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author's profile photo Jerry Janda

Weekend Movie Club: "Alien"

It's been nearly a month since we held our first-ever Weekend Movie Club, and I think it's time to get a new movie on the schedule. Based on conversations during the first club call and in other threads, I've picked "Alien" (1979).

When?

Saturday, April 4, at 12:00 p.m. ET

How?

Join Zoom Meeting https://sap-se.zoom.com/j/412367327. (Additional details on joining can be found in my comments below..)

But...

Can't make it? Don't wanna join a call? No problem -- we still want you to join the club! As I start the call, I'll leave a comment here -- letting everyone know that they can also discuss the film in this thread. I only ask that you refrain from starting that conversation before the call. I'd like to kick everything off at once!

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29 Comments

  • Mar 23, 2020 at 10:09 AM

    I'm in, and apparently "I'm in!" is one character too short so here we go. Looking forward to this one!

    • Mar 23, 2020 at 12:59 PM

      Nice! (Not enough characters.)

      Great! (Not enough characters.)

      Awesome! (Closer.)

      Fantastic! (Perfect. :) )

      film.jpg (38.1 kB)
  • Apr 01, 2020 at 01:38 PM

    UPDATED:

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  • Apr 04, 2020 at 03:54 PM

    Connecting now!

  • Apr 04, 2020 at 05:15 PM

    Many thanks to Craig Cmehil, Ian Thain, Mahesh Kumar Palavalli, Matt Fraser, and Tammy Powlas for joining the call! Despite my technical difficulties for the first 20 minutes or so, I think it was a great conversation.

    And now we can continue the discussion here (and everyone is welcome to join -- whether you were on the call or not!).

    One piece of trivia that I had wanted to bring up (but never got the chance): Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon credited his experiences with Crohn's disease for inspiring the chest-burster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_O%27Bannon#Personal_life_and_death). I find it fascinating when I learn of artists whose pain drives their creativity. Certainly, if O'Bannon didn't have the disease, we might not have one of the most iconic creatures/scenarios in scifi/horror. Can you think of other examples?

    • Apr 04, 2020 at 05:35 PM

      Was a lot of fun on the call and I learned a lot of trivia about the movie I had not known. Which had me go to IMDB and read about the goofs and other trivia as a result.

    • Apr 08, 2020 at 12:20 PM

      I think Matt Fraser could be a professional movie reviewer, a la Siskel & Ebert.

      I am still laughing at the face hugger mask - a good way to social distance.

      Even though I haven't seen the movie, I enjoyed the discussion

      • Apr 13, 2020 at 04:56 PM

        Haha, well, I don't know about professional... Jerry Janda definitely could fit that role, however.

        One thing about becoming a professional reviewer, though, would be that you could no longer just sit back and enjoy a guilty pleasure of watching a fun movie! Instead, you'd always be looking for the flaws...

        • Apr 13, 2020 at 05:32 PM

          Very kind of you to say, Matt. I would add that professional film review, as a career, has evolved quite a bit, thanks to podcasting, YouTube, blogging, and Patreon. There are lots of ways you could be a professional reviewer who talks about fun films. Once upon a time, I co-hosted a podcast about film. I did it out of sheer enjoyment (and the whole thing eventually fizzled), but there are plenty of people out there who work hard enough to pull it off. Maybe something to consider because I agree with Tammy, and if you ever did a show about film, I would definitely give it a listen! :)

    • Apr 21, 2020 at 12:30 PM

      That was a nice discussion, Jerry and looking forward to an another one!!

  • Apr 05, 2020 at 04:52 PM

    Hi Jerry,

    sorry to have missed the call yesterday, but i couldn't or wouldn't get my netflix to get the movie on time for me to rewatch plus wasn't entirely sure about zoom. regardless, 'Alien; was a great movie when i first saw it maybe because i didn't expect it to turn it into what it eventually did become or a battle for life. living during this rona pandemic, from which i hope we will all learn, adds an ominous dimension, which we couldn't plan for when first thinking about our movie selection just like the crew of Nostromo that was thrown off their routine all of a sudden.

    many of us have probably watched a move adaptation of 'Heart of Darkness' but being an ardent though lapsed reader of JC maybe i will switch to an audiobook for now, esp since i didn't know about the book until i googled it up.

    i hope everyone else had a great time watching and discussing the movie yesterday.

    cheers,

    greg

    • Apr 13, 2020 at 05:06 PM

      Wow, I never knew about the Joseph Conrad references from Alien and Aliens: Nostromo, Sulaco, and Narcissus! I always thought Nostromo and Sulaco were such great ship names, but now I realize their references. It's too bad you weren't on the call, Greg, as this is definitely an interesting point for further discussion.

      And yes, many of us have probably seen the famous 1980s film adaptation of Heart of Darkness, reimagined and with a very different title. I still love that movie, although today its depiction of war-torn Vietnam and her people comes across as rather insensitive and out of touch with reality. Interestingly, as I recall the original novel was equally insensitive about the people of the Congo...

