Monthly Archives: December 2016

“Gone Girl” Book Review

Okay here are the facts: A few days ago, I would have told you that it is impossible for a story about a guy who gets framed for his wife’s disappearance to surprise me. However, after reading Gone Girl, I would beg to differ, my friends. This sexy thriller novel was published in June of 2012, quickly becoming a New York Times Bestseller. Written by modern-day feminist Gillian Flynn, the book also received high critical acclaim, and is considered one of the best books written in this decade. We follow Nick and Amy Dunne, a middle-class married couple in the late 2000’s. She is the subject of a series of children’s stories called “Amazing Amy,” and wrote personality quizzes for Entertainment Weekly in New York City. He is a movie-loving journalist who remains close to his twin sister. On the morning of their 5th anniversary, Amy suddenly goes missing, and in the days following her disappearance, Nick is put under police and media scrutiny. And as evidence starts being uncovered, speculation starts arising that maybe he is involved in her disappearance and potential murder. However, that’s merely what the ads have told you; in reality, there’s a lot more going on in the story. I’m going to try to avoid spoilers in this review just because it’s so hard to talk about Gone Girl without getting in-depth. One of the most fascinating aspects of this story is that it makes the reader feel like a bystander watching everything unfold on the news. You are not smarter than the book; not by a long shot. It keeps you guessing until the very end and boy what a finale that was. Ultimately, it jumps between two different time periods. The first one we see is told from Nick’s first-person perspective in the present day, as the investigation is going on. The other follows Amy’s diary entries from the moment she met Nick up to the point of her disappearance. However, it becomes clear at a point that neither of these two narrators are entirely forthright with the truth of what happened. It also deals with interesting and relevant themes dealing with modern American society. The hardships of a long-term relationship, the scrutiny of the media, and the effects of economic incompetence wrap this story in a nice bow. It’s almost as if Gillian Flynn saw how the Recession was affecting the moderate American populace and decided to have some commentary on it. In that, Gone Girl is written as more of a psychological character study than it is a typical mystery thriller. The characters are all frighteningly realistic and believable as human beings. The interactions between the detectives and Nick Dunne in the present day are really good. It proved that although Nick is really socially awkward and not party-friendly, he’s still relatable and I kept hoping that he was actually innocent of the crime. Meanwhile, his wife is easily the most intriguing and scene-stealing character in the book. You keep wondering what happened to her and want to see her relationship stay steady. Was she kidnapped? Was she murdered and hidden? Did she ever blow up against Nick? It’s these types of questions that make Gone Girl impossible to put down. Especially considering how long it is. I lost many hours of sleep at night reading this book. I felt like I was going to miss something important, so I chugged through over 400-odd pages to get to the end. And no, we’re not going to touch on the ending of the book. Do you see how hard it is for me to talk about this novel without spoiling anything major? I will say that Gone Girl transitioned perfectly into its movie adaptation, directed by David Fincher. Rosamund Pike was perfect in the role as Amy, conveying the same aurora of mystery and sexiness. And yes, this is a very dark book to read. I’m not saying it’s dark because of certain violence that happens at points. The story becomes more dreary and disturbing as it goes on and the sex scenes are described almost as graphically as Fifty Shades of Grey. To be clear, that is not a comparison; Gone Girl is a much better book than Fifty Shades. The dialogue was also really well-written throughout the novel. The characters often engage in small talk and bicker bach and forth. The story, as a whole, is funny in a really dark way sometimes. There was one instance where Nick’s sister was describing to him what to get Amy for their anniversary. I actually died laughing when I read it. Despite its mature content, Gone Girl is a sexy thriller with a dark, unpredictable story. After it came out. Many female writers were wanting to create the “next Gone Girl,” like The Girl on the Train. But they miss the point: Gone Girl will hold up for quite a long time, so trying to make the “next” of it is rather arbitrary. Don’t try to mess with that system. Instead, go read Gone Girl if you have the courage to withstand its dark characters and themes.

