Illustration for article titled Must See: The Last Starfighter

Must-see movies are futuristic classics that shouldn't be missed. Of course, not every must-see is perfect. That's why we've rated them 1-5 on the patented "crunchy goodness" scale. Written by Sherilyn Connelly.

Title: The Last Starfighter
Date: 1984

Vitals: A bored teenager in a trailer gets the high score on a video game and is recruited into an actual space battle. (The original premise, in which he gets laid because of the high score, was rejected as too far-fetched.)


Famous names: Directed by Nick Castle, a John Carpenter alum who started out strong playing Michael Myers in the first Halloween film and writing Escape from New York, but then directed three movies in the mid-nineties which are so foul, we dare not speak their name.

Crunchy goodness: 4

Stunt casting: Since both Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson were unavailable to play the girlfriend, the filmmakers had to settle for third-tier triple-namer Catherine Mary Stewart—and Mary isn't even her first name, for Chrissakes!


Memorable product tie-in: Failing to learn from the success of the Tron video game two years earlier, Atari (the king of vaporware) produced an arcade game which was never released, and a computer game which was eventually released several years later, but not called The Last Starfighter.

Design breakthrough: All the special effects (except for the starcar on Earth) are CGI, and unlike Tron, they're meant to represent real, physical objects.

Cold Fusion Video Reviews: The Last Starfighter

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