My Turn - Alien (1979)

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://shows.acast.com/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episodes/my-turn-alien-1979

my alien / predator viewing order
Predator 2 (cause it was always on TV) → AVP in theaters —> Prometheus in theaters —> all four original Alien movies in one day sometime in 2016 —> Alien Covenant in theaters—> Prey

I saw the first Predator somewhere in there, never saw AVP 2.

an unconvential approach to a series of movies but im certainly a fan!!

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With this coming up frequently during My Turn and the gang discussing ‘movies they watched too young’ a lot I’d been thinking about this a little. Not too entertaining an answer but I watched most everything in the order it came out - at least, I watched Alien and then Aliens, and I remember seeing them around the time Alien 3 was in theatres but I was too young to even attempt to see that, and only caught that and Ressurection later. At some point well before AvP came out I’d seen both Predator movies, then watched AvP at the cinema, skipped AvP 2, probably saw Prometheus in cinemas?, and eventually caught Covenant at home. I don’t really remember when I watched Predators or The Predator, but it wasn’t theatrically (which is a shame for Predators at least because I think it rules) and then finally watched Prey the day it hit streaming.

What I realised, thinking through all this, is where I got into the habit of seeing things ‘in order’: my mother. She was the sci-fi horror fan in the family and the reason I saw a bunch of these when I maybe shouldn’t have, but she also instilled a sense of “okay, you might like this more action oriented sequel more, but you have to watch the first one first to ground it properly”, and that’s something I’ve carried forward with other media without always considering where/when that habit came from. I’m unlikely to watch a TV show with a skip list even if I has notorious weak spots, I’ll check out all the shitty sequels in a series just to see how they evolve. It occasionally gets me in trouble in the sense that sometimes I’ll tire of something before ever getting to “the good stuff”, but I do genuinely enjoy seeing how these things change over time, so I mostly find it worthwhile.

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I’m glad to know I’m not alone in The Great Movie Ride being one of my first interactions with the franchise and being scared to death by it. I’m pretty sure I cried but I could be misremembering.

Jump to 15:40 for Alien section.

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I hadn’t seen Alien since I was a kid but I remembered that the scariest scene for me was Ash’s turn and him coming apart and malfunctioning. I didn’t understand what was happening and my mom (who was already regretting letting me watch this) had to pause the movie and explain to me the concept of robots that looked like humans and why this one was evil.

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I don’t remember doing the Great Movie Ride, but I definitely went on The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter when I went to Disney World before it switched over to the Stitch ride. I have no clue how scary the Stitch version is, but the original was terrifying. Even without the off-brand Alien theming, I imagine the effects are still enough to scare the pants off of somebody. It makes me desperately want somebody to try and revive the William Castle horror movie gimmicks from the 50s/60s. I need more fake skeletons flying across the movie theater.

Also, gotta say my favorite part of My Turn has been having an excuse to go back and revisit some of these films to catch up on them before listening to the episodes. I watched the Director’s Cut of Alien a few years ago when I picked up the 4K disc, but I’m itching to rewatch the theatrical version.

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Alien has always been in my Top 20 Films of All Time, and I’m pretty sure I was… 3 or 4? when I first saw it. Lifelong film for me.

I am an absolute heathen for a megafan of the franchise, though, because my second favorite is actually Alien Resurrection. Is it a good film? No. Does it have a lot of homoerotic tension between Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder? Absolutely, :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:.

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Alien Resurrection is like 50% of a great film mixed up with 50% of an awful film, and it’s not just a straight “first half/second half” split or anything.

But I say this as someone who thought all the crazy concept ideas for Alien3 that never got made (“planet made entirely out of wood”, “planet made of glass with a transparent glass-Xenomorph” etc) were all great.

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I keep meaning to read the Alien 3 comic based on William Gibson’s script (which is either an unused script or one that got butchered, I forget which). I’m not convinced it’ll be a good script just because it’s Gibson but I am convinced it’ll be interesting.

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Abysmal word of mouth kept me away from Alien 3/Resurrection for my entire adult life. Then Covid lockdown and an abundance of streaming services made me embark on completion quest, where I would watch every film in a series if it was available. It’s how I watched Robocop two and three, all of the progressively worse Jaws movies, the truly terrible Dirt Harry movies, etc. Did you know that the second Dirty Harry movie is somehow about vigilante cops being BAD? Irony is truly dead.

In any event, this is how I saw Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection and honestly? Not as bad as reputation would lead you to believe. Alien 3 is a grab bag of interesting ideas and concepts, all of them given no room to breath and abandoned halfway through the plot. It also feels like it at least tries to bring a new, impressive aesthetic through a kind of rusted brutalist architecture, but trying to compete with the original Giger is a losing game.

Alien Resurrection though? Man. What an experience. The (human scum) Joss Whedon script being interpreted through a very French lens by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and then him being unable to actually speak to his actors? It’s like viewing a painting in the reflection of a funhouse mirror that you’re staring at through a kaleidoscope. That any of it works is a shock. It’s not a good movie by any definition of the word, but it is really interesting to see
two visions of a concept, Whedons and Scott/Giger’s, be so casually tossed aside for a tonally discordant whimsy. You can’t entirely escape the birth horror or the smug one liners, but you do somehow get an extended sequence of a man looking baffled as he removes and stares at a piece of his own brain before ultimately dying.

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