No, I don’t know why I’m writing this one, either: most of my readership consists of geeks. But, hey, content is content.
A quick note: I am operating under the assumption that you don’t need to be told that you should watch the Star Wars, Star Trek, and/or Indiana Jones series; lots of people who aren’t geeks have watched those films, anyway. I also don’t mean to suggest that No True Geek would have not seen (or not liked) the movies below: merely that in my experience these movies have informed the geek collective worldview in significant ways. Keep in mind as well that this list is not comprehensive; there’s plenty of other films that could be on this list. Lastly, none of these are necessarily the best movies in the world, or even the best geek movies. Merely influential, oft-quoted ones.
Anyway, in no particular order:
- The Princess Bride (fantasy): This is not so much a ‘quotable’ movie as it is a ‘many geeks can make a stab at reciting it verbatim’ movie. Good writing, excellent banter, cast of crystallized awesome, and Cary Elwes / Mandy Patinkin did their own swordplay.
- Ghostbusters (comedy): This one is particularly loved by roleplaying game geeks, largely because it represents the Platonic Ideal of a good roleplaying game campaign (see also National Treasure and The Mummy). And, remember, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES.
- Independence Day (BOOM): Steal from one movie, you’re a plagiarist. Steal from half a dozen movies, you’re doing a homage. Steal from one hundred and forty seven movies (at my last count) and you’ve created a collage or mosaic, and both of those are recognized art forms. You could teach a 300-level class in classic science fiction cinema solely from the call-outs in ID4. It’s a great game to play, particularly when beer’s involved*.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Monty Python): Actually, I don’t know if the current generation venerates this movie. Or Python generally. It’s certainly popular with my generation, though – so watch it if you want to understand the old farts.
- Army of Darkness (Horror): “Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.” This movie is why Bruce Campbell will continue to find work for some time to come.
- Galaxy Quest (Science fiction): OK, when I said ‘no Star Trek’ I kind of lied. This movie has been inserted into the canon by many geeks, not least because it preserves the rule that ‘Odd-numbered Star Trek movies suck’ (long story) – but also because, well, Galaxy Quest. This is a movie about the fans, really. And a heroic one, damn your eyes.
And, honorable mention:
- The Iron Giant (animated). Got a he-geek in your life who claims that nothing gets to him, and nothing can make him cry? Yeah, well, this is the movie for you.
*But, for the record: the damn nuke should have had a humorous saying on it.