It’s the apocalypse outside! Bummer. Much like the characters in this week’s ’10 Cloverfield Lane’, you’re stuck in a survivalist bunker, presumably for years or perhaps even forever. Fortunately, you have solar power electricity, a big TV, and were able to grab three Blu-rays (or DVDs, if you’re desperate enough) off your shelf before you got locked in. What were the discs?
Yes, this is a variation on the old “Desert Island Books” / “Desert Island Discs” question, except that you really wouldn’t be likely to have a TV or electricity on a desert island, would you? Advantage: Bunker!
- You must already currently own the discs. Amazon won’t deliver to you during the apocalypse.
- No cheating by choosing multi-movie box sets. I will accept a single TV season box set as one title, however. (Not all of our participants paid attention to this rule, unfortunately.)
Unfortunately, since two of my favorite movies have yet to receive an HD upgrade, I’d have to choose one Blu-ray and two standard-def DVDs to tide me over for the rest of time. They would be ‘The Fugitive‘, ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’, and of course ‘Wonder Boys’.
‘Groundhog Day‘ – The central idea would be perfect for hiding out in a bunker where seemingly every day is exactly like the day before. Plus, that movie is always funny. Always. I don’t see myself getting sick of it even if I had to watch it over and over and over and over and over again.
‘The Tree of Life‘ – At least I’d have the rest of my life to figure out all the symbolism in this movie. Also, it’d be a reminder of just how beautiful the world used to be before the apocalypse – a reminder of happier times and a way to remember the world as it once was.
‘Event Horizon‘ – Finally, I’d pick this outer space horror film for one reason: Things could always be worse.
So three movies, and presumably no surround sound? Forget the esoteric, this is about survival. I think ‘Blade Runner‘ would be the first choice, no matter which cut it is. It’s visually dense, entertaining, and substantive on several levels, including is production, editing and home video history.
With fantastic rewatchability in mind, I’ll opt for ‘Conan the Barbarian‘. That first Conan is a very ’80s action fantasy flick, complete with an excellent soundtrack and a wonderfully realized mythical world.
Finally, knowing that I’d need to have a comedy, I think I’d go with ‘The Big Lebowski‘. Not only is it endlessly funny and executed well in every aspect, it’s also a fun trip.
These three movies have already withstood the test of time. I’d enjoy reminiscing about having watched them for decades, which is another crucial factor.
Hmmm, only three? That’s a very tough choice. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to take a scientific approach to this. Therefore, I’m going with one absolute personal favorite, one all-time classic, and one ultimate reminder of the way things used to be.
Starting with my personal favorite: ‘Bubba Ho-Tep‘. This horror/comedy from the mind of Joe Lansdale (my favorite author) and starring Bruce Campbell (my favorite actor) is such a great little gem. It’s funny, it’s touching, and it’s downright WEIRD – pitting an elderly Elvis Presley against a mummy, of all things. I know it’s a strange pick, but I can watch this movie over and over and never get sick of it, so it’s something I’d reach for first.
Now on to the classic, I thought about ‘Citizen Kane’ for a moment, but I ultimately had to go with Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai‘. Like ‘Kane’, ‘Seven Samurai’ is a masterful work of art and is considered one of the greatest films ever made. In the end, the choice between them just came down to personal taste.
Finally, what better way to preserve your memories of the world (before the shit hit the fan) than with the BBC’s ‘Planet Earth‘? For me, the groundbreaking documentary series is the only option here, as no other production can cover so much in such amazing detail. It’s definitely something to hold onto, both physically and mentally.
First and foremost, I have to bring along ‘Jaws‘, which I never grow tired of watching. It’s not only my favorite Spielberg film, it’s one of my top-5 all-time favorites. Even though I know most of the dialogue by heart at this point, I still throw it in my player a couple times every year.
