Have you seen “Primer”? And you call yourself an engineer or a film maker? Hah! They made it for $7000 bucks, its about engineers and time-travel. There’s a long-hanging question for a while: “You know what they do with engineers when they hit 40 (30?), don’t you?”. Spoiler alert: STOP READING HERE! It might be a reference to how all great scientific advances are made by age 25 or so, tops, but the long wind-up punch-line is “They take them out and shoot them”. The line is delivered dead-pan by a kind of lovable old engineer. Reminded me of the old grubby guys that trained me, back in the day.
Anyway, it’s a great flick, and it inspires my own “Movie Classics That Every Engineer Should See!” list:
“Hardware“, just because it’s so damned weird! While it does stress proper re-cycling techniques (1. MAKE SURE THE DAMNED THING IS REALLY DEAD FIRST!!!!… ). The weirdo breather video-calls were a fun kink, taken here to it’s highest form and a typical end for the caller-perv. The rest is just fun and weirdness and fighting a robot that looks creepy as Hell and the wingman is on acid and trying to keep to together and help out, but, well, you know. Probably Slightly Less Boring Than Working life/death struggle and Iggy Pop as the DJ on the radio in the background. Nothing better than that, eh?
Okay, a movie with class? You know “2001: A Space Odyssey” would have gotten first place is I weren’t so curmudgeonly lately. It explains nothing and, ignoring some brand-names (sorry Pan-Am), a lot is starting to line up, if only a little late. Futurists tend toward either way optimist or way pessimist I find. Maybe no-one writes down what the vast normal crowd in the middle says enough to write it down. Largely, that’s an irony of history.
You can watch “City of Ember” with your kids, and see if it hold their attention more than yours. The scary parts are just scary enough and very brief. I love it, myself. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is still a classic! This may be considered a seminal work in the steampunk media canon. Of course, “Modern Times” brings in the warm human heart of the Little Tramp, who lived through a wave of this ‘progress’ mess.
“3 Idiots” is a Bollywood slapstick import centering on the search for a lost classmate. This one is a must see. Best movie I saw the year it came out, in fact.
Nothing more fun for engineers than “The Flight of the Phoenix“. Yes, I do prefer the Jimmy Stewart version, in fact. The later one, not so much.
Talk about your chess club nerd wish fulfillment, I still get a kick out of “Explorers“. It’s much more dignified than “Weird Science“, in which Ms. LeBrock’s best assets and efforts combined to make it a memorable performance, but not what you’d call “Art”, but amusing anyway.
A lot less fluff in “Apollo 13“, which captured the heroic guys in short hair and white shirts using slide-rules to save the guys with ‘the right stuff’. It’s inspiring.
These are listed in no coherent order as yet.
You got any candidates? Leave them in the comments.