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#165- Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Quick recap: The aliens have made contact and they don’t want to murder us after all! (that we know of………yet)

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Fun (?) fact: The cast and crew of Close Encounters of the Third Kind were all lame. The little kid in the movie, Cary Guffey, was really good at nailing his scene so Spielberg had shirts printed that said ‘One-Take Cary’. In another highly hilarious t-shirt creating story, actor François Truffaut said his line ‘they belong here more than we’, but the crew heard it as ‘Zey belong here, Mozambique’ so of course they had to commemorate it somehow. I just imagine a whole bunch of lame dads running around the set yelling, ‘that’s hilarious! Put it on a t-shirt!’ and then laughing uproariously.

This, I would buy.

This, I would buy.

My thoughts: A bonus fun fact to make up for the lame one earlier: I’m terrified of aliens. Now, to be fair, I’m terrified of almost everything from spiders to wind turbines to  glow in the dark books. Aliens have a been a weird constant, however, and it feels nice to finally get that off my chest. I don’t even know where the fear began, except it might have something to do with the tv show Sightings that used to come on late at night and the fact that I lived in a small town. It’s always the small towns that are affected, for some reason. Anyway, although I have seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind before and I know how the movie ends, I still expected an ending where the mother(?) alien comes out of the ship and obliterates everyone. Actually, I would’ve preferred that over the sickingly sweet aliens Spielberg dreamed up.

I should also mention that I’m not one of those people who hate Spielberg. He’s iconic, one of the best directors of the last half century. But in being so prolific, he has also amassed quite a few tropes that are hard to ignore the more I watch his films. One of them is the Happy Ending, in which everything works out for good ole’ Roy. He’s the main character, a normal guy who has a CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE THIRD KIND and becomes drawn to the Devil’s Tower for some reason. Along the way, his story is actually pretty dark with his family basically abandoning him because he can’t perform basic tasks like eating mashed potatoes and not filling the entire home with shrubbery and dirt. But in the end, it’s all ok because the creepy alien children choose him to live on their spaceship and form a circle around him, as if he is now their god.

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All that out of the way, I actually really enjoyed the film. I have no idea how realistic it all is, but the scenes in the beginning with the power going out, the mysterious wind and the magnetic forces all seemed plausible. The scene where the kid Barry is abducted also seemed realistic and terrifying and maybe gave me nightmares later on. Finally, my cold heart that wanted to scoff throughout this whole movie and join the ranks of Spielberg haters was ultimately warmed by the musical conversation that occurred between the scientists and the mother ship, which also included a nice Jaws reference. Prolific can be a detriment at times because it can cause excellent directors to fall back on tropes, but it also means that you end up with a director who knows how to create a story and capture the audience. Good going, Spielberg.

Final review: 4/5. Not perfect, but enjoyable and utterly terrifying.

Up next: Downfall

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