Misfits Recommend: Essential Sci-fi Movies

We’re all about costumer service here at Misfit Central so when reader Blue Sean emailed and asked for some movie suggestions, we were happy to oblige. But, instead of just giving our personal recommendation list, we decided to open it up and also include a list of absolute must-sees.
The criteria we used for this list took into account not only the quality of the movie (acting, script, directing, etc) but also how much impact its had on pop culture. So, without further ado…
Bladerunner_240 Blade Runner
What’s so great about humans? Blade runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunts a group of escaped replicants, but gosh, their short lifespans make them appreciate life ever so much more than normal people. Ignore the theatrical version with its awful voice overs, and opt for the ambiguous Director’s Cut.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
This is as close to the perfect Star Trek experience as you’ll get: a great villain, a tearful sacrifice and the story of the Kobayashi Maru test. The story and characters gel so well that even non-Trekkies love this movie. Bonus: the perfect-for-any-use shout “KHAAAAAN!”
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Steven Spielberg likes him some stories about aliens but this, his first, is arguably his best. The 1977 ode to extraterrestrials was groundbreaking, not only for the special effects, but for the characterization of the aliens. It’s also responsible for the most famous 5 note sequence ever played. There are three cuts available of the film but I’d suggest watching the original and/or the 1998 “Collector’s Edition.”
Alien_240 Alien/Aliens
While Spielberg’s aliens were a fairly friendly lot, the same can’t be said in this case. Ridley Scott presented an isolated, creepy experience as a crew fights for survival after being sent to investigate a seemingly innocent distress call while James Cameron really kicked it up a notch by simply making the title (and the creature) plural and increasing Ripley’s badass factor. Ignore the Director’s Cut of Alien but the Special Edition of Aliens is solid.
The Terminator/Terminator 2
Have you ever though your Tivo is conspiring against you? Then these movies are for you. Terminator is one part sci-fi epic, one part horror film as a nigh-unstoppable cyborg travels to the past to kill the woman who gives birth the leader of the human resistance movement. It’s not quite as confusing as it sounds. Like Aliens, James Cameron upped the ante in T2 by adding a second cyborg (I sometimes can’t look at Robert Patrick without getting a teensy bit creeped out), more action and, most importantly, transformed Sarah Connor into a gun-toting, slightly unhinged super-mom.
Starwars_240 Star Wars: Episodes IV – VI
Sometimes referred to as “The Trilogy,” these are the only films on the list that draw a gasp of disbelief and sadness if you haven’t seen them. Now I could wax all poetic-like on the joys of lightsabers, Jedis and explosions in space or talk about how much impact this franchise has had on the world, but hearing about it is not nearly as fun as seeing it. Definitely watch the original versions first so you’ll know why people got ticked at the Special Editions.
Do you agree with our essentials? Do you love these movies as much as we do? If it seems like we forgot something, don’t fret too much until you’ve seen our personal lists…


About Tamara Brooks