Monthly Archives: May 2017

Viewing Diary May 2017

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Contact (1997), directed by Robert Zemeckis

Who talked to aliens in 1997? Will Smith in a suit and tie; Bruce Willis in an orange tank top; Sigourney Weaver as the resurrected Ripley; and Jodie Foster, her eyes full of tears, her hair braided into a ponytail. She’s the audience surrogate in this hypothetical scenario. She crunches numbers, runs gauntlets, and speaks earnestly of Occam’s razor. Sustained stargazing makes her shiver with nerdy jubilation. Zemeckis’s camera prowls the frame for info, juxtaposing astrophysical data on computer screens with surveillance footage and TV news. The whole universe unfolds as a mix of analog and digital. It’s about as cool as a field trip to the planetarium. Shameless, too, as it induces pathos with the mere idea of a girl loving her good dad. Not far from reality, nor is it far from a dream I might have had 20 years ago, when I’d go to bed thinking of aliens.

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