10 Time Travel Films Worth Revisiting
With Looper currently bending the rules and stylishly stretching the conventions of the time-travel genre — not to mention raking in a cool $21 million this past weekend — we can’t help looking back at some of the similarly themed flicks we still cherish. If you’re looking for some movie night inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Rev up that Netflix cue, and take the trip with us, won’t you?
(*in no particular order)
1. Back to the Future (1985) – Arguably the best of the category, Robert Zemekis’s popcorn adventure solidified sitcom star Michael J. Fox as a box office star and inspired every child of the 80s to ask for a DeLorean for Christmas…and every horny teen to ask for Lea Thompson’s number.
2. The Terminator (1984) – Never had the concept of time travel seemed so dark and dangerous until James Cameron’s thriller pitted Linda Hamilton against a ruthless cyborg from the future that looked a lot like a certain Austrian bodybuilder.
3. The Time Machine (1960) – Based on the H.G. Wells novel that practically birthed the genre, this adaptation starred the dapper Rod Taylor as the Victorian Englishman who revs up the titular contraption and embarks on an unforgettable adventure.
4. Time After Time (1979) – Speaking of H.G. Wells, Malcolm McDowall plays the famous writer, this time transported to 1979 where he must prevent a time-hopping Jack the Ripper (Titanic‘s David Warner) from painting the streets of San Francisco red — y’know, with blood. A pre-Back to the Future Part III Mary Steenburgen appears as H.G.’s modern-day love interest. Sadly, Cyndi Lauper’s similarly titled pop ballad is nowhere to be found on the soundtrack.
5. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) – I remember catching an afternoon matinee of this trippy comedy when I was in the fourth grade. And loving every minute of it. Possibly the best 90-minute history lesson ever. Classic scene: Historical figures take over a shopping mall (there’s nothing like seeing Joan of Arc pick up some aerobics and Socrates and Abe Lincoln picking up chicks at the food court). Altogether now: “San Dimas High School football rules!”
6. Donnie Darko (2001) – This contemporary cult classic not only introduced a baby-faced Jake Gyllenhaal to movie audiences, it captivated with its moody story — set in 1988 — about an unfortunate (and heavily medicated) teen who talks to strange men in rabbit suits, predicts the Apocalypse to take place on Halloween night, meets a cute girl (Jena Malone), and unlocks the door to a time warp. A beguilingly eclectic supporting cast populates Richard Kelly’s mesmerizing tale: Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross and Patrick Swayze. *Bonus: watch out for a young Seth Rogen who plays a school bully.
7. Time Crimes (2008) – This Spanish import boasts an ambitiously brainy plot that pits an Everyman against a mysterious killer in the middle of the woods and spawns three versions of our main character in overlapping scenarios.
8. Timecop (1994) – Only for the camptastic moment when Jean Claude Van Damme’s federal agent jumps up onto a kitchen counter in a perfect split. And to see what life would be like — in 2004.
9. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) – Thankfully this cult comedy lived up to its outrageous title. Major props also go to the hilarious Rob Corddry for keeping the antics afloat.
10. Somewhere in Time (1980) – Christopher Reeves, taking a breaking in between the first two Superman movies, settled for this romantic drama in which a writer transports himself to 1912 where he falls for an actress (hi Jane Seymour!). But their love proves to be not so everlasting — damn you leftover penny from 1979!
- Hiko Mitsuzuka (@TheFirstEcho)