#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)


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.


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

#159- Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Quick recap: The Terminator is back! But this time he is here to protect instead of, well, terminate. Along the way he learns what it means to be human and how to love. Awww.

Beeee........Goooood, E.T phone home.

          Beeee……..Goooood, E.T phone home.

Fun (?) fact: Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor, has an identical twin sister who helped out in scenes where two Sarahs were needed. Identical twins seems kind of a cop out special effect when James Cameron could have just Parent Trapped it. That’s totally a thing now, by the way, Parent Trapping.


My thoughts: Reflecting on my previous Terminator post, I seem a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. It felt like mindless entertainment, maybe a notch above other action movies, but nothing spectacular. Therefore, it pleased me greatly to see that Terminator 2 is a much better film than its original, a feat very hard to pull off. According to IMDb, Terminator 2 is the only sequel in history to win Academy awards when the previous film hadn’t even been nominated.

To start off with, the special effects, which impressed me last time, did so even more this time around. The constant explosions and walls of fire didn’t do much for me, but I loved the liquid metal structure of the T-1000. I kept expecting him to turn into Alex Mack at some point, but still very cool. The nuclear sequence was realistic enough to get a thumbs up from nuclear testing facilities, something we all strive to obtain some day. There weren’t very many ‘scary’ scenes, but that one stuck with me for awhile.

another creepy scene

                            another creepy scene

Edward Furlong, who played John Connor annoyed me the entire time he was on screen, and not just because of his voice. He was like the real life version of Bart Simpson but without any funny lines. His relationship with the Terminator also weirded me out a little and reminded me of that kid in Shane, especially the ending when he pleads for him not to go. I’ll cut him some slack though because it is pretty awesome to have your own pet Terminator to love and care for, who follows you around, protects you and does whatever you want. Replace Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Golden Retriever and you’d have the top heartwarming family movie of the year. It was really hard to see how this brat turned into the leader of the revolution but that was sort of the point, I think. Sending the Terminator back to protect John Connor set in motion all of the experiences he needed to become the hero later on in life. Having not watched any other movie in this series I don’t know if the war still happened but I’m guess it did. That makes everything even more remarkable, all the things these characters went through and yet failed to stop the future.

Final review: 4/5. Definitely an improvement from the pervious film, but I wouldn’t call it a favorite.

Up next: Sullivan’s Travels

#154- The Terminator

Quick recap: A cyborg, played by the former governor of California (what a country!), travels back to the 1980s to assassinate Sarah Connor, whose unborn son will one day secure a victory against the machines and save humanity.

The Terminator also murders Bill Paxton, so he can't be all that bad.

The Terminator also murders Bill Paxton, so he can’t be all that bad.

Fun (?) fact: O.J. Simpson was considered for the title role, but producers felt that he was ‘too nice’.

I for one welcome our new cyborg overlords

I for one welcome our new cyborg overlords

My thoughts: I have never seen The Terminator before ,although it is one of those movies that is so iconic it felt like I’ve watched it dozens of times. I tend to reject movies that have been gendered into ‘guy movies’ and ‘ girl movies’ because I feel it alienates people that might otherwise enjoy something if it hadn’t been labeled as such.

On the other hand, The Terminator is totally a ‘guy movie’. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. I am not a guy and I still enjoyed it, although the action sequences were a little too violent for my taste. I was very interested in the dystopian future (FYI 14 years from now) and also trying to figure out the whole time travel thing. Kyle Reese is from the future to protect Sarah Connor so that she may one day give birth to John Connor, the humanity’s savior. But he also travels back in time because he is totally in love with her and subsequently, they conceive the baby. Everything becomes all wibbly wobbly timey wimey at this point and it hurt my brain to think about it too much.

I think what impressed me most about The Terminator were the special effects. If I hadn’t been watching this with my husband, who apparently knows this movie very well,I would’ve missed most of this stuff because, it being 2015, I sometimes forget that computers haven’t always been around. The scene where the terminator takes out his eye is both gross and awesome.

I lost focus towards the end because it became more of a ‘just die, already’ sort of thing, with the terminator having been reduced to nothing more than a metal skeleton. It sort of reminded me of the black night in Monty Python, which was probably not what the director was going for.

'tis but a scratch

’tis but a scratch

Final review: 3/5. I get bored by constant gunfights, but I’m hoping the sequel will be better.

Up next: The House is Black

#149- Back to the Future

Quick recap: Marty McFly accidentally travels 30 years into the past where he must help his parents meet before he and his siblings are erased forever.

Don't start getting ideas, Michael Bay

Don’t start getting ideas, Michael Bay

Fun (?) fact:  Thomas F. Wilson, who played Biff, improvised the ‘butthead’ line as well as the ‘make like a tree and get out of here’ line. He also gives out FAQ cards to fans when they ask him about the movie.

What not to do when time traveling

What not to do when time traveling

My thoughts: Unlike Jaws, I do have memories of seeing this movie at some point in my adolescence. It wasn’t a favorite then, although I remember being entertained by it. In the years since, not much has changed. Back to the Future is one of those movies I would watch anytime it was on tv or if someone put it on, but it isn’t something I would seek out on my own.

If I had to put my finger on the best part of the movie, I’d go with Michael J. Fox’s performance. Casting did a perfect job choosing him as the lead character. On the surface, he’s a normal teenager with the typical problems of school, having a girlfriend and being embarrassed by his parents. On another level though, he is a very thoughtful kid, befriending an eccentric scientist and then doing everything he can to help him. Getting his parents together was selfish, I suppose, but he really took to heart who his parents were and who they eventually turned into. It’s these layers that made me appreciate the movie so much more than when I originally watched it.

But mostly, Back to the Future is about time travel. The action scenes were good, although the science a little fuzzy. I like that the answer to why this was possible at all was the ‘flux capacitor’ as if that’s all you really need to know. The only issue I have is how easily McFly was able to change events into the future. he mentioned being mayor to Goldie one time, and he latched on to the idea. He played guitar at the end of the movie, where Chuck Berry’s cousin just happened to be, thus creating rock and roll. At least it all turned out for the better, in the end.


Final review: 4/5. Very enjoyable and also a movie that perfectly captures the 80’s. Oh, does it ever.


Up next: The Player