Number 1 on My List of the Worst Top Ten Lists of the Best Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies of the Past Decade

OMG. Just a month ago, I contemplated using time travel to go back to stop myself from watching Primer. Now, Primer has made someone’s Top Ten list. Mind you, I think Primer deserves an A- in Film School. It wasn’t awful, it just really fizzled out and I can’t recommend it.

Had I known this Top Ten List would include The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I might have been better prepared for shock and disappointment. TESOTSM is just gawd-awful. I would watch Primer every day if I thought that would erase my memory of TESOTSM.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know what was on this “list” because the Web site doesn’t actually list these movies. That there is no list with links to these 10 items is an anti-Web, slimy way of forcing people to slog through pages. It says Techland’s advertisers matter more than its readers. So, here’s the list:

10. 28 Days Later
9. Minority Report
8. Star Trek
6. Children of Men (very violent; Michael Caine is wonderful, but his end is not)
5. Primer
4. The Fountain
3. Solaris
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
1. A.I.

With AI topping this list, we know Steven James Snyder has an amazing tolerance for ponderous story-telling. That’s a vital quality for a film reviewer. I’m assuming he’ll love Avatar, leaving me quite doubtful about it.

FWIW – not much – of these selections, I rank WALL-E #1 and Minority Report #2 (that one grew on me with repetition – it thoroughly documents a Gibson-esque dystopia – up there with Blade Runner).

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5 thoughts on “Number 1 on My List of the Worst Top Ten Lists of the Best Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies of the Past Decade”

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my list! That said, I understand that Primer, and A.I., aren’t for everybody. But

    I’m surprised that you deem “Eternal Sunshine” as god-er gawd -awful. I’ve seen it top many critic’s best-of-the-decade lists, much-

    less sci-fi. Would you ever give it another chance?

    As for the layout of the top 10, we are currently limited technically in how

    we can line up the pages. We are working to fix it by the time our lists publish on Thursday or Friday. But for now, I’ll try to go back

    and write out the full list on page 1.

    As for “Avatar,” we shall see. We’re seeing it on Thursday, will have some initial

    reaction on Friday! I’ll try to view it through the eyes of someone who hates TESOTSM.

  2. Hi, Steve-

    Thanks for writing here and there. (Google Alerts are fast, or does Time have something faster?)


    Primer really make sense to you all the way? Eventually it seemed to leave a lot to the viewer’s imagination. And, sadly, the shotgun

    thread reminded me too much of Groundhog Day, to the detriment of Primer.

    I won’t hold you responsible for the irony that the

    *tech* site under can’t do what did today with a different top 10 list. I sympathize. However, the assertion elsewhere

    on site that editors have suggested more lists does make it all seem more like an advertising delivery system than a friendly exchange

    among nerds. (Yeah, yeah, I know, somebody expects to make money sometime.)

    I can’t give Spotless another chance — it was the

    most depressing movie I’ve ever seen that wasn’t about the Holocaust or other real suffering. I won’t put myself through that again.

    On the other hand, you did get me to think again about AI. I wish it had been better. Certainly, Minority Report *is* better.

    Don’t let anybody get you down. Enjoy Avatar — it looks great.

  3. Hey Mark–
    Finally! Someone else who couldn’t

    get through ESOTSM. Alex and I made endured about 20 minutes of it.

  4. Well, I enjoyed “Sunshine” more than most films on

    the Techland list. Gondry, the director, has a very European, art house approach to his movies, which probably accounts for his marginal

    presence in the US movie business. I would never try to argue with anybody who didn’t like it, though. Let the mystery of film

    preference remain!

    Charlie Kaufman who wrote the “Sunshine” screenplay committed occupational suicide this year by

    directing/writing his awful “Synecdoche, New York,” so you probably won’t have to worry about seeing films from him again. Which is

    somewhat sad in that I thought his script for “Being John Malkovich” showed a lot of promise.

    Was the cheap indy “Primer” actually

    commercially released? I can’t recall it ever showing up on my movie radar before seeing this list. Sounds like I can safely omit it

    from the video rental queue, though, as I have “The Fountain” and “28 Days Later.”

    “Solaris,” “Children of Men,” and “Minority

    Report” all left me cold and puzzled. One can sense a decent idea behind them, but as for motivation of the main characters, development,

    plotting, they seem empty and unsatisfying.

    Amazing to think that – to me – the best SciFi on the list was the animated “Wall-E,”

    and it was no huge box of chocolates!

    Sadly, the SciFi genre has been in decline for many years. Film makers who want to make a

    name for themselves are much more interested in producing the “branded” sequels based on popular comic book heroes, TV series, and

    children’s novels.

    James Cameron is one director – maybe the ONE director – who has the imagination, credibility, and financial

    backing to produce a “new” idea like “Avatar,” rather than recycling already popular ideas. His emphasis on the 3-D version is a bit

    unsettling, though, but maybe I can be convinced.

  5. James! *You* might actually appreciate

    Primer — the first half is better than I’ve let on. The premise of engineers building a time machine in a storage shed has a

    Wozniak/Jobs vibe. Maybe you’d get what I missed. // As for Charlie Kaufman, I think he’s a great screenwriter, so I blame that

    European director. (Actually, I haven’t liked Jim Carrey after Once Bitten.)

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