And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I have done. Behold: Five brand-spanking new Top 5s, for your reading pleasure.2
There are two main types of time travel movies: Those in which you can change the past; and those in which you can’t. As you may be able to tell from the list below, I tend to favor the latter approach.
- 12 Monkeys (1995)
Some people may prefer the film it was based on, La Jetée (1962), but since I’ve never seen it, I can only say this: they’re wrong.
- Back to the Future (1985)
1.21 gigawatts of excitement!
- Los Cronocrímines (2007)
A Spanish film with a cast of 5 and the same 1-hour span repeated over and over. Certainly better than its translated-into-English title of Time Crimes would have you believe.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1995)
I haven’t seen this in ages, so the special effects may no longer be able to hold a candle to those in today’s films, but who needs candles when you’re from the future?
- Primer (2004)
A holy mindfuck of a movie. People have mapped out the 9 parallel timelines, but I still feel this one is the most accurate.
- Shaun of the Dead (2004)
- 28 Days Later... (2002)
Technically, this isn’t a zombie movie, since technically, they’re not zombies. But it’s my list, and I don’t care.
- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Yes, the remake of a sequel beats out Romero’s original. So sue me. (On second thought, don’t.)
- Zombieland (2009)
Killer intro sequence.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Nothing beats a classic. Except four films from the past eight years...
- Footnote #1 in Paging Doctor Acula — (Let the Right One In)
Combined with a crack at Twilight? Bonus.
- All of Doing Religious Right — (The Evil Dead trilogy)
- Last line/footnote #3 of And Then She Said Those Three Little Words... — (Real Genius)
- The last line of Give That Man a Medal — (The Hudsucker Proxy)
- Paul Giamatti impersonators in Day Twelve — (Big Fat Liar)
As the all-powerful list czar, I decree that hyphenated names are acceptable, but names with little bits like “van” and “del” (which basically translate to “of”) are ineligible.3 Each actor is listed with three of his/her finest roles.
- Daniel Day-Lewis
My Left Foot (1989), Gangs of New York (2002), There Will Be Blood (2007)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman
Synechdoche, New York (2008), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Flawless (1999)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Brick (2005), Mysterious Skin (2004), The Lookout (2007)
- Tommy Lee Jones
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), In the Valley of Elah (2007), JFK (1991)
- Helena Bonham Carter
Fight Club (1999), The Wings of the Dove (1997), Conversations with Other Women (2005)
- A 2007 remake of Casablanca with an all-penguin cast
What happened: The director was trying to feed off penguins’ recent rise in popularity, but test audiences didn’t buy the relationship between Rick and Ilsa. Also, the penguin actors kept mysteriously disappearing one by one; only after production ceased did they discover that the penguin playing Sam was, in fact, a polar bear.
- The Bible: A Jerry Bruckheimer Production
What happened: With Charlton Heston reprising his role as Moses, and Michael Bay directing, this eight-hour epic was well on its way to becoming the most exciting, expensive, explosive, and excessive rendition of the good book ever... until one fateful day in June 2007, when the entire cast of thousands was eaten by a swarm of locusts.
What happened: This 1998 dramatization of the 1880s scabies outbreak had myriad troubles right from the start. Jude Law arrived on set every morning too doped up on horse tranquilizers to deliver his lines. Dame Judi Dench complained incessantly about the foam rubber scabie suit, saying it made her look like a giant lobster and was pretty sure it had actually given her scabies. Two weeks into shooting, Sir Ian McKellen was caught in a hotel room with three prostitutes, two nuclear warheads, and an expired jar of mayonnaise. When Marlee Matlin was found taking a flamethrower to the set for the second time in as many days, the producers pulled all funding.
- A 1960 remake of Citizen Kane, with Marlon Brando as Charles Foster Kane and Marilyn Monroe as Rosebud
What happened: Monroe’s contract stipulated that she appear in every scene, which kind of gave away the mystery right from scene one. And an irate Orson Welles showed up on set on numerous occasions, threatening the cast with a knife and asking, “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” But the main culprit was a typo in the script: they had to scrap the entire film when it turned out that Kane was not supposed to be a newspaper magnet.
- Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
What happened: It got made into a movie.
1 Well, except for those two pointy bits.
2 Spanking not included.
3 “Ivory” is also out.