Without meaning to sound rude, you should probably have watched Star Wars by now. I’d hasten to add the Alien quadrilogy, Predator and 2001: A Space Odyssey to that list as well – but those are the obvious ones.
Today’s Stuff to Watch will focus on the geekiest of geeky films. These are films that your average tech lovin’ computer whiz should love – and they’re not all dystopian sci-fi movies either.
Office Space (1999)
One of the funniest films of the decade, Office Space is a must-see if you spend much of your day in a cubicle (work, not toilets) filing away reports and fighting the office photocopier. This film is for anyone who has ever worked a soulless office job, reluctantly given up weekends to a boss they hate or those with a fondness for staplers. Everything from the plot to the humour to the hip hop soundtrack is perfect. It was funny in 1999 and it will still be very funny (and probably more relevant than ever) in 2029.
I’m currently waiting till I forget enough of Cube to watch and really enjoy it again. Cube is one of those movies that takes the viewer on quite a journey without actually changing location all that much. The film kicks off with seven complete strangers meeting for the first time inside a giant cube. The cube is a labyrinth containing thousands of rooms, some seemingly harmless and others full of deadly traps. And so begins a roller coaster ride of a movie that maintains the perfect balance of hope and dejection all the way to the bitter end.
In 1983, home computing had really started to take off and at the same time computer-related films and television shows started to enjoy mainstream success. Arguably one of the finest “hacker” films to date, WarGames is a must-watch for any geek. When David, a lowly hacker, gains access to a government computer he is asked a question – “do you want to play a game?”. What David doesn’t realise is that the answer he provides has the power to shape history and destroy the planet – 80s style. I found the full version of this movie floating around on YouTube, which is the second video below (with the first being the trailer).
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is easily one of the most celebrated sci-fi films of all time, and there’s a very good reason for that. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring (a young-ish) Harrison Ford, our protagonist – a blade runner – must hunt down and kill 4 replicants who have returned to earth after attacking a ship in space. Blade Runner isn’t just a special film for the plot and direction but also the beautiful cyberpunk setting and the fact that there is so much happening over the two-hour runtime that you’ll probably want to watch it a dozen times to get all you can from it.
THX 1138 (1971)
Quite possibly George Lucas’ best film (yeah I went there), THX 1138 is a dystopian tale of love in an authoritarian world run by robots and CCTV. I really must add that if you can, try to find the original 1979 cut rather than the one that Lucas released a few years ago.
The reason? Well the latest DVD release has been defaced with thoroughly unnecessary CGI which really detracts from the gritty atmosphere generated in the original. Why oh why must Lucas continue to ruin his own films and franchises I will never know, but you have been warned!
Dark City (1998)
In a city that never sees sunlight, one man starts to question his past, his memories and his very existence. As citizens go about their daily lives, unbeknownst to them a sinister event is taking place each night. The city is controlled, shaped and designed by mysterious beings with incredible telekinetic abilities. But when something goes wrong behind the scenes, John Murdoch can suddenly see the world for what it is – but can he convince others?
Moon is a beautifully constructed piece of cinema with gorgeous cinematography and the perfect soundtrack to boot. More importantly, it’s a film that is not over-reliant on CGI or convoluted back story and it features Kevin Spacey playing the role of a computerized robotic arm. In the not-so-distant future man’s energy demands have been satiated thanks to Lunar Industries and their operations on the moon. Earth is now completely reliant on helium-3, a clean energy source that must be harvested on the moon. The film tells the tale of Sam, the only human stationed on the base, as he approaches the end of his three-year contract.
They Live (1988)
What better way to finish off a geeky list of films with a John Carpenter classic? There’s a wealth of Carpenter films to choose from – The Thing & Escape from New York are two that spring to mind – but I think I enjoyed They Live more than I did the others. The plot is fairly simple – man finds sunglasses that reveal a terrifying secret about the world he is living in. The rest is your average John Carpenter action-cum-sci-fi flick, with the usual lashings of Carpenter’s self-composed 80’s keyboard score. Marvelous.
Conclusion: These are only my personal picks, and you’ve probably got your own favorites. If you think I’m wrong, that I’ve missed an absolute blinder or you’ve got a better list to share then please add your thoughts in the comments section below and help your fellow movie fans out!
Do you love these films? Do you have any other recommendations? Enlighten us all in the comments, below!