We Are Not Alone

Have you ever seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind? What’s it about? Don’t recap its plot for me—what’s it about? I think it’s about awe—the ability to look at the night sky and see wonder and adventure and magnificence. I just finished watching a movie, streaming on Amazon Prime, that covers some of the same territory as Close Encounters. In my opinion it is a better movie, better acted, more affecting, and was probably made for 1% of the budget of Close Encounters. The movie is Cosmos (2019).

If your idea of a great science fiction movie is anything directed by Michael Bay or produced by James Cameron do not waste your time with Cosmos. You will hate it. There are no big name Hollywood starts, no explosions, no stunning digital effects, no sex, no nudity. Most of it is just three guys shot in a car. In it.

If the future of movies is something that can open simultaneously in 5,000 cineplexes and will appeal to the Chinese audience, IMO movies have no future. If the future of movies is more like Cosmos, the future is bright.

15 comments… add one
  • Grey Shambler Link

    Had to give up on prime, bought two remotes, so small they both disappeared. We have small children. As for delivering ordered items, never come to OUR house since they started they’re own delivery. Worst part is, they give a photo of the porch and my item, two miles away. If I want what I paid for, I look like a porch pirate, so I gave up.

  • bob sykes Link

    Actually, big name Hollywood actors and directors generally make bad scifi. Ad Astra and Interstellar are good examples of bad scifi. Ad Astra is the worst scifi film ever made, including Plan 9 and all the 50’s stuff.

    The 50’s version of The Thing has a bondage scene.

  • bob sykes Link

    A postscript: You might want to consider some sort of security measures for this site. Chrome red flags it as Not Secure, in red letters with an exclamation point, also in red. This is a step up from their usual security flag.

  • The reason for that is that I haven’t made the changes to use Secure Hypertext Transport protocol. I don’t have the time and have been putting it off.

  • steve Link

    I think the future is both. There has always been a market for the smaller indie films. I dont know anything about the market for movies in the rest of the world. I kind of assume there must be Chinese, Indian, Brazilians who will have some appreciation of the smaller works. Is that true? Surely there must be non-Americans who dont need big stars and battle scenes to sell movies.


  • I don’t think that the cineplexes will need to remain closed for long before the studios collapse. All it really takes is missing a couple of interest payments.

  • Andy Link

    I haven’t seen close encounters for years, but awe is a good way to put it. I also think it was about how people react to the unknown.

    I think as long as there are teenagers the Michael Bay’s and James Cameron’s will have a safe future. Though I wouldn’t lump those two together.

  • TarsTarkas Link

    Some of the best Sci Fi movies and shows ever made, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, were often incredibly short on cash and thus special effects, which were very expensive at the time. As a result they had to be long on plot, dialogue, and character development to attract and hold attention. Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, Twilight Zone, Original Star Trek (not all of its episodes) are some of the TV shows (Not Dr. Who, too campy and preachy). Among movies Silent Running was hokey as hell with its eco premise, but it held the eye and its drones were the prototype for R2D2 in the Star Wars fantasy series. Dark Star is another. Once special effects became cheap, most SF movies became comic books on screen. One of the worst ever was the adaptation of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Avatar is also terrible. During the final battle I was thinking, why is there even a battle? Didn’t they invent something called a Daisy Cutter to solve the ‘native’ problems they were having? I guess I’m too logical and rational to write SF screenplays (if I ever was).

    There was also the radio period of SF entertainment. Any number of SF short stories were adapted for radio, now mostly forgotten.

    I think we’re not alone in the universe. Recently evidence has been uncovered that may push back the origin of life on Earth back to the Hadean era (presumably after the Late Bombardment period). But I suspect that it’s most likely still at the bacterial stage of development.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Speaking of sci-fi, what do people think of the Foundation adaptation?

    I am skeptical; Foundation seemed hard to adapt because it is driven by dialogue and ideas; not space battles and action scenes. But it looks like Hollywood will give it the “modern sci-fi” treatment.

  • Andy Link


    I’m skeptical too. The trailer has, as one would expect, nice visuals, but I agree this is not a typical SF story and I’m not confident that it will translate well to the screen.

  • What do I think of it? I think that Asimov’s estate must be desperate for money.

    It’s been a long time since I read the trilogy (I read it in serialization—it’s a long story).

  • Guarneri Link

    O/T, but I notice that the Flynn situation is being avoided like the plague. An article by noted crazed right wing shill Prof. Jon Turley. Several weeks ago ignorance was professed about the Flynn situation. I expected steve’s response. I was shocked at Dave’s. John Solomon and Sara Carter had this nailed two years ago through their sources. (and if their sources knew, everyone in DC knew) The only thing that has changed is that now formal documentation has emerged. It started at Obama and his disdain for Flynn’s opposition to the Iran deal. The whole Russian thing goes from there. Wake up.


  • I was shocked at Dave’s

    I don’t think you’ve been following my occasional commentary on the subject. I think it’s noise until an indictment is filed.

  • steve Link

    “John Solomon”

    When your expert is the right wing equivalent of Michael Moore it is a bit hard to take it seriously. Bill Barr is essentially Trump’s lawyer. Surprising that there are no charges.


  • Greyshambler Link

    I may not define sci-fi like you but the best I’ve seen is Alien. The first one. No idea why a space ship would need so many steam pipes but the effect was scary.
    But I’d add that after watching three months of BBC’s planet earth, we don’t actually need aliens, we have enough weird life forms right here and some, like the box jellyfish, scary as hell .

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