      • Apr 13, 2020 at 05:24 PM

        This discussion provides me an opportunity to segue into another point I had wanted to bring up: the notion of a director's cut.

        Werner Herzog once decried the whole notion of a director's cut, pointing out that storing negatives is expensive and the films he releases are the films he wants you to see...so he has no reason to hold on to unreleased footage. He added, "A carpenter doesn’t sit on his shavings, either."

        Of course, Herzog also produces his own films and so he doesn't have to worry about studio interference. So while I see his point, I can also see why a director might want to re-release a version of a film that's closer to his vision. Ridley Scott's final cut for "Blade Runner" comes to mind, since the theatrical release forced by the studio was a pretty far cry from he had in mind. I also happen to think that his director's cut of "Alien" (which I brought up during the call) is better than the theatrical version.

        But for every version of a director's cut I prefer, I can think of another that (in my opinion) has no reason to exist. And since "Apocalypse Now" came up...it's one of my favorite films, but I detest the "Redux" cut, which strikes me as an unnecessary cash grab that actually dilutes the power of the original cut. I recall in "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" (the documentary about the making of "Apocalypse Now"), Coppola explains why he cut the French plantation segment from "Apocalypse Now." It was purely for artistic purposes. Yet there those scenes are in "Redux," and I have to say -- his instincts were correct. The film is better off without those scenes. It's also much better without the out-of-place comedy of Willard stealing Kilgore's surfboard.

        So I'll throw it out there for the conversation: What are your thoughts about the whole idea of a director's cut?

        • Apr 13, 2020 at 05:41 PM

          For this movie or other movies? I understand the movie ending for My Best Friend's Wedding with Julia Roberts was completely different than what was shown; the original didn't score well with focus groups...

        • Apr 13, 2020 at 05:50 PM

          I cannot disagree with your comments on the "Redux" cut. And, to add those extra scenes, Coppola cut OUT one of the most famous scenes (with the surfboard!) of Lance surfing behind the boat to the strains of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction.... a crowd favorite, as I recall, and sadly missing in that recut.

  • Apr 06, 2020 at 11:33 AM

    Hi,

    Alien is a great example, of a timeless masterpiece. - 5 years ago my daughter saw the movie for the first time when she was about 20. About 35 years after the film was made. She couldn't believe the film was so old and asked me for more movies like this.

    I don't like the new science fiction films, probably because the camera work and editing is to hectic for me.

    Some other Science Fiction movies I like: Bladerunner, 2001: A Space Odyssey or "Planet of the Apes" (only 1968 original).

    Regards, Föß

  • Apr 07, 2020 at 10:08 AM

    I'm in. From SpaceShip Earth, Engineering Department. Home of the artic playground of predators and aliens.

  • Apr 27, 2020 at 02:03 PM
    • May 02, 2020 at 11:20 AM

      That is one of the best horror game out there. thanks for sharing., Jerry

      After playing this game multiple times, I wonder who the real killer is here, is it Ripley or the Alien :D :D

      • May 02, 2020 at 11:34 AM

        **** I am talking about the game they mentioned in that website, which is free because of alien day

        • May 04, 2020 at 05:57 PM

          I missed my chance to get the free download. Ah, well.

          I once did have a conversation (during Mother's Day of all times...but fairly coincidentally, since it's the 10th) that the Alien queen was a better maternal figure than Ripley. (I would have brought that up if we had discussed "Aliens.") Think about it: Ripley threatens to destroy all the eggs in the chamber, the queen lets Ripley go (clearly in exchange for sparing the eggs), and Ripley torches the eggs anyway. No wonder the queen was so angry. :)

          --Jerry

    • May 06, 2020 at 11:13 AM

      BTW if you guys watch Rick and Morty, there will be a new episode('Promortyus') next Sunday, with alien face huggers society concept :D , probably an alien day special :)

      The trailer is too funny :D , humans carrying alien eggs, with facehugger on and living in peace(?) :D :D :D

  • May 04, 2020 at 11:57 AM

    Can't believe you guys started a movie club and I missed it!

    I like "Alien", seen it for the first time like 5 years ago and the second one right after that. I like the second one more, but the first one is great, too.

    I feel they have the same change of atmosphere as did "Terminator" and "Terminator 2". Both great movies in their own right and so different from eachother, I think. One is more claustrophobic (Alien/Terminator) and one is more action & group dynamic (Aliens/Terminator 2).

  • May 06, 2020 at 08:20 AM

    What will be the next movie? I'm voting for non-horror one :D I am this special person who scared to watch scary movies and close eyes when the blood scenes going on. I have a pretty funny videos of watching the last season of Game of Thrones where I used my cat to hide my face from nasty things and doing funny faces like this :S

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