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R.I.P. Carrie Fisher

Just when we thought we were in the clear, the evil gods behind 2016 pulled the rug from under us and laughed. So if you haven’t heard by now, actress and philanthropist Carrie Fisher died on December 27 of cardiac arrest. There had been conflicting reports of her status in the days leading up to it. She had been hospitalized, following a heart problem on an airplane, and then the diagnosis stated that she had been put into stable condition. But 2 mornings ago, I learned that those rumors of her pulling through were examples of false hope. And so now, I take my time to reflect my thoughts on this terrible tragedy for Star Wars fans. “But, Cade, you still have a bunch of movies from 2016 you haven’t reviewed yet. You need to get on those, pronto!” Stop that noise. Those movies will have their time to shine when it comes down to it. I literally dropped EVERYTHING else that I’m working on to bring you the feelings I’m going through in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s death. If by chance, you don’t know have the slightest clue Fisher is or who she’s played in her career, that’s weird but I’ll explain. It was this little movie franchise called Star Wars. Who did she play? Princess Leia Organa of the planet Alderaan, leader of the Rebel Alliance, and feminist icon for generations. Okay, confession time. I did have a little celebrity crush on her when I was but a child, especially after Return of Jedi. As adolescence wore on, I matured as a person and found there were other things worth getting invested in rather than what actor or actress you have a crush on. However, her personal life story is arguably even more fascinating than her professional one. The first daughter of actors and singers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she spent much of her adult life suffering from bipolar disorder. She wished to cope this with severe episodes of drug addiction and alcoholism. In fact, it’s believed that she may have been stoned for a good chunk of filming The Empire Strikes Back. She spent her subsequent years as a novelist, play-write, and activist in rehabilitation and female power. So if anyone on Earth could survive a heart attack, it had to be her. Just goes to show that you can’t always get what you want. Funnily enough, her mother passed away a day later, supposedly from grief. Like mother, like daughter. Fisher’s death also has me wondering about the implications of Leia’s role in the next few Star Wars movies. It’s been confirmed that she has completed work on Episode VIII, which she may have a larger role in than The Force Awakens. But that still leaves the question open to what her character’s fate will be in Episode XI. Will she be written out like Spock Prime and Pavel Chekov in Star Trek Beyond? If so, they would have to include deeply emotional tributes to her, like we saw this past summer. Then again, they could potentially go the path that Rogue One took? (Spoiler Alert) In Rogue One, Grand Moff Tarkin and young Princess Leia were recreated with different actors, but their faces were digitally structured to look like them through the use of CGI. That’s been the biggest point of contention for this year’s entry in the series, and there’s speculation that Lucasfilm might use that strategy in the future. I could imagine the fans in an uproar at that prospect, but we’ll have to wait until Kathleen Kennedy says anything. I’m willing to bet my money, however, that they’ll wait a few years to announce a coming-of-age movie starring young Leia, a la Han Solo. In any case, those are my thoughts on this whole ordeal. When I discovered the news, I screamed out my frustration and sadness. What a way to cap off a year chock full of celebrity deaths. Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher. You will be missed in the future. Thanks for everything.