Another highly rewatchable title that I couldn’t imagine not having on-hand is Martin Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas‘. It still needs a definitive edition on Blu-ray (I still argue with others about the color timing not being quite right on the latest edition), but I can think of no other film I own that is as well-paced and as much fun to watch. It really is Scorsese’s masterpiece in a career full of really good movies.
I was going to avoid picking any large boxed sets with a ton of content in them (since the easy answer for this question would be to pick Blu-ray sets that had the most hours of material – you know, like that James Bond collection), but then I realized that there’s no way I’m going to be stuck down in a bunker without my ‘Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery‘ collection. Although it’s no longer the entire series (David Lynch and the gang are currently shooting new episodes for Showtime), ‘Twin Peaks’ is far and away my all-time favorite TV show, and it’s another one of those pieces of entertainment I can watch over and over and over again without ever getting bored.
My first disc would be ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘. I can’t live without that film. The second is one for which my love is highly scrutinized: ‘Vanilla Sky‘. With those two immersive relationship dramas, I’d be completely satisfied.
The third disc is likely to be a variable title that would change depending on what has been on my mind. At this time, I’d grab ‘Into the Wild‘. Not only is it a well-rounded film, but it features gorgeous views of the world outside that I’d possibly never set my eyes on again and a soundtrack by Eddie Vedder that’s absolutely perfect.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
The first discs I’d grab off the shelf would undoubtedly be ‘Jaws’ and ‘UHF’.
Aside from being far and away my favorite movie, ‘Jaws‘ is compulsively rewatchable. That’s always a plus if life in an underground bunker demands that I watch it over and over and over and over. A couple of feature-length documentaries in the extras would help break up the routine as well. I’m sure my withering mole-man eyes would appreciate the sight of summer on the open sea, even if there is a gigantic shark lurking around.
What’s the point of a solitary, hopelessly isolated existence if I can’t laugh a little? Some kind of comedy would be essential, and I remember vowing in the summer of 1991 that I was going to watch ‘UHF‘ every single day during the months-long break from school. I think I only made it a week and a half, but the apocalypse is as good an excuse as any to give that another shot. That its Blu-ray release is such a loaded special edition sure doesn’t hurt either.
As tempting as it’d be for my third and final selection to be a stone-cold cinematic classic, I think I’d go in a completely different direction. Synapse Films’ ‘42nd Street Forever‘ crams more than eighty cult cinema trailers onto a single disc, spanning everything from blaxploitation to Italian ‘Star Wars’ knockoffs. It’s a grindhouse sampling platter, giving me bite-size tastes of numerous different genres. I can’t think of a better way to maximize variety while sticking to these rules. Then again, if my wife (and/or a Mary Elizabeth Winstead-type refugee) were stuck in the bunker with me, I’d probably pick something a little less gonzo. ‘Casablanca’? Everyone loves ‘Casablanca’.
The easy choice here would be for me to pick my favorite movie (‘Dune’), but honestly I’ve watched that film so many times I know it by heart anyway. If we’re talking dire circumstances here, I’m going for variety and some hard choices will need to be made.
I’ll start with ‘Baraka‘ for much the same reason that Tom chose the ‘Planet Earth’ documentary. The film showcases the beauty of the world and its cultures (as they were before the fall) and will serve as a reminder of everything that’s been lost. It also makes great video wallpaper that can be played on a continuous loop when I’m feeling desperately claustrophobic and need the illusion of a window to the outside.
If I’m trapped alone in a confined space for an extended time, no other movie captures the isolation and loneliness of that situation better than Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘. It doesn’t hurt that the film closes with the hope of transcendence and rescue by aliens.
Finally, if I’m going to get through this experience, I’ll need just a little joy. No filmmaker’s works make me as happy as Fellini’s. I’m hard pressed to choose between his masterpieces ‘La dolce vita‘ and ‘8 ½‘. I consider them both to be perfect films. Down to the wire and forced to make a decision, I think I’ll grab ‘La dolce vita’. I could watch that movie countless times without tiring of it.
Now it’s your turn. Which three movies will get you through the apocalypse?