Comments on “Alien”

“In space, no one can hear you scream.” Damn straight. (Those are the words at the end of the trailer.) I recently saw Alien in a theatre for the first time, and it was way better than any of the times I watched it on a TV screen — and I’ve seen it many times over the years. And I’m not talking about the “director’s cut” which even the director, Ridley Scott, admits was an excuse for the producers to double-dip on their profits — it’s an inferior cut. The original theatrical cut is pretty damn close to perfect just the way it is. And seeing Alien in a theatre is the best way to appreciate it. The inside of the ship feels vast; it has depth on the big screen. The cat, Jones, eats with everybody at the table after they first wake up. Who the hell ever noticed that on a TV screen? And their shoes look really comfortable. These are some of things I noticed for the first time from watching it in a theatre.

But what makes Alien work for me, even after multiple viewings, is the realism — it all looks and feels real. I’m immediately transported into a weird and frightening world where the unbelievable is believable. It’s convincing. The ship looks dirty and worn and so do the characters. These people react to an extreme situation (an eyeless alien on board that bleeds acid for blood and wants to kill everyone) like real people: they do their best to stay calm, but deep down inside they’re freaking out. The first few times I saw it, Alien scared the crap out of me. It was just too intense. I’ve seen it too many times to be scared by any of it now, but if this is the last time I’ll see Alien, I’m glad it was in a theatre. They don’t make movies like this any more.

Freedom From Religion

A founder and editor of The Onion gave a great speech at the 2008 National FFRF Convention. Funny stuff. An excerpt:

Atheist. It’s a cold and prickly word, like Recidivist. Rapist. Terrorist. Anal cyst. It’s a terrible word. Agnostic is no better. It sounds clinical. It’s two letters off from diagnostic. “I’m sorry to have to tell you, Mr. Johnson, we got the results back from your agnostic, and we’re going to have to amputate your testicles.”
Christian. Christian–it flows off the tongue like a crisp autumn breeze. Christian. It sounds like a guitar being strummed in the grass under a sycamore tree.

(via Friendly Atheist)

Paul Sings Nessun Dorma

I don’t watch reality shows. I’ve never seen an episode of those talent shows where three judges praise or make fun of people singing (I don’t even remember the name of the stupid show as I type this).

Someone at work told me about this average looking guy performing at the British version of that talent show. It’s worth a watch and listen:

Brought friggin’ tears to my eyes. Seriously. I’m a wimp for that emotional crap, but even still, this was really cool.

I heard the guy’s making records now.

(I just noticed the date on that video: it’s from June 2007! I’m behind the times. Wiki has an article about his edited performance there on the show.)