Rewatching E.T. as an Adult

ETYou don’t expect movies to change.

Let me correct that, you don’t expect movies to change unless they are made by George Lucas. Then the rules are thrown out the door. I didn’t even buy the last version of the original Star Wars trilogy. Why? I didn’t like that he changed Obi-Wan’s scream to scare off the sandpeople and added in Darth Vader shouting “No!” during the end of Return of the Jedi. Didn’t we have enough of Vader shouting “No!”? At least he didn’t add more scenes of him walking around like Frankenstein’s monster.

I’m sorry, I had a point here when I started.

The fact is most movies are locked in. So you assume the experience will stay the same with each viewing. For example, I can tell you which parts in To Kill a Mockingbird and Casablanca I will cry during each time (each bloody time), and I can tell you which moments of Monty Python and the Holy Grail always make me laugh… because I am a very silly and predictable man.

So when I decided to watch E.T. for the first time since I was a kid, showing it to my own children, there was a lot I was assuming going in.

Elliott, the alien, some scary grownups, flying bikes, Drew Barrymore, classic Spielberg- got it.

The shock for me was how much different the experience was as a grownup watching the film. I’m not saying I forgot the movie. No, I’m pretty sure I saw it four or five times in the theater (I was the target audience then), the scenes I remembered were all there. It was just different. And I walked away actually loving the film more now than I did then.

Here are three reasons it really hit me and I recommend you check it out.  Continue reading

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In Defense of JUMANJI

JumanjiWhen you visit rottentomatoes.com, they only give Jumanji a score of 50%. Ouch. Roger Ebert called it “gloomy” and Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it only a C+ implying that the story did not live up to the special effects. Double Ouch.

Yes, Jumanji is not a perfect film. There are moments that make me squirm, like when Robin Williams is attacking some wild vines with a sword and shouts “Harvest time!” That is not the only embarrassing shout in the film, later Judy (played by a young Kirsten Dunst) holds a checkout lane gun up at a person’s eyes and shouts “Price check!” To help emphasize the bad joke, the camera cuts to the cash register where it declares “no sale.”

Not to be a grinch, but many of the classics we love aren’t perfect. I’ll even give you a cherished example. In The Wizard of Oz, when the witch orders out her monkey army to get Dorothy she references a scene that was edited from the film. She explains to her monkeys that she had sent out bugs to tire them out first. Of course, we don’t see the fabled “jitterbug” scene happen (and probably for very good reason, it sounds incredibly cheesy). But, unless you know the history of the film, this really doesn’t make any sense at all. What bugs? What did the bugs do to them? How does a bug bother a scarecrow and a man made of tin?

Now in saying all that, I’m not comparing The Wizard of Oz to Jumanji, even though they both have many similar themes (returning to a home, forging a new family, friendship, etc.) and buy into the great myth that underlines most children stories (a normal child swept away into an adventure to find they are special). The Wizard of Oz is a classic and will never disappear. I can’t say the same for Jumanji in the future, and that makes me a little sad. There is a good chance that over time it might become nothing more than another chapter in all those future biographies of Robin Williams that are certainly being planned right now.

I love the film Jumanji. It is comfort food on the screen for me. And since the tragic death of Robin Williams (our hero Alan Parrish) I have watched it three times… and there is a good chance I might be watching it again soon.

Continue reading

My Indiana Jones Obsession

TempleThis last weekend marked the 30th anniversary of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. (Wow, that makes me feel old!) When it first came out, I was traumatized. That is not a joke. I had to be pulled out of the theater by my uncle. I went back in a few minutes later, and who can blame a young kid for needing a breath of fresh air. There was a lot of evil going on!

Honestly, looking back though I blame my uncle and aunt now more than the movie. I was not 13 and clearly the poster said PG-13. Whatever the case, I walked away from that film a big Indiana Jones fan, and I would consider myself more in his nerd camp than Doctor Who or Star Wars or anything else I ramble about on this site.

I have the hats, I have the ringtone of the theme, and I use quotes from Raiders all of the time (not that people really know that I do it). For a long time, I’ve dreamed of writing an Indiana Jones script. Seriously, I have piles of ideas. One stack (or file on the computer) is related to Harrison Ford still being Indy and older, the other is if we get to go back and have a younger Indy fight Nazis (and really, shouldn’t the character continue like a Bond? Technically there has been five actors to play the part. It’s hasn’t all been Harrison).

Below are three articles I have written where Indy has made an appearance. Actually, it has been a lot (A LOT) more, but I thought I would keep to just three for the time being. Enjoy!

Losing the Fedora: Is Indiana Jones Done?It looks like Indy might not be done! Rumor has it that something is in the works for the man in the fedora. This post is still a fun read since it breaks down a lot of my own experiences with the archeologist.

If I Could Wear a Halloween Costume. Not surprising, Indy is part of this discussion.

Losing Raiders. Back in 2010, I grieved when I became older than Indy was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Let’s return to those happier (and younger) days.