E.T.’s 25th anniversary

I sense limited interest in the 25th anniversary screening of E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial at the Academy theatre on Thursday night. Just as Steven Spielberg‘s esteem has begun to diminish, so has the legend of this 1982 film. And I’m saying this as someone who truly worshipped E.T. when it first came out, and who interviewed Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore for an Us magazine cover story.

It’s certainly one of Spielberg’s finest, but the saturation has been so commercially relentless — the Universal theme-park ride, that awful Neil Diamond song “Heartlight.” the endless parade of DVD re-dips — that it’s pretty much worn out its welcome. Universal’s eagerness to exploit it again and again has become boorish.

It wouldn’t kill me if by some bizarre circumstance I would never be allowed to see E.T. again. I think I could live with that. On top of which it has the usual Spielberg irritants. I’ve always been irritated by that moment when Henry Thomas just drops the pizza takeout on the back lawn. And I’ve always hated the scene in which security guys in space-walk suits invade the house.

Spielberg’s decision to digitally replace the guns in the hands of FBI agents with walkie-talkies wasn’t as bad as George Lucas’s decision to have Greedo shoot first, but it was in the same revisionist ballpark. I’m just done with it. Enough. Tens of thousands feel this way, I suspect.

83 thoughts on “E.T.’s 25th anniversary

  1. Walter Sobchak on said:

    Oh boy.

  2. It’s still a better movie than Gandhi. As is Tootsie, for that matter.

    But yeah, if they hadn’t done a “20th Anniv” re-release (which didn’t do all that well, iirc), and if it wasn’t on TV every year (it was on Telemundo en espanol the other night) they could’ve done something cool for the 25th and folks would’ve been receptive.

  3. There haven’t been endless DVD releases of E.T., have there? There was the original 2-disc edition in 2002, and then I think a bare-bones single-disc edition a couple years ago, but that’s it, isn’t it? It’s not like it’s The Princess Bride or something.

  4. Another anti-Spielberg post to get hits. And please stop speaking for others when you say his esteem has begun to diminish.

    Spielberg has been one of the few directors to consistently challenge himself in later years when most directors tread water.

    The thing is I don’t think E.T. is that great a movie and would take much of his work in the last ten years over it. In fact, with the exception of Jaws, Close Encounters and Raiders, his pre-Schindler’s career doesn’t match up with his post-Schindler’s career.

  5. Billy Wilder in the Crowe interview book:

    “Spielberg was always a wonderful director. When he was twelve years old he was a wonderful director. Especially pictures that were for children. I think there are lots of things in E.T. that were very, very funny, especially when E.T. gets drunk.”

    The E.T. ride was awful but the film is independent of that, just as “Wizard of Oz” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” survive the many take-offs and rip-offs.

  6. A one-time-only screening of the movie at the Academy theatre in L.A. is an example of “boorish” behavior? Please.

    The only person who has lost esteem for Spielberg and his career is Wells. Please stop your solitary crusade. It’s boorish.

  7. “And I’m saying this as someone who truly worshipped E.T. when it first came out”

    Jeff has a very bad habit of overpraising then tearing down. It has little to do with the films.

  8. Is “This Great Spielberg Movie Actually Sucks” going to be a weekly column? If so, you really shot the wad by running this and the Indy shot on the same day.

    The dropped pizza ruining ET for you is even better than the monkey in Close Encounters!

    Personally, I never like Citizen Kane because the shoes Joseph Cotton wears are just somehow really annoying. Don’t even get me started on how the stereotypical red/white checkered tablecloth totally takes me out of the Godfather scene where Pacino shoots the police captain and some other guy.

    Back to ET: The scene where the guys in suits invade the house? One of the best things Spielberg has directed. I would explain how the movie is told from a kid’s POV and how frightening that scene is for a kid but, really, what’s the point? Did you notice that it is only after that scene that you see the face of an adult other than the mother? Nah, probably not. You, sir, are on crack.

    Unlike Lucas, Spielberg did not disown the original version of his film when he released a second version. Both are fitting quite snugly in the same place on my DVD shelf.

    I’m with Mike Schaeffer – ET should have won Best Picture in 1982 and it’s only because of people with small dicks being afraid of how good Spielberg was 25 years before Wells got the fever.

    As for whether 10s of thousands agree with this bizarre POV, that may be true. I’m sure there are 10s of thousands who believe in National Socialism and I know there are 10s of thousands who believe Elvis is still alive. Nonetheless, ET is a “Great Movie” (Capital G, Capital M) and MILLIONS of people believe so. Deal, dude.

    Each time you do this it gets a little sadder.

  9. Sorry – I forgot two dumb things I wanted to include in my rant:

    There are not, as pointed out above, endless DVD re-dips:
    One “Special Edition” release and then a cheaper version. That’s not even a single re-dip, really.

    And blaming Neil Diamond and a ride for “diminishing” ET is as absurd is blaming “Shark Week” for diminishing Jaws or the collapse of Pan Am for diminishing 2001.

    Josh – you’re right and I’m sorry for taking the bait. It is a sad fucking state of affairs when a studio screening a movie is considered “exploiting” it. Before coming to HE I thought that screening movies was somehow a positive thing.

    (Oh, and “pizza takeout” is redundant and innacurate. It was a delivery.)

  10. “I sense limited interest in the 25th anniversary screening of E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial at the Academy theatre on Thursday night.”

    Jeff — unlike you, most people who go to things like this are interested. They’re not going to look down their nose at people who are there but aren’t coolly looking down their nose at the people who are there. Most people outgrew this in high school, and the people who didn’t don’t get invited to those parties at all anymore.

