Saturday, September 1, 2012

Close Encounters and a Clown ~ I'm Loving IT!

Some of you may find this hard to believe, but I just watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind for the first time! I'm not sure why I hadn't watched it yet, but the reason I watched it now is because I won the Collector's Edition of the movie from TheGreatWhiteDope, whose blog can be found here:

The DVD set would have been a generous prize in itself, but that's not all I received!

I also received a book titled The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition. Prior to opening this book, I knew absolutely nothing about Penny Arcade. So that was something else new for me!

My third gift was an I'm Loving IT t-shirt from

For anyone who doesn't recognize the clown as Pennywise from Stephen King's IT...

I've actually never seen Stephen King's IT, which is odd since I've seen a lot of King's movies. I probably should watch IT, if I'm going to be wearing this t-shirt around. I did look up a few YouTube clips from the movie, but I couldn't get over Tim Curry being under all that clown makeup! Recognizing him was just making me laugh. You have to give Tim Curry credit for trying the many different looks we've seen him in!

Here I am modeling the shirt. I ended up with several similar photos, so I put them together to make my first gif!


While I was taking the photos above, I saw a runaway dog zip past the window. I ran outside to see if I could catch it and ran into a neighbor. She was asking me if I caught the dog, even though I was standing there alone. She was also saying various weird things about how "that dog better get caught before he's a splat on the highway", when she got distracted by my shirt. She was kind of looking at my eyes and then down at the shirt. Eyes. Shirt. Eyes. Shirt. She finally just stared at the clown and went "Uhh". So it's getting attention already!

Back to Close Encounters. I'm going to give you a few of my thoughts on the movie. I'll try to leave any spoilers out, on the off chance that I wasn't the last person on earth to see this!

I really enjoyed Close Encounters. Two things that struck me were the optimistic attitude behind the movie, and the slower pace in which it moved. I'm not really complaining about the pace, it's just that I think I'm used to the fast paced, action packed style of more modern alien movies. In a way, Close Encounters showed me a lot of what I expected from a Steven Spielberg film. I say that because the movie was supernatural and magical, but at no point did I feel threatened or fearful of what might happen. Close Encounters was surprisingly nonviolent for a movie involving aliens landing on earth.

The earth in this movie is a planet filled with people who are curious about the aliens and would rather communicate with them than kill them. In fact, I don't remember seeing one gun through this entire movie. There might have been one, I just don't remember it. The closest we got to any aggression was one cynical army officer who plans to spray people who get in the way of his mission with something that will put them to sleep for six hours. Even he is not remotely mean spirited.

Like another supernatural Spielberg project Poltergeist, the plot of Close Encounters involves a family with several children. Unlike the children in Poltergeist, who I found sweet or funny in a sassy sort of way, the kids in Close Encounters are a loud, bratty bunch of little gremlins.  I kept wishing the aliens would appear and somehow beam them up, except I didn't wish them on the aliens. Anyway, these children belong to our main character, Roy and his wife, Ronnie. Without spilling too much of the plot, Roy has an encounter with a UFO and is completely fascinated by the experience. His wife and kids, not so much. Although, in Ronnie's defense, it would be hard to be thrilled with the whole experience while your husband is acting like a nut.

Meanwhile, across town, a woman named Jillian is having her own experiences with the aliens. Her experiences are more scary than Roy's, as her son is abducted. You'll notice that the aliens chose to abduct the sweet, quiet child, and not the brats mentioned before. Here you'll see Jillian and her son Barry during the spooky abduction scene. 

I found Jillian to be really likeable. I kept thinking what a nice person she was, without realizing where I've seen her before! I didn't recognize her as Melinda Dillon, the woman who played another nice mom in one of my favorite movies: A Christmas Story.

Both Roy and Jillian start to see the same visions after their encounters with the aliens. This leads them together on an adventure to learn more and retrieve Jillian's son. I'll stop there and not reveal any more about the characters, in case some of you haven't seen this movie.  I do want to mention the alien's spacecraft, though. It was really beautiful. It was covered in blinking lights and made little musical noises which were a means of communication. The music reminded me a lot of that old game, Simon. Do you guys remember that game? You had to hit these big colored buttons to mimic the noise the machine just made. 

The game even kind of looked like a spaceship! 

I wanted to show you the Close Encounters spaceship in action, so you can see what I mean about the musical noise communication:

This DVD set included a disc full of extras. There was a making-of documentary that was really lengthy and full of interviews and trivia. A highlight of that for me was seeing the little boy, Barry as an adult. He had a lot of cute stories from his days as a four year old, working on this movie. 

