We talk to the co-founders of the new entertainment company making waves in the ocean state.
By Liz Barhite
When I arrive they’re waiting for me, all ready to begin. An endearing mix of nerves and professionalism.
The two young women in front of me are Eden Duhamel and Meg Martin, long time friends — that’s incredibly evident in their rapport — and now business partners.
“It was always something we would joke at–
“–‘joke’ might not be the right word–“
“–right, maybe ‘play at’?–
“–yeah, ‘play at’ works better.”
I start the recording and launch right in, asking about their biggest influences. Their eyes widen and there is a beat of silence. Then, a burst of laughter.
Eden: I‘m sorry, I don’t know if I was prepared to be so introspective.
Meg: Right, we agreed to an interview, but absolutely no one told us we would have to answer questions.
Let me start with an easy one then. Hopefully easy, anyway: Are you movie or TV people? What made you want to get involved in the entertainment industry?
Eden: Movies, for sure.I love TV–I mean, I love TV when you’re dealing with a great cast of characters–It’s like hanging out with your friends every week. But movies whisk me away to other lives, other places, even other worlds, entirely unlike my own. Of course I didn’t learn to appreciate the artistic elements of film until later in life, but in hindsight they always had an influence on me. I couldn’t identify a great score, but I could be emotionallymanipulated by it. Plus, watching something in a movie theater is an unmatched experience.
Meg: And I feel like I’m the complete opposite. I have been enchanted by the silver screen, don’t get me wrong. But I think–I just watched so much TV when I was younger there was no way that it wasn’t more influential. And, similar to Eden, I didn’t really start to appreciate all the moving parts of movie making until a little bit later in life, I really was just pulled in by dialogue. Like, if there were two people talking quickly back and forth to each other– on screen, over the radio, on paper– then I was completely absorbed. Still am.
But your newest project–really your first project–is a book? Do I have that right?
Meg: Well, yes and no. It’s a ten part illustrated screenplay series. In a perfect reality we would have filmed it, but since we’re still so small–
Eden: –and because we have a habit of writing things that require a lot of production value–
Meg: –yes, I’m very guilty of that. But because of those things, we sort of just said, who stopping us from publishing the story? And I’ve always loved to draw, so I decided it could be like a hybrid screenplay/graphic novel.
Very cool. And what high production value kept you from filming this particular series?
Meg: Well, it’s in space, for one.
Eden: And it requires more than two actors.
They laugh — charmingly, I might add– and we begin wrapping up. My time with the duo, albeit short, re-energizes me. The entertainment industry isn’t always bright lights and who knows who. Sometimes it’s just two friends having fun.
Episode one of Where’s Steve?’s debut project is called “An Adventure of the FLYNN: The Calm Before the Storm” and will be available for purchase on their website by the end of 2022.
A Short and undignified answer to an inconsequential question.
Let’s be candid. First and foremost, this is not some vanity smeared essay detailing why I would be terrible at stand-up, all the while proving that very thesis to be false. That would be juvenile and dishonest. No, instead this is a very real and very personal introspective. In other words, this is for me. In different other words, this is not for you. This is in no way meant to entertain or distract, so wipe that smirk off your face right now and show some respect for a needless problem in someone else’s life for once.
And I know what you’re thinking. “Why would I post this publicly if it wasn’t meant for entertainment? The tagline of your blog is ‘for your entertainment’ you idiot.”
Fair point. But at the time of posting, this blog has exactly six followers and at least two of them are blood relatives, so your use of “publicly” could be debated. Really, the only reason I’m putting this here and not writing it in my journal is because we aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. So stop nitpicking and accept the premise.
I am not a stand-up comedian. And there is a good reason for that. Multiple, in fact. Multiple reasons that I will now outline two of below, for me, so I may keep my ego in check (why only two? Please refer to section I.).
I. I’m Lazy
A cold hard truth.
The thing about being a stand-up comedian is that you have to keep doing stand-up in order to hold on to the title. It’s not a one and done. I prefer job titles that require zero effort to maintain.
Which is why I am a writer.
