Friday, July 21, 2006

A day of confusions

Sometimes, as much as you wish otherwise, you and your coworkers inhabit different entertainment universes. Conversation #1 today goes something like this:
J: There's this actor named Bill Paxton who is the only person to be terminated by the Terminator, predated by the Predator, and alienated by the Alien.

L: I have no idea what films you're talking about.

J: Have you seen "Event Horizon"? You know, the Sci-Fi movie with Laurence Fishburne.

L: Who's Laurence Fishburne?

J: He played Morpheus in "The Matrix".

L: I never saw "The Matrix".
It looks like one of the advantages of being born a member of Generation X was the opportunity to watch (or, if you prefer, invest in) the renaissance of science fiction that developed in the late 70s and early 80s. Those of us born during the Nixon Administration were around to see
  • The beginning of the 6-film Star Wars saga with "Episode IV: A New Hope" in 1977.
  • The beginning of the 10-film Star Trek saga with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979 in addition to 4 television spin-offs of "Star Trek" beginning with "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in 1987.
  • Steven Spielberg's entrance into science fiction with "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) and the 3-film "Back to the Future" trilogy started in 1985.
  • At least part of the golden age of "Dr. Who" with the Tom Baker episodes that started in 1974.
  • The 4-film "Aliens" series that began in 1979.
  • The beginning of the 3-film Terminator series with "The Terminator" in 1984.
  • A slate of other cult-favorite science fiction films such as "Dune" (1984), "Ghostbusters" (1984), "Bladerunner" (1982), and John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982).
In terms of science fiction film, Generation X has seen an embaressment of riches. We're also at the point where Generation X is making its own science fiction films. "V for Vendetta", for example, plays exactly like the mix of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged", Tim Burton's film "Batman", George Orwell's "1984", and the November 1989 revolution that anyone who went to college during the elder Bush Administration would have been exposed to.

Conversation #2 shows that some people had priorities other than movies during the 80's:
J: John Carpenter was able to show the Thing taking over other life forms and imitating them, which they weren't able to do in the original movie.

A:That's like what they did with "The Terminator"?

J:Uh, yeah, kinda the same thing.
Conversation #3 demonstrates that there was a Golden Age and a Silver Age of science fiction long before the current (or, perhaps, concluded) Bronze Age of science fiction:
A:Well, you remember Robbie the Robot then?

J:[blank stare, jaw drops]
Ironically, Robbie the Robot starred in this film which was a possible precursor for these people.


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