In honor of the SciFi comedy FUTURE ’38, which screens Wednesday, May 17 at Flix Brewhouse, the OWA staff is creating a Time Capsule to be opened in 80 years.
FUTURE ’38 is a Technicolor valentine to the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s and ‘40s, with a SciFi twist. It’s a time-travel adventure which presents the exotic future-world of 2018 A.D., as imagined by the filmmakers of 1938!
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The OWA Time Capsule is designed to represent the most significant artifacts from our era and to explain to the people of 2097 what we were all about and, frankly, what was wrong with us.
Here’s an interesting scientific fact: a new comic book-based film is released every 82 minutes. I know, it actually seems like it’s more often than that, but it’s an undisputed fact. Here are the five indispensable ones in the OWA Time Capsule:
5.) THE PHANTOM: National treasures Billy Zane and Treat Williams (who, if there was any true justice in this world of ours, I would also be able to preface with “Multiple Academy Award winning actors”) anchor this would-be 1996 summer blockbuster based on the long-running newspaper comic strip. Tongue firmly in cheek, the film is funny, entertaining, and completely aware of what it is. There is an alternate timeline where Bruce Campbell ends up playing the title role, and AVATAR is no longer the highest grossing film of all time. Bonus: Catherine Zeta-Jones ended up making her American film debut in this and six years later won an Oscar. Coincidence?
4.) CAPTAIN AMERICA - THE WINTER SOLDIER: The best of the hundreds of Marvel Universe films (four more have been shot since I started writing this article.) Having gotten the standard issue origin story out of the way, this sequel throws in elements of a paranoid political thriller with the legally required “Marvel Phase Whatever” necessities, creating an exciting popcorn movie anchored around Chris Evans's strong performance in the title role. It’s almost a disappointment that it ends the way all of these movies have to, with a bunch of CGI stuff flying around and fighting (easily the least entertaining part of the movie). Living legend Robert Redford even manages to lend a sense of dignity to the proceedings while cashing a paycheck. If only every Marvel film was allowed this much leeway.
3.) SUPERMAN: There have been seven movies about Superman, and, well… one of them is really great! The first superhero event blockbuster, this film is epic in scale, following the Man of Steel's birth on Krypton through his life in Smallville to his current gig as a beat reporter/defender of Earth. The late Christopher Reeve is so damn great as Superman (and more crucially, as Clark Kent) that there should be a federal law preventing anyone else from attempting to play him going forward. Gene Hackman shows his underrated comic abilities hamming it up alongside Ned Beatty as Lex Luthor, and you can literally see Marlon Brando reading the cue cards during his scenes. And best of all, Zack Snyder had nothing at all to do with the film.
2.) A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: You know how you saw GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 last weekend and loved how light and funny it was? Yeah, this movie is not that.
1.) DICK TRACY: “Hey Reid, what’s your favorite comic book movie?” is a question that I have never been asked. Should this theoretical conversation ever take place, Warren Beatty’s 1990 blockbuster would be my answer. Designed and shot in only a handful of primary colors, the film is the most visually imaginative comic world ever committed to the screen (just compare this to the overlit, assembly style look of every Marvel movie). Beatty is famously friends with everyone in Hollywood, and the epic, eclectic supporting cast here is something to behold (Al Pacino! Mandy Patinkin! William Forsythe!) Seriously, if you have never seen this movie (or haven’t seen it since you were a kid and only remember that they managed to sneak nudity into a Disney flick) it’s worth a rewatch.