11 Movies That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time

by Emily Lackey

Do you ever watch a movie when it first comes out and think to yourself, “What the heck did I just sit through for two hours?” If you’re anything like me, that has probably happened to you a ton. But then do you ever rewatch that movie after some time or think about the themes it was wrestling with a little ways down the road and realize that, surprisingly, the movie was way ahead of its time? It happens to me a lot. There have been movies that I’ve watched as a kid or as a young adult that I watch today and am blown away. Some of these movies feel psychic in the things that they predicted or the issues that they highlighted that are hugely important in today’s world.

These 11 movies in particular were surprisingly ahead of their time, bringing some harsh realities to the big screen that either hadn’t happened yet or would later open our eyes to the issues that really mattered. When I first watched these movies, I didn’t think they were anything more than cinematic pomp and circumstance, but the concepts that they were wrestling with would end up being a big deal in just a few short years. I just had to give them a little time to see how ahead of their time they really were.

1. The Truman Show

This movie predicted the coming of reality television and the skewed perception of what’s real that has come from it.

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2. Dazed And Confused

This movie might be about the 1970s, but it captures a reality about being young and in high school that is totally timeless.

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3. Gattaca

Cloning. Genetic modification. It’s all there in this dystopian sci-fi flick.

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4. Garden State

This basically became the template for every indie movie made afterward.

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5. Varsity Blues

This may seem like a pretty straightforward sports flick, but it totally highlighted the seedy underside of sports-related injuries in young athletes (and how they affect them in the long-run).

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6. Office Space

Who knew the offices where we worked would make such good fodder for storytelling? From this movie came a number of other office-related shows and movies, like that super famous one that you might have heard of. The Office, is it?

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7. Donnie Darko

This movie missed a lot of the acclaim it deserved, but the issue of supporting people with mental illness (and providing them with accessible treatment) is a hot button topic in today’s world.

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8. Fight Club

A movie about a bunch of guys who are seeking something more experiential than our materialistic lives? Sounds like the world today. Hopefully with a little less blood.

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9. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

This movie, about a man who wants to erase the memories of his relationship, speaks to a lot of the ways in which people self-medicatee these days with a variety of “substances” to go numb.

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10. Videodrome

Because watching too much TV really can hurt you, y’all.

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11. Memento

All of that trippy storytelling — going backwards in time, turning from black and white to color — made this film way ahead of its time cinematically. Now there are plenty of movies and shows that walk in its footsteps.

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All of this makes me wonder what movies we’re watching now will predict the issues and themes that define our lives in the future. Hopefully Sisters, because I definitely want to be partying like that when I’m 42.