    “Just as Steven Spielberg’s esteem has begun to diminish,”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    “so has the legend of this 1982 film.”

    I’m sure there might be an objective way to see if the legend of the film is dying down. Suppose there were a list of the 100 greatest films, compiled via survey, among the people whom Jeff is talking about? And suppose, even further, that this list was made 10 years ago, and then a new list was compiled this year. Why, such a list could certainly serve as evidence to support or disprove such a supposition!

    Wait a minute — there is such a list! And, lo and behold, ‘E.T.’ is higher on this list now than ten years ago! And sinking-Spielberg has just as many movies on the list! [Now, I would definitely agree that 'Close Encounters' is losing its luster, and not just because of the AFI list.]

    “And I’m saying this as someone who truly worshipped E.T. when it first came out, and who interviewed Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore for an Us magazine cover story.”

    Hey, this is just my personal opinion, I can’t argue film with a guy who once interviewed Drew Barrymore for a cover story in Us magazine. We can’t all be experts like Jeff.

    “the endless parade of DVD re-dips”

    There was the two-disc and the three-disc gift set, released at the same time, and then they released a one-disc cheapo version [which was because the other two were put "in the vault" which, admittedly, is an annoying marketing trick].

    “It wouldn’t kill me if by some bizarre circumstance I would never be allowed to see E.T. again. I think I could live with that.”

    Then why did you to go this screening on Thursday you’re talking about? Doesn’t the world have enough things that you do enjoy (like shitty Michael Mann movies, or, snicker, Beowulf?) that you don’t have to willingly subject yourself to stuff you don’t?

    “And I’ve always hated the scene in which security guys in space-walk suits invade the house.”

    Yeah, Jeff, they’re “space-walk” suits. They certainly wouldn’t be medical quarantine suits. And I guess the house is surrounded by an fumigation tent?

    “Spielberg’s decision to digitally replace the guns in the hands of FBI agents with walkie-talkies wasn’t as bad as George Lucas’s decision to have Greedo shoot first, but it was in the same revisionist ballpark.”

    The reason it wasn’t anywhere near as bad is because it did nothing at all to change the story of the movie or any of the characters, it just meant that the FBI was not pointing handguns at a little boy. the only way they are the same is that they are both changes; it’s not the change which is the problem, it’s how the change affects the movie. If it doesn’t, it’s no problem.

    If you want to talk revisionist bullshit, Ridley Scott’s new ending to ‘Blade Runner’ reduces the complexity of the movie by a factor of ten. way worse than the Greedo stuff.

    Or, even better, Michael Mann *always* re-cuts his movies for video. Except ‘heat’ and ‘The Insider’, the only two times he made a good movie.

    “I’m just done with it. Enough. Tens of thousands feel this way, I suspect.”

    what’s funny is, Wells is a huge Mann supporter, but most people realize that Mann hasn’t made a good movie in a decade. Tens of thousands may hate ‘E.T.’, but only tens of thousands even *saw* ‘Miami Vice’, and most of them correctly realized that it was a terrible movie.

  11. Sean, no need to bash Michael Mann to prove this point. I love Spielberg, I love Mann. And yes, I even enjoyed Miami Vice (and Collateral, and The Last of the Mohicans, and. . . the guy’s got plenty of great movies, c’mon).

    Don’t do what Jeff is doing, which is confusing his personal preferences for *everyone else’s* personal preferences. It’s echo-chamber thinking at it’s finest– “I now hate Spielberg, so EVERYBODY must now hate Spielberg.”

    Brilliant logic.

  12. JEFF, everytime you talk about Spielberg you just ooze hatred. It’s funny, you know, you never gave a solid argument against him. You just HATE him. But it’s ok, because Spielberg has affected my life as well as millions of others. You haven’t affected me one bit.

  13. I like E.T. but I agree with Jeff…the spacesuit invasion is awful. I actually saw E.T. recently on TBS or TNT or something and that scene sticks out like a sore thumb. They walk in like zombies, arms outstretched, and start grabbing for people. It’s done completely for shock and scare value and it’s completely ridiculous. It’s just not something a group of scientists would ever do and it is out of place.

  14. Dave, not that it’s germain to the conversation, but ‘it’s’ is correct when you mean it is. If you already know that, it’s best if I shut up. See I used it in a sentence! (Hopefully taken as a corny joke…)

    And to make it germain…I guess the only way that Stevie can get back in good graces is to make an Irag war film.

    Fred

  15. To all HE readers: Wells’ Speilberg hatred is just bait to increase his pageviews and comments. Don’t play along.

    To any observers: He doesn’t speak for most of us.

    PS Sean, it’s absurd to say HEAT and THE INSIDER are Mann’s only good movies. MIAMI VICE is such a huge misstep precisely because he’s such a great director. Get thee to THIEF, MANHUNTER, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS or COLLATERAL.

  16. ET is a great movie. Jeff why all this hate???

    Let people remember for what it was…

    Jeff SHUT UP and GET A LIFE. WORRY ABOUT WALKING OUT OF YOUR NEXT MOVIE..

