The Essential Geek Movies


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To be fair, it's also for selfish reasons as well that I ask. I have friends that can quote Monty Python from memory but haven't seen Brazil. Treat the Star Wars trilogy with reverence but didn't see Blade Runner until a year ago. People I roll dice with and catch every Tolkien reference I make but don't realize why I named a Dragon deity Vermithrax. Hell, I want to know if there are films that I never considered part of some kinda Geek Canon that I need to watch. I'm sure they're there.

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I've got to think there's a bit of an age bias to it. Without wearing my "HAY GUYZ, TOLAND AND SIMS ARE TOTALLY OLD!!" hat, I think people who got to experience the late 70s through 1980s have set the parameters for the "essential" geek movies/TV shows. They mostly got to experience Star Wars firsthand. They had GI Joe and Transformers to watch on Saturday mornings. They're the people who rate The Goonies so highly (the fools). Doctor Who was still culturally a thing (certainly in Britain at least). Then, as teenagers, they could latch onto the slightly older-skewed sci-fi of Star Trek TNG or the X-Files, or, a bit later on, Buffy - shows that weren't aimed at children.

If you were a child of the 90s/barely remember the 80s, there's a shallower pool to pick from and everyone's banging on about how great Star Wars is. At least, that's how I remember it.

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I think there are two deciding factors in this kind of list-building:

1: Is the film an important part of geek culture? (i.e., do I need to watch this in order to interact socially with geekdom)

2: Is the film important or influential on geek culture, even if it's not as well-known?

Obviously the Star Wars saga is the biggest example, satisfying both categories. The OT because it's great and the PT because it's infamous. There's a crazy number of people (even self-professed geeks) who've never seen any of the SW films.

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That's the thing, I was thinking of such a list or sharing of ideas not as a "How could not have seen this movie" but more of a "Here's why you should see this movie." When I was looking around online earlier today to see what other people had said, I got pretty much the same 10 or so movies spread out in varying orders with little in the way of a reason outside of, "It defined a generation" or "It's visually perfect." I feel like there needs to be more depth than that. Besides, there has to be more than 2001, Star Wars, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Wargames, Brazil, Blade Runner, The Lord of the Rings, and Serenity.

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