Alien (1979)

Heresy! Blasphemy! Doesn't everyone like this movie? I didn't. If a film is going to scare me, it has to make me believe what's going on in order to set me up for a good fright. I stopped believing in the plot and characters of Alien very quickly. Some of my issues:

o Nostromo is a deep-space ore ship? Did we use up all the minerals on the moon and in the asteroids?

o What's the safest way for non-explorers to investigate something on an unfamiliar, hostile planet? You all get into the shuttlecraft and crash on the surface, leaving no one back on the ship except the cat. Brilliant.

o Speaking of the cat, could someone tell me how he closed himself in that small locker so that he could jump out and scare the crewman? Do cats evolve thumbs and sense of humor in the future?

o The final scene aboard the escape shuttle is a real puzzler. Apparently a well-designed shuttle contains an assortment of poisonous gases that you can easily release into the passenger compartment...just in case.

I really wanted to like this movie; it remains a visual wonder. But I left the theater that day feeling cheated. I think we're all accustomed to cutting film-makers a bit of slack, but there were just too many times during this movie when I thought, "Oh, come one!" One faux pas was not fatal, but together they ruined the movie for me.

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My problem with Alien is the pacing. It's suspenseful on first viewing, but slow as hell on subsequent viewings. I think Aliens is as brilliant as Alien is dull.

So here's my heresy: Blade Runner. The opening sequence that sets the story in the year 2017 just ruins it for me. I saw it in a theater when it came out, and the whole way thru, I'm thinking, "No way we'll have that technology by 2017." Leaning skyscrapers, hovercars, replicants, space travel, bazooka pistols, etc, no way by 2017. Well, plus, I pretty much hate film noir.
Didn't you realize that, at the end of the 20th century, we tore down every old building and built all new ones? (At least, that's what all the 20th century sf films thought.)

I agree that all the grungy, gritty sf films that thought they were being so avant garde by showing how dirty and decrepit the future was are all pretty dismal. (The Mad Max look, etc.) But if you think you don't like film noir, check out Laura. It's not sf, but it's good anyway. I think it's one of the finest films ever done. (Vincent Price as a young gigolo is wonderful.)
Also not SF but equally good film noir is Double Indemnity. Perhaps it's marginally related to the genre because it features Fred MacMurray (as an absolute scoundrel) who later went on to star in Disney's The Absent-Minded Professor (the original Flubber movie).
Huh, I thought I heard a lot of construction noise back in the late nineties. That explains it. I'll have to check out your Vincent Price recommendation. I always thought he was kind of cool in a goofy sort of way. The Raven, with Peter Lorre and Jack Nicholson was great.
wow... that was a really bad reason to hate Blade Runner.

It's a pretty good movie! Who cares if there are a couple stupid dating issues... how is that supposed to ruin a movie? Just set it later in your mind.

Most film noir is an attempt to be deep while being shallow. This did a pretty good job of scraping the surface of making you really think but didn't go all that far enough to my taste. Hollywood has a hard job of toeing the line between deep enough to make you think and shallow enough to make money. Pity.
I watched it in film study class so maybe I picked up a couple more hidden themes than you because of my teacher or something.
Why did Scott put the date on the screen at all? It's a fundamentally stupid maneuver, unnecessarily drawing attention to an extreme improbability that has nothing whatsoever to do with the story. It just bugged me. Sorry, but I have a hard time getting back into the suspension of disbelief after a movie throws me a curve like that. One of my least favorite movies is Armageddon. It's pretty good until they leave the ground. The minute they get to the Mir space station, it pegs the stupid meter and leaves it there (apparently Mir was constructed entirely out of accelerants and plastique). A movie has to be internally consistent to work for me. I'm OK with cartoon physics in cartoons. Even in live-action cartoons.

Anyway, I'm also not fond of dystopias (they are remarkably cliche) and I can't stand Philip K. Dick, so Blade Runner had a lot of strikes against it. I know lots of people think it's genius, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.
well i am not particularly a fan of sci fi. I liked the movie more because it is one of the first I know of to start incorporating the themes of "what do you really know about yourself?" and "what beliefs about ourselves and our environment can we really trust?"

two beautiful themes to any philosophical skeptic or atheist.
The date was stupid. If you have ever spent time in a busy city (worked in NYC) or have had long commutes (I drive 70 miles a day) flying cars, while they 'open up more lanes' (and even pre 911, I thought this) are stupid.

Dystopias make us feel better. Like when 1984 turned out to be filled with little brother (nosy people with video cameras) instead of big brother. More democratic. *sarcasm*

But, when given some an actual story, decent action, and some reasonably inriguing 'thought in the plot' - BR beat most SF films of its day and, probably, still does.

Armageddon was crap. Sometimes fun. But crap.
High insurance premiums will doom flying cars. At least until the system is totally automated, with a billion fail-safes. And you know for sure that the very high-income areas that could afford flying cars would pass ordinances against them because of noise and safety concerns. Not gonna happen in the next fifty years, and more likely a hundred.

Dystopias make me feel worse. I usually think, "With all this high-tech, can't these bozos afford a bottle of Windex, a mop, and a toilet brush? What the hell? Who would want to live like that? Don't they have weekly garbage pickup? There seem to be a lot of unemployed people who wouldn't mind having that job."

Armageddon is a long, long list of geysering crap. The titanium shuttles never turn off their engines, flying like fighter planes. There's a little, unpadded compartment containing a large, unrestrained handgun, and nobody notices the unbalanced washing machine thumping during the ride up. Steve Buscemi's character actually goes "space happy". Uh, that's not a thing. They waited too long to blow up the asteroid; instead of a single planet-killing crater, they would have made a nice planet-killing shotgun pattern. Why exactly would NASA make a lunar rover with a Gatling cannon as standard equipment? Expecting a lot of pesky alien rhinos? Liv Tyler is obviously no relation to Bruce Willis. On the plus side, I was wondering where they exiled Yakov Smirnoff to.
Lol - no windex in film noir.

Okay - armageddon was a theme park ride at best. But I don't care who Liv Tyler is related to (even if I appreciate her dad's work more than I do Bruce's) - better to add eye candy to the steaming pile of crap pile that movie was - especially if you feel compelled to assess its scientific and logical value.

You can never have too many gattling cannons on your rovers.
alien is definately one of my top disappointing films.

some more would have to be:
most of the James Bond movies (comes out of fight scenes like he just took a shower? really? hair perfect? really? no scars? REALLY????),
every John Wayne movie (the guy seriously can't act. an icon, but the reason escapes me. clever script writing maybe?),
The Birds (wow...just wow...scary birds?),
Cujo (uh...decent plot consistency but ruined by the fact that rabid dogs just don't go on killing sprees like that),
and "Nosferatu" (I get that it's probably a generation thing but COME ON! how is that guy scary?)

granted, I'm only 19 so I never saw any of these air originally, so perhaps that has something to do with my not getting why they are good.
I'd have to agree with you on most of those, Johnny. I will never be able to erase the mental image of Sean Connery in baby blue terrycloth onesie shorts. I think it was supposed to be some kind of chic poolside pajamaesque jumper, but holy crap I don't want to see my action heroes in a getup like that. Of course, without Bond, Austin Powers would have been impossible, so it's worth it.

Yeah, John Wayne. I never could figure that out. He had like, four good movies. Maybe. He was actually good (and actually acting) in True Grit.

But how can you not like Nosferatu, if only for the scene where the guy pulls the blankets over his head when he gets scared? Now that's realism.


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