Mention the name Michael Crichton to a heavy reader, and they'll probably think of a very smart man who used real science as a springboard for some truly fantastic stories. Mention the name to a movie geek, and their reaction will probably depend on how old the movie geek is. First and foremost I believe Mr. Crichton will be remembered as the author of Jurassic Park, mainly because the book and the film were such massive hits all over the globe. But if you focus solely on the late Michael Crichton's cinematic output, you start to realize what a silly streak the smart man must have had.

Looker (1981, screenwriter / director) -- Once again, a novel concept that's way past its expiration date in 2008, but it's about a plastic surgeon who slowly comes to discover a conspiracy involving computers, supermodels, and TV commercials.

Runaway (1984, screenwriter / director) -- What must have seemed like a futuristic techno-thriller at one point now looks like a hopelessly outdated piece of action-flick silliness. It's cyborg hunter Tom Selleck vs. Gene Simmons and his gang of robo-spiders! Crazy stuff. And MC was too smart a guy to not notice how goofy some of this stuff is...

The Great Train Robbery (1979, screenwriter / director) -- For my money this is (far and away) Crichton's finest directorial effort. (I rented the DVD from Netflix several years ago, sent it back, and bought a copy the next day. I love it.) It's a period piece, so the use of technology is of course limited, but that doesn't keep the movie from being smart, slick and quick. Plus Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland make a really entertaining team.

categories Cinematical