Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Alien Invasions of Earth


Thursday is here. The first Thursday back to work for me. A new school year has arrived here in my little school district in East Tennessee, and I'll be back at it, teaching 8th graders to read and write.

I'll admit that I prefer science fiction of the non-alien kind (our topic a few weeks ago). This week on Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks, though, it's all about the aliens, Alien Invasions of Earth. A fun topic.


Here are my picks:

Independence Day
Dir. Roland Emmerich, 1996


For a 12-year-old boy, there literally was no better blockbuster in 1996. My friends and I worshipped Will Smith and this movie. Independence Day is one of those movies that just did everything a good blockbuster should. It offers, most importantly, loads of humor to combat the truly evil nature of the aliens in question, their huge ships shrouding the world's major cities in darkness and destruction. I particularly love Jeff Goldblum and the dynamic with his father (Judd Hirsch), who, I just read, will both be returning for the sequel next year. I am truly stoked about it!

The Faculty
Dir. Robert Rodriguez, 1998


I was a high school freshmen, and, of course, my friends and I had our parents drop us off at the local multiplex for this one. I'm pretty sure everyone who came of age in the late 90s, as I did, have a soft spot for The Faculty. It's just a cool flick. Our high school teachers are turning into aliens, man, and what not. I just mentioned to my wife that I'd chosen this one for my picks this week, and she instantly said, "Oh, I love The Faculty!" And she hates alien movies. It worked as a brooding high school drama AND an effective sci-fi movie. Featuring a witty script from Kevin Williamson (fresh from his success with the first two Scream films and the new WB series Dawson's Creek), a stellar cast, and directed by the Texas mad genius himself, this movie stands as a classic piece of late-90s Miramax gold.

Edge of Tomorrow
Dir. Doug Liman, 2014


My uncle is a huge sci-fi buff and author, and he went out of his way to harp on how great this movie was when it came out last summer. I finally caught up with it earlier this year, and I loved it! Tom Cruise is badass as ever as a military spokesman pushed into the front lines of a war against aliens holding the ability to reset time and know the future. When he is somehow enabled with the ability to do the same, this movie turns into a action-packed, futuristic Groundhog Day. In order to save the world, he must train and fight side-by-side with a smokin' hot war hero played by Emily Blunt (OMG!). This movie is a ridiculous amount of fun.

The Aliens Can Be Nice, Too Bonus Pick

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1977


Spielberg's sci-fi masterpiece, his second blockbuster success in only three years, Close Encounters is one of those movies that worked so well for me in just how perfectly iconic it is. When I saw it for the first time, it was as if I'd seen it before. It was just, like, so right. Richard Dreyfuss plays Roy Neary, an electric company lineman who experiences an encounter with a U.F.O., which, in turn, drives him into an obsession with something he can't quite grasp. He starts to see visions of a familiar shape, builds it out of mashed potatoes, then mud and grass. He feels drawn to this place where something important is about to happen. I get chills just thinking about what that is, and how I feel when I watch this movie. All I know is that I like an alien invasion that is less killing and more music. Oh, and fucking Francois Truffaut is in this movie and is awesome. And so is Bob Balaban, and he's awesome. And everything about this movie is awesome. It is my third favorite movie of all-time. It will stay there, and never go away. 

18 comments:

  1. Great choices! I am curious about The Faculty. And I really like Independence Day and Edge of Tomorrow.

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    1. Thanks. The Faculty is no masterpiece or anything. But a totally unique, memorable sci-fi flick.

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  2. I love seeing The Faculty get so much love. I never did watch The Edge of Tomorrow, but my husband loves that movie. I should give it a shot.

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    1. I know, right. It's one of the first I thought of. I really didn't have a whole lot to choose from. Edge of Tomorrow is a blast. Watch it!

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  3. YASSS!

    I hate that I still haven't seen Close Encounters! I need to see that ASAP!!!!

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    1. Dude! Please see Close Encounters and report to me immediately after. Lol. Seriously, though.

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  4. Can't believe the love The Faculty is getting today! I barely remember it outside of liking it.

    Independence Day was THE movie in '96. Still love it.

    Edge of Tomorrow is really spectacular, although I thought it dragged on a bit towards the end. But it's surprisingly funny and really knows what to do with the premise. Emily Blunt is KICK. ASS. And Cruise is ideally cast. Plus the aliens are actually different and very cool-looking.

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    1. The Faculty. Who woulda thunk it? I just remember watching it all the time, it seems, in high school.

