In “Click,” Adam Sandler plays Michael Newman, an overworked architect who discovers a truly universal remote, one that allows him to pause, fast-forward, mute and rewind real life. Since everyone watching the film inevitably starts fantasizing about a part of their own lives they’d love to relive (or skip past), we’ll take this opportunity to rewind to our 10 favorite movie gadgets.
10. The Opti-Grab from “The Jerk” (1979)
In Carl Reiner’s farce, gas-station attendant Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) rigs a nose-resting handle for eyeglasses for an entrepreneur who then markets it as the Opti-Grab. The item becomes a sensation, earning Johnson untold millions … until disaster strikes and Navin’s left with nothing but a thermos. But that’s all he needs.
9. Portable brain-wave detector with a built-in tongue box from “Barbarella” (1968)
She’s a five-star, double-rated, astronautical aviatrix with a lust for life — and her mission is to find the missing Durand Durand. No, not the band (Duran Duran), but the renegade scientist the group is named after. Roger Vadim’s supremely campy adaptation of the French comic strip “Barbarella” is a sexy shagadelic romp, and the gizmos in it are a bizarre amalgam of medieval-looking metal and old-West-style wood with things like chrome hands attached for no apparent reason. Austin Powers would be right at home in Barbarella’s (Jane Fonda) fur-lined spaceship.
8. The Communicator from “Star Trek”
While not quite as stylish as the shoe-phone from “Get Smart,” the communicator used by the crew of the USS Enterprise (from the 1960s TV show through their many movies) may be the most prescient gadget in sci-fi history. Anyone who’s ever flipped open their phone and walkie-talkied a pal owes a debt to Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk (and they couldn’t even text message!). Now if only our Razr would make that cool communicator chirping sound …
7. UHF Single-Digit Sonic Agitator Unit From “Die Another Day” (2002)
You can’t have a list of movie gadgets without a couple of items from Q Branch: Whenever James Bond wears jewelry, you know it’s not just to accessorize. In this Bond flick, 007 (Pierce Brosnan) sports a gold ring that, when turned, emits ultra-high frequency sound waves capable of smashing glass or giving you a really, really severe migraine (no, it’s not a wedding ring).
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6. Programmable Batarang from “Batman Returns” (1992)
The various Batmen’s utility belts have been loaded with all sorts of goodies, from Adam West’s bat-shark repellant to Christian Bale’s magnetic grappling gun. But our favorite (as in most ludicrous) bat-gizmo is the programmable Batarang that Michael Keaton uses in “Batman Returns.” But since the villains in Tim Burton’s plodding sequel don’t really move that much, programming their locations into the weapon seems really superfluous.
5. Al Czervik’s golf bag from “Caddyshack” (1980)
In the snobs vs. slobs comedy classic, real estate mogul Al Czervik’s (Rodney Dangerfield) poor caddy totes around a gargantuan golf bag that carries far more than just his irons. Loaded with a remote-controlled club-ejector, built-in stereo (that sadly blares only Journey) and a tapped beer keg, the bag pulls off the amazing feat of making golf seem fun.
4. The Rebreather from “Thunderball” (1965)
We’re listing the pen-sized oxygen apparatus from 007’s fourth film just because the mini-scuba was so convincing, the British military contacted the filmmakers for the specs — proving that sometimes “military intelligence” is indeed an oxymoron.
3. The puzzle box from “Hellraiser” (1987)
Granted, it’s not a toy you’d want your kids to play with, but the mystical puzzle box from Clive Barker’s seminal horror film is one cool Rubik’s Cube. Promising pleasures beyond anything imaginable in the physical realm, the puzzle box has one drawback: If you solve it, mystical demons called Cenobites are released and it’s their idea of “pleasure” that you have to endure. One man’s pain, etc., so, it’s best to leave the puzzle unsolved.
2. The Neuralizer from “Men in Black” (1997)
Monitoring and policing all alien activity on Earth is tough, especially if a bunch of Worm Guys get antsy and decide to party with Lindsay Lohan at Bungalow 8. Should this situation arise, it’s up to someone like Agent J (Will Smith) to round up the Wormies, then pull out his pen-sized Neuralizer (after donning the requisite Ray-Bans) and mind-wipe all of the hotspot-revelers into forgetting the existence of the aliens. J then has about 30 seconds in which to create a new memory for the Neuralized.
1. The Lightsaber from “Star Wars” (1977-2005)
OK, while we’re on record as not being a fan of the “Star Wars” series (see “Rewind: A Heretic Speaks — ’Star Wars’ Kinda Sucks” ), we can’t deny the utter greatness of the Lightsaber. Classical and futuristic, elegant and distinctive (what’s your saber color?), with a super-cool buzz-hum — whether wielded by a Jedi Muppet or a CGI Sith Lord, the Lightsaber is, we gotta admit, the coolest movie gadget of them all.
… except for maybe Al Czervik’s golf bag.
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