I just don’t understand why anyone would waste their breath telling a joke that they may or may not be proud of just so it can dissipate almost instantaneously in the ears of 10-15 random people. What? For the laugh? Grow up. No, I much rather treat my musings as sacred and write them down so they can dissipate almost instantaneously in the eyes of my readers. Readers who, gloriously, give no feedback at all. Put another way, why entertain 10-15 people for one night when you could put pen to paper and entertain 10-15 people over the course of your lifetime? Seems much more respectable (and less time consuming) a practice.
II. I have no stage presence.
Sadly true and confirmed by multiple dear friends. Though I realize it must be hard to believe due the very obvious and abundant pagepresence I clearly possess. But then, it’s much easier to have a personality in secret, isn’t it? And that’s what writing is. Having a personality that only lives in other people’s heads.
Yes, I may have a prolific writer’s voice, but my speaking voice is quite lacking. But no matter, it suits me. I much rather have my words speak for themselves, as a lot of them are very hard to say out loud.
Hello! In our last post we alluded to some “medium-ish” things coming, and boy did we deliver.
We officially have an Instagram! And what’s even better, Meg has no idea how to use it. So please, follow @wsentertainment.me to get a better glimpse into our creative process and, let’s be honest, playfully laugh at Meg as she tries to grasp technology from her own generation.
In addition to our ever exciting multi-platform presence, we also have two new short stories up on our “Text” page, so check them out if you haven’t already.
As you might have noticed, there have been some recent changes to our site (we have a logo!). Not to worry, these were intentional, and we think, pretty good.
While this started out as just a little blog we intermittently forgot about, it’s been growing behind the scenes, and we now have three new pages debuting because of it. The new “Text”, “Audio”, and “Visual” pages will be the new home of some of our more polished work (which we absolutely promise to post once we’ve finished polishing it).
Of course, we will still have our blog so that we may pontificate or complain about anything that strikes our fancy. But we’re also going to try to post more entries like this, updating you on what we are working on.
Thank you for bearing with us as we work through all the growing pains, we know it doesn’t take a lot of effort on your end, but it’s still appreciated.
And with October comes fall and Halloween programming (Why go outside to look at the foliage when you can see it on your TV?). But when we reviewed the month’s programming schedule from a well known channel that shall remain nameless, we found it lacking. So we did what any set of stable, well adjusted, people would do: we wasted our afternoon making our own.
So here it is, (almost) a whole month of content full of costumes, witches, monsters, creepy children, goofy adults, ghosts, and David Bowie.
A piece of short sci-fi that lost me a contest, because, why not?
What’s that? It’s not on brand with the rest of the blog, you say? Honestly, I’m just flattered you’ve read the rest of our blog.
There’s something weird about the weather in my town.
I live in a place called “The N.K.” It stands for “Not Kansas.” Don’t ask me why, believe me, it wouldn’t have been my first choice.
But the weather here is…strange.
It thunders a lot. More than it rains or lightnings. That just doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t think it makes sense to my mom either, but whenever I ask she always says “some things just don’t make sense.” But I don’t think she means it. I can tell she doesn’t believe it. Adults do that sometimes, say one thing when they really mean another. My grandma calls it “nuance,” but, I don’t know, seems like lying to me. My mom is lying to me. I’d be upset about it, but I think it’s just because she wants me to stop asking questions when her head is in the oven, trying to get a fire going for dinner.
But I can’t help it if that’s when I think of them.
“Oh yes you can.”
“Dot, so help me, I will cook you for dinner instead if you don’t get out of this kitchen right now.”
I don’t think she means that either. If she really wanted to cook me she wouldn’t bother fussing with my overall strap and kissing me on the forehead before shoving me out the door (which she does every time).
I’ve never seen her do that to one of the cows.
“Banishèd?! How hast thou the heart, to mangle me with that word—Banishèd?!”
“Haha! Where’d my granddaughter go? I only see Romeo, of fair Verona before me!”
