Hollywood’s most unlikely alien-invasion heroes


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Alien invaders have had their way with Earth throughout cinema history, but in most cases, our planet’s inhabitants have eventually found a way to fight them off — sometimes in unexpected ways and with very unlikely heroes.

This weekend, “The Watch” pits a ragtag group of Neighborhood Watch volunteers against the first wave of an alien invasion, and the new comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade adds yet another line to the ever-growing list of Earth’s most unexpected defenders.

In honor of the latest group of heroes to stand between planetary freedom and destruction at the claws — or perhaps tentacles — of outer-space creatures, here are some of our favorite unlikely alien-fighters to appear on the big screen:

Slim Whitman (“Mars Attacks”)

In this 1996 film directed by Tim Burton, the world was on the brink of surrender to a race of big-brained, evil aliens who had destroyed the world’s greatest landmarks, killed the U.S. President, and exterminated Congress. The planet was theirs for the taking, until a teenager in Kansas discovered their one weakness: country singer Slim Whitman’s yodel-fueled classic, “Indian Love Call.”

A bunch of British street kids (“Attack the Block”)

Joe Cornish impressed audiences and critics alike with this 2011 film about a bunch of street kids in South London who are forced to defend their turf from terrifying alien creatures that fall to Earth on Bonfire Night. There’s no shortage of films featuring musclebound heroes shooting up aliens with machine guns, but there’s nothing quite like seeing this film’s reluctant heroes take down these vicious interlopers with fireworks, baseball bats, and even a gasoline-filled squirtgun. (Best line ever: “That ain’t no is — it’s a was!”)

Randy Quaid (“Independence Day”)

When everything seemed lost and the Earth was on the verge of destruction in Roland Emmerich’s 1983 alien-invasion classic, the planet was saved by an alcoholic, semi-sane crop-duster played by Randy Quaid. Not only did he get revenge for all those times aliens abducted and probed him in uncomfortable places (which may or may not have actually happened), but he became the world’s greatest hero when he sacrificed himself in a kamikaze run at the alien mothership. If you don’t cheer when Quaid screams, “Hello boys, I’m baaaack!” there’s a good chance you’re dead inside.

A sketchy high-school drug dealer (“The Faculty”)

When creepy, tentacled, body-snatching aliens invaded Herrington High School in this 1998 film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Robert Rodriguez, it wasn’t the football team or the class president who led the fight against them, it was the creepy drug-dealing kid who’s been in his senior year for at least two years now. It might not send a great message to kids, but the film suggests that a homemade, cocaine-like drug being sold by Josh Hartnett’s character in the film is the key to defeating the parasitic creatures taking over the town — making the best defense against aliens a good stash of illegal amphetamines.

A gigantic woman, a blob, a cockroach, an ape-man, and a giant grub (“Monsters vs. Aliens”)

This underrated 2009 animated film features a team of reluctant “monsters” who agree to defend the world against an alien invader in exchange for their freedom from the government agency hiding them from the world. It could be one of the weirdest team-ups in movie history, but it’s also one of the most entertaining examples of planetary defense to hit the big screen in the last few years. What’s not to love about Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, and Reese Witherspoon hamming it up as the main characters’ voices, with Rainn Wilson providing the voice of the alien Gallaxhar?

Sorority girls (“Night of the Creeps”)

Combining the fear of slimy slug creatures from space with shambling zombie terror, this cult-classic horror from 1986 was directed by “Monster Squad” filmmaker Fred Dekker, and featured a house full of sorority girls fighting off a host of squishy creatures that turn normal people into flesh-hungry, walking corpses. Sure, they have help from tough-as-nails cop Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins) and an aspiring fraternity pledge who’s smitten with one of the girls, but it’s the sorority girls who really save the world. Of course, first they have to actually realize that their fraternity beaus are literally brain-dead.

A girl with a weird water quirk and a failed baseball player (“Signs”)

Sure, director M. Night Shyamalan will tell you that the real hero of his 2002 alien-invasion film was the faith of a retired preacher played by Mel Gibson, but let’s face it: it took a little girl’s weird habit of leaving half-empty glasses of water around the house and a guy with a baseball bat to save the world — or at least, one farmhouse and a family — in this creepy blockbuster. Swing away, indeed.

A homeless Rowdy Roddy Piper wearing late-’80s sunglasses (“They Live”)

Okay, sure… he’s not exactly an unlikely alien fighter given his size and status as one of the most famous professional wrestlers of all time, but his memorable performance in this outstanding 1988 film was anything but predictable. In the film, which was directed by horror legend John Carpenter, Piper plays a homeless drifter who discovers a box of sunglasses that allow him to see the world for what it really is: a place under invasion by ugly, blue-skinned, skeleton-faced aliens who are subliminally forcing humans to buy, procreate, and live by their consumerist directives. He soon decides that the only right thing to do is to chew bubblegum, kick ass, and save the world, of course.

Honorable Mention: Ninjas! (“Alien vs. Ninja”)

Confession: I only included the heroes of this 2010 Japanese film in the list so I could include a clip of one of the most ridiculous fight scenes in cinema history, featuring a lady ninja going up against an “Alien”-ripoff in a rubber suit, who clearly gets a little handsy with his female opponent.

