Entering the X-Files – The Pilot Episode

The X-Files Pilot still one of the better long-running television pilots out there. Quintessentially set in the early 90s, it holds up well. Scully is an adorable skeptic, still bright-eyed and bushy tailed — so eager to please — with a sweet face still bearing traces of baby fat. Mulder starts out almost exactly as he finishes, tossing his new partner a half-assed joke in greeting: “Welcome to the FBI’s most unwanted.” He knows she’s been sent to his basement to dubunk him, and he has his I Want To Believe Poster posted proudly behind his desk, surrounded by conspiracy theory news clippings and marked-up maps. He looks like a kook, and he kind of is, but the brilliant kind.

(Get used to this being Mulder’s domain. Scully only perches on things for the next few years. It does improve for her much later, when she gets a desk of her own. And on a side note, Mulder doesn’t get a bed until the two-parter ep Dreamland, so it’s an equal opportunity level of bodily discomfort.)  🙂

In spite of this preliminarily  lopsided pilot powershow, the two exude instant charisma, and the minor ‘abduction’  story needs thankfully little exposition. It’s got a self contained plot (is it about alien abductions, or driven by some other supernatural condition? It doesn’t matter), and it concludes in a satisfying place.  But the plot isn’t the main show, thankfully.

The real reason to watch the pilot is to play close attention to the dynamics of Gillian Anserson and David Duchovny as Scully and Mulder, respectively. Right away, their mutual charisma bounces between them with a crackling electricity, whether they’re bickering in their office, or laughing at each other while drenched in the road in the middle of the night — where a big red spray painted X marks the spot they experienced lost time. It’s a good moment. I don’t want to be too specific. Just watch it.

Were they abducted ? Why did they lose time? It’s actually par for the course that we will actually never know. Get used to this in this series, and you’ll be fine. The show is about its two leads, and how they almost, but quite, prove the evidence of aliens and the supernatural.

If you find this coy cat and mouse overly-plotted, stick it out anyway, at least until seasons 5 or 7. The Chis Carter Effect doesn’t set in ’til then. This is a great show to take the time to savor: the frequent Monster of the Week episodes are often the best things ever seen on television,even though the “mythology episodes” are the ones that keep fans coming back. This was one of the very first shows depicting through-arcs and long-form storytelling.

In spite of the varying quality of the two movies and two revivals, this is still one of the greatest shows on television.

Are you an X-Files fan? Feel free to comment below about your favorite episodes.

Here’s our RunPee movie review of the 2nd feature film: 

Movie Rewatch Review of X-Files – I Want To Believe

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

All Predator Movies, Rated

I like their hair. It’s like college football player hair. Am I the only one who notices this?

There’s a glut of Predator movies in the franchise now, starting with the classic  Predator of 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger, through ’til just this week, with The Predator. Since almost each film has basically the same name (except Requiem), it can be confusing to recall which was released when, with what storyline. Also, each storyline has more or less the same profile: Predators hunt people (or other Aliens), and said people use big military-grade guns to fight back. There’s a lot of green florescent blood along the way, and infrared vision.

So it can be tough to mentally track which movie is which. Here’s a quick summary of each Predator and Predator-adjacent film, in production order: 

  1. Predator — 1987: The original franchise starter with Arnold. He really sold it, and this is a great movie, deserving an A grade. The secondary characters were solid, the backstory was involving, the climax gripped me, and there were some great one liners and quotes.
  2. Predator 2 — 1990: Danny Glover took over the reigns for this one, and it was…meh. I didn’t like all the gang violence; very unappealing. More sci-fi, less gangster dynamics, please. The ending, however, with Glover on the Predator ship, and the Predator honor code, was really great. I would’ve like more of that, more alien world-building. (There’s also the blink and you’ll miss it scene with an “Alien Zenomorph” skull on the ship…which started the whole AvP furor, culminating in the next two movies, for better or for worse.) I tried re-watching  Predator 2 a few years back, but had to turn it off because of the unpleasantly grisly LA gang storyline. For some reason, I’m okay with Predator violence, but not people against people. (The Wikipedia offers this tidbit, so I’m not the only one who thought this was a bit much: “Due to excessive violence, Predator 2 was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the United States.”) Maybe give this a C grade?
  3. Aliens Vs Predators (AvP) — 2004: The first AvP film was fine. Not great, not awful. I’d say it was mildly enjoyable, and I liked the hunt’s setting in the buried pyramid/temple. This is also memorable for having a woman be the main fighting character, the alliance between human and Predator, and the ending as a call back to the previously established Predator honor code. B-
  4. AvP: Requiem — 2007:  An abomination of a movie that should be taken behind the shed and shot. I have nothing, NOTHING good to say about this film, and just thinking about it makes me nauseous. I had a boyfriend once who thought this was the best Predator flick ever, and, years later, I’m still WTF? It didn’t work out between us, so maybe you can predict the future of relationships with whether they liked Requiem.  Heh: you only think I’m joking. F-
  5. Predators — 2010: I absolutely forgot this one when I wrote my review of The Predator (2018) this week. Someone had to remind me Predators existed, and then a few things filtered back. All I really recall was that it started with human characters falling in the sky, there were the expected hunting/shooting shenanigans, and that I kind of liked this one. I’d give it a provisional B grade, until I can see it again.
  6. The Predator — 2018: I’d say this is the second-best film in the franchise, although I’d need to rewatch the previous Predators again to see which I thought had the better narrative. I did find this one fun, amusing, and even delightful at times, which is a weird way to describe a movie devoted to brutal killing games. This flick has some world building that I appreciated, although I do admit it wasn’t what it could have been. I can’t say much more without adding spoilers. I did adore the introduction of the Predator Dogs. More like this. B+

Some General Predator Notes:

What all of the films lacked, 1987 Arnold version aside, were great characters. I can’t remember anyone’s names. Even their faces blend together. The Predators themselves had more personal development, I think. I wouldn’t  even mind seeing a Predator film from the Predator viewpoint — just for variety — but that probably won’t happen.