Thank you TheGreatWhiteDope for this generous prize pack! I really enjoyed finally seeing this movie and weirding out my neighbor with my new t-shirt. This is a generous bunch of gifts, and believe me I had to work for them! TheGreatWhiteDope really puts together a challenge. I was actually proud of myself for being able to answer the questions necessary to win this!

I'm interested in hearing all of your thoughts on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Stephen King's IT, The Simon Game, or whatever else relates to these prizes!


  1. I was always a fan of Close Encounters. I saw it way back when I was a kid so it really stuck with me. Glad you finally got to see it. As for IT....well, it was a better book than a movie. The movie really kinda looses you from time to time and it gets a bit "out there" after a bit, but Pennywise always give me the willies. Bad movie....great villain!

  2. That t-shirt is terrifying, but you look nice in it so I'm not going to have too many nightmares!

  3. I just love Close Encounters, the most memorable part for me is the music that is played when the lights flash - it is instantly recognisable! Me and Pyf watched it a few months ago actually, the last time I had seen it was when I was very young though so it was great to watch it again - I completely didn't recognise the mum from A Christmas Story even though I watch it most Christmases - that was a good spot!

    Pyf and I have also recently just watched the TV mini-series Taken - another Alien based one which you may have seen before, it was my first time watching it and I really enjoyed it! We've also just started re-watching the X-Files today! I should be watching more things relating to monsters and ghosts around Hallowe'en, not aliens!

    The shirt is awesome! I really must watch IT again very soon and so should you! I know there is a full version of it on YouTube somewhere if you don't want to buy the DVD, it really is one of Stephen Kings best in my opinion! You should totally watch it whilst wear that t-shirt!

    Now I feel like having a Stephen King film marathon! ~♥~

  4. "You'll notice that the aliens chose to abduct the sweet, quiet child, and not the brats mentioned before."

    Hahaha. I guess that really does prove that the aliens have superior intelligence!

    I haven't watched Close Encounters for years, but coincidentally, my dad has just lent us the anniversary edition DVD, so we'll be watching it soon. James has never seen it.

    Congrats on winning the giveaway and awesome job on the gif! You look very cute in your IT shirt!

  5. wicKED ~ I would think that it's a lot different to see Close Encounters as a kid than as an adult. I'm sure I would have interpreted a few parts differently when I was younger.

    A friend was saying that very thing about IT to me the other day! She preferred the book to the movie as well. I felt that way about Stephen King's "Pet Sematary". I remember liking the book OK, but the movie wasn't for me!

    I think I'd find Pennywise a lot scarier if I could quit thinking about Tim Curry. I will say this, that clown makeup is pretty freaky. I can only imagine how much that movie scares people with a clown phobia.

    Jessica ~ Haha! You're one of those people with a clown phobia, aren't you? I think I remember that from my midway post. Thanks for the compliment! It's nice to know that I softened some of Pennywise's rough edges. :)

    Bella Morte ~ I felt like the music helped the spaceship landing feel less scary. There was something innocent about it. Was Close Encounters a lot like you remembered it from when you were a kid?

    Yeah! Once I realized who was playing the Jillian character, her likability made even more sense! I watch A Christmas Story every year. That and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. They're both such hilarious classics. I'll never get enough of either one. They just get better with every year!

    I'm trying to remember if I've heard of Taken. It's not sounding familiar to me. Is that a pretty serious show? The X-Files was so great. It was a favorite show of mine while it was on TV. I outta find a DVD set or rewatch a few episodes online. Well, The X-Files sometimes had its monster moments, although I'll agree that it was pretty heavy on the aliens. I've been gearing up to watch a few scary shows/movies in preparation for Halloween, although it's not like I ever really take a break from that.

    I'm pretty happy with my new t-shirt! Thanks for the YouTube tip. I'll look for IT on there. Haha! Good idea, I'll be sure to wear the shirt while watching. I like dressing in the theme of what I'm watching actually. Do you own a lot of Stephen King films to have a marathon with? For having seen so many of his movies, it's odd that I don't own one!

    Little Gothic Horrors ~ Exactly! :) You can't blame the aliens a bit for that decision.

    Let me know what James thinks of the movie! That is a coincidence that you were just lent Close Encounters. We'll have to chat more about it, once the movie is fresh in your mind again.

    Thanks! I had fun with the gif. It was sort of accidental to end up with that many pics of myself that were just slightly different. It's kind of weird taking a picture of yourself modeling a shirt with a web cam. I wasn't sure how to pose!