My Grandpa’s my best friend. He always let’s me have first pick of character whenever we read a play together. Play’s are wonderful aren’t they? We’ve read everyone in the library. I’ll never understand why people stopped writing them. Anyway, Grandpa always does everyone else so I can really focus on my performance. He’s a real pal.
He’s an inventor too. There used to be a whole lot of them in town, or so he tells me. Kinda a club of sorts. But most of the members were very old, and have since passed away. Grandma always said they died of broken hearts, since none of their inventions ever worked. Add that to the list of things that make no sense to me.
Now there are really only two left: my grandpa and Mrs. Flaherty. Apparently they’ve been in a battle of wits for the past thirty years.
“She’s got nothing, I tell ya! Nothin’!
You should hear her go on and on about trying to make these glasstubes. Ha! For what?! What on earth would you do with glass tubes!
Ha! She’s got nothing! I can’t wait to see the look on her face…”
He kept mumbling to himself as he walked back to the shed, his eyes glowing from the new idea that just lit up his brain. I love that look. I hope I have it one day.
“DOT!! DoT!! dOt!!”
Boy, and people say I’m dramatic.
I glanced down toward the road and saw a huge ball of dust coming my way.
It was Sid. Of course it was Sid.
Sid is my second best friend, behind Grandpa. He lives two houses down, and we are about the same age, so I didn’t have much say in the matter.
Ten paces behind him, a tall looming figure emerging from Sid’s dust cloud, was Sandra as always.
I liked Sandra. She was cool. She was named for the endless desert that surrounds The N.K. Sand as far as the eye can see. “Vast and beautiful,” as her mother puts it.
But Sid, Sid was just Sid. Much in the way that I am just Dot. I guess poetry and deeper meaning fell out of fashion when we were born.
Wherever there was the fidgety, unruly Sid, and the loveable (albeit as some times mischievous) Dot, the stoic Sandra was there, begrudgingly. Just in case anyone fell down or got stuck in a well or something.
“Dot! You have to come look at this right now, no time to waste, let’s go, come on, sooner rather than later—”
Sandra covered his mouth.
She looked back over to Sid.
He nodded his head ‘yes’ and she released him.
“Dot, would you like to come look at the very cool thing with me, right now, please.”
I turned my head back toward the house.
“MOM CAN I GO PLAY WITH SID?”
“WILL SAN BE THERE?”
All three of us responded in unison.
“OKAY, JUST BE HOME BEFORE DINNER.”
Sid punched the air in excitement and off we went.
He made us close our eyes for the last forty paces or so. But I could tell by intuition (and, ok, by peaking a little) that we were in the old, abandoned, town hall. When we were finally told to look we were in a tiny, mostly dark, office. Dust and cobwebs everywhere.
“Sid, we need to go over what constitutes as ‘very cool.’” San lamented.
“look closer! Look closer!” Sid bugged. I had a feeling if we didn’t we’d be stuck in here way past dinner. So I did what I was told. I looked closer. I slowly surveyed the room.
There was a small wooden desk and chair to my left. A bookshelf on the back wall, and something covered in a white sheet to the right. I couldn’t tell what it was just by looking at it, it was just a lump. But who am I to judge? Maybe it was a very cool lump.
I climbed up on the desk chair. There was lamp to the left, but not like one I have ever seen. Regardless, I opened the desk drawer and rummaged around for matches to light it with.
Odd bits of paper, paperclips, pencils, but no matches.
I reached to the way back of the drawer and pulled everything forward.
More paper, pieces of chalk…and, what’s this? Some kind of necklace. A tarnished silver chain with a small heart dangling off of it. A heart that…opened? And inside—I didn’t really know what I was looking at. Well, I did, but I didn’t.
It was a picture of a man and a woman. Smiling, arms wrapped around each other, but not like any picture I’d ever seen before. No visible brush strokes or pencil lines. It was like I was looking through a keyhole at very tiny, but very real, people. Incredible. The woman seemed to be drawn with more care though, the man had a waxy quality to him, and his eyes…they seemed sort of dead.
But hey, I can only draw stick figures.
“Sid, what is this place?” San asked.
