E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

"I’m keeping him."

Steven Spielberg didn’t have a sense that his little, personal alien film was going to blow up like it did when he was making it. Universal Studios saw it as another kids film that likely would only be seen by moms taking their kids to the theater. But E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial managed to touch pretty much the hearts of everyone who saw it, turning it into the #1 film in the world in short order. So how does this film hold up? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – to find out as we continue our screenwriter Melissa Mathison series with Spielberg’s 1982 film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

We talk about emotional films versus intellectual films, if there really is a delineation, and how well Spielberg manages both spectrums but how brilliantly this film is able to connect with the world’s emotions. We chat about how Mathison’s first draft was near perfect when she delivered it to Spielberg, and perhaps why it worked out that way. We look at Spielberg and what he brings to the table as the director who seems to consistently bring brilliant films to the world, as is evidenced by the incredible number of them on the list of top-grossing films of all time. We discuss the actors – Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote and more – and look at the honesty they’re all presenting on screen for us. We touch on the special effects and why perhaps it’s easy to grow attached to Carlo Rimbaldi’s ugly little alien. We debate whether John Williams’ score sounds a bit too much like his work in Raiders of the Lost Ark or if it’s wholly unique for this film. And we look at how well this movie did and marvel at how long it played in theaters. 

It’s a beautiful film that still works incredibly well for us. We have a great time discussing it so check it out again and let us know what you think, then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Patti Cake$ — "I hadn’t heard much about this except that it got great buzz at Sundance. Watching the trailer, I could see why. The lead character’s sense of struggle and place in the world comes through brilliantly and I couldn’t help but smile. It could be that I really enjoy rap battle redemption stories – I loved 8 Mile too – but from the trailer I get a sense that it’s just because this is a strong film."

Pete's Trailer: Landline — "As much a story of sisters awkwardly navigating their relationship as it appears to be a detective story, set in 1995 and clearly having an amazing time with the period. The trailer is heartwarming, intriguing, well-timed… a pleasant surprise among a spate of shooters on deck."