Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thusday Movie Picks - Aliens

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and telling us a bit about them!

LET'S DO THIS (extra-terrestrial) THING!

(Sorry, I just finished a brain-dump list of the funniest films EVER, so I just want to get right to the point!)

Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979) The grand-daddy of all alien movies, Ridley Scott's masterpiece starts out like a sci-fi film, but ends up being a killer haunted house flick, with the spaceship standing in for the house as a mysterious, flesh-hungry alien gets loose and starts picking off the crew members one by one. Every performance is memorable (Veronica Cartwright! Tom Skerritt! Ian Holm!), but movie characters don't come more iconic than Sigourney Weaver's "final girl" Ripley.

Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot, 1999) What if satellite transmissions of Star Trek somehow made it into space to a not-particularly-intelligent alien race looking to be rescued from persecution? That's the question posed by Galaxy Quest, a definite contender for funniest film of the '90s. The answer? They come to Earth, kidnap the actors responsible for the iconic characters, and force them to man the ship and save their species in one last final episode of the show. Except that now, the show is real! I can't believe how perfectly cast this thing is: Tim Allen as the womanizing ship commander, Sigourney Weaver as the sexy (lone) female, Alan Rickman as the British "real thespian"/emotionless alien doctor, Tony Shalhoub as the nervous chief engineer, and Sam Rockwell as a "red shirt" (you know, one of those nameless, disposable extras who maybe had one line before they got unceremoniously killed off in their one episode gig). And then the brilliant Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, and Rainn Wilson as the aliens. Plus, Justin Long as the ultimate fanboy. Galaxy Quest is a blast - even if you're not a Trekkie (I'm not)!

Lilo & Stitch (Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders, 2002) I make no bones about it: Stitch may just be my favorite Disney character. An alien science experiment hellbent on destruction gone rogue and pseudo-domesticated by a sweet little Hawaiian girl named Lilo, Stitch is just the cutest little agent of chaos you've ever seen. The film around him follows suit, ending up as easily the best of Disney's rather fallow output between the "Golden Age" of the '90s and the new computer-animated hits that have come in recent years.

16 comments:

  1. I love these picks! My kid loves to watch Lilo and Stitch, and the first one is so much better than the three sequels that came after.

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    1. I never bothered with any of the L&S sequels, because as a general rule, Disney Direct-to-Video stuff kinda sucks for adults.

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  2. All three are wonderful films. I'm really happy Galaxy Quest got a mention this week. It's a vastly underrated movie.

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    1. Galaxy Quest has garnered a decent cult following over the years, but it's still underseen.

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  3. I haven't seen Lilo and Stitch but the other two are tremendous picks. Even though I prefer Aliens the original Alien is a fantastically disturbing film with as you said great performances across the board.

    I LOVE Galaxy Quest! It balances the serious and the silly exactly right. Casting Sigourney was genius since it calls to mind her legacy in the genre.

    If Alien is the granddaddy of this genre than a couple of my picks would be considered the great granddaddies of it from the reactionary 50's.

    I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)-After his buddies give him a bachelor party handsome young hunk Bill (Tom Tryon) heads home but stops when he thinks he’s hit something in the road and is suddenly engulfed by a heavy gray fog. Next day prospective bride Marge (Gloria Talbott) frets when Bill is late to the wedding until he shows up and faster than you can say Jack Robinson she’s “MARRIED TO A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE!!!!” Pulpy 50’s sci-fi follows their story as it slowly dawns on Marge that there is an alien race who are seeking a way toward reclamation of their species. Leading man Tryon eventually abandoned acting for a very successful writing career (The Dark Secret of Harvest Home, The Other etc.)

    I Come in Peace (1990)-A gang of drug traffickers known as the "White Boys” cause havoc when they make off with a cache of heroin from a federal building followed by a strange spate of deaths where the victims bear a puncture mark on their foreheads. Hard-nosed cop Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) and FBI agent Arwood Smith (Brian Benben) follow bizarre clues looking for an answer. B movie actioner whose tagline “Good cop. Bad alien. Big trouble.” pretty much says it all.

    They Live (1988)-Drifter John Nada (Rowdy Roddy Piper) finds a pair of sunglasses that when worn shows the world as it truly is. How it truly is happens to be a place where the billboards and all media carry subliminal messages such as “No Imagination” and “Stay Asleep” and the people in authority are actually aliens hidden behind a mask of normalcy who are keeping the masses subdued. Directed with a sardonic tone by John Carpenter.

    Honorable Mention-Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)-Playing into both the public’s fascination and fear of space exploration and outer space in the 50’s this low budget sci-fier is both earnest and reactionary. Flying saucers, looking like exact replicas from My Favorite Martian, start blasting the hell out of a military base when their signal is misinterpreted. Once the mistake is revealed and against government orders a lone scientist tries to straighten out the muddle. Finding out the aliens intentions it’s then a race to find a defense before the human race is enslaved! Cheesy but if you like this kind of thing it could be fun.

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    1. LOL at the plot of I Married a Monster From Outer Space - SO typically '50s! They Live is the only one of these I've heard of, but they all sound like different levels of fun.

      So glad to see all the love for Galaxy Quest today!

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  4. Love Alien - one of my absolute favorites. A shame the sequels weren't as great and scary. Galaxy Quest is so funny!

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    1. I haven't seen any of the Alien sequels, but I was really impressed by Alien - it's SO scary but never sacrifices character nuance. Plus, the production design is stellar.

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  5. I can't watch Alien....to scary for me. I picked Galaxy Quest as well and consider it a hoot! I have not seen Lilo & Stitch

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    1. I thought it would be too scary, too, but honestly I was fine. Yes, the Alien is a scary-looking creature, but it's BARELY seen. It's more psychological horror than I was expecting.

      Lilo & Stitch is just the cutest and I ADORE it!

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  6. I'll be watching Alien some time this year, quite excited for it. Loved Galaxy Quest and Lilo & Stitch!

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    1. OOOOOOOOOOH then I'm excited for you! Can't wait to hear what you think!

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  7. I've only seen Alien, which I loved. I wasn't aware of Galaxy Quest until this morning but I will give it a try!

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    1. Galaxy Quest is SO much fun. Enjoy!

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  8. My friend has been telling me to watch Galaxy Quest for years but I haven't seen it yet. I think in Rickman's honour and because Sam Rockwell is in it - I need to track it down.

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    1. OMG just do it! It's SO much fun. And Rickman and Rockwell are an absolute hoot in it!

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