“I don’t know, isn’t it great?!”
“No…no I don’t know if it is. Nothing here makes sense, maybe we should just leave.”
“No! that’s the cool part!
Like, look at this:”
He pulled a gigantic book off of the shelf, bigger than any book I’d ever seen before.
He held it up and read the title aloud with a laugh.
“ ‘Phone Book’, ha! What the heck is a ‘phone’?
And look! Inside it’s just names and weird strings of numbers –crazy!”
I’ve never seen San look so uneasy.
“And this! Wait ‘till you see this!”
He walked over to the lump and pulled the sheet off of it.
It was almost like I wasn’t looking at anything. Like it was a magic, invisible lump. I had to squint to make my brain see it. I don’t know how to describe it…
And then, Sid did… something to the…something.
There was a small clicking sound and the room lit up. San gasped and fell down. I just stood there, eyes agape, as I watched the back wall transform, suddenly, effortlessly, as it gained a third dimension, as people walked out on to the stage and began to perform.
It took watching it three times through before I could register what the actors were talking about. Wow, a real life play! I was mesmerized, I couldn’t look away. A play just for us. And at the center of it, the main character—the role I’d pick if I was reading it with Grandpa—the woman from the necklace.
The fourth time we watched it I grabbed some paper and a pencil from the desk and took it down as best I could. It went as follows:
After the fifth time we watched it Sandra made us stop. The light fell out of the room and back wall lost it’s dimension as fast as it had gained it. The players were gone, like they’d vanished from the universe.
I looked at my script and the necklace. I didn’t understand. I never understand. Ug!
“Let’s go, now.” San told us.
I shoved the papers into my pocket and looped the necklace around my neck. Maybe Grandpa could make some sense of this.
Sid was lollygagging as always, he had gotten distracted during the second performance, and was fiddling with another thing I’ve never seen before. A piece of bent pipe or something.
“Sid, put that down, we’re going home.”
“Put it down!”
They struggled for a moment, and then:
The loudest clap of thunder I’ve ever heard, it was like it was in the room with us.
A piece of ceiling fell to the ground with an equally as loud thump.
It was like it was in the room with us…
I looked down at the necklace and then back up at San. She had that look in her eye, like Grandpa gets.
After over a year of travel restrictions, we can finally start to plan our vacations without worrying about pandemic-related cancellations. Since international travel is limited at the moment, you might be deciding where to travel within the United States. Why not southern California? Yes, I know this is an exceedingly obvious choice for all, especially entertainment lovers, but I visited in September 2019 and have some photos I’m excited to share on this currently photo-less blog.
Located in Burbank, just north of Los Angeles, is the studio that brought you Bonnie and Clyde, Twister, and Batman. The Warner Brothers lot is filled with iconic props, nostalgic sets, and likely more stories than even your favorite film buff knows. For me, taking a tour of the studio was a dream come true.
General information: The traditional tour operates daily and currently costs $69 for adults and $59 for children (July 2021). The guided portion lasts about an hour and no two tours are exactly alike. The tour guides 1) have to work with what sets are available to see without disrupting current productions and 2) ask guests about their favorite shows and movies in order to ensure that the information they’re sharing is of interest. Once the guided tour is over, guests can explore designated self-guided exhibits, grab lunch at the café, and buy merchandise in the gift shop.
You will be reminded of this during your tour, but please note that photos are not permitted during every phase of the tour. As you can see, I still managed to take many pictures. And as a solo traveler, I was pleased to find that the tour guides and exhibit staff were more than happy to take pictures for guests if asked.
Okay, so let’s get into the fun stuff.
For millennials, I believe one of the most recognizable parts of the backlot is the section that was used as the set of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. Whereas in many shows and movies tight shots are used to create the illusion that the story is set elsewhere, with Gilmore Girls audiences are seeing the backlot in its true form. Just as Rori leaves Lane’s house and crosses the park to Luke’s diner, guests can too. Fun fact: Lane’s house (the antique shop) is also used in an episode of Friends as the Gilmore house. Remember when Ross sits sadly on the stairs on Rachel and Monica’s prom night? Same stairs!
