While comic book movies remain a decade long trend, who knew that a little known group of Marvel characters could rocket into pop culture infamy? Yes, it’s been three years since ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ became more than just an obscure group of oddballs known only by comic book die hards.
With ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’ on the horizon, this week seems like a great week to watch a butt load of movies to get you in the mood for star-crossed shenanigans, space-faring hijinks and the sweet sounds of popular music. Here are our recommendations.
8. The Last Starfighter
After Peter Quill is abducted by space pirates, he grows up to become a reckless adventurer with the heart of Luke Skywalker and the attitude of Marty McFly. But he’s also got a lot in common with Alex Rogan, the video game prodigy who gets swept away to an intergalactic war in The Last Starfighter. While Rogan isn’t quite the smart mouth that Quill is, he’s just as much the fish out of water.
7. Galaxy Quest
And speaking of fish out of water, few other sci-fi movies have protagonists as out of their element as those of Galaxy Quest. Its hilarious, fantastical premise is that the stars of a creaky old show that’s Star Trek in all but name are mistaken for real life space heroes. Imagine looking around for allies and instead of finding losers or misfits, you find something worse: actors.
Crucial to the lore of Peter Quill’s people, that is to say, the people of Earth, is the legend of Footloose. As Quill puts it, “a great hero named Kevin Bacon” enlightens an entire town full of “people with sticks up their butts” on the greatest thing of all: dancing. To understand pelvic sorcery is to know the legend of Footloose.
Given that Peter Quill’s parentage is of central importance to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we think it’s worth this sci-fi romance, in which Jeff Bridges plays an otherworldly visitor who falls in love with an Earth woman played by Karen Allen. While the years don’t line up, it’s fun to pretend that there’s a Starman waiting in the skies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
4. The Usual Suspects
While a great number of movies center around a ragtag band of strangers teaming together for one big job, few of them are assembled together before a police line-up. It’s not long after Rocket, Gamora, Groot and Star-Lord meet that they are arrested and placed along a similar line-up. The parallel is so on the nose that it can’t be an accident Benicio del Toro appears in Guardians as The Collector.
3. Cowboy Bebop
Not just an iconic series, but a touchstone for all that is cool in anime, Cowboy Bebop is the anime that definitely influenced Guardians with its mashup of Western, space opera and crime noir sensibilities. Bebop consists of episodes that tell mostly self-contained stories in just under half an hour in which Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, and Jet Black win some, but lose most of it.
2. Titan A.E.
A lesser known gem from the people that brought us The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail. Titan A.E. doesn’t just feature a worn down intergalactic future similar to Guardians, but a wisecracking fast-talking script too. No surprise since Buffy creator Joss Whedon did some work on it. Whedon is now famous for his work on The Avengers, but he worked closely with Titan A.E. co-writer Ben Edlund on the TV series Firefly, which brings us to…
The big screen adaptation for the short lived space western Firefly also serves as the desperate last stand for its creators and fans. Firefly and Serenity focused on space outlaws struggling to make a living despite the law and features the same level of bickering and friendship as Guardians. Moreover, the cast, lead by quippy misbehaving Malcolm Reynolds, is cut from the same insecure badass cloth.
Do you have any more recommendations? Share them with us below!