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“La La Land” Movie Review

I would now like to break out into song whenever I reach a high or low in my pitiful social life. That is what should be taken away from this movie. Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s romantic musical comedy-drama released in select theaters on December 9th, 2016, before expanding in subsequent weeks and turning over its $30 million budget. Having proved his worth with his intense effort in 2014 with Whiplash, Chazelle channels his passion for music and classical film into this latest project. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Hollywood, Emma Stone plays Mia Dolan, a waitress on the Warner Bros. lot who aspires to be a great actress. She runs into Ryan Gosling’s character, Sebastian Wilder, a musician with an intense love for jazz who dreams of opening up a club to keep the genre alive. Their lives and dreams cross wires in the heart of Los Angeles, where dreamers go to either get their spirits crushed or watch their aspirations and hard work blossom into full careers. Now, I have been looking forward to this movie for a few months; I loved Whiplash, I enjoy some musicals, and the cast sounded promising. In only his third outing as a director, Chazelle impresses with easily the best musical film of the 21st century. Throwing back to many classic MGM productions such as Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and The Young Girls of Rochefort, it could also potentially serve as a blueprint for future filmmakers who wish to create their musicals. Every song on the soundtrack is original, paying homage to predecessors while coming out in its own unique language. Justin Hurwitz’s beautiful jazz-inspired score matches up perfectly with the brisk lyrics by Pasek and Paul. Whenever a movie can keep me tapping my foot for most of the runtime, it’s a good sign. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are great in the lead roles. As an aspiring (yet unlucky) novelist of sci-fi and fantasy, I related to their struggles of trying to find a place for their dreams in Hollywood. The choreography of their dance scenes must have taken months to rehearse. Gosling, in particular, had to spend a good chunk of his screen time playing long solos on the piano for various audiences. I’ve heard that Stone may be up for an Oscar in this movie, which totally makes sense when you see everything happening onscreen. And that’s just them individually. These two actors have incredible chemistry with one another in every single scene they’re together. Theirs is a very genuine and believable relationship and romance, never feeling as if it were forced or contrived. Throughout the 128 minute-long running time, I felt a certain sensation. There was a knot in my throat; I’m not saying you’ll cry, but the buildup has been so turbulent and you’re rooting for these two protagonists so much in their struggles, the emotion you feel is ultimately pride. I kept hoping that they wouldn’t just hang up their hat and give up on their dreams. That’s ultimately the biggest theme in La La Land. If you have a dream that you feel so passionate about, don’t just give up on it after so many failures; keep taking the next chance that comes your way and try to prove yourself in this task. That may sound very cliche, but the screenplay by Chazelle is so well executed that one can’t help but adore. Modern musician John Legend also cameos as Sebastian’s friend, Keith. His role was interesting because it tempted Sebastian to sell out of his dreams, but also find a way to make steady money. And Damien Chazelle also puts all of his efforts into the directing. The story is so confidently paced and assured of itself that it almost never lets up at any point. The actors are allowed breathing room to showcase their talent and relax in some of the less stressful situations. Another thing that the film has above almost all other musicals in this day and age is the camera work. Linus Sandgren’s cinematography is perhaps the most subtle throwback to old school musicals of the past century. Many of the musical numbers and certain scenes are filmed on long tracking shots, in the same style as Birdman and Children of Men. It makes the transition between normal conversations and song-and-dance routines more seamless. The first film in a while to be filmed on the format CinemaScope, the saturation of the scenes looks really pretty. The color in the wonderful, retro-esque costumes is brought out to shine in very wide anamorphic frames not seen since last year’s The Hateful Eight. If there is a negative to be addressed for the movie, it’s this; there was a certain element in the movie that reminded me so much of formulaic sports dramas. But La La Land, as a whole, is so unique, original, and compelling that everything else overshadows petty gripes. Great music, great acting, perfect looks, and a strong sense of optimism make La La Land the feel-good time you want for Christmas. This is one of the most beautifully filmed movies of 2016, and a strong contender for Best Picture, for sure.