Just around the corner from Stars Hollow, guests can take a photo in front of the Tanner family home as seen in Fuller House. This facade was specifically built for the reboot. The real San Francisco house had been repainted and no longer looks like the home that original Full House fans know and love.
As you already know, Warner Brothers produces many major franchise films, such as Harry Potter and its spin-off Fantastic Beasts as well as Batman and other DC Comic films. There’s so much to see for fans of these movies! Fun fact: Remember in Batman Returns when the Penguin takes control of the Batmobile forcing Batman to speed around New York City? That was filmed on one small block of the backlot and cut together to look like he covered significantly more distance.
After multiple remakes, can we also consider A Star is Born a franchise?
At the end of my visit, I had the great fortune of participating in a scene reenactment in Central Perk from Friends. I played Ross and strongly believe that it was a stellar performance. Where’s my Emmy? Speaking of awards, I held an actual Academy Award during this tour as well. To be honest, it was heavier than I expected…I still want one.
Of course as times change and the studio continues to work on new projects, the tour will change as well. What I saw in 2019, may not be what you see tomorrow. There’s so much to see and learn and I look forward to visiting again in the future.
What is your favorite Warner Brothers classic? Tell us in the comments below!
This is a blog post. I wanted to make that abundantly clear, just in case you skipped over the sub and main title to get right to the good stuff.
Not a lot of authors have the guts to tell you what you’re reading right off. In my experience it takes at least halfway through to get the “gist” of what their purpose is. And, on occasion (but more often than not), the reader doesn’t know what they have read until they’ve read it, in its entirety, and discussed with others who have also read the work, in its entirety.
I think I speak for everyone, but especially myself, when I say who has the time? So I’m cutting to the chase. I’m letting you in on my intentions right off. This is a blog post. And I’ll do you one more solid – I’ll not only tell you what I’m writing, I’ll tell you why I’m writing it – so that I may post on my blog. This blog, in fact. That’s it. No sinister plans, no great thoughts, just a need to fill virtual space by any means necessary.
You might inquire why someone with no plans or thoughts or musings of any kind would have a blog in the first place, and I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a good question. One that I’ve asked Eden, the co-writer of this very blog. She is now very concerned that she has started a blog with someone with, admittedly, no plans or thoughts or musings. So here I am, filling space to ease her worries.
What’s more, if I can keep this up – if I can toss together a pointless word salad of dull nothingness every once in a while – people might get the impression that I have plans and thoughts and musings. “Oh that Meg, she must have a lot of opinions, she posts on her blog regularly” they’ll say. What fools. They’ll never actually know. It’ll be our little secret. And besides, isn’t it better for people to think you have thoughts than to have actually thought them? You reap all the social benefits with none of the pesky neuronal drawbacks. One could theoretically collect a plethora of metadata around the assumption that they are interesting, but no actual data. No actual proof, no actual thought, just proof of thought. What a ruse. I bet no one else has ever thought the thought that actively not thinking any thoughts might in fact convince people that you do, in fact, think thoughts.
Yes, I think not thinking will suit me quite well.
It’s 2021. Yeah, we don’t know how that happened either.
So, in the wake of the brutal realization of the continual passing of time, we decided to cling to something a little more palatable: Aliens.
That’s right, aliens. It only seems fitting to divulge in something “out of this world” after a year that made us want to get off of this world.
So here it is, a weeks worth of alien movies, accidentally curated to be three double features (Contact/Arrival, The Last Starfighter/E.T., Alien/Aliens), plus a bonus movie (Save Yourselves!) if so desired.
Watch them with friends, alone in the attic crawlspace, in the middle of a wheat field, or maybe even with your family. Let them pour out of your head as easily as they poured into your eyeballs, or maybe mull them over and stew in the alien flavored broth that is this list. Keep them neatly organized as separate entities or perhaps compare and contrast as you go. It’s up to you.
As a final disclaimer, we are not suggesting the following films are the best alien movies out there. Or the worst, or… anything, really. They’re just seven movies – that contain aliens – that made our week a little bit better.