  17. Heartlight Lyrics (Neil Diamond)

    Neil Diamond – Heartlight Lyrics

    Come back again
    I want you to stay next time
    ‘Cause sometimes the world ain’t kind
    When people get lost like you and me

    I just made a friend
    A friend is someone you need
    But now that he had to go away
    I still feel the words that he might say

    Turn on your heartlight
    Let it shine wherever you go
    Let it make a happy glow
    For all the world to see
    Turn on your heartlight
    In the middle of a young boy’s dream
    Don’t wake me up too soon
    Gonna take a ride across the moon
    You and me

    He’s lookin’ for home
    ‘Cause everyone needs a place
    And home’s the most excellent place of all
    And I’ll be right here if you should call me

    Turn on your heartlight
    Let it shine wherever you go
    Let it make a happy glow
    For all the world to see
    Turn on your heartlight
    In the middle of a young boy’s dream
    Don’t wake me up too soon
    Gonna take a ride across the moon
    You and me

    And home’s the most excellent place of all
    And I’ll be right here if you should call me
    Turn on your heartlight
    Let it shine wherever you go
    Let it make a happy glow
    For all the world to see
    Turn on your heartlight
    In the middle of a young boy’s dream
    Don’t wake me up too soon
    Gonna take a ride across the moon
    You and me
    Turn on your heartlight now
    Turn on your heartlight now

  18. From DavidF: “If you want to talk revisionist bullshit, Ridley Scott’s new ending to ‘Blade Runner’ reduces the complexity of the movie by a factor of ten. way worse than the Greedo stuff.”

    What the fuck are you talking about? It ends just like the 1992 cut – they get in the elevator and and the doors slam shut. How does that reduce the complexity? Have you even seen it? It’s 100 times better than that lame drive in the country ending from the original 1982 version.

    Just the removal of the original voice-over alone for both the 1992 and 2007 versions only helped raise the level of that film.

    E.T. hasn’t aged well I think, and maybe they should have waited to celebrate until this year’s 25th Anniversary. Other than the DVD release, everything about the 20th Anniversary was kind of underwhelming. They sort of dropped the ball.

    More importantly, where’s the 25th Anniversary celebration for John Carpenter’s “The Thing”!

  19. I watched ‘Close Encounters’ with my wife the other night. She had managed to somehow miss it…she HATED it, and I respect her taste. I hadn’t seen it in about 10 years and I, too, was bored to tears. The lights coming on when the UFO’s disappear for the first time IS stupid and nonsensical. Wells’ criticism of that film is not too far off even though it contains a few awe inspiring moments.

    But then this re: ET, and it’s so blatantly traffic-whoring. I know Wells takes pride in being on of the few journos who doesn’t fall at the feet of Spielrock, but his relentless generalizing makes him sound like a buffoon, i.e. “his esteem has begun to diminish”. If Wells didn’t toss the salad of Mann, Malick, and others regardless of some of the absolute shit they’ve directed I could take this a little more seriously.

    If only Cate Blanchett would play Steven Spielberg in a film, Wells–already obsessed with the bizarre sexual amalgam of she-Dylan–could hate-fuck the shit out of Stevey and get this over with.

  20. Delbomber, I wonder…and I’m just throwing this out there..if your wife hated it because it depicts a married man abandoning his wife and children for a mystical quest…

  21. Brian: “There haven’t been endless DVD releases of E.T., have there? There was the original 2-disc edition in 2002, and then I think a bare-bones single-disc edition a couple years ago, but that’s it, isn’t it?”

    Jeff’s not technically wrong, though, because Spielberg was originally going to charge you $80 for the LE version, just so you could see the non-edited film.

    Tommy: “The E.T. ride was awful but the film is independent of that, just as “Wizard of Oz” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” survive the many take-offs and rip-offs.”

    Perhaps, but ‘Oz and ‘Wonderful Life had heart, while E.T. was just a Muppets/Yoda cash-in.

    DavidF: “Personally, I never like Citizen Kane because the shoes Joseph Cotton wears are just somehow really annoying. Don’t even get me started on how the stereotypical red/white checkered tablecloth totally takes me out of the Godfather scene where Pacino shoots the police captain and some other guy.”

    But Citizen Kane and The Godfather were shot with the purpose of telling a story, not just to sell action figures…

    “Back to ET: The scene where the guys in suits invade the house? One of the best things Spielberg has directed. I would explain how the movie is told from a kid’s POV and how frightening that scene is for a kid but, really, what’s the point?”

    Poltergeist was more frightening.

    “Unlike Lucas, Spielberg did not disown the original version of his film when he released a second version.”

    He did on VHS…

    Sean: “Jeff — unlike you, most people who go to things like this are interested.”

    Not if they get stuck with behind-the-scenes people instead of the stars….

    “If you want to talk revisionist bullshit, Ridley Scott’s new ending to ‘Blade Runner’ reduces the complexity of the movie by a factor of ten. way worse than the Greedo stuff.”

    Yeah, Scott wimped out by incorporating parts of the film-which were shown in other countries at the same time as the U.S. version-in the new version. He’s such a “sell-out”…

    “Or, even better, Michael Mann *always* re-cuts his movies for video.”

    That’s because not many people catch most of his movies the first time around…

    “Tens of thousands may hate ‘E.T.’, but only tens of thousands even *saw* ‘Miami Vice’, and most of them correctly realized that it was a terrible movie.”

    Perhaps, but at least Mann’s movie was still able to open at #1 against POTC2, while E.T. lost to Ice Age and Blade 2.

  22. christian >> no, the movie lost her long before that…by the time the mothership starts going berserk with the tuba and lights she started howling. And the people being returned in their clothes was the last straw….

    This time around I found Teri Hatcher’s character absolutely insufferable and there’s just something missing about Dreyfuss’ connection with the aliens…I don’t buy his obsession.

    It also makes little sense that such peaceful aliens would terrorize people the way they do in those scenes that play like a horror movie (which happen to be the strongest in the film).

    I had no problem with the monkey or screws, however.

  23. E.T is a truly great movie, but arguing that commercial exploitation of the fil tarnished its reputation slightly is not off-base.

  24. You know, I watched The Killer a couple of weeks ago, for the first time in 12 or 13 years.

    You can’t go to Hong Kong again. Certain movies have been ripped off so much, have been so completely absorbed into the mainstream bloodstream, that they’re impossible to watch now; they seem like more sluggish, hokier versions of their countless imitators. It’s true of The Killer and it’s true of Close Encounters.

