Open Thread for March 18, 2011

Nurse that post-St. Patrick’s Day hangover with that Hair of the Dog we like to call the Overthinking It Open Thread. This is probably of interest to our readership: Simon Pegg’s geek fan-service alien movie Paul is opening this week. … Continued

Nurse that post-St. Patrick’s Day hangover with that Hair of the Dog we like to call the Overthinking It Open Thread.

This is probably of interest to our readership: Simon Pegg’s geek fan-service alien movie Paul is opening this week.

Did you see it this weekend? Did anyone calculate the anal-probe-references-per-minute rate and compare it to other seminal works of alien science fiction?

Really? You couldn't pony up an extra $20 donation to get the tote bag?

In other news, pinko-commie liberals are quaking in their Birkenstocks with a double-punch to their major sources of news: in the same week, Congress attempts to withdraw federal funding for NPR, and the New York Times announces a new paid subscription model for access to its content via the website, smartphones, and tablets.

Crisis! Where will you get your news if you’re too cheap to pay for either an NPR mug or too lazy to exploit one of the many paywall workarounds?

Lastly, we honor this week’s Comment of the Week, which, appropriately for St. Patrick’s Day week, is about alcohol:

I drink to gain more adventures.

So I can spend more time farming booze.

So I can gain more adventures.

Congrats, Squin! Your prize is the admiration of Overthinking It writers and readers…and of course, more adventures.

Here at Overthinking It, we’ve never been federally funded, and we have no enormous NYC skyscraper or expensive printing presses to justify a paywall, so comments are free! What are you waiting for? Have at it, for this is your … Open Thread.

14 Comments on “Open Thread for March 18, 2011”

  1. Brian #

    Whats with all these alien invasion movies? You guys must have an article on the phenomena? It seems like a reaction to the zombie obsession, or maybe just same song different key. If “Zombies reflect America’s skepticism of the suburban promise”, citing the American Zombie article, do alien invasion movies reflect a reconfirmation of the suburban promise?

    Some alien invasion seem to act the same as zombie movies, War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Some are inspirational, E.T. Close Encounters. Super 8 looks like its trying for both, Abrams is known for misleads though so I get the suspicion it will be optimistic since it takes place in Spielberg’s wondrous suburbia, I also suspect it’s really cobbled together of alternate takes from all his previous movies. Paul looks like a raunchy romp in Americas vast landscape.


    • startingfromzero #

      The real question is, when are we going to get an alien zombie movie? I think Hollywood is read for undead creatures from another planet.


      • Brian #

        I think Cocoon counts.


      • Gab #

        Pandorum, ish. Or maybe that’s more like I Am Legend iiiiiin spaaaaaaaace…


        • ODB #

          There were no zombies in Pandorum. Only mutants…


      • Pasteur #

        Wouldn’t The Spirits Within count?


      • Timothy J Swann #

        Not a movie, but The Clone Wars did a few episodes on parasitic zombie aliens; and there have been a couple of novels with Sith zombies in too.


        • Brian #

          As for the ‘The Spirits Within’ that must be the most uncanny thing humans have created. We got zombie stacked on aliens stacked on uncanny valley computer animation stacked on awkward adaptation of video game stacked on strange voice casting. It’s a wonder it didn’t fall into ‘The Room’ syndrome, probably because it was so large a budget and tried for a meditative tone.


  2. Gab #

    Speaking of alien movies, I’m really interested in Attack the Block.


  3. Brian #

    It’s got a good team on it, but the trailer makes “Attack the Block” look like a record scratch and a nut shot away from being a Nickelodeon “Are you Afraid of the Dark” tv movie, but trailers usually make things look way stupid even when they turn not. Transformers being the opposite, with really good trailers and lame ass features, also an alien invasion movie.

    Are there any urban alien invasions that turn out good, like Close Encounters? It seems the further out in the country the better the chance of friendly aliens there is, even if you’re a prude and consider anal probing a minus your still not getting blowed up like a city typically does.


  4. Mark #

    I saw a couple of articles like this the other day, talking about how one of the possible essay questions on the most recent SAT asks students to discuss the “reality” of reality television and its effects on society. A bunch of students are complaining because they say the question presumes that all kids watch reality TV. My first response is that if you can’t write an essay about a topic you don’t really know anything about then you’re not ready for college. (Although to be honest the actual question seems to me to be well-written and answerable without first hand knowledge of reality TV.)

    So is the College Board finally recognizing the value of overthinking pop culture? And is appearing on the SAT an academic version of going mainstream, such that you guys have succeeded in rendering the concept of overthinking obsolete, i.e. is it now society’s opinion that there is no level of scrutiny that pop culture probably doesn’t deserve?


  5. Steven Sousa #

    I saw Paul. It was cute, with lots of obscure sci-fi inside references so us geeks could smile at how we noticed lots of obscure sci-fi inside references, but I think it failed on two fronts: One, it kept reminding me of Fanboys, which covered a very similar patch of story, and you never want your viewer to keep thinking about a different movie while watching your, more boring, movie.

    Front the second: The overall source of humor of the movie is we’ve been trained to expect that an alien in a movie will act is ways unlike us humans, and thereby point out our strange human foibles, but Paul has all the mannerisms of a typical human. That’s certainly a clever concept, and it’s funny the first time, but to remain funny throughout the entire movie, his human companions should have been themselves more strange and alien, instead of only slightly nerdy. There were a few bizarre characters, but they didn’t get much time to interact with Paul.


  6. Brian #

    Alf was very human and his family was white bread, that went 4 seasons. Mork was more weird than Alf, 3rd Rock was Mork Light, so these probably point out human foibles more than Paul does.

    So just how human is Paul? In the trailer he resurrects a bird, but does he mention his home world’s culture like Alf does? Does Paul never contrast humanity’s foibles?


  7. Steven Sousa #

    I have no explanation for the success of ALF.

    And, yeah, Paul acts just like a typical laid back American human. He doesn’t misunderstand any Earth customs or anything. The joke is that he doesn’t act like a stereotypical alien, but everyone expects him to.


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