How’s everyone’s last Monday on planet Earth going? If you believe…internet crazy people then the end is neigh! This Friday we’ll experience some great polar shift, or get hit by a comet, or swallowed by Cthulhu so let’s celebrate other ways moviemakers have shown the demise (or almost demise) of our ok race. The original list was over 40 titles long, what is listed below are the survivors – the strongest that made it through to the top 10. Unlike our Top 10 Best Getaway Vehicles article this one is largely spoiler free (though some can’t be avoided). As with all Top 10 lists at flydrs this is a mix of our subjective “best” as well as unsung movies that get you to use your mind and think about things you haven’t before. Movies should be more than escapism, they should be captivating and inspiring. Every movie on this list meets those standards. Relax, kick your feet up and enjoy all the crazy ways the lemons life hands you can destroy entire civilizations.
10. The Crazies (2010)
Even before the beautifully ominous final shot this movie is a fast paced thrill ride showcasing the awesome Timothy Olyphant who we can only hope will take over some great action franchise (other than Hitman) in the near future. He has the chops to be the next great action hero and shows why here. The Crazies takes place in a small midwestern town that is contaminated with a government virus. It gets points for perfectly choreographed long shots (when the locals ram into the prison and help everyone escape – intense!) along with it’s acting supported by Radha Mitchell and Joe Anderson. Most importantly, it’s not just “another zombie flick” – the characters, setting, what the virus actually does to people (makes them crazy), how you get infected, the make-up, and the personal struggle each member is going through makes this film more enjoyable with each viewing. It’s routed in a believable world – with at least one good guy ready to kick butt for his freedom.
9. Wall-E (2008)
Pixar is the most amazing production company on the planet. They have mastered the art of storytelling to such an extent that they’re rewriting the rules as if they’ve always been there. Taking a page out of silent movies of the past their is little to not dialogue until the end, using the amazing digital technology (most of which was invented by Pixar) to convey very real emotions through body language and the robotic beeps and whistles of the protagonist. It’s is a love story at the core, taking place on an abandoned Earth – deserted because of mankind’s endless consumption of the planets resources, treating Earth “as if we had a spare in the trunk”. A cautionary tale that doesn’t beat you over the head with it’s theme, how refreshing! This is a unique end of the world film as it takes place 700 years after civilization ceased to be! Beautiful colors, a sweeping score, fat and funny (but kind of scary) humans, and the heart and wonder of Wall-E make this an entertaining and humbling film that ends with hope instead of despair: something we could always use more of.
8. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Bruce Willis is a crazy man from the future bouncing around time to save the planet from a madman who might be an insane Brad Pitt. Are you excited yet?! This whacky – unless you’re director Terry Gilliam – film is a cult classic and a great story that finally gets the lead and love interest dynamic right! Instead of waiting for the third act to doubt Willis’ character, Madeline Stowe’s character doubts him right away, then believes him towards the middle of the film and helps him through to the end. Way less stressful, so you wont be shouting at your tv during this one. It also includes the performance that launched Brad Pitt into serious-actor-land with a Golden Globe win. It’s always enjoyable to wander around the mind of Python, a must see for any resident of planet Earth.
7. Sunshine (2007)
This may not be the Danny Boyle film you thought you’d see on here, but too bad! While the zombies from 28 Days Later are scary, you know what’s scarier? Zombies in space! That’s kind of what you get with Sunshine. Quick recap: the Sun is dying and after losing contact with a team assigned to reignite it with a nuclear bomb, another team is assembled as a last hope to succeed where the others failed. Once they get closer to the Sun it’s clear the other team is not as dead as they thought – they have met a far worse fate than anyone could’ve imagined. It’s a great sci-fi thriller with some of the best space visuals of all time and the best role Chris Evans (outside of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) ever played. Cillian Murphy is very believable as well, and Mark Strong as Pinbacker will leave you speechless. Turn off the lights and take a ride to save this pale blue dot!
6. The Mist (2007)
Watching this movie with someone who hasn’t seen it before is amazing because it’s just so…good. It takes place in a lovely Maine town that is visited by a fog that lasts all day and is accompanied with a lot of strange events. That’s all that can be shared without giving too much away. The acting is great, the setting is great, the reaction of the townsfolk is terrifyingly believable and the end is mind blowing. From the cranium of Stephen King it shouldn’t be too surprising all the horrors the characters go through. If you’re in the mood for a compelling tale full of action and adventure then you should check out how Thomas Jane leads everyone out of The Mist.
5. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Peter Sellers was an amazing comedic force. His physical comedy was unreal, his facial expressions perfect, his delivery had the timing of a natural and he was an improvisational genius. Stanley Kubrick’s war-comedy (Ha!) about a general who tries to start a nuclear armageddon and the people who try and stop him came out during the height of the Cold War. It lead to actual changes in international policy to make sure what the movie was showing could never happen in real life. George C. Scott does some of his best work ever, and seeing a young James Earl Jones and Slim Pickings is a treat! It’s also freakin’ hilarious! If you like laughing in the face of danger then look no further.
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
If the world does start spiraling out of control on Friday my first words will probably be along the lines of “Let’s go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?” Keeping the levity going with Shaun of the Dead was a no-brainer (zing!). This zombie-comedy brings a lot of laughs and hilarious characters and invites the question: What if the world ends and I’m still surrounded by idiots? Shudder! In this case they’re lovable idiots who are good with a cricket bat. Simon Pegg is great in just about everything he does and Nick Frost plays a lovable sidekick for the ages. It’s all fun and games until zombies start running around – then it’s hilarious!
3. The Terminator (1984)
The greatest love story ever told? Maybe. The Terminator is a great movie. Genre’s aside, it’s completely original, well-acted, and packs enough romance and explosions to makes everyone happy. The remastered HD version look amazing and sheds some of the 80’s datedness. James Cameron’s storytelling prowess is well chronicled, and this story might be his best. Add to that Arnold Schwarzenegger in his element dropping great lines, Michael Biehn looking badass, Linda Hamilton looking fantastic and Linda Hamilton’s hair looking even more fantastic. It’s a popcorn end of the world flick for the thinking man – sci-fi geek or other.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The movie that started it all. George A. Romero’s classic showed the world zombies for the first time – a word he never uses, and instead refers to them as “those things”. Romero later said that he wasn’t worried about a zombie apocalypse happening because, for him, it already had. The zombies in his movies represented the people on the planet going through the motions of their life, not thinking about what is possible or about doing something truly great. If the depiction of a creepy, flesh hungry, endlessly motivated, careless beings screaming and slamming down your door to eat your face doesn’t inspire you to do something, then you’re a lost cause. “They’re coming to get you,Barbara” so quit your job and join the Peace Corps like you always wanted to – before it’s too late!
1. Children Of Men (2006)
Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece about a dystopian future where women can no longer have children was the best movie of 2006 and has only been matched by a few other films this century. The multiple long shots really give the actors room to operate and create a big, epic arena for Cuaron’s world. Based on the novel of the same name by P.D. James, what begins as a dire story full of hopelessness quickly changes into a struggle for survival powered by the chance that one pregnant woman could change everything. Michael Caine illuminates the whole experience and Clive Owen and Clare-Hope Ashitey are brilliant as well. The final scene inside the prison city is amazing and rivals the intensity of Saving Private Ryan. It would be easy to end this list on a massive down note, you’ll have to check out Children of Men and see if we did.
The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
Yeah. You should just see it already.
Harrison Hickok is a contributing writer for flydrs.com