  25. I always thought THE KILLER was overrated. I’ll stick to HARD BOILED.

    But CEOT3K holds up fine. It was my first movie spiritual experience. And I think seeing it in a big ol’ theater gives it a little more power than on a tv screen of any size. Watch the Skies!

  26. Mgmax: “You can’t go to Hong Kong again. Certain movies have been ripped off so much, have been so completely absorbed into the mainstream bloodstream, that they’re impossible to watch now; they seem like more sluggish, hokier versions of their countless imitators.”

    Technically, the Killer’s a remake of Le Samourai.

  27. I’m shocked that DZ just accused an Asian filmmaker of ripping off a non-Asian. Of course, Le Samourai is just a cross between Antonioni and old Warner Bros. gangster movies.

  28. Um, no, I’ve no problem with remakes, as long as they’re acknowledged. Woo did do so, when someone at a con I attended asked him. Quentin has not done so for Resservoir Dogs, though.

  29. “PS Sean, it’s absurd to say HEAT and THE INSIDER are Mann’s only good movies. MIAMI VICE is such a huge misstep precisely because he’s such a great director.”

    Burma – I meant to say those were his great movies. I would agree that ‘Manhunter’ is very good, and I like ‘Thief’ though, of course, i’ve never been able to see the original version because Mann won’t let us. But I thought ‘Colateral’ was terrible (beautifully shot, and Foxx was great, but otherwise terrible).

  30. “What the fuck are you talking about? It ends just like the 1992 cut – they get in the elevator and and the doors slam shut. How does that reduce the complexity? Have you even seen it?”

    It’s been a long time since I saw the 1992 cut, but my memory coupled with everything I’ve ever read about it suggests that the “Is Deckard a replicant?” thing is left deliberately vague. It is definitely *not* in the original cut. The new cut ends with shots which explicitly say that he is a replicant (inasmuch as there is no other interpretation of them). Saying he definitely is (as Ridley Scott has now decided, though it clearly wasn’t the case originally) removes all the complexity of a human falling in love with a replicant, all the complexity of the robots being more human than the human (Deckard), and it makes no sense in various other ways. I think it is FAR worse than Greedo shooting first, which just undercuts Han Solo’s character.

    “It’s 100 times better than that lame drive in the country ending from the original 1982 version.”

    I agree. All they needed to do was remove the shot of Deckard dreaming about the unicorn and this ending would be totally fine. So, fine, it’s that shot that’s the problem, but it causes a problem with the actual ending.

    “Just the removal of the original voice-over alone for both the 1992 and 2007 versions only helped raise the level of that film.”

    Removing the voice over is fine, though it messed up the pacing in the 1992 cut (at least this version was re-cut to account for the lack of voice-over), but the ending ruins most of the philosophical depth of the movie.

  31. “”If you want to talk revisionist bullshit, Ridley Scott’s new ending to ‘Blade Runner’ reduces the complexity of the movie by a factor of ten. way worse than the Greedo stuff.”

    Yeah, Scott wimped out by incorporating parts of the film-which were shown in other countries at the same time as the U.S. version-in the new version. He’s such a “sell-out”…”

    Shut up, DZ, grown ups are talking. We’re not talking about “selling out”, we’re talking about making changes after the fact which fundamentally affect the movie. Nothing to do with selling out, not sure why you’d think that, other than your idiocy.

    “Perhaps, but at least Mann’s movie was still able to open at #1 against POTC2, while E.T. lost to Ice Age and Blade 2.”"

    That’s not how the game works, DZ. Michael Mann’s movie *lost* money, E.T. was one of the most profitable movies of all time before the re-release and, surprise surprise, it still is after the fact. You can’t compare the opening weekend of a huge movie (which fell apart completely the next weekend) to a classic movie re-released with no marketing on far fewer screens.

    Well, you can, but no intelligent person possibly could.

  32. Dave – I don’t know who you are, I never noticed you before, but I like your comments in this thread and that Batman/Indy discussion we were having.

    However, I should point out, I was trying to satirize Jeff’s style. My true feelings are, I think Mann has lost his way, but could make another solid movie at any time. Problem is, like Wes Anderson, he continues to dig the same hole, deeper and narrower.

    But it’s more fun to mock Jeff. The fact that Jeff can unironically hold up a movie like ‘Miami Vice’ as brilliant, and at the same time apparently believe that Spielberg’s time has passed and that nobody likes ‘E.T.’ anymore is too silly for me to reply to with anything other than satire.

    For the record, I really enjoyed ‘Ali’ quite a bit, so you can dismiss my Mann opinions right there.

  33. More for D.Z.:

    It’s also worth pointing out that the opening weekend of the initial release of ‘Miami Vice’ made less money than the opening weekend of ‘Blade 2′ or the second weekend of ‘Ice Age’. If ‘Miami Vice’ had faced the same competition as the re-release of ‘E.T.’, it would’ve come in third place also.

    And I think it’s a stupid numbers game to compare the opening weekend of a re-release of the #4 highest grossing movie of all time to the opening weekend of the initial release of #719… But, please, continue to use grosses to show how ‘Miami Vice’ is more popular than ‘E.T.’ I’m really bored at work, I could use the laugh.

    Maybe now would be a good time to bring up the fact that ‘Miami Vice’ dropped more than 60% the next weekend despite being in a few more theaters? Nah, probably not.

  34. “But, please, continue to use grosses to show how ‘Miami Vice’ is more popular than ‘E.T.’”

