Science Fiction Films discussion

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Science Fiction Comedy

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Are there any real science fiction comedies? I don't mean spoof stuff like SPACEBALLS, I mean a real science fiction comedy.

For my money, the best that I know of (probably the only one I really know of) is Douglas Adams' HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. A real piece of actual science fiction that deals with actual themes and ideas while managing to be genuinely funny. Granted, the joke runs rather thin in the later books, and the movie suffers from some really appalling miscasting (no film with Mos Def can ever be as good as any film without Mos Def) but there are moments that still work after all these years.

Any other Science Fiction comedies out there?


message 2: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Wow, good question Tom! I love the HITCHHIKER books and for a present this year I got my wife a tattoo of the cover with DONT'T PANIC. We're both fans and enjoy the original English mini-series...but loathed the Disney film.
Maybe the best science fiction comedy is RED DWARF. The first few seasons where a mixture of mordant wit, slapstick, and some very interesting science fiction principles. Highly recommended!


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 12, 2008 08:00AM) (new)

Guys,

Depending on your definition of comedy you might include 'Dark Star' and 'They Live'.


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I'd put Harry Harrison's Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat & Bill The Galactic Hero down as comedic SF.

Philip José Farmer has his moments with a few books & Kurt Vonnegut is always off the wall, often funny.



message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments There were parts of the HITCHHIKER'S film I liked, especially the narration by Stephen Fry and the animations for the book. Of the leads, only Martin Freeman seemed to get the Adams thing at all. The only scenes in the film that really really got the Adams flavor were the ones between Martin Freeman's Arthur Dent and Bill Nighy's Slartifbartfast. Their little dialogues about the construction of the Earth are little marvels.

And Freeman's palpable relief at finally getting his cup of tea at the end was just a joy to watch.

I've heard of RED DWARF. Share some details?


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I posted books not films. Wrong group. Sorry!

Rocky Horror Picture Show !!!
Back to the Future 1, 2 & 3
Wallace & Grommett
Demolition Man
Mars Attacks
Honey, I Shrunk the kids
Little Shop of Horrors
Flubber
The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes (old Disney)
Weird Science

... I'm going to lunch. Too many to list.



message 7: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Books, films, whatever. More, please!


message 8: by Angie (new)

Angie King Dinosaur, I love the mention of the Phantom Menace... so funny!


message 9: by George (last edited Dec 12, 2008 05:06PM) (new)

George | 63 comments In Space, No one Can Hear you Laugh, either.

How about Repo Man?


message 10: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Dec 12, 2008 07:22PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
REPO MAN is a favorite, great pick! ICE PIRATES is great fun and a much better parody than Mel Brooks SPACEBALLS. And I haven't seen DARK STAR in many years so it's time to queue. I love this forum, thanks everyone:)

RED DWARF is a British science fiction series about Lister, a janitor aboard the minining ship Red Dwarf which is way out in deep space. He is punished by being put into suspended isolation until they reach port; while imprisoned, the ship suffers a radiation leak and the "intelligent" HAL-like computer doen't release him until the radiation is dispersed...three million years later. To keep him from going insane, the computer revives (via Hologram) his most hated cohort Arnold Rimmer. The series plays like an outer space Odd Couple with a few added characters like Cat (who evolved from an Earth cat in the millions of years into a humanoid feline) and a robot named Kryton. And the computer Holly is just plain wacko, having lost its "mind" over the millions of years of keeping the ship running and lonliness. Very intelligent writing on par with Douglas Adams with the absurdly realistic humor. It's best to watch the episodes in order so, if you get the chance, queue season one from Netflix.


message 11: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Galaxy Quest!!!!!

Another one that is absolutely amazing, but HAVE FUN FINDING IT! is American Astronaut. It is weird and funny and awesome. The restroom dancing scene towards the beginning is worth the price of admission alone! I cant recommend it enough....but then again, Im a friggin weirdo so....


message 12: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) I love "Galaxy Quest". It gets better every time I see it.

I'd definitely put "The Fifth Element" in the science fiction comedy class.


message 13: by Olin (new)

Olin have you seen "mystrey science theater 3000"?


message 14: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I wasn't crazy about the film of MST3K. It felt kind of stodgy somehow, the TV show feels more spontaneous.


message 15: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
The TV show was definitely for teh awesome! Space Mutiny, The Girl In Gold Boots, Time Chasers, Overdrawn At The Memory Bank, Devil Fish, Prince Of Space, etc etc...awesomeness!


message 16: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I have copies of the original cable access shows with Joel, when the budget was nil but the laughs were worth their weight in gold. But I just can't watch another GAMERA movie:) I liked the Comedy Central shows but never liked the SCI-FI Channel series; the ongoing plot was just plain stupid while they should have focused more on satirizing the movies.


message 17: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Agreed Alex, the Sci Fi Channel versions with Mike being chased by Pearl with Bobo and the Watcher and all that got really dull.

