New Article: Jim's Favorite Space Movies

Something fun to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing…

@jstump says he’s happy to defend his choices here on the Forum!

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only seen one of these, but I completely agree with your choice of Star Wars movies. The originals are all good, but A New Hope is the one that builds the world and gets you hooked on it – Empire Strikes Back felt too sad to me as a kid.

I’ll have to check out “Arrival” but I enjoyed the others. However I can’t imagine leaving Martian Chronicles off the list. It suffered for lack of action and production values, but this scene is priceless.

I resonate with most of Jim’s picks except I would probably have included “Interstellar” in the list somewhere. Maybe in place of ‘Planet of the Apes’. But unlike Jim, I’m not prepared to defend my choice much - since Planet of the Apes is definitely more than an iconic classic now than movies like Interstellar probably ever would be. I can only say that the former didn’t imprint on my imagination the way some others did – like Star Wars. I must be about the same age as you, Jim, because my Star Wars experiences are parallel to yours - complete with my folks not wanting me go to any theaters (except that my older brother-in-law then took me, against their wishes, to see it in a theater: Mennonite kid, meet big screen and big sound!).

I must admit, I’m a tad disappointed that your intellectually dignified picks failed to include “Galaxy Quest” or “Mom and Dad save the Planet”.

[the movie: “Gravity” at least made some strides towards trying to get a bit more realistic over other space depictions - at least in some ways, though there was still plenty of physics or stretched plausibility to pick apart.]

VGood list, have not seen a couple, but agree with the others. Arrival was quite good. I might substitute The Martian in for the Planet of the Apes .
Apollo 13 was a great one, enjoyed the cameo with Jim Lovell as the captain of the recovery ship. Lovell had a lake house near us, and we attended the premiere with him at our local little theater years ago.

I too am disappointed that Galaxy Quest did not make the cut. And Guardians of the Galaxy should be there, at least for the soundtrack.:wink:

I liked Interstellar (especially the music!), but could only bring myself to include one Matthew McConaughy movie in the list. The scene when he watches his grown up kids on video after being stuck on the water planet for years is amazing.

Great list! Since it leans toward the intellectual side of the genre, I have two additions:

2001: A Space Odyssey
From the discovery of tools to HAL, the AI that develops consciousness and paranoia, this movie covers all the bases for BioLogos. I also love the fact that this is the only sci-fi film that gets space travel right. There is no sound in space. All those X-wing fighters roaring across the screen … nope!

Solaris (2002)
If you haven’t seen this one, here’s how Roger Ebert described it:

Soderbergh’s “Solaris” is quiet and introspective. There are some shocks and surprises, but this is not “Alien.” It is a workshop for a discussion of human identity. It considers not only how we relate to others, but how we relate to our ideas of others–so that a completely phony, non-human replica of a dead wife can inspire the same feelings that the wife herself once did. That is a peculiarity of humans: We feel the same emotions for our ideas as we do for the real world, which is why we can cry while reading a book, or fall in love with movie stars.

Which two would I kick off your list? Star Wars has been cheapened by the franchise. Off it goes! Planet of the Apes? Not a space movie. I’d also like to make room for “Alien,” but I’d have to take off Solaris to do it.

And now the gloves come off…

2001 was on my list until I decided to put Apollo 13 on it (that’s realistic space travel!). So I’m not saying it’s awful. But it isn’t easy to watch… especially the last 30 minutes.

To claim Planet of the Apes isn’t a space movie, you’re going to have to supply a rival criterion to mine, which will then open up that debate.

Speaking of space travel… they’re calling my boarding group.

The movie’s definitely a product of its time. I’m pretty sure it’s still popular in Colorado and states like it, though. :wink: On the other hand, if you subtract the action sequences, most movies don’t have enough plot to fill a 30-minute episode of Twilight Zone.

What was your criterion? A crashed space ship? Hmmm. Someone please bring up ET.

I can’t think of a good rival other than actual scenes of space travel, but that might disqualify some worthy candidates. Help me out, peanut gallery.

Safe travels! (Edit: Forgot to mention that I was out at the Very Large Array in March. If you’re ever in NM, it’s a pretty cool side trip for a fan of Contact.)

That was going to be my comment. Alan Rickman’s career defining role, for sure.



Well, if Planet of the Apes is going to be attacked then I guess I won’t even bring up Space Balls! Obviously while you all are rubbing your intelligentsia elbows in some hoity-toity restaurant of prestigious sci-fi offerings, I’m slumming it at over the local MacDonald’s franchise chuckling over things like Red Dwarf or Orville (okay - so those aren’t movies but some have movies associated with them). But before I summon a taxi to see if I can find all of you, I have go after that one fry I spotted on the floor and brandish it for your consideration pleasures: “Plan Nine From Outer Space!”

(Look it up — or watch the entire thing on youtube right here. [warning: it is to sci-fi what “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” is to horror. If you just want to sample the stunning special effects, skip ahead to about 21:50 or so, but you’ll be missing out on a cross-cultural experience.])

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