must watch post-apocalypse movies

My co-worker Jachin has started a blog called Survive The Apocalypse, and when it came to our attention today that he had not seen The Road Warrior, we set out to make a list of MUST WATCH movies for him as “research” for his project.

It turns out that there is already a wikipedia page for Listing Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic fiction, and that was a good place to start, but it would probably be hard to wade through all those movies, so here is my (much shorter and much less definitive) list of the ones that I highly recommend, specifically in relation to apocalypse survival:

  • The Road Warrior (1981)
  • Children of Men (2006)
  • 12 Monkeys (1995)
  • Fido (2006)*
  • Shaun of the Dead (2004)*
  • Six String Samurai (1998)
  • The Postman (1997)
  • District B-13 (2004)
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  • Escape from New York (1981)
  • 28 Days Later (2002)*
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)*, Dawn of the Dead (1978)* (Honestly, I haven’t yet seen Day of the Dead (1985)*, Land of the Dead (2005)*, or Diary of the Dead (2008).)
  • Waterworld (1995)

Two that get nods even though they are far-future, in a world nearly unrecognizable (and, coincidentally, both animated), and because they both rate highly on my list of favorite films of all time:

  • Nausicaa, Valley of the Wind (1984)
  • Wizards (1977)

Note that the *s indicates zombies present in the film. While researching, I also found this awesome Wikipedia page for zombie comedy films. Also interesting to note that City of Ember is on the first wikipedia list. I haven’t read the book (although I understand it’s young-adult), and have been meaning to catch it before it leaves the theaters.

Update: It occurs to me that I should take this moment to plug the comic book series The Walking Dead, which I have only just recently read to date. (It’s still coming out, and is full of super good zombie excitement.) Also, I just read The Road, a novel by Cormac McCarthy, which is being turned into a movie of the same name that will be released late November (next month). The Road doesn’t have zombies in it, but it’s solidly post-apocalypse.

Reformat the Planet

Today was the last day to finish watching Reformat the Planet over at, so I just did that. The documentary, about the first “chiptunes” Blip festival in NY in 2006, featured some interview and performance by Neil Voss, who I have babbled on about here before because I liked his video game soundtrcks for the N64.

It strikes me that there are so many scenes and subcultures that I think are awesome and would love to be a part of, but never will be.

I will have be satisfied with downloading more mustic from the 8-bit people website. Yum.

Prince Caspian life captions

I am re-reading Prince Caspian, (second in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series), before the movie opens this weekend. (We actually have sneak-preview tickets for Thursday.)

This morning on the bus, a cute girl sitting next to me asked me if I was re-reading it before the movie, and I acknowledged that yes, I hadn’t read it since high school. We exchanged a few more words before she then got off the bus.

But it occurred to me after that I was almost embarrassed admitting that I was reading it. I actually thought the girl was cuter before she said “It’s so good.” because it immediately made me wonder if the girl was into the books because she’s some religious nutjob.

This is, oddly enough, my fifth time experiencing this book. It was read to me when I was a kid, before I could read, and also happens to be one of the first things I read on my own, around preschool, I believe. I read it again sometime around fifth or sixth grade, and again in high school (when I HATED it because I couldn’t look past all the christian allegories). I actually may have only read the first book that last time, which would make this only my fourth reading of Prince Caspian. I can’t quite remember.

Apparently Prince Caspian in the movie is played by Ben Barnes, who is or was in a boy band called Hyrise.

Here is an interesting review/explaination of the book Planet Narnia’s take on Prince Caspian. Planet Narnia is a book written with the premise that each of the narnia books is about a different planet in our solar system.

Marketa Inglova at this year’s Oscars

I just spent the last twenty minutes googling for a good image of Marketa Inglova’s dress at the oscars (for florence). I didn’t really come up with anything, but in the process we watched her and Glen Hansard performing their Oscar winning song, Falling Slowly, both at the oscars, and then, randomly, in a much earlier performance. Then we watched their acceptance speech, which was cut off after Hansard spoke by the infamous music of cutting-people-off, and before Inglova could get a single word in edgewise. But then… later, she was brought back out onto the stage to speak her piece! I really have no idea whether that has ever happened before, but it seems unprecedented to me.

Anyway, the point is that, after all that, her speech was quite moving. Here is an excerpt:

“No matter how far out your dreams are it’s possible and, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope. And hope, at the end of the day, connects us all, no matter how different we are.” -Marketa Inglova

Stop Animation in Video Games and movies

Florence, Mike, Jason and I went to see Be Kind, Rewind last Sunday, (the new one Directed by Michel Gondry). I love Gondry’s style so much, but this one fell pretty flat for me. Maybe my expectations were inflated because I have loved his other movies so much, but it didn’t really live up to something. I liked The Science of Sleep better, and I remember feeling pretty similarly disappointed when that one came out.

Anyway, this morning a co-worker sent out a link to the Game Over Project‘s Human Space Invaders, which of course I think is brilliant. They also made a version of stop animation human tetris, (not to mention Pong and Pole Position).

Bonus link to a blog post that outlines a pretty sweet tetris variant the author thought up. (lazyweb!!!)

whales and elephants, oh my!

First of all, there is a vote going on right now over at to name a whale. What does it say about people who use the internet that the winning name right now (at 49%) is “Mister Splashy Pants”?

Secondly, our office’s South African Canadian is back from the outback, and he brought a bottle of Amarula with him. It’s tasty… possibly even tastier than Baily’s (although very similar), and makes me want to try out some Marula fruit. Anyway it’s put a pleasant buzz on the end of this first-workday-back-from-vacation.

