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16 Time-Travel Movies Worth Your....Time

Features
by The Playlist Staff
April 1, 2011 6:43 AM
9 Comments
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“Happy Accidents" (2000)
The third film from director Brad Anderson proved to be his first excursion into the kind of flawed, fascinating genre oddities that have dominated his career ever since. Sold as the kind of quirky rom-com that was ten-a-penny in the indie world, even a decade ago, it comes as something of a surprise when the major flaw of Sam (Vincent D'Onofrio), the charming new lover of Ruby (Marisa Tomei), turns out to be that he claims to be a 'back-traveler,' from the year 2439. The film fully embraces its science fiction elements, sketching out a future world that owes a little to Woody Allen's "Sleeper," but it's blended with a genuinely sweet romance. Both leads are charming -- D'Onofrio in particular makes you lament that he's spent so long in the "Law & Order" wasteland -- and there's a psychological realism that lifts it above other rom-coms. It might be a minor work, but it's also one of Anderson's most satisfying. [B]

“The Jacket" (2005)
Surviving the Gulf War despite major head trauma, veteran Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) tries to go to a home that may not exist. Instead, he finds himself involved in a hoary shooting incident that gets him sentenced to a mental institution, where he is locked in an experimental straightjacket at night that allows him to jump forward in time to romance the daughter of one of the victims of his violence. Long in-development as some sort of big studio film, the small, intimate, often willfully incomprehensible “The Jacket” spotlights a jagged series of connections between violent acts that features no direct answer as to what Starks is experiencing. Brody is suitably haunted in the lead, and Keira Knightley is affecting as the lonely woman he romances, but look out for a very pre-Bond Daniel Craig as one of the paranoid, disturbed institution members eager to get a look into Starks’ head. [B+]

“Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986)
It’s easy to forget that Francis Ford Coppola-helmed "Peggy Sue Got Married,” the bizarre middle-aged response to “Back to the Future.” Where the latter seems to celebrate the strength you surprisingly find when life deems it necessary, 'Peggy Sue' revisits the past with judgment and misery. Kathleen Turner is compelling as the star who travels ‘back in time’ after a seizure at her 25th high school reunion, as long as you are able to suspend the disbelief that she is anything south of 35 years old. The bright star of the film is Nicolas Cage, who seems to shine whenever tasked with being a pained and heartbroken teen. 'Peggy Sue' attempts to show us that hasty decisions of youth can have lasting effects, such as lackluster marriages, bad jobs and disgruntled kids, but as an adult it’s impossible to view your past as anything but nostalgic. Turner embraces the youthfulness of her character and the many choices not taken, but what's most interesting about Peggy’s return to the past is the difference between the treatment of women in the '50s vs the '80s. Wonder how the feminist angle would have been represented if Penny Marshall had directed, as originally planned instead of Coppola. Either way, it was nice to take a trip down Peggy’s memory lane. [B+]

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9 Comments

  • mike | April 2, 2011 10:59 AMReply

    Fuck The Jacket - not good enough to be on that list

  • jcormier | April 2, 2011 5:19 AMReply

    A recent and creepy time travel flick called Triangle was quite enjoyable in its twistiness. Some new things were added to the time travel trope that I found really clever.

  • Melissa | April 2, 2011 3:44 AMReply

    I would definitely add Frequency to the list.

  • jimmiescoffee | April 2, 2011 1:57 AMReply

    '12 monkeys' is underrated. one of the best science fiction movies ever made.

  • Jr Cigar | April 1, 2011 8:59 AMReply

    Frequency was a sleeper hit about a decade ago. From what I remember it was pretty enjoyable, but it may not have aged well... can't remember.

  • Marko | April 1, 2011 7:31 AMReply

    Reading that blurb about Primer made me wonder if Shane Carruth has tried approaching Megan Ellison about funding it.

  • dfsakjlfad | April 1, 2011 7:13 AMReply

    The Butterfly Effect is horrible.

  • Moggz | April 1, 2011 7:09 AMReply

    The butterfly effect is worth a mention .Very dark.

  • rotch | April 1, 2011 7:00 AMReply

    I'm proud that you didn't mention Hot Tub Time Machine.

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