Hot tubs and time machines: A definitive ranking |

Movies | PopWatch

Hot tubs and time machines: A definitive ranking

From 'Jersey Shore' and '12 Monkeys' to, yes, 'Hot Tub Time Machine' -- and beyond

Jet-powered soaking cauldrons and chrono-traversal vehicles are kind of like pickles and peanut butter—two great tastes that taste great together, especially if you’re drunk. That, at least, is the rationale behind Hot Tub Time Machine and its brand new sequel, Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Which got us thinking: Hot tubs and time machines both have long, proud pop cultural histories, as does impulsive and arbitrary list-making. So why not combine all three?

The rules, such that there are any: Only the most notable pop-culture hot tubs (as opposed to bathtubs) and vaguely scientific time machines (i.e. not wormholes, magic-based doodads like Time Turners, and whatever the hell a Tesseract is) were eligible for our entirely logical and objective classification. Other than that, the sky was the limit. Because where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

So, what made the warm, bubbly, spacetime continuum-y cut? Read on, my friends.

33. The Jersey Shore house smush tub

Are you DTF in this lukewarm folliculitis stew? If so, be prepared to fist-pump all the way to Ocean Medical Center.

32. A series of tubes (12 Monkeys)

Time travel in Terry Gilliam’s dystopia is complicated, claustrophobic, and altogether unpleasant. Also, you can’t do it without a bunch of weirdos watching and yelling at you.

31. Any hot tub on The Real World

Ditto Jersey Shore, but extra points for being the original gross reality show Jacuzzi.

30. Those janky-looking chambers in Looper

You can only travel back in time, which is lame—oh, and just when a mob syndicate is sending you to be murdered by your past self. Which sorta takes the fun out of it.

29. Kramer’s hot tub (Seinfeld)

You just can’t trust this tub; one moment you’re being soothed by its high-volume Accusage jets, the next minute it’s causing a debilitating power outage (and wreaking havoc on your core temperature). Also, it may or may not be filled with butter.

28. The Terminator franchise’s Time Displacement Equipment

Pro: Sweet spinning rings technology. Con: It’s a one-way-trip sort of deal, which is limiting for man and robot alike.

27. George Sr.’s attic hot tub (Arrested Development)

Serviceable as a soaking bath; not great as a place to try to make dinner. (Unless you’re into scalding, teriyaki-flavored water.)

26. The hot tub time machine itself (Citizen Kane Hot Tub Time Machine)

Let’s be honest: This thing isn’t that great, as a relaxation station or as a time-travel device. That water is gnarly; it only works when you spill illegal imported energy drink on its control panel; you can’t control where it takes you, though it seems that isn’t true of the hot tub time machine in the sequel. Still, though. The water. The water. Why does it look like that?

25. Harry and Lloyd’s love tub (Dumb and Dumber)

You’d be in good company with this one, but you have to admit it’s a little cramped. Plus, when it breaks, it probably makes the Most Annoying Sound in the World.

24. Homer Simpson’s toaster time machine (The Simpsons)

Easy to recreate (fork + toaster = time machine; woohoo!), but tricky to control. May lead to world with no doughnuts.

23. The hot tub where Finn thinks he impregnated Quinn (Glee)

He didn’t, obviously, but the fact that he believes he could have makes you wonder what kind of stuff is swimming around in there.

22. Timecop’s futuristic go-kart pod

Looks more like a ride at Dystopian Disney World than a respectable time machine, though it does get the job done. P.S. The “future” part of the movie takes place in 2004. We are all 100 years old.

19. Kathy Bates’ hot tub (About Schmidt)

Looks like there’s good heat and jet power in that tub, as long as you don’t mind sharing space with in-the-buff baby boomers.

20. Doc Brown’s time-traveling train (Back to the Future 3)

Visually imposing, sure, but it’s fairly unwieldy, and only semi-believably computer animated. It’s tough to beat the efficiency and style of Doc Brown’s first time machine—but we’ll get to that.

21. Jack Horner’s swingin’ tub (Boogie Nights)

A wooden tub filled with members of the adult film industry? Seems pretty groovy, especially if you’re looking for a place to unwind and think of the perfect porn star name. Of course, your mileage may vary.

18. Mark Duplass’s floating time machine (Safety Not Guaranteed)

Spoiler alert: It actually works! But it’s tough to know how well it works, given when the movie ends. Points for flair, though, and Inventor Mark Duplass’s kicky bandana.

17. Rodney Dangerfield’s dorm room dipper (Back to School)

Pro: Bubbles. Con: It’s still in the middle of a dorm room.