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“Jackie” Movie Review

Yeah, Natalie Portman. I see you going for the Oscar in this movie. Seriously, though, she should definitely get nominated for something. That woman is TALENTED! Pablo Larrain’s biographical drama earned critical acclaim and modest box office success after its premiere on December 2nd of 2016. Written by Noah Oppenheim, the plot focuses on the legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady to the 35th President of the United States. Rather than showing her entire life over the course of three hours, this more or less concentrates on the media scrutiny she and her family fell under in the aftermath of J.F.K.’s assassination in 1963. Most of her story is told through an interview conducted by journalist Theodore White of Time Magazine.  And this story is both sad and very interesting to see unfold. Despite her brief stay in the White House, Jackie Kennedy is still considered one of the most famous First Ladies in the history of U.S. presidency. You really get the idea that the Kennedys were a highly publicized family, even after the horrible tragedy in Dallas. This is especially considering the new rise of television over radios in those days as the most relevant form of news and entertainment. In front of those cameras and on the screens most often was Jackie herself, putting on a graceful, beautiful, yet almost controlled appearance for the public. So now, after her husband has died, we get to see her when she isn’t so graceful and quite vulnerable. It makes her all the more human and genuine. I wasn’t lying in the beginning when I said that Natalie Portman could score an Oscar nomination for Best Actress this winter. In fact, if she actually won, I would be perfectly happy with the Academy’s decision. There is not a single actress they could have gotten to portray the titular character better, as she brings the right amount of warmth and sadness; not mention, she looks a lot like Jackie Kennedy. In one particular scene, she is on Air Force One wiping all of her husband’s blood and guts off her face while crying in front of a mirror. It felt totally genuine and I immediately sympathized with her. In the supporting cast, Billy Crudup is soft-spoken and understated as a patient reporter, John Hurt shines as a wise old Catholic priest, and Peter Saarsgard’s Robert F. Kennedy brings a bit of familial confliction between all of them. Everyone is relevant and believable in the story of this young woman’s struggle to cope with stardom and fame following a great tragedy. However, no one ever upstages Natalie Portman in this movie, no matter what. The camera work also deserves some commentary for its old school style and uniqueness. Stephane Fontaine’s cinematography is very controlled and anamorphic, the most notable examples being when Jackie or another character are walking down the hallway in the White House. And that brings up another point worth mentioning: the costume design. One thing Jackie Kennedy is known for is that she revolutionized fashion for women in the 20th century, not just limited to the United States. And that influence is shown in this film; the costumes and outfits in Jackie are nothing short of beautiful and brilliant. Covering just about every color in the rainbow in the ladies’ dresses, the men have very polished dulce suits that make it really feel like we are in 1963. The biggest thing holding this movie back for me is the pacing. It felt pretty slow, uneven, and even choppy at times. The directing seemed to lack confidence at certain points in the middle act. I didn’t check my watch or anything, but about halfway through the movie, I started to yawn. Even though it was 99 minutes long, the pacing made it feel like just under 2 and half hours. I feel like this story could have been told a bit better if it were a miniseries on HBO, where you could also find excellent selections such as John Adams or The Pacific. But despite some pacing issues, Jackie is still a smart and compelling biopic about a historical figure who is often overlooked by her spouse. It features some great costumes, pretty camera work, and one of the best lead performances of the year. Natalie Portman will get nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards and will probably win.

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“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” Movie Review

