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Film Discussion Lunch - Science Fiction

Do you like talking movies? Do you like eating lunch? Why not combine the two as our gathering of film buffs leads to free flowing conversations on movies of any and every type.  For our Film Discussion brunches, we will be starting out with a designated topic decided at the previous lunch, whether a filmmaker, era, style or genre.

Thanks to French magician and film pioneer, GeorgesMéliès, science fiction was one of the earliest styles of the new medium.  Since then, fascination with the future, outer space, time travel, robots, light sabers and damn dirty apes have made sci fi once of the most enduring and frankly profitable of genres. Join us in August to geek out over cinema’s weirdest tales.

Suggested Viewing

• A Trip to the Moon – 1902 (GeorgesMéliès)

• Metropolis – 1927 (Fritz Lang) 

• Things to Come – 1936 (William Cameron Menzies) 

• Destination Moon – 1950 (Irving Pichel) 

• The Day the Earth Stood Still – 1951 (Robert Wise) 

• Godzilla – 1954 (Ishirô Honda)

• Forbidden Planet – 1956 (Fred M. Wilcox) 

• Earth vs. the Flying Saucers – 1956 (Fred F. Sears) 

• Invasion of the Body Snatchers – 1956 (Don Siegel) 

• Planet of the Apes – 1968 (Franklin J. Schaffner)

• 2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968 (Stanley Kubrick)  

• Silent Running – 1972 (DouglasTrumbull)

• Solaris – 1972 (Andrei Tarkovsky) 

• Soylent Green – 1973 (Richard Fleischer)

• Logan’s Run – 1976 (Michael Anderson) 

• Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 1977 (Steven Spielberg) 

• Star Wars – 1977 (George Lucas) 

• Alien – 1979 (Ridley Scott) 

• Blade Runner – 1982 (Ridley Scott) 

• Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – 1982 (Nicholas Meyer) 

• E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – 1982 (Steven Spielberg) 

• The Terminator – 1984 (James Cameron) 

• Back to the Future – 1985 (Robert Zemeckis) 

• Jurassic Park – 1993 (Steven Spielberg) 

• 12 Monkeys – 1995 (Terry Gilliam)

• The Matrix – 1999 (The Wachowski Brothers)

• Timecrimes – 2007 (Nacho Vigalondo)

• District 9 – 2009 (Neill Blomkamp)

• Moon – 2009 (Duncan Jones)

• Inception – 2010 (Christopher Nolan) 

If you enjoy our take on Science Fiction, please join our sister Meetup group, The Chicago Film Lover Exchange for their sci-fi month in September.  On 9/10 they'll be talking about Doppleganger films (, "Enemy" & "The Double." 9/18 will continue the sci-fi theme at the Wilde Bar (, and finally 9/24 they'll take on Mike Cahill's "Another Earth" (

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  • Al

    Great discussion looking at the scope and variety of films in the science fiction realm with interesting impressions from regulars and newbies alike! Here's the favorite sci-fi films from those that attended:

    Brad: "2001"
    Collin: "Brazil"
    Al: "The Hidden" (Best Alien Ever!!)
    Dan: "2001"
    Lisa T: "Blade Runner"
    Jin: "Ender's Game"
    Irving: "Star Wars"
    Belinda: "Blade Runner" / "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (the 1951 non-Keanu one!)
    Ken: "Gattaca" / "Dark City"
    Bennett: "The Andromeda Strain"
    Nanci: "Star Wars"
    John H: "Inception" / "Minority Report"
    John D: "2001"
    Jimmy: "2001"
    Peter: "Blade Runner"
    Eric W: "Metropolis" (the 1927 non-disco version)
    Elizabeth: "A Trip to the Moon"

    1 · August 26, 2014

    • Jimmy O.

      We shoulda given more props to "Grave Robbers from Outer Space", aka "Plan 9…"…one of the Top 10 best SF, camp and drive-in pix...

      1 · August 29, 2014

  • John D.

    My thanks to Brad and the other organizers. A fun discussion with a genial group. It is a little tricky, even with a group of a dozen or so, to go deep on a subject. It was interesting, for instance, to explore the definition and probe the boundaries of "science fiction," but eventually we tended to spin off (with centrifugal force, of course:) into comments about our varous favorites (I'm as guilty as any!:) ...Perhaps it might be interesting to experiement occasionally with breaking up into small groups and really dig down on a small number of questions, then reunite after an hour or so to see what each group has come up with. Or am I thinking too much like a middle-school teacher? :)

    John D.

    1 · August 25, 2014

  • John H.

    Nice to find such a friendly and enthusiastic crowd at a meetup. Discussions were spirited and, considering the vastness of the potential subject matter, a nice sprinkling of several different avenues were touched upon. The subject matter is what drew me to this meetup, but I will join the group again if the movie, or subject matter selected for viewing, is one that I have some strong opinions about.

    1 · August 24, 2014

  • Eric W.

    Great conversation as usual, interested perspectives on Spielbert & Scarlet Johannsen

    1 · August 24, 2014

  • Jimmy O.