What are some of your favorite unlikely defenders of Earth? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Brock Hard

Brockmire’s Guide To Grabbing Life By The D***

Catch up on the full season of Brockmire now.

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“Lucy, put supper on the stove, my dear, because this ballgame is over!”

Brockmire has officially closed out its rookie season. Miss the finale episode? A handful of episodes? The whole blessed season?? You can see it all from the beginning, starting right here.

And you should get started, because every minute you spend otherwise will be a minute spent not living your best life. That’s right, there are very important life lessons that Brockmire hid in plain sight—lessons that, when applied thoughtfully, can improve every aspect of your awesome existence. Let’s dive into some sage nuggets from what we call the Book of Jim.

Life Should Be Spiked, Not Watered Down.

That’s not just a fancy metaphor. As Brockmire points out, water tastes “awful. 70% of the water is made up of that shit?” Life is short, water sucks, live like you mean it.

There Are Only Three Types of People

“Poor people, rich people and famous people. Rich people are just poor people with money, so the only worthwhile thing is being famous.” So next time your rich friends act all high and mighty, politely remind them that they’re worthless in the eyes of even the most minor celebrities.

There’s Always A Reason To Get Out Of Bed

And 99% of the time that reason is the urge to pee. It’s nature’s way of saying “seize the day.”

There’s More To Life Than Playing Games

“Baseball can’t compete with p0rnography. Nothing can.” Nothing you do or ever will do can be more important to people than p0rn. Get off your high horse.

A Little Empathy Goes A Long Way

Especially if you’ve taken someone else’s Plan B by mistake.

Our Weaknesses Can Be Our Greatest Strengths

Tyrion Lannister said something similar. Hard to tell who said it with more colorful profanity. Wise sentiments all around.

Big Things Come To Those Who Wait

When you’re looking for a sign, the universe will drop you a big one. You’re the sh*t, universe.

And Of Course…

Need more life lessons from the Book of Jim? Catch up on Brockmire on the IFC App.

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Oh Mama

Mommie May I?

Mommie Dearest Is On Repeat All Mothers Day Long On IFC

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The cult-classic movie Mommie Dearest is a game-changer. If you’ve seen it even just once (but come on, who sees it just once?), then you already know what we’re talking about.

But if you haven’t seen it, then let us break it down for you. Really quick, we promise, we’ll even list things out to spare you the reading of a paragraph:

1. It’s the 1981 biopic based on the memoir of Christina Crawford, Hollywood icon Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter.
2. Faye Dunaway plays Joan. And boy does she play her. Loud and over-reactive.
3. It was intended as a drama, but…
4. Waaaaaay over-the-top performances and bargain-basement dialogue rendered it an accidental comedy.
5. It’s a cult classic, and you’re the last person to see it.

Not sold? Don’t believe it’s going to change your life? Ok, maybe over-the-top acting isn’t your thing, or perhaps you don’t like the lingering electricity of a good primal scream, or Joan Crawford is your personal icon and you can’t bear to see her cast in such a creepy light.

But none of that matters.

What’s important is that seeing this movie gives you permission to react to minor repeat annoyances with unrestrained histrionics.

That there is a key moment. Is she crazy? Yeah. But she’s also right. Shoulder nipples are horrible, wire hangers are the worst, and yelling about it feels strangely justified. She did it, we can do it. Precedent set. You’re welcome.

So what else can we yell about? Channel your inner Joan and consider the following list offenses when choosing your next meltdown.

Improperly Hung Toilet Paper

Misplaced Apostrophes

Coldplay at Karaoke

Dad Jokes

Gluten Free Pizza

James Franco

The list of potential pedestrian grievances is actually quite daunting, but when IFC airs Mommie Dearest non-stop for a full day, you’ll have 24 bonus hours to mull it over. 24 bonus hours to nail that lunatic shriek. 24 bonus hours to remember that, really, your mom is comparatively the best.

So please, celebrate Mother’s Day with Mommie Dearest on IFC and at IFC.com. And for the love of god—NO WIRE HANGERS EVER.

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Breaking News

From Canada With Love

Baroness von Sketch Show comes to IFC.

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Breaking news that (finally) isn’t apocalyptic!

IFC announced today that it acquired acclaimed Canadian comedy series Baroness von Sketch Show, slated to make its US of A premiere this summer. And yes, it’s important to note that it’s a Canadian sketch comedy series, because Canada is currently a shining beacon of civilization in the western hemisphere, and Baroness von Sketch Show reflects that light in every way possible.

The series is fronted entirely by women, which isn’t unusual in the sketch comedy world but is quite rare in the televised sketch comedy world. Punchy, smart, and provocative, each episode of Baroness von Sketch Show touches upon outrageous-yet-relatable real world subjects in ways both unexpected and deeply satisfying: soccer moms, awkward office birthday parties, being over 40 in a gym locker room…dry shampoo…

Indiewire called it “The Best Comedy You’ve Never Seen” and The National Post said that it’s “the funniest thing on Canadian television since Kids In The Hall.” And that’s saying a lot, because Canadians are goddamn hilarious.

Get a good taste of BVSS in the following sketch, which envisions a future Global Summit run entirely by women. It’s a future we’re personally ready for.

Baroness Von Sketch Show premieres later this summer on IFC.

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