just watched the film with our eight yr old, who loved it. it remains a really astonishing film throughout, though i had a bit of trouble at first figuring out which version i saw. i think it's a slightly more definitive one, with the interior of the spaceship at the end not shown, but the scenes w/Neary melting down in his yard and the discovery of the boat in the desert remaining. What stood out to me more than anything were the domestic scenes, which were intense and particularly real in a way that surprised me (it's been years since i've seen it). Neary's oldest son seeing him sitting clothed in the shower and slamming the bathroom door closed over and over and calling him a crybaby, the youngest son helping pull out chicken wire from the neighbor's yard and Ronnie running over and threatening to hit him if he doesn't stop, the sheer mess of the house *before* it all goes to shit later, Ronnie answering the phone and talking (flirting?) w/Neary's boss and fidgeting with her wedding ring, and yes the TV on all the time.
also the horror movie elements, which are used so diabolically w/the scene where Barry is taken by the aliens, and the scene is legitimately scary. And this works well, since at this point in the film we have no idea if these aliens are friendly or a bit sinister.
also appreciate the almost complete lack of outlandish villains. the military guys obviously use some pretty duplicitous methods to lock down the area and keep the real story from getting out, let alone allowing anyone near the site, and they're not "good guys", but it's more like a foundational opposition, that's just their baseline, and they don't want to hurt people they would just prefer to keep it quiet. it's an only somewhat cynical portrayal but it rings true, and it doesn't tip over into some kind of sadistic villainy.
The acting is pretty superb throughout, Dreyfuss is good and funny and moving, Teri Garr is excellent, Truffaut (this was my first exposure to him as a kid) is really perfect for the role, and it's another Melinda Dillon performance that reminds me why every single time i've ever seen her in anything she made a major impression. She fully inhabits every character she plays in a low-key non-demonstrative manner.
also appreciate the symmetry w/Raiders of the Lost Ark: our questing hero obsessed and traversing a continent, captured near the end by a Frenchman and some military guys, who manages to witness some freaky shit with his female counterpart at night at a remote base nestled in some rocky mountainside, set up specifically to document/welcome the arrival of some unknown creatures.
― omar little, Monday, 2 December 2019 18:52 (six months ago) link
otm throughout, and wow at that last paragraph!
― Doctor Casino, Monday, 2 December 2019 22:14 (six months ago) link
damn omareverytime you write about a movie i love i wanna watch it again right away - but this is one of your best <3
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 02:58 (six months ago) link
What stood out to me more than anything were the domestic scenes, which were intense and particularly real in a way that surprised me
Agree, I think it's a Spielberg fingerprint as I had similar reactions to domestic scenes in Jaws and Poltergeist.
The whole selection of night time ufo chase scenes at the beginning knocked me sideways as a child. Love this movie.
I watched it a few years ago and was interrupted by the gas meter reading guy, the scene from the desert was showing and he moaned about how unrealistic the helicopter appearing over the hill was because it made no sound. Shut up and get out of my house, (I wish I'd have said)
― In space, pizza sends out for YOU (Ste), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 08:53 (six months ago) link
*deadpan* Quickly Brad there are thousands of lives at stakehttps://youtu.be/N5aPvAndPpI
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 14:17 (six months ago) link
Dillon had quite a streak b/w this film and A Christmas Story.
― TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 14:19 (six months ago) link
That’s very kind of you VG...you’re a saint!
Strangely the character I’ve recently seen who reminds me most of Neary is maybe Miller from The Expanse, a similarly blue-collar type operating under a very different more noir detective form of existential misery, who also gets “imprinted” in a sense and basically abandons his life for what may very well be a one-way ticket to the unknown.
― omar little, Tuesday, 3 December 2019 17:58 (six months ago) link
yeah that is a good parallel
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 19:38 (six months ago) link