Sunday Afternoon Matinee ’86


26 Responses to “Sunday Afternoon Matinee ’86”

  1. good god i am so stupid for this movie it’s ridiculous. it may not be perfect, but it’s perfect to me. there isn’t a single thing about it i don’t love with a burning passion, i could babble on about it all day long (don’t worry, i won’t). it contains (perhaps?) the only love scene ever filmed using the demonstration of how to use a big-ass gun to convey attraction and intimacy. compelling hard-core heavily-armed action underpinned by the bond of love between mother and child; horror and humour; genuine tension and badass hockum; masterful artistry and technical brilliance; passion, precision and purpose; low on budget but high on legend FX like the alien queen and power-loader battle; and last but not least a complex, fully developed real woman protagonist, capable but ordinary, who digs deep to not only survive but find the courage to vanquish the monsters and save the day. perfect. my love and admiration for it merely grows with the passage of years (which is a bit scary because i already adore it so utterly, i shudder to think what i’ll be doing in my retirement years – watching ‘aliens’ on a loop all liquored up and shouting hudson’s smart-ass one-liners at the tv in my bathrobe, yikes)

    i can’t remember ever having seen that particular one-sheet with the “there are some places in the universe you don’t go alone” line before, cool.

  2. Bob Harris Says:

    I’m with Leah, it’s perfect. Seeing this on a gigantic screen when it was first released was an astonishing and damn near nauseating experience due to its insane levels of taut horror & suspense. Personally, I think “Aliens” is Cameron’s finest work. It still (more than) holds up today, not only with its tale of horror, but also the social commentary. I love Ripley’s response to the corporate ghoul — “God damn it, that’s not all! Because if one of those things gets down here then that will be all! Then all this – this bullshit that you think is so important, you can just kiss all that goodbye!” Sounds very 2010 to me. I’ve never seen that poster tagline line, either. Very nice choice, Christian.

  3. And the thing that REALLY was amazing about this movie? It had to follow the ORIGINAL – itself a sophisticated, sci-fi/horror instant classic with a genre changing look and style. What’s more, there’s but a few sequels that have equalled their originals and stand on their own. And of the few that I can think of off the top of my head (Empire Strikes Back, Godfather II and Terminator 2 come to mind), Aliens is the only outstanding sequel that was NOT made by the original producers/director. No easy feat for sure. (And lets also not forget that Sigourney was nominated for a friggin’ Academy Award for this movie. How often does THAT happen in a sci-fi/horror movie?

    • i meant to say this before but got babbling down-thread and forgot: exactly marcus. there’s a moment when ripley is going down the industrial lift to rescue newt, she’s armed to the gills, locked and loaded, and this moment of stillness occurs where she sort of rolls her neck, takes a breath and briefly closes her eyes…and when she opens them it’s with her game face on, it’s all go.

      in that moment of stillness weaver is so convincing, i BELIEVE ripley is summoning her deepest reserve of courage – and perhaps saying a little prayer – in the face of what is almost certain death, she sells it completely. a brilliant character moment and the type of subtle but sublime film-making that separates the great from the merely pedestrian.

  4. “Maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events; but we just got our asses kicked, pal!”

    Ah, everything that comes out of Bill Paxton’s mouth in this film is pure gold. And it’s THE way he says it – a whiney smart-ass but you still love him and I always feel a twinge of sadness when he finally gets his.

    I love this poster. Simple, yet effective.

    And the special edition DVD is one of those rare cases where more is better. I like how they fleshed out the settlers’ fate in more detail as well as giving us a bit more backstory to Ripley’s life.

    The ending with Ripley and the Queen Alien and the airlock always bothered me, though. It just didn’t seem remotely plausible and was a rehash of the ending of the first film! Other than that, this is a kickass sequel on every level.

    • I love the airlock stuff simply for its flawless staggering technical effects. Cameron’s physical spfx actually give his early films a timeless quality, they don’t look dated at all.

  5. christian Says:

    So many great insightful comments! I have my own take (as some of you know) on ALIENS which I’ll get on soon.

