The heap Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (1)

We finally made it to number one, heapsters. It took waaay too long, and I have to apologize for the delay. Work has been killer, and I’ve had no time to write anything! But yes, the number 1 movie is here, and well, it was to be expected I feel. I’m sure after I dropped ET at number 2, there was only one logical choice for the number 1 slot.

1. Star Wars: Episodes IV – VI (1977, 1980, 1983)


It had to be the Star Wars franchise. You see, I really feel that prior to the Star Wars phenomenon, Sci Fi was almost seen as “indie” type of deal. Sure it was popular, but it never really was part of mainstream society or a prominent part of pop culture until the release of Star Wars. From then on, Sci Fi was “cool” and really, you can’t find to many movies released that don’t have some form of sci fi element in them presently. Star Wars continues to be such an instrumental part of the lives of many people today. Toys, books, and video games have been inspired by George Lucas’ fictional galaxy. Star Wars captivates to audiences imagination from the beginning, as each film begins with the spine-tingling line, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Then it is always followed by the defining scrolling yellow text providing the backdrop of the story. But of course the most endearing part of Star Wars is it’s story and its application to real life. It’s much more than the battle between good and evil. It’s the revolution against tyrannical and fear based reign. It’s the reemergence of the “old religion” in a hopeless world (Thus episode IV being called “A New Hope”). The Force is much more than organized religion. It’s the interweaving of all beings… a positive force which contrasts the suffocating enveloping power of the dark side. Episodes I-III, while not as good as the originals, do explain the nature of the Jedi as a vocational calling, much like a religious beckoning. The parallels between Jedi and priesthood resonate strongly. I could go on and on… It revolutionized special effects and so on, and much like Star Trek, it made use of the limitless technologies only available in imagination for space travel, and also Star Wars follows suit by its own creation of specific and intricate races and species of creatures.

Ep IV: #12 out of 250: 8.8
Ep V: #9 out of 250: 8.8
Ep VI:#103 out of 250: 8.3

Rotten Tomatoes
Ep IV 95%
Ep V 97%
Ep VI 75%

And that’s it for the Sci Fi Countdown! Hope you enjoyed the choices and the commentary! We should have a new list going on in the near future! If you have any ideas for what it should be about, go ahead and leave a comment here!


The heap. Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (4-5)

The list is back! Only on the heap. can you expect to find a list so ridiculously delayed and drawn out… We all know that I could have given you all 30 at once. But I really don’t think the world could have handled that much omnipotent opinionated knowledge at once! We’ll start off with 5 movies from the honorable mention list! Then you’ll see the usual movie poster and interpretation of the movie’s importance of number 5 and then 4! You know how it works!

Honorable Mention Films
Total Recall – Another good AHnold flick. Violent… very violent.
A Clockwork Orange – A defining work by Stanley Kubrick. A futuristic world where good and evil are grossly intertwined
I, Robot – Another good Azimov book, and an interesting adaptation. Man vs. Rebelling superior Machine motive.
The Abyss – When aliens actually live here on Earth… or rather, UNDER us in the greatest depths of the sea… this can only spell impending doom.
Soylent Green – A nice little commentary on social structure. One of the biggest plot twists of ALL time.

5. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)


Perhaps the greatest “old” sci fi film of all time,The Day the Earth Stood Still, like many of its contemporaries, manages to encapsulate the feelings of hysteria regarding the American perception of “the Outsider” within the realm of a film dealing with human-alien relations. Not to mention, the film boasts a mightily inflated anti-weapons and anti-war message, and emphasizes the vast importance of global unity, and the end of prejudice and disparity. The other option is termination. The film is a product of post WWII sentiment, as well as an expression of extreme caution regarding escalating conflict with the Soviets and in Korea. A remake of this film comes out later this year starring Keanu Reeves. If he plays Klaatu’s robot, he would be perfectly cast (He’s actually Klaatu). IMDB (205 out of 250 top films): 8.1 Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)


Jim Carrey is one of my favorite actors, and I feel he is often underrated and even forgotten. This is one of his best films, as well as Kate Winslet’s. Memories is the hot topic of the film, and we see applicable science’s attempt at manipulating memories, mainly by essentially erasing them from the minds of patients. Most of the film is in fact the memories Jim Carrey’s character wishes to rid but instead wants to hold on to regarding his relationship with Clementine. Despite his best efforts, science wins and the procedure works. Yet, what we discover is that the two become attracted to each other again, suggesting the trumping of nature, and perhaps the will of God, over the controls of science and human desire. Sci fi mixed in with a little chick flick action… you CAN’T lose with this one. IMDB (57 out of 250 top movies): 8.5 Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Finally down to the last three films! 2 and 3 should be up tomorrow. Stay Tuned!