16. The Box (Primer)

Call this the thinking man’s time machine—a device that’s actually mathematically plausible, especially by the standards of movie time-travel. If only it didn’t make your brain bleed.

15. Alotta Fagina’s penthouse getaway (Austin Powers)

This tub is spacious, inviting, and located in a charmingly decorated Japanese-themed pied a terre. The one downside: It’s brimming with an International Man of Mystery’s farts.

14. Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s WABAC Machine (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle)

It’s a rad-looking midcentury megacomputer that’ll take you to all sorts of historical hot spots, though the dog who runs it is a bit of a scold.

13. Metron’s Mobius chair (DC Comics)

A comfy seat that can travel through time, space, and other dimensions, not to mention tote a planet along in its wake (in case you’re in a planet-moving kind of mood). Totally awesome, in other words, so long as you’ve got the Element X to power it. You do have a healthy supply of Element X, don’t you?

12. Elle’s poolside retreat (Legally Blonde)

The perfect spot to relax and shoot your Harvard Law admissions video. What, like it’s hard?

11. The machine in Project Almanac

The device at the center of this new found footage thriller is handy, portable, and you can build one in a garage, mostly out of everyday items—perfect for the DIY would-be time-traveler. May induce fatal shaky-cam syndrome.

10. The Hot Tug (The Bachelorette)
It’s a hot tub. It’s a boat. It’s a hot tub and a boat. Brilliant, though using it means you have to concede to being on The Bachelorette.

9. Bill and Ted’s excellent phone booth (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

It’s a rad ride with retro charm and nearly limitless capabilities—except that a trip in it won’t disrupt your present-day timeline, which is a little bogus. Also, we have to deduct it for ripping off a certain other time-traversing phone booth. (But we’ll get to that.)

8. The hot tub at the fabulous Welshly Arms Hotel (Saturday Night Live)

Who could possibly say no to a sensuous evening in the ha-tub with the luvvahs? It also goes perfectly with duck meat. (Granted, this one’s certainly a no-go if you’re not in an oversharing kind of mood.)

7. Doc Brown’s DeLorean (Back to the Future)
The gold standard of modern-day time travel—sleek, stylish, and powerful, thanks to its delightfully whimsical-sounding flux capacitor. You do need enough room to get up to 88 miles per hour, though, at least in the original pre-hover model—and it’s sure got a habit of being struck by lightning.

6. The heart-shaped Niagara Love Tub from The Sims: Hot Date

A cozy bath guaranteed to raise your Comfort levels through the proverbial roof. Woohoo encouraged.

5. The TARDIS (Doctor Who)

It’s not just a time machine—it’s a fully functional spacecraft that, in ideal circumstances, has the capacity to travel anywhere and any-when in the universe. Which would make it the unquestioned category winner, if not for the fact that the Doctor’s own TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space, natch) has a busted chameleon circuit and out-of-date controls, which makes it less than ideally reliable. (We should, however, take that with a grain of salt—according to the TARDIS itself, which, yes, is semi-sentient, every “mistake” it’s made has been on purpose. Those incorrigible Brits!)

4. James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party Hot Tub

Sizzling, compact, and complete with its own backup band, this one’s practically perfect in every way—though sometimes, it’s just too hot in the hot tub.

3. The Time Machine (The Time Machine, 1960 version)

The height of steampunk chic, as well as one of the more visually stunning time machines in pop culture history. Plus, there’d be no Doc Brown without H.G. Wells—he coined the term “time machine,” for Pete’s sake—so we’ve got to give credit where credit’s due.

2. Tony Montana’s den of iniquity (Scarface)

An enormous sunken marble tub, filled with bubbles, decorated with gold everything, located mere inches from a television, closed-circuit security camera footage, a lavish bed, and Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1983? It just doesn’t get more opulent than this. (And okay, it might technically be a bathtub, but we can’t tell whether there are jets beneath all those suds—so we’ll let this one slide. Plus we’re a little worried about what Tony might do to us if he didn’t make the list.)

1. Calvin and Hobbes’ time machine

Is it nothing more than a cardboard box labeled “Time Machine” by a six-year-old with a Sharpie? Yes. But this simple, crude elegance is what puts Calvin’s invention at the top of the heap—not to mention its portability, its potency (the kid and his tiger went all the way back to the Jurassic era!), and its inherent thrift. Perhaps most importantly, it’s powered solely by the imagination—an endlessly renewable resource, so long as you’re not a dead-inside adult. Oh, and provided you and your tiger co-pilot can both fit inside.

Credit: 2013 Watterson/Distributed by Universal Uclick