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An Alien issue resolved

Posted by Mick on April 3, 2010 – 12:54 am

They say life goes in stages like seasons
I say something about all of them sucks
It’s as hard to be hot as it is to be cold
You’re either out of control or you’re stuck
You’re either out of control
Or you’re stuck

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes over the last few days.  I’m not quite at 100%, but I’m much better than I was.

I was actually feeling good enough this evening to accompany my lovely wife to Mighty Fine for a hamburger and fries this evening.  They won some sort of an award and were celebrating.  Their version of celebrating consists of numerous helium balloons scattered about the dining room and champagne mango milkshakes, which are made with champagne mangoes, not actual champagne, served in champagne flutes, which are typically used for actual champagne instead of milkshakes.  It was all a little confusing.  Especially since no one informed me it was a champagne mango milkshake.  I saw the mangoes, but I didn’t know anything about the champagne part until I looked it up later.  The fact that it was a champagne mango may have contributed to my liking it, because I typically don’t like mango, but according to the website, when it comes to taste the champagne mango is unsurpassed.  Burying it in BlueBell ice cream probably helps a lot as well.  But I digress.

The award was from an organization I’ve never heard of called Quality Texas.  It’s the “Texas Award for Performance Excellence”.  As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t a scholarly paper, or even a news site, so my research may at times be quite limited, but from what I see this is an award you have to nominate yourself for and then they come out and look at you to see if you’re worthy.  It’s probably a big deal in some business circles, but as your standard consumer, I don’t know what it is, I’ve never heard of it, and I’m less than impressed.  But I’m not complaining, because… free milkshake.  Give me a milkshake and I’ll help you celebrate most anything.  Except child sacrifice.

And I’m not going to begrudge Mighty Fine an award anyway.  They make a damn fine burger, the food is always good, the staff is always friendly, and they have a hand washing machine right out where anyone can use it.  If you don’t enjoy that, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.

Tara and I came home with every intention of watching a movie we hadn’t seen.  Going through the hard drive to pick one, we settled on Alien.  A film we’ve both seen many times.  Because it’s awesome.

At first glance, Alien seems like a science fiction movie, but it’s not.  It’s a horror movie that just happens to be set in a sci-fi milieu.  And it’s executed better than most films in either genre.  But I didn’t come here to do a review of the movie.

As I watched Alien this time, I was very conscious of an issue that my friend Micah has with the movie.  Micah had never seen the movie until recently… I know, right?  But I can’t say anything because I know I’ve got more of those “I can’t believe you haven’t seen this movie” movies than I want to admit, but still… and when he finally got around to watching it he had a bit of a problem with the ending.  Why was the Alien conveniently taking a nap on the “space couch”?

Micah has even bigger issues with Aliens.  According to him, Ripley is actually the antagonist in the series.  I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I believe the term “xenocidal bastard” comes up at least once.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out yourself.  Micah has a website, reeldistraction.com, where he records every movie he sees, along with his thoughts on that viewing.  It’s not a review site as much as a personal movie diary, and his thoughts are oft times interesting.  He also collects vintage movie advertisements from newspapers.  It’s well worth a look.  But once again, I have digressed.

Micah's t-shirt - featuring my glib comment on the Alien nap.

At the time, I wasn’t sure how to answer him, so I made a glib comment about how anything alive is going to get tired from time to time.  Watching the film again tonight, with his arguments fresh in my mind, I think I came up with a much better explanation.

The Alien is a species that is, in its own world, at the top of the food chain.  It’s the alpha predator (pardon the pun).  She has killed the humans that were bothering her with almost no resistance.  She’s had a busy day, what with the erupting from a guy’s chest and molting and growing and killing.  She finds a place to rest.  She goes to sleep because she has nothing to fear.  In her mind, humans are not a thing to be feared.  They are prey.  She actually wakes up a bit as Ripley moves through the cabin, and she dismisses the movement as being nothing to worry about.  Sleep now, dine on the angry lady later.

Is it a bit convenient for the story?  Of course it is.  That’s how you write a movie.  You figure out what you want to happen, and then you orchestrate events to lead up to that.  Think about it, if Dallas had followed the law and left Kane and his facehugger outside of the ship, none of this would have happened.  But they did, and it did.  The Alien going to sleep at that moment is convenient.  The Alien going to sleep is perfectly logical.  That moment was no different than any other moment.  The big dog sleeps when and where it wants, it doesn’t worry about the lady running around in her panties.

Tomorrow features a screening of Bride of Frankenstein at the Drafthouse.  I’m a happy man.  I’m also a tired man so I’m heading to bed.

Be good to each other.


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