    More people watched MIAMI VICE on TV in the 80′s than ever saw ET in the theaters. Plus it had a hit soundtrack.

    - DZ

    Thank you thank you, now for my next impersonation…

  35. “E.T is a truly great movie, but arguing that commercial exploitation of the fil tarnished its reputation slightly is not off-base.”

    I can see how it’s true, but a film critic should be trying to talk about the film. Things like that aren’t connected to the film. It’s like saying “The Godfather was good, but it was a book first, so the book is probably better” or “Southland Tales is brilliant as long as you read the graphic novels first.” Judge the film on the merits of the film.

    Besides which, the commercialization of E.T. hit its prime twenty five years ago, when Drew barrymore and Henry Thomas were being used to sell magazine covers.

  36. I would be really surprised if DZ was a fan of Miami Vice. He has a list of fifteen or twenty movies or filmmakers what he loathes beyond all reason and takes every opportunity he can get to trash them. I’d give him $20 if he could make a list of 15-20 movies that he actually likes but he can’t do that.

  37. Jeff – that’s only true if you consider every thread on the whole site to be an opportunity to bring up and bash Tarantino. I would say that he trashes them with or without opportunity.

  38. I can’t disagree.

    He’s basically a terrorist, in one sense of the word – using any means necessary to make what he thinks is a vital point regardless of appropriateness or the feelings of others.

  39. And also because if we stop watching Tarantino movies now, he wins, which means that we are all going to redouble our efforts to like Tarantino, no matter how bad his movies get.

    (Just kidding, I genuinely liked ‘Death Proof’ a whole lot. And, given that DZ only knows Asian movies at all, he is probably unaware of all the movies it was derivative of, even though I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that DZ saw ‘Grindhouse’ despite pretend-hating Tarantino.)

  40. Sean: “It’s been a long time since I saw the 1992 cut, but my memory coupled with everything I’ve ever read about it suggests that the “Is Deckard a replicant?” thing is left deliberately vague. It is definitely *not* in the original cut. The new cut ends with shots which explicitly say that he is a replicant (inasmuch as there is no other interpretation of them).”

    The shots were in the international versions of the film. Plus the book “sequel” confirms he’s a Replicant, too.

    “Saying he definitely is (as Ridley Scott has now decided, though it clearly wasn’t the case originally)”

    Bullshit. No one asked him until a few years ago, and only assumed he decided it that way.

    “removes all the complexity of a human falling in love with a replicant,”

    If one of them has such a short life-span, how much depth can you get out of the relationship?

    “all the complexity of the robots being more human than the human (Deckard),”

    But they really aren’t more human than human, since most humans don’t burst through walls; nor do they answer questions with little emotional attachment to them outside of a lie-detector test.

    “I think it is FAR worse than Greedo shooting first, which just undercuts Han Solo’s character.”

    Greedo shooting first more than just ruined Solo’s character. It also shifted the film from its unique Western motif to that crummy laser-fighting which was the norm on the old-school Battlestar Galactica.

    “We’re not talking about “selling out”, we’re talking about making changes after the fact which fundamentally affect the movie.”

    Except that most of those changes were already in prints released simultaneously that same year in Europe and Japan.

    “That’s not how the game works, DZ. Michael Mann’s movie *lost* money, E.T. was one of the most profitable movies of all time before the re-release and, surprise surprise, it still is after the fact.”

    It may have been profitable then, but it still bombed 20 years later. Universal was clearly expecting Star Wars ’97 numbers, not Mr. Bean’s Holiday domestic numbers. Mann may have lost money on ‘Vice, but the fact that he can still open at #1 without casting Leo, Hanks, or Cruise, or producing a Bay flick, for that matter, clearly proves Stevie’s lost his appeal.

    “It’s also worth pointing out that the opening weekend of the initial release of ‘Miami Vice’ made less money than the opening weekend of ‘Blade 2′ or the second weekend of ‘Ice Age’.”

    Blade 2 was a sequel to a popular film; Ice Age had the family crowd. All things considered, Vice did better than it could have at the box office.

    christian: “More people watched MIAMI VICE on TV in the 80′s than ever saw ET in the theaters. Plus it had a hit soundtrack.”

    Probably. E.T. made a bunch of dough, but quickly got forgotten for Alf.

    jeff: “He’s basically a terrorist, in one sense of the word – using any means necessary to make what he thinks is a vital point regardless of appropriateness or the feelings of others.”

    Um, no, terrorists use fear and violence. I just use apathy and antagonism.

  41. ET didn’t ‘bomb 20 years later’. A hit is always a hit. Any movie that E.T. made in 2002 is gravy on top of gravy.

    “the fact that he can still open at #1 without casting Leo, Hanks, or Cruise, or producing a Bay flick, for that matter, clearly proves Stevie’s lost his appeal.”

    This statement does not make any sense. Michael Mann’s one-weekend success was based on marketing. The following weekend, when people saw the movie, it dropped 60% to 4th place. None of that has anything to do with Spielberg.

    “but quickly got forgotten for Alf.”
    This is also some nonsense that you pulled out of your ass. What does it mean?

    ” I just use apathy and antagonism.”
    How does one ‘use apathy’? And to ‘use antagonism’ is the verbal equivalent of violence. So you’re a lazy, cowardly terrorist who sits on his ass in front of a computer. The tools are the same, though, because like all terrorists, you’re a zealot who refuses to listen to other people; who refuses to engage in dialogue or to consider the opinions or feelings of anyone else; and who engages in actions primarily intended to hurt others and bludgeon them with what you think of as The Truth.

    You’re a terrible person. If you weren’t a computer-dwelling couch potato, you’d be hurling rocks and soldiers.

