“Moon” is the word for this entry in the Top 6 Words series. My favorite movies with the word “moon” in the title follow the jump, but try thinking up some “moon” titles on your own before peeking. Chime in with your own list in the comments section.
A surprising number of MST3K movies are technically eligible: Moon Zero Two, Twelve To the Moon, Hercules Against the Moon Men, and Track of the Moon Beast. Additionally, Crash of the Moons and Project Moonbase almost qualify but not quite.
Since I am not a teenaged girl, New Moon does not appear in the following list:
6. First Men In the Moon (1964)
The first manned space flight lands on the moon — only to discover the British flag and a note saying that the moon has been claimed for Queen Victoria. Thus begins this adaptation of the H. G. Wells story of the same name, which, like a more famous Wells story also does, involves time travel. Science fiction in the 50s and 60s was mostly a low budget affair for kids, but this movie is better than most, thanks to Wells’ inventive ideas.
5. By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)
The Doris Day turn-of-the-century musical On Moonlight Bay (1952) was so successful, a sequel was made that reunited the bulk of the cast. It’s not quite as funny this time around, and the songs aren’t quite as fresh, nor is the interaction between the characters quite so realistic. At the same time, it recaptures the carefree atmosphere of the original quite well. As far as featherweight fifties musicals go, it’s a good one, suffering only by comparison with the first movie.
4. Man On the Moon (1999)
Proving once again that Jim Carrey is an amazing actor when he isn’t trying to be a cartoon, Man On the Moon is a biopic about the eccentric comedian Andy Kaufman. Carrey’s performance transcends imitation and really should have earned him an Oscar nomination. The movie itself is admirable but too morose, dragging too much between moments of inspiration.
3. The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)
The Teahouse of the August Moon is a fun and funny satire of global politics. Glenn Ford plays a man sent to teach democracy to the people of a small village in Okinawa. But one thing after another gets out of hand, and Ford’s funds don’t get spent quite the way his superiors were hoping. Bizarrely, Marlon Brando plays a Okinawan character, who makes the film.
2. Moon (2009)
A man works in a lunar station for a three-year shift, alone except for a computer, which is programmed to look after him. Moon’s opening moments make it seem like some kind of hybrid between 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Solaris (1972). But we soon realize that this film is going in a direction of weirdness all its own. Slowly, the man figures out that all is not as it appears to be, but to say more would ruin the experience of discovery. This is a must for science fiction fans.
1. Paper Moon (1973)
Peter Bogdanovich made this Depression-era drama about a con artist and a girl who just might be his daughter. He teaches her how to swindle, and now you are probably guessing at the kind of complicated tangle of con games that David Mamet likes to write. It’s not really that kind of movie. The con games, though entertaining on their own, are more about character than story. Interestingly, the two characters are played by real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, the latter turning in a revelatory performance for her first film.
The look of the movie is gorgeous: black and white panoramas of sprawling American landscapes. They are just right for establishing these characters as lost in the world. Sometimes they don’t much like each other, but you know why they stick together. Who else have they got?