My favorite MST3K: THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS and NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST.


message 18: by Angie (new)

Angie I think Mystery Science Theater just has a new DVD out. I have been on hold for it at the library for a while now.


message 19: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Another MST3K "masterpiece": THE POD PEOPLE. I LMAO every time I see Trumpy do magic things. And Joel's version of "Burning Rubber Tires" is just so freakin' hilarious...a must see.



message 20: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Rob,

Great that you mentioned The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. That's a funny film that I liked a lot....sure, I'd squeeze that in the sci-fi comedy genre....even if I have to jiggle it a little to make it fit.


message 21: by Ubik (last edited Dec 17, 2008 12:56PM) (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
@Alex: when I have some spare cash or perhaps some trade fodder, I might hit you up for copies of those old episodes :D... Im most interested in one that I think was a very early episode which was a movie about a future where cars were outlawed and the main character still had a car and he was some sort of vigilante or badass or something...


message 22: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Ubik, no cash or trade necessary! I downloaded the episodes years ago from the newsgroups for free and would be happy to share. The only problem is I need to dig through my spindles to find the discs, they should be buried in there somewhere. If not, I may be able to download them again.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Probably the best computer investment today is a couple of 500gb USB drives. I managed to get all my old stuff that was on CD's, floppies, Zip, Bernoulli & old hard disks on these drives. They were about $125 each. Now I have one place where I can find everything in a good directory structure.

Microsoft has a free utility called 'SyncToy' that will synchronize directories by 4 or 5 different methods. Excellent for making backups & keeping the drives mirrored plus getting stuff off my working hard drive.


message 24: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Thanks Jim! We're on the same page: I just picked up a 1 terabyte USB drive and am busy re-downloading all the original MST3K cable access shows:) I think these digital copies are even better than the ones I had burned on disc!


message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Great minds must think alike, Alex DeLarge!  ;-) 

It's so awesome that memory & HD space are so cheap now. My mother (almost 70) won't touch a PC so my main method of communication, email, doesn't work with her. I'm an only child & moved out of state on her, so it is important to stay in touch.

Solution: Digital picture frame & 2 - 512mb memory cards. I take lots of digital pictures, load them on the card & send it to her in a regular envelope. She sends back the old one. She gets to see the new farm developing & how everyone is doing. I also call 3 times a week at 5am. No one else wants to talk to us then, so we get 30 minute chats in, too.

The kids all have 1gb - 8gb thumb drives. They grab the pictures as we see them & can keep the ones they want before leaving to get on with their lives. Occasionally they'll drop off some of their own for us to look through. That adds up to a lot of space, though. I knew the terrabyte drives were out, but didn't know they were worth the price yet. Awesome!

Back on topic - the Internet Archive (http://archive.org) is a good place to look for old, legal movies, audio books & such for free. Not exactly a comedy movie, but I got "Attack of the Giant Leaches" there for free. It's not the greatest quality, but viewable. There are some Abott & Costello plus a lot more. A big swap meet for media that is public domain.


message 26: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
WOw, thats cool Alex. Im in no rush to get them so just whenever you have the time, shoot me a message (I may not remember to check this thread). :D


message 27: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments how about futurama?


message 28: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
How could we overlook FUTURAMA!?! Thanks Kai! A science fiction series that is both satire and warmly embraces the genre with love and affection.


message 29: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 39 comments No one's mentioned "Sleeper?" When I teach SF films and I want to show an SF comedy, that's the one I reach for. I also did a piece on it for the Internet Review of Science Fiction a while back.

As for SF comedy in print, the late great Robert Sheckley was the master of the form, although mention must be made of Theodore Sturgeon and William Tenn. Of current writers I find John Scalzi very amusing.


message 30: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I've been wanting to revisit SLEEPER for a few weeks now and consider it one of my favorite science fiction (and Woody Allen) films. Great choice Daniel! I remember reading that Harlan Ellison thought the Nebula should have gone to SLEEPER instead of SOYLENT GREEN.


message 31: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I'm slapping myself for not remembering the sublime DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24th 1/2 CENTURY. One of the highpoints of the entire Warner Brothers output, genuinely hilarious with a surprisingly serious indictment of gung-ho militarism. One of the great anti-war statements in movies, I think.


message 32: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 39 comments Re: "Sleeper" -- In one of his memoirs Isaac Asimov said that Woody Allen sent him the script of "Sleeper" for his advice. SF was not his (Allen's) field and he wanted to make sure he wasn't doing something stupid or cliched. Asimov, who was an Allen fan, told him not to change a thing. Allen then offered to hire Asimov as a consultant on the film, but Asimov didn't fly (believe it or not!) and so he recommended a friend: Ben Bova.