    (sits back, arms folded waiting for more comments to follow)

  6. shhh, christian, you’ll jinx it!

    the airlock finale used to bother me a bit too, in that it seemed like it was just too good to be true that rips could hold on (that she would use an air lock again actually makes sense to me — she already managed it once as pretty much the only way to get rid of the beast for good, so using that tried and true method of permanent removal when the opportunity presents itself seems valid to me, tho it is repetitive). but i read something years after the movie came out in the 80’s about the airlock scenario, in which a physicist compared the opening of an airlock to that of an airplane at high altitude undergoing sudden depressurisation due to loss of a cabin door/part of the plane etc, which has happened a few times wherein people have been sucked out but others were saved by passengers holding onto them, with the airplane managing to land. anyway, i can’t remember what the phenomenon was called but the basic premise is: so long as you don’t get sucked out at the initial point of and with the initial force of sudden depressurisation, it is possible to survive provided there is something secure to hold onto (or hold onto you, in the case of the airline passengers), and there is enough oxygen in the rapidly escaping atmosphere to keep you conscious. so perhaps the airlock scenario in ‘aliens’ is more plausible than it appears, maybe.

    re: the director’s cut JD mentions, i’m also a huge fan. the theatrical cut is a lean, mean relentless fighting machine, once it drills down it never lets up, whereas the extended version is slower and more character-driven with ebbs and flows (i love the sentry guns counting down; how the aliens get slaughtered but show their tenacity and skills by trying every point of entry until they finally outsmart the humans with their ’embedded’ knowledge of the layout of the colony structure). i think both versions are terrific in their own right, tho i’ve met people who don’t like the extended cut, finding the pacing off and the material about ripley and her daughter incongruous, but i pooh-pooh those people (if there are any of those people here i apologise for pooh-poohing you in advance).

    for my money, the one-two punch of alien/aliens (they didn’t make any more after than in my little world) is right up there with the all-time greats of original/sequel cinema.

    (i was thinking about it, and ‘aliens’ is referenced absurdly often in our household. i like to wake up my boy by sweeping into his room and booming, “another glorious day in the corp!” (which he hates), or when i’m herding a gaggle of hyper boys like cats from point a to point b, i clap my hands and shout “assholes and elbows!”, and if i get any guff i say “look into my eye!” and pull down my bottom eyelid, which they think is extremely weird and works brilliantly to get them to do exactly what i want (iv’e come to accept that i’m usually apone in these situations, and that using humour is the best tool to get kids to tow the line); whenever anyone complains about it being too hot we whine, “but it’s a dry heat!” without fail, and when it all turns to custard, it’s “game over, man, game over”, naturally. and recently — god’s honest truth — my boy and i were at a birthday party and the little brother of one of the guests ate some birthday cake, spat it back out onto his paper plate and threw it onto the floor with a ‘yuck’. my son turned to me and said, ultra-nonchalantly, “guess he don’t like the cornbread either”, and went back to eating his cake. i just about died trying not laugh my ass off, and i realised then and there it’s too late for him, he’s thoroughly indoctrinated)

    • Okay, that’s the funniest, most real mom/son bonding story I think I’ve ever read. Well, while were at it… I have my own to share….

      Back in the day, I begged my mom to take me to see the original ALIEN since I was too young to get in alone. (I just looked it up and I think it was actually for my 14th birthday! Bless her heart, cuz she HATED horror movies – she actually paid a babysitter to take me to see Carrie, but I digress)… So, she’s sitting in a seat next to the aisle, one leg bouncing nervously crossed over the other, trying to keep her shit together, when the face grabber leapt out of the egg onto Kane’s face. She lost it. As she screamed, she kicked her crossed leg so violently that it sent her shoe flying off and it disappeared down the aisle into the darkness. Angry, embarrassed and laughing, she made me get up, go find it and apologize to anyone it may have hit. Good times.

      • that’s a hilarious story marcus, fantastic. what a sweetie your mum was take you (but she must have been just freaking if she doesn’t like scary movies, ‘alien’ was hard-core in its day. i was around 12 or 13 when i saw it in the cinema with a friend and her step-dad, and i clearly remember us just shitting ourselves in disbelief at the way it all went down, it was GREAT)

    • Hah, that’s a great story! Yeah, I use lines from ALIENS all the time – esp. the “Game Over” and “dry heat” ones and if anyone responds I know I’ve met a kindred soul… or someone as crazy as me.

      The sentry guns bit from the extened cut is probably my fave bit from this version and ratchets up the tension even more as it further reinforces just how badass the aliens are and how ineffectual the marines technology/weapons are.

