May 25th is an important day…you just don’t know it.
Not only was one of the greatest and most important films of all time released on that day in 1977 but, because of that release, that day now commemorates an important movement in the world consciousness.
That film was, of course, Star Wars.
And that movement is Geek.
Ever since 2006 when (strangely enough) the Spaniards deemed it so, May 25th has been Geek Pride Day.
Here are my Top 5 Geek Films.
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is the uber geek of the geek movie world.
He might be a loser, but he fights zombies and doesn’t forget to save his girl…and it’s all because he knows how things work. He plays video games, so he knows how to shoot. He watches zombie movies, so he knows where to shoot. His geek skills basically keep him alive, even if they’re just knowing what music to throw and what to keep. Shaun Of The Dead started a whole new genre of film, and I don’t mean ZomRomCom as Edgar Wright calls it. I mean it TRULY started the geek film as we know it.
Ever since this movie Hollywood has figured out that geeks to truly do go to movies and we want to see ourselves on the big screen. And who better to embody us than out own. Simon Pegg is every-geek and Shaun is, quite possibly, the best depiction of a geek in film history.
CHASING AMY (1997)
Written and Directed by Kevin Smith
A case could really be made for ALL Kevin Smith movies, but Chasing Amy is the only one that truly revolves around geek culture.
Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards (Ben Affleck and Jason Lee) are comic book artists who get dragged into the world of a whole different comic book world by Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) when Holden falls in love with her. Of course, he doesn’t know until it’s too late that she’s a lesbian.
Everyone in this film is all about comic books and none of them are portrayed as weak-willed little nerds.
In fact, Holden is kind of a dude-bro…of course that could be because he’s played by Affleck. The best thing about the movie is that, while it’s very important that these characters are comic book writers (or inkers, in Banky’s case…don’t call him a tracer), the story could be about people in just about any profession.
It’s a universal story of boy-meets-girl, girl-likes-girls, girl-falls-for-boy, boy-effs-up-royally.
GHOST WORLD (2001)
Written by: Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff/ Based the Comic Book by Daniel Clowes/ Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Enid and Rebecca (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johanson before she started her job Avenging the Earth) are social-outcasts who are just fine with that label, thank you very much.
When they graduate from high school, they find it a little bit difficult to adapt to society. Enid becomes obsessed with Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a middle-aged music geek who collects blues vinyl. Seymour is a loner and has a problem with society in general. All he really wants to do is sit around his house and listen to his records. Enid, though, has other plans for him: specifically, she wants to find him a girlfriend. Anyone but a blues/jazz geek would have painted Seymour as a complete loser.
Fortunately, director Terry Zwigoff is about as much of a blues geek as Seymour, so he helped to make him one of the more sympathetic music geeks ever put on film. (Zwigoff’s first film was about an obscure blues artist that he researched for years after finding one of his recordings in the late 70s.)
PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (1985)
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
If the term “film geek” hadn’t been created by 1985, then it certainly hadn’t been created during the depression when this great Woody Allen film takes place.
That doesn’t matter, though, because Cecelia (Mia Farrow) is definitely a prototype film geek. She goes to see every movie that Gil Shepherd (Jeff Daniels) is in. His latest, The Purple Rose Of Cairo, is her absolute favorite and she’s seen it enough times to memorize the entire script.
Hell, she’s seen it so many times that his character, Tom Baxter, notices her in the audience and steps off the screen to join her in real life. Buster Keaton may have done it first in Sherlock, Jr, but no one has ever done this with more heart than Woody Allen. You can feel every heartbreak in Cecelia’s life as she’s constantly demoralized by her abusive husband (Danny Aiello).
The movies are her only escape from her sad little life and Tom Baxter, adventurous archeologist, represents the escape that every film geek has ever felt when they sit in that big darkened room.
Written by Kevin Williamson / Directed by Wes Craven
Say what you will about Wes Craven’s examination of the tropes and stereotypes of horror (I think it’s pretty brilliant), it is, at its heart, a geek movie.
Not all of the characters are geeks, by any means. Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott wouldn’t know how to survive in Shaun‘s zombie world and Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers would probably be bored by a Star Wars marathon. (And remember: Drew Barrymore’s boyfriend gets killed because she’s not enough of a geek.)
But these characters live in a geek’s world.
The main reason that they are able to survive is because of Randy (Jamie Kennedy) and his rather intimate knowledge of horror movies. The killer follows the tropes to a T because he also knows the rules and he makes his victims follow them.
Sure, other movies have done a better job of turning the serial killer genre on its ear (Cabin In The Woods, anyone?), but Scream was the first big one and Jaimie Kennedy is one of the first truly memorable horror movie geeks in film.