  6. Justine: I can't tell you how glad I am that you like your prizes. It's always great to see someone enjoying prizes they fought so hard to claim...

    Great rundown on CE3K too; It's a great way to be introduced to the movie, isn't it? Spielberg was very methodical in his storytelling here, which is what I think makes it as good a film now as it was in 1977.


    - TGWD

  7. TheGreatWhiteDope ~ Yeah, you know how hard I had to work for this prize pack. :) The prizes were worth the effort, though!

    It's funny, when I saw CE3K, my mind went right to CMYK! I guess it's not so odd, given that's four characters, beginning with a C and ending with a K. Anyway, yes this was a great way to be introduced! The bonus features were a wonderful addition to the movie. I've watched some movies lately that barely have any extras, so those were a fun surprise.

    I was sort of amazed that you were willing to part with this DVD set. I assume that you found yourself a new DVD set, or Blu-ray version of the movie? I agree that Close Encounters really holds up. It didn't seem dated, except for the very basic computers and a few hairdos.

    Thanks again! :)

  8. I have never watched The National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, I don't even know what it is about but I have heard of it before! If it is anything like A Christmas Story then I'm sure I would love it, I think I'm going to IMDB it after this!

    I was just thinking yesterday that I was going to make a list of horror films to watch in the lead up to Hallowe'en! The earlier I start the more I can squeeze in! Pyf and I have planned to buy Burke & Hare to watch when we are in Edinburgh as the cottage has a TV/DVD but no television reception so DVD's will be our only source of entertainment (apart from pumpkin carving!) I though it would be the perfect opportunity to watch it seeing as we'll hopefully be going on a ghost walk down into the underground tunnels that Burke & Hare was said to store the bodies!

    I don't have a lot of the Stephen King films, just the most popular i.e. Carrie, Misery, The Shining, Dreamcatcher, Salem's Lot, Sleepwalkers, Pet Cemetery, Stand By Me (although that isn't scary) and IT. I used to have The Stand on video when I was younger which for some reason I could never watch from start to finish as it was just so damn long and slow paced, I would love to watch it again now though! Yes, I think a Stephen King marathon is in order! ~♥~

  9. I am glad you finally got to watch this movie. I really enjoyed it. Melinda Dillon was also in another favorite movie of mine, "Harry and the Hendersons".

  10. Bella Morte ~ Oh, I think you'd love it. "Christmas Vacation" is one of those movies you'll find yourself quoting again and again. Especially quotes from Cousin Eddie! It has one of those plots where as things get worse and worse, the movie gets more and more funny.

    I just had to look up the Burke & Hare movie to find out what it was. I wasn't aware that a movie had been made about them. I feel like I know their story, though. Oh, wait! I know why those names sound familiar:

    Now that I've read a bit about the murders, that sounds like the perfect movie to watch while in Edinburgh. By the way, I'm really looking forward to hearing about your trip! I know you'll get lots of great photos to share with us.

    I'd like to see your list of movies to lead up to Halloween. I wonder if some of my favorites would be on your list?

    Oh, I watched The Stand, and I couldn't stand it! Oh, that sounded kind of funny. :) I remember that series as being a real snoozefest. I saw it as a teenager, so maybe I'd find it more entertaining now? I doubt it. Stephen King is so hit and miss for me. Either I really love his work, or I'm really Meh on it. I remember reading a collection of his short stories and those were not a fun read. The one that really stands out as huh? is "Jerusalem's Lot". Still, when he's on, he's really on!

    Adsila ~ Oh, that's right! Melinda Dillon probably has a whole resume filled with movies I didn't realize she was in. :) She comes across as a genuinely nice person in anything I've seen her in!

  11. That is one sinister looking Ronald McDonald! I always thought clowns are ine ssence scary and creepy. The scariest is the Joker I think, but all clowns just look bleeding evil and spooky.

  12. Guillaume ~ Yeah! What makes the clown on that t-shirt extra sinister, is that I can't see any color in his eyes. I really did try to look for that, but they're totally white. Really light or completely white eyes always freak me out!

    So, you think the scariest Joker is what he's come to be now? Like how we think of Heath Ledger in his Joker makeup? I've never seen him in that role. I'm a huge fan of anything to do with Batman and always have been, but the series has taken a really dark turn. Even by Batman standards! At some point it went from being theatrically dark to a darkness that's too close to reality for me.

  13. Loved going down memory lane! Thanks for the great post!