Movies I Miss

There are some films I've only seen once or twice, which I've never been able to get a hold of. Unfortunately as time rolls by, it's looking less and less likely that they'll ever get released in the US (and my Sony HDTV won't display PAL, which is Really Lame - hopefully my XBOX 360 will be able to play it and transcode it for me when I get it).

What are these movies? Well, they're kind of classics. You may have seen them - and you might not have. And some of them are just shorts. But anyway... the list:

The Quiet Earth

This is a classic apocalyptic Australian film from the 80s. A scientist on the team responsible for a Tesla-like Microwave Energy Transmission wakes up the day after the system is turned on to find himself to be the only man on Earth. The shots of empty towns, complete with the burning wreckage of 747s are haunting. The first half of the film is better than the second (a fate which also befell the - at first - similarly themed 28 Days Later - for some reason, protagonists wandering around deserted cities is always incredibly compelling).

12:01 PM (Short)

This short film starring Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show and Robocop are his most famous appearances) won an Academy Award for Best Short Live Action Film in 1990. Following a similar line to Groundhog Day (which it predated by 3 years), and the remake (12:01am - which sadly does not hold a candle to its progenitor), the protagonist Myron Castleman is stuck in a repeating period of time. Unlike the other two films, which repeat a single day over and over, 12:01 is unique in that Myron is stuck in a single repeating hour. It's a beautiful film, which again you can buy on DVD in the UK (as part of a compilation). But not in the US.

Hopefully Showtime will show it again some time, or release it. (They produced the original as part of their 30 minute film series).

Miracle Mile

OK, so this one is out on DVD. It's yet another piece of beautiful 80's apocalypsia. Mare Winningham and Anthony Edwards paint a romantic love story against the backdrop of LA while the bomb is about to drop. With a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream that helps build the tension and despair as Edwards' character gets more and more desperate, a city under siege as riots and looting break out when everybody else finds out, and the fact that after the first 30 minutes, the movie runs in absolute real time, way before Timecode or 24 were even a twinkle in anyone's eye, it's just a beautifully put together film.

But the DVD you can buy on Amazon was released on the cheap, with no extras (which I can handle) and as Pan and Scan (which I can't). Of course, it could have just been filmed on Super 35, and they went full format for the release, but I have the horrible feeling that this film was meant to be widescreen. Thus, I'm still waiting for a transfer that will do it justice.


All I know about this film is that it's another 80s nuclear aftermath film, and that I shouldn't have been awake when I crawled downstairs and saw 15 minutes of it with my parents - before they shooed me off to bed. I still want to see the full version.

Max Headroom

The original film that was made to kickstart Channel 4 VJ Max Headroom's talking head career. The American TV show was much better than the Channel 4 music video chat show, but this is the film that started it all. Sure you could watch the TV pilot from the US show and get the same story, but somehow this was so much grittier and darker.

I'm sure there are more - I just can't remember them right now. If I do, I'll post 'em.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

Archived Wordpress comments
sloWriter wrote on Monday, November 7, 2005:

Have you tried looking for them on eBay? That’s how I found an old album that wasn’t even LISTED in most places.

Dredd Times wrote on Wednesday, December 7, 2005:

Whats up with you cookster, you dont write, you dont call? No seriously Si, hope you can get in touch and that you have a DVD that can play UK discs as I have a copy of Threads here with your name on it :)

Numbers changed since you last where home, but the mail is still the same. Drop me a line sometime and keep the stiff upper lip stiff ;)


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