48. Serenity. I admit it. I can't judge this objectively. I'm totally in the tank, crazy blinders-on in love with Joss Whedon's canceled way too soon masterpiece, Firefly. I adore all the characters, the concept, the acting, the writing – and even though this is indeed a very solid flick on its own merits – I can't see it as a stand alone movie without filtering it through the brilliance of the TV show. So I'll just be happy it was well reviewed and included on this list, and go rewatch it for the 27th time.
47. Donnie Darko. I love subversive, impenetrable cult movies. But for whatever reason, I've still yet to see this one.
45. A Clockwork
44. 12 Monkeys. Great performances from Willis, Stowe and Pitt. Trippy time travel mechanics. A fantastic sci-fi flick that somehow gets underrated. And there's still debate over the role of the lady on the plane at the end.
43. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. I posted on this a couple of weeks ago, but this really "saved" the entire Trek franchise. The director's commentary on this DVD is insightful, and gives you an idea of just how little they had to work with budget-wise after the excesses of the first Trek movie. Doesn't show poorly on the screen, however, and this is one of the high points for the franchise.
39. The Fly. I remember seeing this in college with a buddy, and having to leave the theatre to go smoke at some point I was so creeped out and filled with dread. A rare case of a remake upping the ante and improving in every was (a la The Thing).
36. Blade Runner. You'll start to see more movies here that I referenced in my response to EW's "Top 25 Sci-Fi" list a while back. But the question still remains: Deckard – is he or isn't he?
35. Star Trek First Contact. The best big screen adventure featuring the crew of the Enterprise D (or technically, E at this point. Which is my favorite version of the ship since the original).
34. Forbidden Planet. Before Leslie Nielsen became total camp, a sci-fi take on Shakespeare that holds up well even today.
32. The Matrix. An absolutely perfect sci-fi movie, not diminished by the ridiculousness of the third installment.
29. Ghostbusters. Sci-fi? I guess. Deadpan funny and an ingenious concept.
28. Men in Black. Coasts by on the charm of its leads (and a loopy turn from Vincent D'Onofrio). Entertaining, but I still wish there was more "there" there.
27. Terminator 2 Judgment Day. Upped the stakes, action, effects and performances from the original in every single way.
26. Young Frankenstein. Much like Ghostbusters, I guess it belongs here. Still supremely funny, and definitely requires a shout out for the name of my blog!
23. Sleeper. From the "Golden Age" of humor from the Woodman. A must see.
22. Back to the Future. Sweet, funny and well done.
17. Solaris (1972). I have seen this one, but I still have a problem completely engaging in foreign language films. Soderbergh's remake kept many of the same ideas and themes, yet was (for me, at least) a wee bit more accessible. Along with Eternal Sunshine, this one of my favorite movies to make me ponder the notions of "reality" and "love." Perhaps the most thought-provoking of the sci-fi flicks, from a personal perspective.
13. Galaxy Quest. Note perfect, and loving, send up of Trekkian lore and fandom.
10. Aliens. I can't even begin to ponder how many times I've seen this movie. A pinnacle of achievement in sci-fi and one of my all time top 10 favorite movies (of any genre) ever.
9. Star Wars. The original. Before cable, before DVD, there was only one way to see movies over and over, and that was in the theatre. I still recall the summer it came out, it was almost a daily ritual where Sam and Bettye would just drop me off at the movies to see this flick time and again.
7. Children of Men. I just recently caught this on DVD, and was astounded how good it was. Provocative, engaging and adult. A true gem. Though a world without kids sounds fine and dandy to me.
6. The Empire Strikes Back. Deservedly the highest ranked of the Lucas flicks, a perfectly executed sci-fi "Saturday Serial" adventure, not afraid to end on a less than happy note.
5. Minority Report. Wow. I enjoy this film, and own it on DVD. Yes, it has the Phillip K. Dick pedigree, great action sequences, morally questionable advances in technology, interesting questions about predestination, seamless effects, the usual reliable Spielberg direction and solid performances all around. But number 5 of all time? I don't think so. Plus, once again, Spielberg offers a candy confection cop out at the end.
4. Alien. I love and admire this flick, though I prefer the adrenalized and expanded scope of the sequel. Still, this is the most afraid I've ever been in a theatre.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotted Mind. I've long espoused the virtues of this brilliant gem of a movie. If only such technology really existed. Sigh.
1. ET. Yes, for what the list is, I can understand why this rests at the top. But for my tastes, it's still waaaaay too saccharine and kid-centric. Even more annoying than Lucas's "Greedo shot first" bullshit was Spielberg's removal of the terrorist references and digitally changing the Feds' guns to walkie talkies in the re-release. #1 on the TNRLM list would be Aliens, Wrath of Khan, 2001, Empire Strikes Back or The Matrix.