Given that, I’d ask to see a real trilogy developed, with continuing characters and a larger/more detailed universe. It could start with The Predator and build from there. I’m not sure why each film tells a small story with fungible characters — there’s only so many ways to string people up in trees, with a lot of dark shootouts, and have nothing of lasting importance actually occur by the end. With six movies, it’s too bad that all we get are isolated incidents with faceless characters. I might be barking up the wrong tree in my hopes: the films are intended to be a rousing, fun, shoot-em-up time.

But they could be so much more.

Also on RunPee: 

Movie Review — The Predator

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

A Quiet Place 2 Announced

Shhhhhhhh. No, really, don’t make a sound. Not even when we announce that A Quiet Place has a sequel scheduled already! (Confirmed by Paramount.)

A Quiet Place offers an interesting concept for movie-going – people constantly report that their theaters were dead silent. Through the whole movie. Apparently this is a great cinematic experience and not to be missed. I’d call this film a sleeper hit.

Right on the heels of the surprise rise of A Quiet Place, Den Of Geek reports A Quiet Place 2 is in the works already. They say the story could continue where it left off, or could be about another family entirely.  There are many options to explore in the Quiet-verse.

How do you live, when your life depends on total silence? Could you do it? Even clicking the keys on my laptop makes sound. I have a fan on as I work: Alexa belts out my morning playlist. The coffeepot gurgles, percolating, while the dog barks and whines, begging for bacon that pops and sizzles on the stove. I take all this for granted.

Our spoiler free review of A Quiet Place gives this film an A, and reports the tone is more like a cross between Alien and Signs (both being top notch films). RunPee Creator Dan says, “Every scene felt like it was hand crafted, over and over, until it was perfected. There isn’t a wasted second in a single scene.“. My spoiler-full review awards A Quiet Place a rare A+ ( I was slightly more impressed).

With the care, commitment, and attention to detail by the director, cast, cast and crew, we can hope any sequels or prequels will add to the richness of this dystopia, and not just toss out a trashy cash cow.

Want more details on the sequel? CinemaBlend provides some details with major spoilers in the article, while Emily Blunt and John Krasinski discuss what they know and how they feel in this clip:

A Quiet Place Review – No Spoilers

A Quiet Place Review – With Spoilers

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Alien : Covenant

Movie Grade: A

Alien: Covenant was indeed a spectacular movie. Even though it was a physically dark movie, I found it rich and beautiful in its presentation. It goes without saying that the directing and pacing was spot on. The actors did a fine job, but I must give extra kudos to Michael Fassbender for his double role as David and Walter. I could actually believe that I was watching two different actors, rather than one actor playing two different roles.

Fans of Prometheus will be blown away by Alien: Covenant. And the wait for the next installment will give die-hard sci-fi fans something to look forward to other than Comic-Con. Be strong; we will be rewarded for our diligence.

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, RunPee never would have lasted a decade as an app (which is since the dawn of time in internet years). She’s our biggest cheerleader and an unending source of unconditional love. She works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice: kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers. She knows more about famous and infamous figures in history than said figures probably knew about themselves. She’s the Quiz Manager for the RunPee.com blog, and Assistant Facebook Manager for our social media efforts. If you’ve interacted with someone on our Facebook page, you’ve most likely been given a virtual hug by RunPee Mom.

Jurassic World Movie References

jurrasic-worldNow that everyone has seen Jurassic World… You did see it, right? (It broke box office records so I’ll assume you did.) Let’s talk about the incredible number of movie references – some intentional, some perhaps not – in this movie.

Note: minor spoilers to follow.

Obviously the references to the original Jurassic Park were plentiful. Most are too obvious to point out, but a few worth mentioning:

  • A brief glimpse of a message – I can’t remember precisely what it said – on the rear-mounted video feed on the ball-pod that the brothers rode in was a reference to the view of the T-Rex in the side mirror with the message, “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.”
  • Claire using the flair to attract the T-Rex. Yes it’s obvious but worth mentioning.
  • A signpost pointing the way to the research center as a nod to the sign post that gets knocked down by Nedry when he’s trying to get away with the stolen eggs.

It would have been pure awesomeness if there were a scene with a half buried can of shaving cream in the ground. Who knows, maybe there was and someone will find it when the movie comes out of DVD.

As many references as there were to the original Jurassic Park there may have been more to random movies.

  • During the safety video by Jimmy Fallon he says, “For added protection each vehicle is surrounded by aluminum oxynitride glass, so tough it can stop a 50-caliber bullet.” Aluminum oxynitride is a real substance but such a specific mention in the movie must be a reference to Star Trek IV: The one with the Whales.
  • Remember the lab scene in Aliens where we see the face-huggers in those glass cylinders? The scene near the end of JW where Claire, Owen, and the brothers enter the research lab at the end of the movie is very similar with those vertebral columns in the glass cylinders and then they look at the reptiles under in the terrariums.
  • The scene where Claire’s assistant gets munched on by the birds, and then eaten by the Mosasauraus, is reminiscent of Jaws – I would wager this is just coincidental, but who knows since Spielberg directed Jurassic Park and Jaws.
  • The scene of the raptors chasing the vehicle driven by Claire near the end of the movie is quite similar to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the nazis on motorcycles are chasing after the truck driven by Indy. Claire even sideswipes one of the raptors sending it crashing off the side of the road, just like Indy did to a motorcycle.

Did you notice any movie references that I missed?

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.