I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two years thinking about…time. Though I’ve focused on Jewish and Christian calendars during the writing of Moments & Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith, I also did some reading on the nature of time itself, a mind-blowing topic.
When my finite brain got a little too overheated from thinking Big Thoughts about theoretical stuff, I would go organize a junk drawer or something. I also realized an entry-level way in which many of us ponder time beyond watch-checking is via imagining time travel. When I wrote about regret here, I realized at the heart of many “if onlys” was the desire to head back in time to do a reset. Our anxieties are a way we try to travel forward in time to assure ourselves of a happily-ever-after outcome. I’ve always enjoyed stories that use time travel as a way to address regrets and fears of the future.
Wikipedia has an entire section listing time travel movies. Though perhaps any movie that focuses on time travel could be considered sci-fi, my favorites tend to be relationship-driven. Just for fun, in no particular order, here are my top 10 time-travel themed movies:
(1, 2, 3) Back to the Future I, II, III – Marty McFly and Doc Brown change consequences and change them back via lots of time hopping. 1980’s pop culture classics.
(4) Peggy Sue Got Married – Before Nicholas Cage became a B-grade action hero, he lent his weirdly breathy voice and unspooled persona to a number of pretty good movies. Kathleen Turner is given a chance to travel back in time to high school and get a do-over in this sweet story.(5) Groundhog Day – Weatherman Bill Murray has to keep reliving February 2nd until he gets it right.
(6) Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – These two lovable stoner-lite students ace their history project by time-traveling and reminding us all to be excellent to each another.
(7) Big – Thirteen year old Josh Baskin wishes he could be a grown-up. He wakes up the next day with his 13 year-old mind inside a thirty-year old body. Good thing adult Josh (Tom Hanks) finds work at a toy company! Will he stay an adult, or return to his childhood body and life?
(8) 13 Going On 30 – Jennifer Garner undergoes the “Big” Treatment.
(9) Meet The Robinsons – This animated story has lots of time travel and lots of patented Pixar heart.
(10) Frequency – The first time I saw this movie, I bawled my eyes out when Detective John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) discovers he can use his long-deceased firefighter father’s ham radio to talk with his dad (Dennis Quaid). The movie is billed as a sci-fi thriller, but the bending of time and the healing of a son’s frozen grief overrode the fairly standard crime story.
What are some of your favorite time travel flicks? Books? TV shows?