The heap. Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (6-10)

I know I promised you this one this weekend, but it was a jammed, sports-packed weekend for me. Plus, I needed a little bit of a break from writing. But now we’re back and ready for the home stretch of our list. I’ll give you 6-10 today, and then I’ll go one by one, but I’ll throw in two honorable mentions in each post, since there are PLENTY of movies which could have easily have been on our list. You’ve waited long enough so here we go!

10. Forbidden Planet (1956)


All I should have to say about this film is Robby the Robot. Not to mention the fact that it is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which would be reason enough for any of you English majors, Shakespeare enthusiasts, or just plain literary buffs to want to watch and see the similarities with one Willy’s more interesting plays, as well as one of the most enchanting (A Midsummer’s Night Dream wins of course). The audience is intertwined in a story of romance and artificially created (boosted) intelligence, as well as in the middle of the battle between patriarchal repressed sexuality and the desire to experiment. Another classic tale of the exotic nature of difference. Special effects were groundbreaking for a film of the late 50’s, and the music was all electrically composed. If that isn’t enough, maybe a young, pre Mr. Magoo Leslie Nielsen will make you watch. IMDB: 7.8 Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

9. Metropolis (1927)


Clearly the oldest movie on the list, Metropolis pioneers the genre, perhaps beginning the trend of sci fi films being a prominent source of social scrutiny. Director Fritz Lang constructs a world plagued by a duality of sorts. The audience encounters a heavenly utopia of skyscrapers amidst the clouds, dominating scenes at points in the film. Here, the literal upper class reside, the “thinkers.” Yet supporting this lavish lifestyle is a world dystopian in nature where the labor class work in order to support the lifestyles up above. What ensues is a brilliant critique of the capitalist system, as the city is pushed to the brink of non-existence by a revolution by the lower class, thus causing the system to collapse. Another interesting duality is that of Maria and a robot created in her likeness. And of course, there is some corporal imagery, such as the impending mediation between the hands (workers) who run the heart (the power plant to the city) and the head (upper class). IMDB (Rated #72 on 250 Greatest Films): 8.4 Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

8. Alien, Aliens (1979, 1986)


The pair of movies are probably the most popular movies from the time of the generation before us college graduates (Yes, our parents went to movies too in their heyday). These films, more than a quarter of a century later STILL have an effect on popular culture such as the AVPseries of films, cultural references to these movies, and conceptual representation of alien life. We still imagine either little green men, or the vicious intelligent creatures of Predator and Alien. This was the film that put Ridley Scott on the map as a master director, and truthfully, the film is a mastery of all aspects of film making. The cinematography is stellar, and perhaps the best of modern films. The use of color imagery, particularly light and dark, add an unique artistic touch to this sci fi – horror hybrid. Acting is believable and excellent. All you could ask for in a movie. IMDB (Rated #49 and #65 respectively, top 250): 8.5, 8.4 Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, 100%

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


A Stanley Kubrick film HAD to be on here somewhere, and you can expect it to be a biting satirical commentary on society of the late 60’s. Many critics have clamored for Odyssey to be considered as the best sci fi film of all time, and we believe that it certainly was that at the time of it’s release. It fulfills strongly our own qualifications we looked for while we made our list here. Many say that Odyssey IS sci fi, providing the definition of what a sci fi flick should be, and we agree. While the concept isn’t the most groundbreaking, it takes pieces of earlier films and pretty much perfects them, while at the same time poking fun at present possibilities, and the colossal-ness of the “space odyssey” itself. IMDB (#80 of 250 on the list): 8.4 Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

