A great American city lays in waste. The odor of sweat, tears and Cheetoes still lingers, as do the crushed hopes of those who hit snooze one too many times instead of getting their butt on line. It will take one full year to recover.

That’s right friends – Comic-Con International, as no one calls it anymore, has just ended and your friends from SlashFilm were in San Diego in full force. We’re there every year, watching successes launch (yay Avengers) and witnessing disasters stumble (not-so-yay Terminator Salvation.)

Then there are other movies. Movies that coulda been a contender but, for whatever reason, just didn’t connect. Here are films that had a presence in San Diego that, we feel, should have been bigger hits. This week will be a little less obscure than usual, but we think it’ll still be fun.

Ghosts of Mars(2001); John Carpenter, director.

John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars lost a lot of money. It basically kicked John Carpenter out of the director’s chair, taking him a decade to make another picture that barely got a theatrical release. It isn’t a great movie, but it isn’t bad. In fact, I’d hazard to guess that you’ve watched it on cable more than once and actually really enjoyed it. Or parts of it anyway. Maybe it’s time we all rethink the movie that (basically) introduced us to Jason Statham.

I wasn’t at SDCC in 2001, but apparently Carpenter’s panel was a little awkward because everyone in the audience was itching to get a first glimpse of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and got a little antsy listening to Carpenter, albeit a legend, comparing his newest film to Zulu.

Solaris (2002); Steven Soderbergh, director.

While 2011 was the first time Soderbergh came to SDCC (hawking Haywire, which could just as well be on this list) he was represented at the Con years earlier by none other than James Cameron.

Solaris sank a lot of dough down a black hole, but I don’t think anyone on the team had any misgivings about the film they were making. (And 20th Century Fox is not in the business of saying “no” to James Cameron.) As a result, we have that rarest of things – a thoughtful, inspired and intelligent science fiction film with state of the art effects. It’s a gorgeous looking (and sounding) film that, once you get on its wavelength, is mesmerizing. There are times when I think I prefer this (vastly shorter) version to the Andrei Tarkovsky original.

If you didn’t go and see it in the theater you owe society one.

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