    Significant flaws aside, Idiocracy--2006 (Mike Judge) is not only a great science fiction satire, it's more disconcertingly reality-based than the greater all-around picture Soylent Green. Gulliver's Travels (the unexpurgated book by Jonathan Swift!!! the book, dear God, not the Jack Black movie or any of the G-rated cartoons!!!) may have been the first proto-SF novel, and Idiocracy is a worthy successor to that bleakly visionary work.

    August 23, 2014

    • Al

      "Idiocracy" is one of the greatest satires ever made - a film just vulgar and stupid enough to be unerringly accurate. But it's brilliant to the tiniest detail - for instance, just look at the clothes everyone wears: these disposable hospital scrubs with brand-name logos all over them. And how everyone's all wearing Crocs ... this movie has the future down COLD.

      August 24, 2014

  • Al

    One very unique sci-fi film I'd like to bring up is 1980's "Death Watch", where Harvey Keitel is hired by a TV station to have cameras implanted in his eyes and befriend reclusive ailing celebrity Romy Schneider so that her final days can be broadcast over the air. It's light on showing technology, but heavy on the themes of surveillance, loyalty, and betrayal. Basically, imagine Ingmar Bergman making a sci-fi take on reality TV (complete with an appearance by Max von Sydow!)

    You can watch the whole movie streaming on Youtube:

    August 24, 2014

  • Jimmy O.

    A Boy and His Dog--1975 (L.Q. Jones) is a timeless cult classic which for some reason appears to be only available in muddy versions in the public domain at the Internet Archive, YouTube, and the like. Indispensible viewing for SF, political satire and Harlan Ellison aficionados--this was a very popular flick in the 1970's that needs a reissue. When we get to the Frank Borzage Meetup, we'll also find that my favorite director's best movie, the most personally influential movie in my lifetime--(A) Man's Castle--is also only available in muddy public domain versions unless one is lucky enough to attend a film screening.

    August 20, 2014

    • Belinda D.

      Ah, Harlan, what can you say about the man, but for all of his breast groping, lawsuits and other crazy stunts he helped launched my all time favorite author's career (Octavia Butler).

      1 · August 20, 2014

    • Jimmy O.

      Correction: Shout!Factory released a Blu-ray of this last year, and an out-of-print DVD was released at some point...

      August 23, 2014

  • Belinda D.

    You know the best thing about Sci if films is that they are not filed under fantasy-- sort of my pet peeve in book stores. Don't shelve Games of Thrones on the same shelf as Enders Game.

    2 · August 20, 2014

  • Belinda D.

    Yesterday on WBEZ, the Afternoon Shift the program was about science fiction and dystopia. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to copy the broadcast (it is online).

    1 · August 20, 2014

  • Belinda D.

    Some say that Frankenstein was the first Sci-Fi novel. What about the movie? Sci-Fi or no?
    I'm being chided by my best friend for not mentioning Brother From Another Planet. While it is one of my favorites I feel it is more social commentary than Sci-Fi.
    After seeing Brazil and 12 Monkeys and not liking either, I'm wondering if I should give Gillam another chance with his new movie.

    1 · August 16, 2014

    • Al

      On of the questions I'm most looking forward to for this Meetup is not only what defines "science fiction", but which movies are the best examples of the category. Personally, I don't think it's a genre so much as an intent to use science or scientific principles as the foundation of the movie. I think both the book and movie version of "Frankenstein"­ qualify (the movie doesn't give that impression since it's using the technology from the time the book was made - think of it as premature steampunk.)

      As for Gilliam's new movie "Zero Theorem", I've heard it's very evocative of "Brazil", so your reactions to both will probably be similar (I lllllluuuuuurve "Brazil", so I can't wait to see it). If you want to give Gilliam another chance, check out "The Fisher King" instead (R.I.P. Robin).

      1 · August 17, 2014

  • John H.

    Divanoir, I have seen The Zero Theorem and in my opinion, if you didn't like either of those other two movies, this one will effect you the same way. It's interesting and has some nice moments but overall it's very similar in production style and sensitivity with the usual Gilliam "wackiness."

    1 · August 17, 2014

  • John H.

    Hi all. I'm new to this group and am looking forward to participating in the upcoming meetup. I love sci-fi movies and am a screenwriter trying to add my concepts into the mix. With so many films to discuss I wondered how a meetup like this is structured. Is there is a moderator that directs the flow of conversation? If not I would suggest we try to find a specific direction or two that can narrow our focus. My suggestion would be to discuss the current state of sci-fi movies and how they compare/relate to those we have come to call classics. Just my two cents and if this is how the meetings are conducted I apologize for my "newbie" comment.

    1 · August 17, 2014

  • Belinda D.

    I love all of the above (those I have seen) and wanted to add several others
    Jurrasic Park (the Dinos more than the people)
    Road Warrior/Mad Max
    Reamimator (because I'm a sick individual )
    Truman Show (although there is little science)
    War Games
    Lathe of Heaven (not a theatrical release, PBS)
    Robocop,(the original )
    Clockwork Orange (is this Sci Fi)

    3 · August 12, 2014

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