I love time travel movies. They are fun, they can be great, and they can be silly. I believe they exist in their own genre, and not necessarily a subset of science-fiction, since many exist without any scientific rationale and or weird time traveling equipment. Many are built on the case of a single what-if. What if I could go back in time but only if I am naked like in The Terminator (1984) or what if I could travel back in time but only by hi-jacking a direct ancestor’s body like in Trancers (1985). Once we buy into how the what-if is acheived then the rest of the story can be devoted to answering the What-if. And how these movies answer the What-if is what I love.
Time Lapse (2014} is one of many low budget time travel movies that sets up a basic premise and steps back to watch it unwind. Here are the ingredients: Three roommates, one girl, one boy that bets on dog races, one boy that is a painter, and a neighbor with a giant Polaroid camera able to take pictures 24 hour in advance. Mix in some jealousy, a dash of coveting, and bake together in an oven of fear, distrust, and greed, and you get a dish that is quite tasty.
The Jacket (2005): Available on Xfinity, Apple, Vudu, Sony
What if you could travel back in time while wearing a straight jacket and hopped up on mind altering drugs? This is answered by Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley while falling in love and trying to right some very big wrongs. I adore this movie.
Looper (2012): Available on Apple, Vudu, Sony
What if you were paid to assonate criminals sent back from the future until you had to kill your future self? This trippy mind bender is a must see. My Review of Looper
Primer (2004): Available on Netflix, Hulu
What if time travel was so unbelievably complicated that you have to watch this movie more than once just to say you still don’t get it? Truthfully there are many websites devoted to fans discussing and explaining this very involved plot. But don’t let that scare you, just watch it and then visit one of these sites: Primer Explained or YouTube Video of Primer De-obfuscated (Plot Guide).
Somewhere in time (1980): Available on Xfinity, Apple, Vudu, Sony
What if you could travel backwards in time to meet a beautiful stranger but only if you are wearing old timey clothes and sleeping in an old hotel without modern conveniences? The rest is a tear-jerking classic love story.
Source code (2011): Available on Apple , Vudu
What if you could travel backwards in time, but only if you are in a coma and on life support and your brain is connected to a giant computer? You might be sent back by the military to undo a terrorist attack.