E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (1982) Dir. Steven Spielberg – Roe Valley Arts Centre, 29th Aug
Who’s in it? Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore
What’s it about? When troubled loner Elliott (Thomas) finds a wrinkly little alien in his backyard he decides to hide him from the authorities until he can figure out a way to send him home. Reportedly inspired by the imaginary friend a young Spielberg created for himself after his parents divorced in 1960, the film has since become a parable for the dysfunction in the modern American family and subsequently transcends any limited genre comparisons, with moving performances from its young cast. E.T overtook Star Wars to become the highest grossing film of all time until it was surpassed in 1993 by Jurassic Park, another in a long line of artful, entertaining and critically acclaimed Spielberg blockbusters. The film was voted ‘The Greatest Science Fiction Film Ever Made’ by Rotten Tomatoes who call it an ‘exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood’.
Memorable Moments? When Elliott leaves E.T. at home for the day while he’s at school, the alien acquaints himself with popular staples of American culture like vegging out and watching movies, most memorably involving Elliott burping and getting progressively tipsy as E.T drinks beer from the fridge, later acting out a famous scene from The Quiet Man in class while E.T. watches it at home on video.
Look Who’s Talking: ‘On inherent merit, the movie would not warrant such a highly publicized re-release, but this is one of those films that transcends what’s on the screen.’ – Reel Reviews
Like that? Try this: The Goonies (1985) is Superman director Richard Donner’s quintessentially 80s coming of age tale and, like E.T, is funny, heartfelt and heavy on nostalgia for those of a certain age.
Trivia Pursuit: E.T.’s species apparently featured in the background as alien extras in longtime Spielberg collaborator George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace (1999).