  42. jeff: “ET didn’t ‘bomb 20 years later’. A hit is always a hit. Any movie that E.T. made in 2002 is gravy on top of gravy.”

    Except that it didn’t make any money, because it got such a wide release that it went back to P+A.

    “Michael Mann’s one-weekend success was based on marketing. The following weekend, when people saw the movie, it dropped 60% to 4th place. None of that has anything to do with Spielberg.”

    It still lasted longer than E.T. did.

    “And to ‘use antagonism’ is the verbal equivalent of violence.”

    Only if you’re demeaning said person, and not just their argument…

    “The tools are the same, though, because like all terrorists, you’re a zealot who refuses to listen to other people; who refuses to engage in dialogue or to consider the opinions or feelings of anyone else; and who engages in actions primarily intended to hurt others and bludgeon them with what you think of as The Truth.”

    No, you’re just acting hurt, because you can’t have your way.

  43. I’m not ‘acting hurt’, I legitimately am hurt, because you’re a human being and I’m trying to communicate with you and you absolutely refuse to reciprocate. I would love to break through your facade and actually address the real person in there, but I don’t know who or where he is. You’re a mystery, a person who refuses to acknowledge basic societal rules of discourse, and I find that tremendously annoying.

    I ask again, what are you trying to achieve? You don’t teach anyone anything. You don’t learn anything from anyone else. All you do is annoy. Is that the goal?

  44. No, I just want to throw in my two cents. I’m sorry I’m not “communicating”, but it’s not a slight against you. Though you don’t exactly help your cause when you use negative comments against me every time I’m just expressing an opinion.

  45. I am very grateful for the direct address. Most of the time you write as if you aren’t interested in direct, person-to-person communication, as if you’re broadcasting yourself to the world at large. It’s strange.

    Next, you really don’t write as if you are ‘just throwing in your two cents’. That phrase implies a level of friendliness and chattiness that you don’t possess. Typically when you post it’s something negative, snide, and condescending. What do you say to that and how does it make you feel?

    I’m often negative to you because your behavior is incredibly frustrating to me because you allow for zero common ground. You never display respect for the opinions or attitudes of others. Why then should you expect respect in return?

    Are you capable of understanding how you appear in the eyes of others?

  46. jeff: “Typically when you post it’s something negative, snide, and condescending. What do you say to that and how does it make you feel?”

    I only say something negative, snide, and condescending when it’s merited.

    “I’m often negative to you because your behavior is incredibly frustrating to me because you allow for zero common ground. You never display respect for the opinions or attitudes of others. Why then should you expect respect in return?”

    I respect people who respect people, not people who think it’s fine to take potshots against others in the name of ideals they don’t genuinely follow.

    “Are you capable of understanding how you appear in the eyes of others?”

    I’m not really interested in how I appear to others, because they’ve already made their pre-judgments beforehand.

  47. How can people make their judgments of you before they know you? Everything I know about you, I know from your posts. They tell me a lot about you as a person, but they don’t give me any reason to agree with any positions that you might have.

    Why do you post? You don’t convince people to agree with you and you never are interested in learning anything from anyone else.

    I’m really just trying to figure out where you’re coming from.

  48. jeff: “How can people make their judgments of you before they know you?”

    I’ve been wondering that most of my life…

    “Why do you post? You don’t convince people to agree with you and you never are interested in learning anything from anyone else.”

    I just do it to say what I think, that’s all. Anyway, I do occasionally learn, just not in a more obvious manner…

  49. Don’t you think that if you’re ‘just posting what I think’ that there are more efficient ways to do it? Different forums and so on? Your laundry-list method of taking what a person says and responding to it point by point is useful if you’re making a speech, or a powerpoint presentation, but this format is primarily useful for conversation and discussion. What is it about standard discussion that doesn’t work for you?

    Does it bother you when you repeat the same things about the filmmakers you hate and people never seem to respond? Or maybe I should ask, what response are you looking for?

  50. jeff: “Don’t you think that if you’re ‘just posting what I think’ that there are more efficient ways to do it?”

    I’m posting on a message board, not writing an essay.

    “What is it about standard discussion that doesn’t work for you?”

    This isn’t a standard discussion, since I’m not talking face to face with anyone.

    “Does it bother you when you repeat the same things about the filmmakers you hate and people never seem to respond?”

    Nope. They’re too set in their ways, anyway.

    “Or maybe I should ask, what response are you looking for?”

    Anything which isn’t the usual minimalist tripe would do nicely.

  51. Well, it sounds like you are ‘writing an essay’ because you go point-for-point in a declamatory style in a list form. People here aren’t literally face-to-face, but for all intents and purposes we are, virtually. It makes more sense to have a discussion as if we are face-to-face. I would be happy to listen to your comments on the filmmakers you hate – in fact, that’s one of my key problems with you is that I’d like to know what you think but your comments often feel incomplete.

    And what is ‘the usual minimalist tripe’? I don’t know what you mean.

    What do you hope for when you come online? Because it really doesn’t feel like you’re putting in ‘your two cents’. I don’t understand you.

  52. The usual minimalist tripe includes repeated comments which don’t actually defend the argument, but come off as empty platitudes. And I haven’t been singled out in a long time. It seems that the only time that happens is when I say what I think…

  53. Can you give an example? And how are your comments not “comments which don’t actually defend the argument but come off as empty platitudes”? In my own humble opinion, that is a large portion of what you write. Do you think I’m wrong?

    What reaction do you expect people to have to what you write?

  54. Deep down, what do you want? What do you hope to gain by telling others here what what you think?

    I’m asking all these questions to try and facilitate whatever it is that will make your life easier, because I want to reach an understanding with you.

