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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What are your all-time favorite and least favorite science fiction movies?

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension

Reader Anne-Kari recently suggested that we talk about

Favorite and least favorite movies within specific genres (drama, b&w, scifi, comedy)?

So that’s what we’re doing all this week. Today’s question:

What are your all-time favorite and least favorite science fiction movies?

This is really tough for me, because I’m such a geek and SF is my favorite genre. But I think I have to choose The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension, for a few reasons that are particularly pertinent to my pet themes. First, it makes science and scientists look cool: Buckaroo isn’t just a rock star, he’s also a neurosurgeon and a particle physicist, and his exploits in all these areas are as interesting to everyone as the rock-star thing is. Two, the movie plays with pop culture itself as a sort of science fiction, not only in the idea that a scientist could be a pop culture hero but in the idea that a fictional story — Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds — could be a cover for a real alien invasion. Brilliant stuff.

Worst is tough, too, because there are so many bad sci-fi flicks. But I’ll go with Battlefield Earth, which commits the particular sin of completely misunderstanding what it is about science fiction that makes it interesting. It’s not FX and spectacle but ideas… the latter of which it is entirely bereft of.

You?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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