The Fly
Movies with Surreal Premises
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Simon Rich

Writer

I was always interested in surreal premises, whether it was comedic or scary or science fiction, it didn't matter. I just loved writers that were coming up with strong hooks.

Simon Rich is a writer whose short stories have been turned into TV series (Man Seeking Woman) and films (An American Pickle). Read about what inspired his screenplay for An American Pickle, starring Seth Rogen as a man brined in pickle juice for 100 years (and his great-great-grandson).

1

Kindergarten Cop

1990

WHERE TO WATCH

I think it’s the perfect use of Schwarzenegger and one of the funniest performances of all time.

WHERE TO WATCH
Kindergarten Cop
1990
111 Mins | PG-13
Undercover officer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) teaches rowdy class of peewees.


2

King of Comedy

1983

WHERE TO WATCH

I think the imagined delusional fantasy sequences are just perfectly executed. The pace of it is perfect. And I love the decision to make the climactic standup routine like a B-plus, as opposed to terrible or great.

WHERE TO WATCH
King of Comedy
1983
101 Mins | PG
A would-be comic (Robert De Niro) hounds a late-night talk-show host (Jerry Lewis).


3

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

1989

WHERE TO WATCH

I think it’s underrated. A great antagonist, very self-aware, and it’s really funny.

WHERE TO WATCH
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
1989
90 Mins | PG
Dopey dudes (Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter) time-travel to fetch celebrities for a school project.


4

The Fly

1986

WHERE TO WATCH

It was the first date I went on with my wife. (Part of the reason why we bonded, I think, is our love for the movie.) I just think the Goldblum character is perfectly calibrated and it’s just a great mixture of root-able and hateable and it’s one of the all-time excellent portrayals of megalomania in film.

WHERE TO WATCH
The Fly
1986
95 Mins | R
A scientist's (Jeff Goldblum) molecules merge with a fly's in this remake of the 1958 shocker.


5

Rookie of the Year

1993

WHERE TO WATCH

Rookie of the Year, which I have not seen since third grade, has one of the best wish fulfillment premises ever, which is that a kid’s arm heals after an injury in such a way that he becomes capable of pitching a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and ends up playing major league baseball.

I still fantasize about living out the premise, even though I’m now older than almost every major league baseball player. That’s the beauty of it, though—as long as I have the exact same injury and it heals in the same supernatural way…

WHERE TO WATCH
Rookie of the Year
1993
103 Mins | PG
A boy (Thomas Ian Nicholas) becomes a phenom pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.


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