  55. See, at least you folks can _talk_ to me and I’ll answer like a real person. I’m obsessive and stubborn, but at least I don’t put on a facade.

    My favorite part of this exchange, by far, was:

    “jeff: “How can people make their judgments of you before they know you?”

    DZ: I’ve been wondering that most of my life…”

    I think it pretty much speaks for itself, no?

  56. Sean: “The shots were in the international versions of the film.”

    You’re wrong. The unicorn shot was added well after the fact to confirm something which Scott had decided after the fact was true, based on fanboys. The international versions just added back in some violence, which nobody is complaining about. For somebody claiming to want conversation, you don’t seem to follow the back and forth part, where people develop their points together into cohesive arguments.

    “Plus the book “sequel” confirms he’s a Replicant, too.”

    That is as irrelevant as me saying that Philip K. Dick confirmed that Deckard wasn’t a replicant. It would be like watching the first ‘Halloween’ and saying that it says that Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are related.

    “Bullshit. No one asked him until a few years ago, and only assumed he decided it that way.”

    Actually, according to the making-of book, Ridley Scott briefly thought about the idea, but decided not to because the writers, the actors, and the producers all convinced him (rightly) that it was terrible.

    ” “removes all the complexity of a human falling in love with a replicant,”

    If one of them has such a short life-span, how much depth can you get out of the relationship? ”

    Yes, that is exactly the sort of depth which is lost if they *both* have short life-spans. The “how can they love?” part.

    “But they really aren’t more human than human, since most humans don’t burst through walls; nor do they answer questions with little emotional attachment to them outside of a lie-detector test.”

    Yes, if you distill this complex series of ideas down to a few isolated surfacey things, it no longer has the depth that I am complaining about it having lost, so I guess you win by proving that the movie was never as deep as I wanted to believe it was. But I thought you were the one defending the movie.

    “Greedo shooting first more than just ruined Solo’s character. It also shifted the film from its unique Western motif to that crummy laser-fighting which was the norm on the old-school Battlestar Galactica.”

    Sure, whatever, DZ. Your point here makes no sense, but that’s nothing new.

    “Except that most of those changes were already in prints released simultaneously that same year in Europe and Japan.”

    Still not true, no matter how many times you say it. The only differences between the initial international version and the initial domestic version were some moments of violence which were trimmed. Please at least accept the fact that you can possibly be wrong, as this would be a great step forward to you coming to terms with how frequently and blatantly you are wrong. Step one: when the new DVD comes out, watch both version simultaneously to confirm that the only differences are a few extra shots of blood.

    “It may have been profitable then, but it still bombed 20 years later.”

    That’s still not how the game works. A hugely profitable movie + a bomb is a hugely profitable movie with gravy on top.

    “Mann may have lost money on ‘Vice, but the fact that he can still open at #1 without casting Leo, Hanks, or Cruise”

    Um, Jamie Foxx is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, dipshit. It’s about profit, not opening at #1.

    “Blade 2 was a sequel to a popular film; Ice Age had the family crowd.”

    So now you’re agreeing with me that E.T.’s competition was far harder than ‘Miami Vice’s? Are you deliberately contradicting yourself?

    Please reveal it if you are mentally retarded, as I would feel genuinely bad for continuing to belittle your obvious mental problemss if there is a legitimate medical reason for them.

    “All things considered, Vice did better than it could have at the box office.”

    I’m going to pretend that sentence makes sense at written and just laugh at the fact that you are honestly trying to argue that a movie that flopped hard, by your own admission, did better than it should have done at the box office and somehow was more successful than ‘E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial’. You do understand that box office gross is not like golf, right? The object is not to get a lower score.

    “Probably. E.T. made a bunch of dough, but quickly got forgotten for Alf.”

    DZ, do you find it difficult to remember not to eat the green pieces of paper that you find in your pocket?

    “Um, no, terrorists use fear and violence. I just use apathy and antagonism.”

    If you pretended to be British, you could be Ian!

  57. “The usual minimalist tripe includes repeated comments which don’t actually defend the argument, but come off as empty platitudes.”

    You mean like bringing up Tarantino in every discussion, or do you mean more like not responding to anybody’s point (no matter how long or well-expressed) with more than one sentence?

  58. Just to give you some more food for thought, DZ:

    “Mann may have lost money on ‘Vice, but the fact that he can still open at #1 without casting Leo, Hanks, or Cruise, or producing a Bay flick, for that matter, clearly proves Stevie’s lost his appeal.”

    So you build in a rule which exempts the fact that ‘Transformers’ opened at #1 without Leo, Hanks, or Cruise (and continued on to actually make money). Fine.

    Here is a list of recent movies which opened at #1 without casting Leo, Hanks, or Cruise. To a smart person, they would be evidence that movies can open at #1 but be (a) completely disposable, (b) instantly forgotten [or remembered as terrible], and (c) not very good, and that opening at #1 just means that you had a buttload of marketing pushing the movie, and has nothing to do with the stars [since, it's worth pointing out, Leo made Scorsese popular, not Spielberg; Hanks hasn't made a popular movie without Spielberg in a while until 'Da Vinci Code', which was just uber-hyped; and Cruise, his presence *hurts* box office gross at this point, not helps it].
    - Norbit
    - Fantastic Four 2
    - Rush Hour 3
    - Wild Hogs
    - I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
    - Ghost Rider
    - Evan Almighty
    - 300
    - Stomp the Yard
    - The Gameplan

    I am not entirely sure, but I believe that all of their opening weekend grosses exceeded that of ‘Miami Vice’. (I would say, to be fair, ‘Miami vice’ was not as bad as any of these movies, which just goes to show further that box office gross should not be germaine to a conversation about the quality of the film.)