Eden & Meg
1. Save Yourselves! (2020)
Directors: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson
Stream on Hulu (with subscription)
Summary: A young couple from Brooklyn (Sunita Mani and John Paul Reynolds) retreats to a cabin upstate in order to unplug, only to discover that the planet had been invaded by aliens while their phones were off.
Eden’s Take: Save Yourselves! (2020) is the only comedy on our list. Through its extremely likable main characters, this movie delivers consistent comedic dialogue that will make you laugh more than you ever thought you would while watching an alien movie. You might even encounter a line or scene that you can’t refrain from quoting or referencing in future conversations. Despite an unsettling ending that seems poorly executed by the writers, the journey is enjoyable and, therefore, worth watching.
Meg’s Take: Highly relatable characters in what would initially seem like a highly unrelatable scenario. While the hipster vibe of the two leads may speak to a younger audience, the cornerstones of their personalities are those of any great rom-com duo. While, as my colleague notes, the ending leaves the viewer wanting, or rather, sitting on their couch with a mix of confusion and disappointment, it’s worth the watch anyway. Why, you might ask, would we recommend a movie with an unsatisfying ending? Because plot is to this movie what the musical guest is to Saturday Night Live. It really doesn’t matter. I would watch these two characters do almost anything. The fact that aliens are involved is just the proverbial icing on top.
Final Takeaway: Come for the aliens, stay for the hipsters.
2. Contact (1997)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Available for rent on Amazon Prime Video and Youtube
Summary: Astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway’s (Jodie Foster) personal and professional life are upended after she and her team receive a message from the Vega star system.
Eden’s Take: I’d watch Jodie Foster do anything. Make her an unapologetic, confident scientist who goes after what she wants despite backlash or criticism and I’m making popcorn. Despite a scene or two with questionable effects (it was the 90s), I really enjoyed watching this. For an added layer, the movie also explores the similarities and differences between science and religion; a choice that makes this particular alien movie stand out from others.
Meg’s Take: If you’re going to watch one movie on this list, this is it. As a disclaimer, I am incredibly biased. I not only love, and have loved, this film for most of my life, but I’m a huge fan of any film that includes a strong female scientist leading a rag-tag research crew against the judgemental sneer of The Man (I’m looking at you Twister). The fact that this narrative is pulled from the mind of Carl Sagan just makes it that much better. Add in a seasoned director who knows his way around a transition and some gorgeous mirror tricks, and you’ve got a beautifully made film. Add in Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaghey and you’ve got one hell of a movie.
Pull Quote: “Well, not if they use their laser blasters and photon torpedoes.”
3. Arrival (2016)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Available for rent on Amazon Prime Video and Youtube
Summary: Linguist, Louise Banks (Amy Adams), and physicist, Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), are recruited by the United States government to communicate with extraterrestrial beings when twelve ships suddenly touch down on Earth. As tensions rise and disagreements ensue between world leaders, Louise takes charge in finding the truth about the aliens’ intention.
Eden’s Take: I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I love this movie. I only wish I saw it in theaters, rather than on demand a few months after its release, but watching this in my parents’ basement did not deduct from my viewing pleasure. Although the general premise is derivative (there’s some similarities with Contact), the narrative and character details are unique and intelligently selected. Overall, this is a very compelling film with a fantastic performance by Amy Adams. Also, in a genre where science takes a forefront (obviously), I’m still fascinated by the use of linguistics and the sort of philosophical approach to language. I’m so glad Meg finally saw this one, because I’ve been sharing my admiration for years.
Side note: Watching Contact (1997) and Arrival (2016) back-to-back sparked an idea that the alternative theme of the week should be “listen to women.”
Meg’s Take: The bowl of molasses to Contact’s cup of coffee. I’ll spare you my musings so I don’t spare you the joy of walking into this one cold.
Final Takeaway: Why doesn’t Amy Adams have an Oscar?
