into the comedy fantasy poll and hope no one notices.

Lockwood said...

I've been pondering on this one for a while: I'm going with MIB, though I see I'm in a small minority. The problem is, I've only seen Galaxy quest once, soon after it came out. I remember it was funny, but I just don't remember it that well.

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Richard said...

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