    I could go on, since every #1 movie this year did not feature any of those actors, but I might start getting into remotely good movies like Disturbia.

  59. “It may have been profitable then, but it still bombed 20 years later. Universal was clearly expecting Star Wars ’97 numbers”

    By following this logic [for the sake of discussion, I will pretend that you are speaking logically], ‘The Godfather’ (which grossed less than 2 million in its 25th Anniversary re-release in ’97) is a flop which audiences have moved on from, far more than ‘E.T.’

    Ditto ‘Alien’ ($1,986,910), ‘Apocalypse Now’ ($4,626,290), ‘Gone With the Wind’ (scraping by with $6,750,112) and ‘Blade Runner’ hasn’t even cracked one million yet!

    Even ‘The Exorcist’ didn’t even break $40 mil! Guess that was a flop too! Didn’t beat ‘Jedi’! ‘Snow White’ re-release? Nah, what’s the point, can’t beat ‘Star Wars’.

    The studio has already made a killing on ‘E.T.’ All they had to do was strike new prints for this re-release; the $35 million it made in its re-release is just gravy. The movie is already profitable; anything it makes now is just more profit.

    ‘Miami Vice’, on the other hand, still has not made its money back, and it never will. No matter how you bend the numbers, you can not prove that ‘Miami Vice’ was a hit. The more you try, the stupider you come off.

  60. Sean: “You’re wrong. The unicorn shot was added well after the fact to confirm something which Scott had decided after the fact was true, based on fanboys.”

    Um, I just checked IMDB, and the only time they didn’t have the unicorn in the film was in the work-print version of the film.

    “That is as irrelevant as me saying that Philip K. Dick confirmed that Deckard wasn’t a replicant.”

    Yes, because Dick’s vision has no weight on his vision.

    “It would be like watching the first ‘Halloween’ and saying that it says that Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are related.”

    It wouldn’t really matter if they were related, though, because no one watched Halloween for the plot.

    “Actually, according to the making-of book, Ridley Scott briefly thought about the idea, but decided not to because the writers, the actors, and the producers all convinced him (rightly) that it was terrible.”

    Still, given that there have been multiple versions of the film screened over the years, why is Scott’s definitive take a sacrilege? I mean, how is it any worse than those multiple versions of Close Encounters?

    “Yes, that is exactly the sort of depth which is lost if they *both* have short life-spans. The “how can they love?” part.”

    The love isn’t the issue. The brevity is the issue.

    “Yes, if you distill this complex series of ideas down to a few isolated surfacey things, it no longer has the depth that I am complaining about it having lost, so I guess you win by proving that the movie was never as deep as I wanted to believe it was. But I thought you were the one defending the movie.”

    I don’t think it’s not deep; but it’s clear that the Replicants aren’t more “human than human”. If they were, then they wouldn’t be attacking their creators.

    “Your point here makes no sense, but that’s nothing new.”

    My point was that the scene dumbed down the style it was trying to improve.

    “Still not true, no matter how many times you say it. The only differences between the initial international version and the initial domestic version were some moments of violence which were trimmed. Please at least accept the fact that you can possibly be wrong,”

    One of the books I read about Blade Runner said there were about 4-6 versions over the years.

    “Um, Jamie Foxx is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, dipshit.”

    Since when? His only hit is Ray.

    “It’s about profit, not opening at #1.”

    And opening at #1 at least insures that it can make some profit down the line.

    “So now you’re agreeing with me that E.T.’s competition was far harder than ‘Miami Vice’s?”

    Nope. POTC is still bigger than Blade and Ice Age, while Spielberg should still be bigger than the latter two titles.

    “I’m going to pretend that sentence makes sense at written and just laugh at the fact that you are honestly trying to argue that a movie that flopped hard, by your own admission, did better than it should have done at the box office”

    It flopped, but flopped with dignity. A lot of bombs don’t even make it to #1.

    “did better than it should have done at the box office and somehow was more successful than ‘E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial’. You do understand that box office gross is not like golf, right? The object is not to get a lower score.”

    It did better than E.T. 20 years later, not as a whole.

    “You mean like bringing up Tarantino in every discussion,”

    I generally only use him to support my arguments.

    “or do you mean more like not responding to anybody’s point (no matter how long or well-expressed) with more than one sentence?”

    No, I mean weak fanboy reactions which reek of zombie-speak more than anything.

    “Here is a list of recent movies which opened at #1 without casting Leo, Hanks, or Cruise. To a smart person, they would be evidence that movies can open at #1 but be (a) completely disposable, (b) instantly forgotten [or remembered as terrible], and (c) not very good, and that opening at #1 just means that you had a buttload of marketing pushing the movie, and has nothing to do with the stars”

    In Vice’s case, Mann was the “star”. Also, the films you listed would’ve done a helluva lot worse with no names.

    “By following this logic [for the sake of discussion, I will pretend that you are speaking logically], ‘The Godfather’ (which grossed less than 2 million in its 25th Anniversary re-release in ’97) is a flop which audiences have moved on from, far more than ‘E.T.’”

    The Godfather wasn’t re-released in 3,000 theaters…

    “The studio has already made a killing on ‘E.T.’ All they had to do was strike new prints for this re-release; the $35 million it made in its re-release is just gravy.”

    P+A isn’t cheap, though. And re-mastering isn’t, either.

    “‘Miami Vice’, on the other hand, still has not made its money back, and it never will.”

    Huh? What are you talking about? http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=miamivice.htm

  61. What proportion of people on this website do you hate, DZ?

    Miami Vice is known to have actually cost more than $135, not counting marketing, and a $170 worldwide gross means that the studio gets back about $80 of that = in the red by tens of millions of dollars.

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