4. The Last Starfighter (1984)
Director: Nick Castle
Available for rent on Amazon Prime Video and Youtube
Summary: After achieving the high score on his favorite arcade game, Starfighter, teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is thrust into a sci-fi adventure that he won’t soon forget.
Eden’s Take: In my personal opinion, The Last Starfighter (1984) is the lighter of the two family-friendly, 80s classics on this list. It’s a bit silly in nature, but certainly entertaining if you can get past the occasional awkward dialogue.
Meg’s Take: If you’re anything close to a normal human being, you may find yourself asking “why I am I watching this?” during the runtime of the prolific enigma that is The Last Starfighter. To that question, I say: why not? I highly doubt there is anything better to do on any given night than to watch young Alex Rogan save the universe and convince his girlfriend to move to space with him. Is it campy? of course. Is it so 1984 that it’s hard to watch at times? Quite possibly. Does Lance Guest somehow upstage himself as the titular character’s beta unit? You bet. But of all the bad 80s sci-fi out there, you could do so much worse than this. At its core it’s a good little hero’s journey. Campbell would approve.
And if that still isn’t enough reason for you, then you, my dear fellow film buff, are watching for the history, as this film boasts the accolade of being the first motion picture to use CGI to depict reality. You historian, you.
Pull Quote: “What do we do?”
5. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Free (with short commercials) on Peacock
Available for rent on Amazon Prime and Youtube
Summary: A young boy named Elliot (Henry Thomas) befriends an alien that has been stranded on Earth. He and his two siblings try to keep the alien’s existence a secret while formulating a plan to help their new friend return home.
Eden’s Take: In comparison to the aforementioned 80s classic, E.T. (1982) carries a bit more weight and certainly more heart. Admittedly, E.T. is a childhood favorite and I didn’t see The Last Starfighter until now (at 24 years old), so my opinion is certainly biased. Also, can we talk about how adorable Drew Barrymore is in this?
Meg’s Take: Embarrassingly, this was my first time watching this film. And while the main characters are endearing, and the filmmaking is nifty, I spent too much time thinking about what those damn keys were for. I, maybe stupidly, thought there would be a big third act reveal and the keys would unlock something. Silly me. Turns out they were just an audio- visual character marker.
I wonder if Peter Coyote was upset that his belt loop got more screen time than him.
Final Takeaway: All hail queen Gertie.
6. Alien (1979)
Director: Ridley Scott
Stream on HBO Max (with subscription)
Available for rent on Amazon Prime
Summary: The crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is plunged into peril when a mystery organism finds its way aboard their ship.
Eden’s Take: Alien (1979) has everything one would expect from a movie about aliens: disturbing (and often slimy) creatures from outer space, a suspenseful narrative that often has the audience wondering who, if anyone, will make it out alive, and a hero that no one listens to until the situation escalates. Although I enjoyed the movie, by the end I still had one unanswered question, “Why is this robot full of milk”?
Meg’s Take: Hard to have Alien Week without Alien. It’s as simple as that.
Pull Quote: “molecular acid”
7. Aliens (1986)
Director: James Cameron
Stream on HBO Max (with subscription)
Available for rent on Amazon Prime
Summary: Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), lone survivor of the starship Nostromo, awakes from hypersleep hellbent on destroying the alien species that killed her crew.
Eden’s Take: Aliens (1986) is more suspenseful and action-packed than its predecessor. Somehow it’s darker, slimier, and milkier too… More importantly, it further supports the “listen to women” theme, which I love to see.
Meg’s Take: Another “no duh” moment on our part. Highly recommend watching these last two as a double feature, for obvious reasons. But if there is only so much Ellen Ripley you can take, I, strangely, recommend the sequel. Why is this strange, you ask? Because dear reader, as I am sure you will come to know whole heartedly, I am not a huge fan of James Cameron. In my very humble — but not easily swayed– opinion, the man has two good films. This is one of them. The other is The Abyss (originally on our list, but, due to streaming issues, had to be dropped). But while we have to give Cameron credit here, the ensemble cast is why you watch this movie. Heck, watch it for Bill Paxton alone, nobody would judge.
Pull Quote: “Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bug hunt?”