Fan expectations, just like rebellions, are built on hope. This epic space opera opened to $323 million worldwide in the first 5 days. I have to assume that there are people who may think this the next film in the Star Wars saga; it’s not. This is the first of an Anthology series, where every other year there will be a completely different spin-off story set in the same universe as the titular franchise. This one takes place right before the events of A New Hope and follows Jyn Erso, an outsider who has been on her own for much of her life. Long story short, the Galactic Empire is building a brand new superweapon known as the Death Star, and a test for its effectiveness is eminent. The Rebel Alliance recruits Erso to help them find a way to stop it and get valuable information on how they could potentially counter it. I’m keeping it kind of vague for some people who wish to go into the movie completely cold and might not even know what I’m talking about. After giving us the modern incarnation of Godzilla 2 years ago, Gareth Edwards returns to the director’s chair in his third theatrical effort to date. And he does his best to make this film as different from the previous entries as possible. From the very beginning, there is no opening crawl with John Williams’ iconic score. Instead, an intense cold opener immediately sets the tone of the rest of the story. If they did have an opening crawl, it would have probably just recited the plot of the background novel, Catalyst, which is not required reading in case you’re wondering. The second in a string of strong female protagonists from the Walt Disney-owned franchise, Felicity Jones is excellent in the lead role. She puts a hard shell above the surface, but underneath is a vulnerable young woman who is trying to find her place in the galaxy; a universal theme in the series. The standout character of the movie isn’t human, nor even alien; it’s Alan Tudyk as the droid K2SO. He brought the right amount of humor into the dark story without compromising the flow. He was so hysterical, everyone in the theater was dying laughing at everything that he said. I love me some sarcastic, smart-ass characters. Martial arts superstar Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe kicked complete ass as a blind Force-sing monk. His dialogue and nature brought a newly found depth to already existing lore. His relationship with the mercenary Baze Malbus, played superbly by Jiang Wen, is one of the most interesting and appealing in the movie. Now let’s touch on the villain. If you went to this movie because Darth Vader is in it, you probably going to be disappointed because he only appears in about 3 scenes total. He’s still badass, and for the first time, it becomes apparent that this guy is legit scary. The REAL villain is Orson Krennic, played marvelously by Ben Mendohlson. He’s obsessive, brilliant, cruel, and yet in some way sympathetic. In fact, the thing this movie does best is showing the uglier, grayer side of warfare. It’s not just good guys are trying to take out bad guys. Even though there’s still a dynamic of good vs evil, the Rebel Alliance make a few decisions in the story that could be considered immoral. But on both sides, there are people who genuinely believe that they’re doing what’s best for the future of the galaxy. Forrest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera proves as much. Even though he’s not in the movie much, his actions are extreme but you understand where his motivations come from. But the pacing in the first half of the movie drags on for a bit. It spends a lot of time introducing new characters and locations quickly, resulting in the story slowing down. However, I can’t judge whether or not 133 minutes was long enough or too short for this to happen. Could they have shaved off or added several minutes? That’s entirely your opinion. However, in moving on, we get to the third act, the final battle; it’s epic. That’s the only word I can use to accurately describe the entirety of the final 45-50 minutes of the film. It’s at that point the writers decided to really put the “Wars” in Star Wars. It’s gritty, it’s harsh, it’s explosive, there are no lightsabers clashing. Of all the entries in the series, Rogue One is probably the most ground and violent when it comes to action, with more onscreen deaths than most of the original trilogy. Edwards shows his affinity for large-scale filmmaking with Greig Fraser’s swooping cinematography of the land battles and space combat. It’s also worth noting that a couple characters from the original trilogy were brought back with extensive CGI. I won’t say which characters, but I could tell they needed some work from ILM. Admittedly, though, I adjusted to them after a while and didn’t have much of a problem. And with series regular John Williams sitting this one out, Michael Giacchino steps in to score the soundtrack- and I can’t think of a better composer they could have gotten for the job. Utilizing familiar themes while toying with brand new ones, each track matches perfectly with the scene in question. It brings out all the emotion and excitement we can expect from a Star Wars movie at this point. Even though the first act was slow, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic action movie with enough balance of spectacle and heart to warrant the Star Wars logo. Delivering impactful mature themes along with one of the most exciting and satisfying final acts for any movie I’ve seen recently, there’s a bright future ahead for this franchise. I’m now more excited than ever for the Han Solo prequel film in 2018. Yes, I’m excited for a Star Wars prequel. Crazy.