      Thanks for the explanation of the airlock. I guess I always felt that the Queen Alien was so damn strong that she woulda ripped Ripley’s leg off or something but I guess you have to suspend your disbelief a little bit.

      • The actual scientific term is “The Goldfinger Phenomenon” — but scientists only have film to go by for experimental purposes, as nobody has yet captured one of those fleeting moments where a Queen Alien is dangling in outer space by the Reeboks of a human female hanging from an airlock.

  7. christian Says:

    You KILL me leah. can’t wait to have a beer with you someday.

    As fer the extended cut, I’m not particularly enamored. I always love seeing deleted scenes but they do feel extraneous to me. I didn’t think the opening on the planet worked so well as it eliminated much of the great suspense of the first colony scenes. I was also unsure about Ripley having a daughter if only because of her ambitious by-the-book lone wolf officer in ALIEN. But it gave the story a thematic weight and an excuse for Ripley to lay Earth Mother smackdown on the Space Monster. I would have kept in the moment where Ripley and Hicks reveal their first names to each other.

  8. first round is on me

    i agree about the opening colony scenes, of all the additional footage it’s actually detrimental to the later scenes, where seeing the colony for the first time in such a state w/newt as the lone survivor really sets the tension and tone for the movie. it’s a testament to cameron’s direction and the power of weaver’s perf that we don’t actually need to see those deleted scenes of ripley finding out about her daughter and the angst it causes her; the weight of that angst is felt in ripley and newt’s quickly but powerfully forged relationship of surrogate mother and surrogate daughter, nothing feels left out emotionally. for me it works both ways.

    i was looking on youtube for a clip of the scene i mentioned upthread re: ripley preparing for battle on her lift ride down and that sublime moment of stillness, but weirdly i couldn’t seem to find one, hopefully i’m just tired. i did come across this tho, hopefully ok to post given the subject matter.

    one of hudson’s best lines from the additional director’s cut footage, right at the end of the sentry countdown clip:

    • I also love that battle’s breath moment, and where she gives the Queen that sideways glance like, “No you didnt” and then she e*x*p*l*o*d*e*s.

  9. extraordinary comments.

    don t have much to had, but the bonding mum story resonates so strongly. my mum took me and my brother to the movie, we were under the age requiered, but she convinced the theatre guy to let us in. i was 12. bro, 10. we went an afternoon. my mum already had seen it, and she took us there, despite my father telling her it was too violent. but she knew better : at that time, my mum was video club owner, and every day after school, i went there and i was treated with whatever movie i wanted. of course, all i wanted was horror movies. when they were too violent, my mum saw them, and retold them to me, to prepare me. Aliens was the first door to my own horror movie autonomy, after this, i was pretty much prepared for anything.

    i think my mum, a very independent spirited woman, in love with her kids, was so perfectly touched by ripley’s character, her fight for newt, that it was a bridge between the male horror of the aliens, and the feminine courage she was trying to teach us…. now that i think of it, it was one of the strongest moments i had with her….

    a movie i hold dear to my heart.

  10. And how about that rarest of deleted scenes: Burke’s death…

    • i totally didn t know about this burke scene. thank you so much.

      i can t believe how much of the ribisi character in avatar was a rip off of burke. without ANYTHING remotly approaching characterization. burke was an asshole, but he was human. ribisi was just…. a non-controversial burke (can t even remember the name of his character).

  11. i would love to see that…but i can certainly see why it didn’t make it into the final cut. good riddance to burke, carter j

    • Leah, you okay after the quake?

      • yeah ok here, thanks for asking!

        i didn’t even feel the quake in my sleep, usually even a small one wakes me up but i musta been dead to the world at 4am. it was just a tremor here in wgtn tho, christchurch down south got thrashed. nobody killed thankfully but serious damage and i think the power is still out there in a few places, roads buckled, lots of rubble and the like, pretty gnarly. thank goodness it hit in the night, i think during the day w/traffic and crowds it might have been a different story. nz isn’t nicknamed ‘the shaky isles’ for nothing, we are right on a subduction zone so these big ones are inevitable (sound familiar?)

        but get this, the same night of the quake we had a HUGE thunder storm pass thru with i think the most lightning i’ve ever witnessed, just prongs of it everywhere it was like the scariest light show ever, and my friend’s car got struck by lightening while she was driving it with a bunch of kids, yikes! nobody harmed tho thank goodness. did we do something to piss off mother nature? we like nature!

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