They say my generation is old before our time. That information moves so fast now that we've developed premature variations on the sort of psychological hang-ups - nostalgia, romanticism of the past, mistrust of the younger generation - that didn't occur in our grandfathers until they were our grandfathers. To be fair, there probably is something wrong with grumping about "kids today with yer music and hula-hoops!" when you're only 29 yourself ... and then I go and browse through the comments on the rather amusing Critical Miss #22.
Really? This many people aren't catching a parody of the pivotal scene from easily one of the top 10 most important - to say nothing of influential - science fiction films of all time? Infuriating! Or, at least it was before I caught sight of my own Reason #3 waving to me. Not fair, I'm thinking, to blame the kids when it could easily be a function of my generation failing to inform them.
Let's fix that. For science.
What we're going to do here is a straight-up, roughly chronological list of the movies that every self-respecting nerd in general (and movie nerds especially) really ought to have seen by now. Not necessarily the biggest or the best films, but the influential ones - the stuff that all the other stuff is made of. The list is split into two parts at the year 1977. And if you have to ask why 1977, you should probably be taking copious notes. Let's fire up those Netflix queues people.
FW Murnau's silent, unofficial adaptation of Dracula gave the movies their first iconic vampire and, along with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, helped invent the language almost every horror film has spoken since.
It's not possible to overstate the importance of this silent German classic from Fritz Lang. Every vision of futuristic cities or robotics imagined since owes it a debt, as do key creations of artists as diverse as Osamu Tezuka and George Lucas. The greedy masters of a false Utopian super-city attempt to sow unrest among their enslaved workers with a robot duplicate of a would-be revolutionary leader. Oh, if it were only so easy.
King Kong (1932)
Giant ape falls for the girl, off the building, and for the first time a special effect stirs emotions beyond awe or fear.