No, the Alien: Covenant Ending Was Not an Obvious Twist. It Was Dramatic Irony.

It was the best of Alien films, it was the worst of Alien films, it was the sequel to Prometheus, it was the prequel to Alien, it was the story of David, it was the story of Lucifer, it had an awesome ending, it had the worst ending ever — in short, Alien: Covenant was so much like the entire Alien series that many of its audiences and critics have insisted on discussing it in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Immediately, let’s note that Alien: Covenant could never accurately be considered the best or the worst Alien film. The only contenders for best Alien film are the original Ridley Scott masterpiece and Aliens, the James Cameron action sequel. The worst, depending on who you ask, is the third or the fourth installment, or, if you’re considering them as contenders, the Alien vs Predator movies.

alien-covenant-poster

Rather than discuss the film as a whole – as there are many critics whose job it is to review films in depth, and many armchair critics whose hobby is the same – I’d like to focus on one small aspect of Alien: Covenant that I think was missed by many of its viewers. The film was derided by various bloggers, commenters, and critics as having an “obvious twist ending.” As you know, based on the headline of this article, my argument is that this should not be called either a twist ending or an obvious twist ending.

I’ve also waited long enough to write this so that a) no one is talking about Alien: Covenant anymore b) I’ve had enough time to consider it to know that this is how I feel, and c) we know how well the film did at the box office (not quite $250 million on a nearly $100 million budget, so not awesome.)

First, let’s recap the Alien: Covenant ending, before debating its flaws and strengths

Before calling it a failure or a success, let’s analyze what actually happens at the end of the film. (Note: if you have somehow read this far without seeing Alien: Covenant, this is your moment to either stop reading or to know that any element of the ending will be “spoiled” from here forward.) Continue reading “No, the Alien: Covenant Ending Was Not an Obvious Twist. It Was Dramatic Irony.”

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Fourteen Ways to Celebrate Jeff Goldblum Day on October 22nd #JeffGoldblumDay

Everyone loves Jeff Goldblum. Or, if you don’t, you should. And what better way to celebrate Jeff Goldblum and the month of October than with Jeff Goldblum Day on October 22nd (which, depending on what day you’re reading this, is today!)

Why October 22nd? Because that’s his birthday, and now it’s his holiday. Why does Jeff Goldblum deserve a holiday? Why wouldn’t he?

And now, fourteen ways to celebrate Jeff Goldblum Day:

1. Watch The Fly

This, like many Goldblum films, exists between genres. The Fly, a remake of a classic, is a blend of horror and science fiction, a hybrid a la the titular character. Classic Goldblum.

Scary stuff.
Scary stuff.

Also, it’s directed by David Cronenberg.

(it’s available on HBO Go and HBO Now, for those of you who use such things).

2. Watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Okay, admittedly Goldblum isn’t the main character here, but it’s another terrifying remake of a sci-fi staple. One of the highlights is the bizarre, tense dynamic between Goldblum and Leonard Nemoy.

These guys!
These guys!

(Also, this one is easy. It’s on Netflix.)

3. Have a Wes Anderson and Jeff Goldblum double feature evening in which you watch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Grand Budapest Hotel

What’s better than the scene where there’s a shootout and Goldblum’s character just stands there watching?

Couldn't find the scene I was referencing, so here's this one instead.
Couldn’t find the scene I was referencing, so here’s this one instead.

4. Watch Independence Day

Obviously. Always a good option. Whether it’s Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum Day, or any other day.

5. Watch The Big Chill

I’m not saying this movie is good. But for many people out there, it’s their first Jeff Goldblum memory.

6. Have a Jeff Goldblum Costume Contest

Always a fun time, and a good way to get ready for Halloween.

7. Have a Jeff Goldblum Trivia Contest

See this page for ideas.

8. Have a Jeff Goldblum Impression Contest

“I go visit her in high school and all the guys she goes to school with are, like, strong and handsome and really, like, funny and do good impressions of Jeff Goldblum and shit like that.”

-Dale Denton, Pineapple Express

Just don’t say this:

9. Watch Annie Hall and see if you can detect Jeff Goldblum during his brief scene.

It’s tough but pay attention and you’ll see him.

10. Watch Jeff Goldblum’s Tim and Eric videos.

These are weird. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But they also prove how cool Jeff Goldblum really is.

11. Start a petition to have Jeff Goldblum in the next Jurassic World.

It shouldn’t be too hard to shoehorn him in. I’m not saying he should be the action hero, as we saw how that didn’t exactly work in The Lost World. But if he can provide both insights and comic relief like he did in the original, then it could only make it a better movie.

Yep, that's Vince Vaughn standing behind him.
Yep, that’s Vince Vaughn standing behind him.

12. Write a letter to Jeff Goldblum, thanking him for being in the upcoming Independence Day sequel.

You know who isn’t in it? Randy Quaid and Will Smith. But we don’t need those guys, because Goldblum is reprising his role of “unlikely hero.”

This guy.
This guy.

13. Watch any of his roles on various television shows, from Friends to Portlandia to Sesame Street.

You can start here:

14. Or, just start planning for the next Jeff Goldblum Day. You have a year.

If the Candidates were Sci-Fi Movie Characters: A Cheat Sheet to the 2016 Presidential Election

During the last presidential election, Rick Santorum famously told the media that he felt like “this campaign is like an episode of ‘Survivor.’ It’s just a matter of staying in there and doing well.”

It’s hard to disagree with Santorum, especially when the field is this crowded and complicated, stuffed with minor characters and distractions. But to me, there is something that it resembles even more than Survivor. It reminds me of a science fiction movie, specifically one in which the ensemble cast is picked off one-by-one.

The current cast of presidential contenders is now three times the size of the cast of Alien.
The current cast of presidential contenders is now three times the size of the cast of Alien.

It’s standard for Science Fiction films to either wipe out all the characters, all the characters except for one, or leave us with a small rag-tag team of survivors.  Examples include: Alien, Predator, Pitch Black, Armageddon, The Matrix, Sunshine, Deep Blue Sea, any zombie movie ever made, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Each of these films begins with a large cast, which we see gradually whittled down until only one or two actors are left. Usually, it’s the actor who got paid the most to be in the movie, just like it’s usually the candidate who spent the most.

Sometimes you know exactly who will make it.  And other times, it’s hard to predict who the last human standing will be.

(Please note: when I draw these comparisons and ask if a candidate will “make it,” I’m referring only to their chances of remaining until the end of the election. I’m not suggesting anyone is getting eaten by aliens or turned into a zombie I also haven’t included the photos of the candidates, only their counterparts, because I think  we all know what these candidates look like).

Let’s take a look at the who’s who.

Continue reading “If the Candidates were Sci-Fi Movie Characters: A Cheat Sheet to the 2016 Presidential Election”