Tonight I plan on spending my entire evening curled up with Florence on the couch, alternating between the new episode of Heros, Super Mario Galaxies, and possibly the second disk of the first season of Flight of the Conchords. I got the new Mario game this weekend, and am excited to play more… Florence and I rented the first disk of Flight of the Conchords last night, only realizing as we walked out the door that we’d have to return it today. (Overnight rental… wha!? I like nicollet village video, but I’m going to have to remember not to get new releases from there again.) We may well get the second disk, but we’d either be forced to watch it all tonight, or break down and go to Blockbuster instead.

back to readable…

OK, I think I’ve got the layout here more or less back to readable. I’ll probably be making tweaks to the stylesheet indefinitely, but for now at least I’m happy enough with the colors to not feel totally disgusted. Astute WP geeks will notice that I installed K2, and also Twitter-tools, which doesn’t play terribly well with WP 2.3, but it’s good enough for now. I didn’t expect it to create entries for all my old tweets, but I guess I can live with that… (I may delete a bunch of them when I get around to it.)

Mike and Jason and Florence and I all went to The Source this afternoon. Florence and I picked up the first two issues of Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Stories, which I think is a comic re-telling of his “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth“. (I haven’t read them yet.) We also picked up the new Buffy (Florence is a huge fan), and a new Luna Brothers comic called “Sword”, (issue 1), and the new Groo comic. Of these, I’ve only read the Groo so far. (One of my guilty pleasures.)

We’re planning on seeing the 4:45 showing of Wristcutters: A Love Story at the lagoon.

two movies and work life balance

I saw a couple of good movies this weekend, Eagle Vs. Shark, and Hot Fuzz.

I thought EVS was better, but it had a fairly mixed reaction from the crowd I saw it with. My biggest complaint would be that it was a bit too Napoleon Dynamite, or anyway that the main (male) character was going for the same qualities, and at times seemed to be channeling Napoleon. Otherwise, it was totally brilliant, and at times very much succeeded in achieving heartwarming status. There are some clips up on Youtube of Jemaine Clement (the male lead) singing and playing guitar on a stage with another guy. You should really watch the songs Albi, the Racist Dragon, and Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros if you haven’t already. (Links via Sharyn.)

Hot Fuzz was everything I should have expected from it. I think I did a fairly good job of going into it without expectations, but if I had thought to have them, it would have met them. Basically, it was a rehashing of the same themes apparent in Shaun of the Dead, and starred the same two male characters, (for those of you living under a rock who haven’t heard of it). I’ll try not to give any spoilers here, but basically, I felt like Shaun was a zombie movie within a parody of a zombie movie. It was totally funny and awesome up until about the last fourth of the movie, when it turned into a full-on zombie movie, without reservation. Hot Fuzz was the same way! It was a parody of cop movies (buddy-cop movies, if that’s a genre), again more or less turning into an actual cop movie for the last twenty minutes or so. It was still funny, and still very much fun and original, but lacked the “genre” aspect that made Shaun so appealing for me in particular, so I’d have to say I liked it a bit less overall.

I saw Hot Fuzz last night as a sort of break in the middle of a twelve-hour work bender. (Yes, on a Saturday.) We have a big site launch this week, and everyone’s been pushing really hard to get the last few details working. (To say nothing of actually putting any finishing touches on them.) I thought yesterday may have been my longest work day ever, but when I spent an hour logging all my hours for the last week, I realized I worked about the same number last Thursday also. Whew!

I’m going to try and get a good night’s sleep tonight. I feel like i might be coming down with something, but it could also be allergies. Anyway, I’m sniffly and miserable.

Self-Referential Movies

I started this blog entry a few days ago after watching Adaptation again, but while I knew I wanted to write about Adaptation, and how much I loved it, I didn’t realize that I wanted to write about self-referential works of fiction in film until I walked in on Nate watching the last Nightmare on Elm Street movie, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Both movies feature the screenwriters and the screenplay, quoting themselves and eventually becoming the screenplay that is shown in the film.

This is somehow thicker and more interesting, in my opinion, than many of the films written about on the Self-Referential Movies Website, because she (Barbara Bernstein) includes movies that just make subtle references to the fact that we’re watching a movie, not the full-on hit you over the head with the fact that we’re watching the movie being talked about in the movie movie. (Although the entry/essay on Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is quite good, and out of the context of this discussion, I do appreciate and want to read more of that website.)

So I posted on the IMDB Adaptation message board asking if anyone knew of other movies that do this–other movies that eat themselves, other oroborus movies. I think I’m going to try and write one. This fits well into my current obsession with Rudy Rucker’s work, and I think my screenplay will involve the nature of infinity. (It also occurs to me that Master of Space and Time would make a great movie.)

I should also re-read Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler, which uses a similar (but mirror-reverse when you think about it) self-referential device, written, as it is, entirely in second person, about the person reading the book.

new blogs, opening movies and closing stores

My friends Daniel and Ilona have started blogs after moving to Portland. I miss them already.

Also, I saw Howl’s Moving Castle last Saturday at the Uptown, but I still have at least three movies in the theater that I desperately want to see. I may skip out on work today (like really soon now) and go see Batman Begins with Jason downtown. He and I also have a date to see Kontroll sometime at the Lagoon. And finally, I have also heard enough good things about Mr. and Mrs. Smith that it is relatively high on my priority list as well. In other movie news I picked up a pass to see next Tuesday’s showing of Land of the Dead, but just found out that it’s the same director who did Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (the original), and Day of the Dead. I am almost certain I have seen none of the above, and may have to make an effort in that direction this weekend.

The problem is that I already skipped some work today to take a long lunch and check out the going out of business sale that Let it Be records is having downtown. I think today might be their last day, or anyway, that’s what I read over at the citypages. Other local stores that are closing soon: Sister Fun, an uptown toy store, and the Toys-R-Us in Roseville. Too bad I’m essentially penniless as of late.