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“Meet The Blacks” Movie Review

Why can’t spoof movies just die? Seriously, they’re dead, or at least they should be. This zany attempt at spoof comedy co-written and directed by Deon Taylor saw a wide release over April Fools’ weekend, where it earned ten times its $900,000 budget. This could be typical for cheap horror films, but the fact that this is a spoof makes its success even more surprising, and almost perplexing. Stand-up comedian Mike Epps plays a down-on-his-luck dad, Carl Black, who has recently his family moved from Chicago to Beverly Hills. On the day they move in, The Purge begins, where all crime is legal for an entire night. This is the movie which is being spoofed. And to its credit… no, it just failed. To give you some perspective, I laughed harder and more often during the Wayans Brothers’ Scary Movie than I did here. To start off, Mike Epps is just not a very funny actor. He had no charisma or proper comedic timing whatsoever, which compromised his ability to carry this movie on his shoulders. He and his family members have absolutely zero chemistry throughout the entirety of the runtime. Zulay Henao is perfectly functional as the protagonist’s wife, though she could have been played by literally anyone who was offered the role. On the other hand, Bresha Webb and Alex Henderson, playing the son and daughter, respectively, annoyed me to no end. To be fair, they’re young and this arguably not a good showcase for their potential, but their characters are just so unlikable I can’t stand them even in one scene. The script is where everything falls flat. One of the many problems it suffers from is that several scenes felt as though they were created just to tell a single, isolated joke. Sometimes, it will play it extremely safe and take the easiest possible joke for the scenario. Other times, it will try way too hard, either to take itself seriously or hitting multiple jokes at once. I wonder if the writers had based the jokes and screenplay on their shared experiences watching films centered entirely around sex and toilet humor. Surprisingly, there’s a great deal of talent in the supporting cast and behind the scenes. The soundtrack, composed by East Coast rap legend, RZA, is filled primarily with modern hip-hop or R&B songs, which admittedly fit well with the setting of Central California. Onscreen, comedic actors such as Gary Owen, Charlie Murphy, Lil Duval, DeRay Davis, George Lopez, and even cameos from retired fighter Mike Tyson and rapper Snoop Dogg, are reserved in the sidelines. In a way, they all manage to outshine the main star of the movie, and some of them only have about 20 minutes of screentime. A couple of them do seem to have fun with their roles. But the ratio is very unbalanced. I have to believe that the filmmakers kidnapped their families and forced them to take the paycheck. Also, (like the actual movie, The Purge) it became evident at a point that the Purge is meaningless in this movie. The fact that some rich white neighbors of theirs want to break into their house and kill them is just like any other home invasion you’ve seen. A few alterations in the script and that entire circumstance didn’t need to happen. If anything, it’s just background noise, which becomes apparent when you hear a gunshot or explosion sound effect now and then. In all honesty, there were a couple of moments that made me chuckle and one in particular where I nearly died laughing. To save the torture, I’ll just tell you right now. Vine legend King Bach made a cameo appearance in the first 45 minutes as the daughter’s boyfriend, and when The Purge starts he starts a murderous rampage in the house. That was actually pretty funny. For the rest of it, however, Meet The Blacks is a boring comedic mess from top to bottom, and one of the worst movies released this year. If this had come out on straight-to-DVD, it would make sense, but the fact that it was released theatrically just makes it more painful to bear. One last side story that you might find both interesting and pitiful: Here in Texas, it is currently Cram Week, where we have to get in some last minute studying for the Final Exams. However, I absorbed 1 hour and 33 minutes of my life to set aside my assignments to watch Meet The Blacks on Netflix. So for those of you who say that I have absurdly stupid, jacked up priorities… Congratulations, you’ve guessed correctly.

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“E.T. The Extraterrestrial” Movie Review

