Summer’s here. Think wave-lapping beachside lie-downs, fizzy drinks by the pool, picnics under shade that turn to movie nights at the park. Movie nights at the park. Cue the aliens.
It’s no secret we are
a bunch of fascinated with aliens at Ready-Made, and have accumulated a nice collection of extraterrestrial subject matters over the years. Of course, a collection cannot be complete without a list of films. So, without further ado, below are our top five movies about our otherworldly friends. We’ve curated an efficient list that ranges from classic to scary to auteur to uncanny and weird.
1. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Everyone knows and references this film, and it’s hard not do. An alien looking for a friend, a human boy doing the same. An unlikely friendship, one that involves a soaring bicycle ride in the glowing face of the moon. We never looked at a bicycle basket the same again. By the way, when was the last time you called home?
2. Signs (2002)
Has it really been twenty years since Signs came out? Arguably a classic by now, who can forget the crop circles, the glasses of water? Signs follows an ex-priest/farmer/widower (Mel Gibson) who tries to investigate the unfolding mystery of new crop signs in his cornfield. Filled with symbolism and commentary on faith and family, Signs offers plenty of opportunities to gleam your own interpretations. Besides being one of the most talked about films of 2002, Signs made it onto our list because of that birthday party scene that is forever ingrained in our minds. If you don’t know what we’re talking about… Go watch, and turn up the volume. Don’t close your eyes. Yes, Signs is hands down the scary one out of this five.
3. Arrival (2016)
Communication is key. That’s the main takeaway from Arrival, starring Amy Adams as a linguist tasked with figuring out what the ink-like beings inside the ginormous, floating egg shaped rocks that have landed in different fields around the world is trying to tell humanity. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Arrival is quietly beautiful with a cool-toned color palette, artfully minimal vehicle design, and impressive sound design.
4. Annihilation (2018)
Weird and unsettling but strangely beautiful, Annihilation is based on the novel by acclaimed sci-fi writer Jeff VanderMeer and directed by Alex Garland who also brought us another Ready-Made fave, Ex Machina. The film takes place inside an eerie but enchanting area called the "Shimmer” -- a forest-like zone that came to be after being struck be a meteor. None of the teams of male researchers sent by the U.S. Government facility "Area X" have returned from the "Shimmer" with any answers to the mysteries of the shapeshifting forest — if they had even come back out alive (and stayed alive) at all. So of course, all hopes are pinned on the latest group: an all-female team that includes a paramedic, a psychologist, a geomorphologist, a physicist, and a biologist/veteran (Natalie Portman.) Expect blurred lines between the real and unreal, the hard and the soft, the natural and the unnatural.
5. Horse Girl (2020)
If you ever lay wide awake at night cringing at something you said last week or in the fifth grade, this movie is for you. Horse Girl follows Sarah, a kind young woman who lives a quiet but lonely life. She works at a crafts store helping ladies pick out perfect things like "energy infused" orange cloth, takes her weekly Zumba class, visits her childhood horse Willow at the stable, and goes home to an apartment she shares with a roommate who is a complete 180 in personality and lifestyle. Cue the roommate and a marijuana joint. Soon after, Sarah begins having strange dreams that morph into time lapses and memory impairment, affecting her everyday life. Horse Girl is a quirky movie complete with awkward conversations, but for us, it's really about loneliness and being alone and making that decision to change or just be.
Images courtesy of: rogerbert.com (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial); The Film Magazine (Signs); The Verge (Arrival); Vanity Fair (Annihilation); cinema76.com (Horse Girl).