6. The Matrix (1999)


While I do like the entire trilogy, the first movie is the best one of the three and is really the one which has become an essential sci fi must see. Again, the ideas aren’t too new, as it roughly uses the premise of Terminator. BUT, The Wachowski Brothers offer the audience a twist, suggesting that the world we live in is nothing but a mechanically induced dream, and the real us is nothing but a tool, a resource for dominant beings. Highly symbolic, highly psychological, and action packed. A pleasant collusion of mythologies, and in particular, the Christian tradition. Not to mention perhaps the best possible part for Keanu Reeves- one where he can look clueless for most of the time and he doesn’t have to talk too much! IMDB (#32 of 250 on the list) 8.6 Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

So there you have it. We’re down to the final five! Our first list is almost complete here at the heap. If you have any suggestions for the next list we should tackle, feel free to leave comments!


The heap Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (11-15)

Finally I am able to continue our countdown here at the heap. of what we think are the movies which are instrumental and define the Sci Fi genre. If you’ve missed the first 15 movies on the list, check the entries out on the Lists page. Or if you just want to know the movies and spare yourself of my commentary hoopla, you can see a convenient text listing of the movies. So without further ado, let’s get on with the next 5 movies!

15. The Fifth Element (1997)


It’s the year 2263, and as expected, the future presented by the film is full of many technological advancements which typify sci fi films. Again, we are presented with a sort of dystopian world, where man has been forced to build (and survive) Upwards. The visuals of The Fifth Element certainly resonate of the futuristic vision of Blade Runner with flying cars. Unforgettable is the chase scene in which Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) is able to escape police officers in a thrilling mid air series of events. But of course, this isn’t what sets this movie apart. Despite all of these futuristic advances, the universe is still plagued by intergalactic strife, notably hate and war. The Fifth Element wraps an antiwar message alongside the inner turmoils of faith- shown through the perseverance of forgotten religion, and the struggle of the proverbial savior (Leeloo) to decide (after ALL of the trouble to save and preserve HER) if the world is worth saving. And of course, Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod shows the absurdity of the media of the future. All of this delivered with MUCH comedy. IMDB: 7.3 Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

14. Jurassic Park (1993)


We’ll stick with just the first one here. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park takes the audience on an epic “You know, this might just be a bad idea” journey to a remote island where dinosaurs have been genetically cloned and raised. And of course, all for ultimate commercial gain. JP becomes the ultimate dream of any kid who grew up loving dinosaurs, only being able to see fossil evidence and scientific reproductions as evidence for their existence. The animatronic for the movie brings to life some spectacular beings, and the computerwork (for what was available back then) is superb. JP is on the list because it IS the elite film which uses dinosaurs as its main selling point, and manages to do it without being all too cheesy. Oh, and Spielberg and Co. manage to make it intriguing, educational, and TERRIFYING. The purpose? To again promote caution with our ever-increasing knowledge and capability- a la cloning. Also, commercial gain from such scientific endeavors are to be frowned upon (See Wayne Knight’s character- you know… Newman!). IMDB: 7.8 Rotten Tomates: 86%

13. Fantastic Voyage (1966)


Most of the movies on the list are about the vast unknown with is the Universe we live in. We can only try to calculate things in relative and even sometimes abstract scale, as we are limited by our present technology and unable to travel like in space sci fi movies. Yet, we have such a relatively unknown and unpredictable entity right here on Earth- the human body. Fantastic Voyage takes you on such a journey, a journey to twist the fate of a dying man through literal intraveinal human intercession. Again, a visual, creative delight, as the audience journeys through “inner space” and sees how various organs are portrayed on the silver screen. IMDB: 6.8 Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

12. War of the Worlds (2005)


You want to talk about an epic tale of survival? Spielberg’s film based on H.G. Wells’ revolutionary novel assuredly thrilled audiences worldwide with it’s American perception of the events which transpired in the novel. Its success is also based off of the 1938 radio broadcast as well as the 50’s version because it captures the thematic issue of mass hysteria, whether it had to do with Nazi/Japanese infiltration during WWII, or possible secret operations by Russians during the Cold War. Of course, the novel itself played with such notions, predominately regarding the influx in immigration during the time period in England. Ironically (but perhaps purposefully… Spielberg’s a smart one…) the film came out during the apex of our own immigration “crisis,” as well as during the contining sensitive time period regarding acts of terrorism on our own soil. The themes could also be extended to racial and even sexual orientation demographics- any category of “threatening” difference. IMDB: 6.6 Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

11. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

body snatchers

If you like the theme of exaggerated hysteria, especially during the Cold War standstill, then watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers will probably make you quite happy. The film captures a panoramic view of the effects of fear injecting media influence. As the main character, Dr. Bennell recounts the events of past days, one common theme ties all of the incidences together. Patients are claiming that their loved ones are impostors! And as it turns out, they’re right! What ensues is a discovery of the replacement of the loved ones by unemotional clones which kill humans and spread the “seeds” of the “pod people.” Clearly a stab at the portrayal of Soviet personalities, but also a sombering view of the effects of Communism on our often disregarded autonomous lifestyle. IMDB: 8.0 Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

And we’re down to our last 10! You’ll definitely see the next 5 by this weekend, and we’ll release the last 5 one at a time next week! (Including an honorable mention post!).


De temps en temps, tu as crie’, sans raison parfois… parfois avec raison… oui, avec raison parfois

paris je t'aime

I love foreign movies. Just because our business here at the heap. is trash, doesn’t mean we aren’t refined and cultured… In fact, we LOVE the Italian, French, and Spanish cinema (and other art forms!), language, and culture! (See: il mucchio, la tas, la pila). In addition to foreign movies, we LOVE anything romantic and funny… so if they happen to combine and materialize into a romantic comedy, even better. French film Paris Je T’aime is a beautiful, mosaic-like collection of films which explore the nature of love and its many forms, and particularly, how love occurs and is maintained by the various couples of the 18 villes of Paris. One of my favorite pieces is the one from Faubourg St. Denis starring Natalie Portman as the audible object of affection of a blind man. The cinematography is dazzling, as the audience can see the symbolic status of the relationship through relative body positioning, the use of a disjointed (interrupted) stream of scenes, as well as other effects (like the timeless effect of the couple in the midst of the rapidly moving crowd… and their absence towards the end…) Check it out for yourself! Most importantly, think about blindness, distance, the setting up of “walls” (les examens) to not get hurt. Also, the music! Listen to how the memory sequence becomes trance-like and automatic, causing him to “lose sight” of her until the end.

Chaz and I have finished our own version of the top 30 sci-fi movies of all time, and we will be releasing them about 5 movies at a time every few days or so beginning later today (or tonight). Make sure to check that out! Also I know that I’ve promised a life update for all of you guys in different parts of the country (or world). That will be coming soon, perhaps today or tomorrow, as part of my life update segment, The Trashman Chronicles. Look for it so you know what’s goin on with me!

In case you guys have been wondering, we are all fine here in the Tampa Bay area, we maybe had a combined 10 minutes of rain the past two days, and the wind picked up a little last night, but nothing to worry about. Thank you for your concern! Keep reading and commenting heapsters! (We had an unprecedented 199 views yesterday… thanks to an OCD heapster. who searched for slipknot 142 times?)


“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Fahrenheit 451

For many fans of Ray Bradbury, this line resonates (and perhaps continues to resonate anytime they see a book) in the minds and hearts of all who contemplate the future of published literature, especially with the current explosion of growth of paperless technology. The opening line of Fahrenheit 451 eeriely introduces the destruction of books, and leaves an indeliable implication of future. One of my favorite books. The movie version, made in 1966, starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie… not so much. THANKFULLY, (I happened to stumble upon this, because I wondered the rating of the 1966 movie which you can read about here) they are remaking it! I am definitely curious how it will turn out with today’s creativity and technology, as well as acting talent. It is slated for a 2010 release, and you can keep up with it on the Fahrenheit 451 (2010) page.

Of course, what REALLY sparked my interest was a list a found on Yahoo: Top 30 Sci-Fi Films of All Time.

If you check it out, there are some really surprising choices (as well as sci-fi staples). What really baffled me was the positioning of some of the choices, as well as obvious films which weren’t included. In the upcoming days, Chaz, the movie expert of the heap. and myself will try to right the wrong, and come up wth our own list, so make sure you come back! And if you want, leave a comment about movies that you want to see on the list, feel shouldn’t be on the list, or about the positioning of movies on the list!