First of all, the thank yous. I just hit over 100 blog posts after two and a half years of slamming down letters on a keyboard! Thank you all so much for coming on this ride with me, and I will keep the reviews coming. Now in honor, let’s review a childhood favorite. This science-fiction coming-of-age classic from Hollywood icon Steven Spielberg briefly became the highest grossing film of all time after it’s release in June of 1982. One of the best-reviewed movies of its decade, many modern day sci-fi stories still take influence from it, including Stranger Things. Set in a small California town, Elliot is a lonely boy who one day discovers an extraterrestrial, affectionately called “E.T.,” who has been stranded on Earth. With the help of his friends and siblings, Elliot tries to find a way to get E.T. back to his people while also avoiding the interest of government officials. And from there we have an ageless adventure that is memorable until the day mankind is wiped out. I just recently watched this film for the first time in eons. I hadn’t seen it since I was a little kid until a few hours ago. How timeless can a movie get? E.T. is in the same league with Back to the Future, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and The Fly. None of these movies from the 1980’s should EVER get remade in the modern era, or get a sequel of any kind. The Thing prequel from 2011 is admissible, but nothing else. At age 10, Henry Thomas convincingly delivers a tearful performance as Elliot. It’s really interesting to see him grow from this really shy kid to a devoted friend and little grown up. In that, his relationship with the E.T. carries much of the 114-minute narrative. If you didn’t empathize with them or buy their bond, then this whole movie really would have crumbled. Luckily, it totally works, bringing to life the wonderfully universal themes of friendship and growing up. The titular alien was also surprisingly compelling and lovable, despite his apparent inhuman stature. He has no familiarity with the culture or system of planet Earth, which make his scenes involving Elliot’s personal life very funny and amusing to watch. For a majority of the film, his limited knowledge only allows him to say three words: “E.T., phone, home.” Not to mention that the special effects from Amblin Entertainment still look amazing to this day. Remember, this was made back in an era where everything took time and heart before you could easily flood the screen with CGI crap. As I watched the movie recently, I thought to myself, “I have seen worse effects in movies this year alone.” And as much as I absolutely will profess the relationship between Elliot and E.T. is completely believable, the supporting cast is great as well. Robert MacNaughton contrasts Thomas as the latter’s apprehensive older brother, Dee Wallace is supportive and nurturing as his mother Mary, Peter Coyote is mysterious as a single-named government agent, and Spielberg’s own goddaughter Drew Barrymore, in a time right before she lost her innocence, was cute and thoughtful as Elliot’s little sister. And while their subsequent career choices weren’t quite so memorable, each character is a relevant piece that fits into this puzzle. And in case I haven’t already made light of it, E.T. The Extraterrestrial is a deeply emotional movie, more so than you would expect. The absolutely brilliant screenplay from Melissa Mathison is a whirlwind of different feelings, showing a true range of humanity. Throughout the entire runtime, I had teared up three separate times, and by the end I was sobbing. That’s right, you got shirtless Ryan Gosling in The Notebook? Nothing; I’m unaffected. Watching a little boy bonding with an alien being for the course of two hours as the latter’s chances of getting off of Earth are dwindling? That’s enough to make even the toughest man on Earth to soften up and cry a little, and that’s okay; everyone’s doing it. And the music; legendary composer John Williams’ Oscar-winning score for E.T. is both beautiful and magical, but not quite ethereal. Using polytonality on coloristic instruments such as the harp, piano and percussion, the soundtrack brings to life E.T. childlike nature and innocence. The scene most often associated with this music is when Elliot and E.T. are riding a bicycle through the night sky and become encompassed by the moon. Easily one of the most iconic shots in the history of American cinema, it’s a moment that succeeding directors would attempt (and usually fail) to recreate. And to the joy of ardent film fans around the world, a sequel was promptly cancelled after the film exceeded expectations. It was to be titled E.T. II: The Nocturnal Fears, and revolved around an older Elliot getting kidnapped and experimented on by invading aliens. Luckily, Steven Spielberg saw how this would have betrayed the majesty of the original, and the script treatment never made it past the preliminary stages. In the end, E.T. The Extraterrestrial is a timeless 80’s classic if ever there was one. It’s a movie that subverts the science fiction genre and extends to the reaches of family, human drama, and escapist adventure. One of the few movies that has united the whole world together in appraisal, Steven Spielberg has created a perfect, flawless masterpiece that will live on for ages.

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