It’s despicable.” My distinguished colleague practically spat on learning that I had deemed Cronenberg’s remake of a mediocre s.f. movie as worthy of inclusion in a 100-best-of-anything list. Well, I love it. Yes, The Fly is about a scientist, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), who slowly and irrevocably morphs into a giant insect, much to his horror and that of his girlfriend (Geena Davis). But I see, and resee, the film as a profound parable on love and loss. Brundle might be the victim of any degenerative disease—cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s—who struggles to retain his humanity even as he decays into something … monstrous. The scientist in him wants to study, understand and extend his metamorphosis into Brundlefly; the lover wants to protect his beloved from the danger he represents. Mixing self-aware wit with gross-out special effects, Cronenberg elicits a creepy unease, at least for those of us who think of middle age as the dress rehearsal for senility, or worse.