Re: "Duck Dodgers" - I attend the annual 24 Hour SF Film Marathon held in the Boston area and we always begin with a showing of "Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a 1/2 Century." I always laugh when he describes their course and one point says they'll be traveling "due Up."


message 33: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Daniel, I love the Due Up reference. I always laugh when he talks about traveling "south by down-east."


message 34: by Angie (new)

Angie I am a little late but I love Futurama! I thought at one point cartoon network was bringing it back but apparently not?


message 35: by James (new)

James Marsh (marshy00) Dark Star is great, as is the opening credits and dolphin song "So long and thanks for all the fish" in Hitchhikers' even if the rest of the movie doesn't quite cut it - although it does have its moments.

Red Dwarf is great - except for the last 1 or 2 seasons after Rimmer leaves, then it goes pants. There are a couple of books by "Grant Naylor" - apseudonym of writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor that are excellent value for Douglas Adams fans, and are far beyond being novelisations of the tv show. Well worth checking out.

Controversial - but what about Howard the Duck? I know it is widely despised and ridiculed, but there's plenty of folks out there with a soft spot for it too.

Surely, Time Bandits can go down here too.


message 36: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Marshy, I'm not sure I would include TIME BANDITS as science fiction. I think I'd call it more of a fantasy than anything else. Love the movie, of course. That wonderful scene where the bandits enlarge Kevin's room is one of my favorite things in movies.


message 37: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments Angie wrote: "I am a little late but I love Futurama! I thought at one point cartoon network was bringing it back but apparently not? "

last i heard of there were some dvds last year right or the year before?


message 38: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Marshy, HOWARD THE DUCK. Wow. It is actually coming out on DVD this year. Wow. Just-- just--- Wow. I remain speechless at this movie.


message 39: by Angie (last edited Jan 05, 2009 12:54PM) (new)

Angie Kai I saw on BN.com there is a Futurama movie coming out in February but I am not even really sure what it is.

PS Howard the Duck is more like a horror movie. ;)


message 40: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I saw HOWARD THE DUCK when it first came out, on the first day in fact. Went with some friends, we were sitting there hating every minute, and were really suffering because the people behind us were loving every minute, laughing and having a great time. And then, at the end of the movie, the lights came up, and it became clear that the people sitting behind us were the only people in the entire theatre who had enjoyed the movie. I've never seen so many angry movie patrons before or since.

Is it that bad? Well, I'll have to see it again, which I'm actually kind of curious to do. I remember thinking that the Dark Overlords were kind of cool, but that Howard himself was way too cute.

Does Tim Robbins even include it on his resume any more?


message 41: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I've never seen it but had the first issue from Marvel Comics...god knows why.
Tom, sounds like my reaction to THE PHANTOM MENACE; everyone around me enjoyed it (except my wife and our friends) and I wanted to strangle somebody...whose first name begins with a G and last ends with AS(S).


message 42: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I think there are quite a few Futurama movies. I own 3 of them: "Bender's Game", "Bender's Big Score" and "Beast with a Billion Backs". Fun stuff. :)


message 43: by Angie (new)

Angie Tom... I also have not seen Howard the Duck for a long time and this thread has also peaked my curiosity to see it again. Maybe we should watch it and then start a thread about it? (That is if we even make it through a second viewing).


message 44: by James (new)

James Marsh (marshy00) Ha ha ha ha good to see my mention of Howard the Duck is stirring things up nicely. I just have shocking memories of "that" sex scene with Lea Thompson! What were they thinking?? I'm pretty sure he uses a condom too!
I know there is a good German release of this (maybe it gains something in translation!!) but not sure what else - will look around - maybe it's time has finally come!


message 45: by James (new)

James Marsh (marshy00) Yup - R1 release is out March 10th: http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Duck-Lea...

Maybe we could make it Film of the Month?! ;)


message 46: by Phillip (new)

Phillip interesting no no one has mentioned the fifth element. that's a pretty comical sci-fi film, imo.


message 47: by Kandice (new)

Kandice How about Men in Black? Hilarious!


message 48: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Daniel mention Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE in another post: we can't forget that one!


message 49: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I wouldn't consider DR. STRANGELOVE science fiction, really. There isn't enough of the futuristic or alternate science content for it to really qualify like GATTACA or even CLOCKWORK ORANGE.


message 50: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 39 comments Your mileage differs. "Dr. Strangelove" posits a device that does not yet exist and shows the consequences of it. That's SF to me.

Not only do I use it in class, but it has played at the annual 24 hour marathon of SF films in the Boston area, and no one complained that it wasn't SF. (And people ARE quick to complain if they feel a film doesn't belong.)


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