      Yeah. '96, bro. And Edge of Tomorrow did really go off the rails a bit in the end, but Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise and cool-looking aliens. You said it all.

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  5. Love all if these except Independence Day. I liked it when I first saw it in a theater. Whenever I watched it after that it just dragged badly. Lotta love for The Faculty today. Good to see that. Need to revisit Close Encounters. Great picks.

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    1. Honestly, I haven't watched Independence Day in years, but it had to be here. I'm pretty sure I'd love watching it again, though. For the nostalgia, if nothing else. Thanks, man.

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  6. I heard really good things about Edge of Tomorrow and will put this on my list to see as well as The Faculty which I have seen other pick for this week. I am not one for Independence Day. It's just to...typical. Vivica A Fox is someone I want to smack and seeing that the spaceship seems to have a wheel like we have in cars made me laugh out loud. Close Encounters is excellent and hopeful-need more of those type of space films. I am getting tired of aliens wanting to take over the world

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    1. I hear you on Independence Day. It's a silly movie. But I just have a huge soft spot for it, since it was just such a big movie when I was a kid. Close Encounters is wonder. I adore that film.

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  7. Great picks! Independence Day was a great joyride; The Faculty was terrific with great cast; and I almost forget about Edge of Tomorrow as an alien movie---I only remember the gameplay.

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    1. Joyride. I like that. And, yes to the cast of The Faculty. So perfect for its time.

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  8. My goodness The Faculty is the unexpected title of the week! I liked it, and that cast! but it isn't a film I think I've watched since that initial time. Close Encounters is an awesome pick, it never occurred to me but I remember seeing it in a packed theatre and being mightily impressed with it. I haven't seen Edge of Tomorrow, not a Cruise fan by and large, but it sounds worth checking out. I picked Independence Day too as an extra pick, I was sure it would show up so I wasn't going to but the last couple of times I thought that the film never got picked.

    Funny I'm not a big sci-fi or alien fan, I'm more neutral I'll go if someone else wants to but I'm rarely anxious to see something before it comes out, but within that genre I have several favorites and it made it hard to get down to three so I gave up trying once I got to five.

    Slither (2006)-A meteor crashes outside a small southern town unleashing a plague of parasitic worms that turn the townspeople into zombies. The sheriff and the wife of one of the victims try and figure out a way to fight the slithering danger before it gets to them. Good performances by Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks in this mix of comedy and horror.

    The Hidden (1987)-Dealing with a sudden spate of violent crime, perpetuated by people who until the last few days had no history of any wrongdoing, a cop is joined in the hunt by an FBI agent who has a strange aura about him. Turns out he is an alien in pursuit of a murderous intergalactic parasite that is using whatever host is available to cause mayhem until it is so damaged that he moves onto the next. Action packed film distinguishes itself from the pack by being laced with humor, a gritty feeling and solid performances from it cast. Kyle MacLachlan in particular stands out as the FBI agent from another world.

    The Andromeda Strain (1971)-A satellite crashes in the New Mexico desert carrying an alien germ that causes the death of all but two people in a nearby town. A group of scientists are whisked away to a secure underground government lab to try and solve the mystery of the survivors and isolate and destroy the life form before it can cause worldwide destruction. This cerebral take on alien invasion based on a Michael Crichton bestseller is set almost exclusively in the underground bunker.

    Honorable Mentions-Independence Day (1996)-A belligerent alien society tries to invade the planet and destroy mankind but not if an ass kicking Will Smith and a small band of scientists and soldiers has anything to say about it! Popcorn entertainment is big, loud, showy and a whole lot of mindless fun.

    The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)-A gentle alien lands and warns humans that they must learn to live peaceably or be destroyed to keep them from becoming a threat to other planets. Seminal sci-fi picture that is miles above most genre pics that were being produced at the time.

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  9. Yeah. I never would've thought The Faculty would be such a popular pick. And I love Tom Cruise. I just can't help it. Edge of Tomorrow was really an unexpected gem for me. So much fun.

    I remember really wanting to see Slither actually and never did. The Hidden sounds really cool, and The Andromeda Strain is a title I've heard but never checked out.

    No shame in throwing a mention to Independence Day. It is pure Popcorn.

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  10. Woo hoo! We have ID4 in common here Kevin. Man, how could I forget about Edge of Tomorrow?? I LOVE that film, and Emily Blunt is super bad ass!

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    1. Nice! And, yes to Edge of Tomorrow and Emily Blunt!

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