CATCHING UP #9 – “Brother from Another Planet”

Brother From Another Planet (1984)

John Sayles

Every mention I’ve seen of this movie describes it as a “cult” classic. That word is tossed around quite a bit, but nine times out of ten, it translates to “so bad it’s good”.
Furthermore, the star of what I can only imagine is a part sci-fi, part blackspoiltation trainwreck is Joe Morton, whose geek cred includes a role in “Terminator 2”, a recurring role as Dr. Hamilton on “Smallville”, ad forty-two episodes of “Eureka” as Henry Deacon.

(To subject yourself to the virtual equivalent of me talking in the theater jammed into 140 characters, follow me @stuffbyed. Note: I have my account blocked to keep those pesky spambots out. Send me a request and regret it when you sober up.)

-CATCHING UP! Now watching: “Brother From Another Planet” (1984)
-Thus far, the effects are on par with Bowie’s “Space Oddity” video.
-First thing that happens to him on Earth? He loses a foot. I bet his insurance doesn’t cover it.
-ANNND the guy looks right at the camera. No dice.
-Not a fan of the cinematography. I would’ve been crucified in video class for these shots.
-I think any time someone asks me why I did something, I’m going to blame “internal malfunctions” from now on.
-…and whenever I’m sick, I’m going to say I have “space germs”.
-This movie is full of useful phrases. “Sit down, smokey; you’ll get dizzy again.” Could’ve used that one in college.
-FACT: In ancient New York, the calendar system was based entirely on events in sports.
-That’s right. Haitians have the zombie germs.
-How’d he fix that machine? He learned how from ITT Tech, bitch!
-These days, that kid would’ve screamed “RAPE!” before the alien could heal him.
-All the references to space and aliens is kind of overboard .
-I’m probably wrong, but it looks like Mormons are the bad guys in this movie.
-The ranting old man at the bar with the glasses is already my favorite character.
-What’s wrong with this picture? Mormons don’t drink.
-According to this movie, Blacks brought shopping malls and mini-golf to South Carolina.
-The girl’s in touch with the Speed Force!
-Attending a “self-actualization seminar” seems like the whitest possible thing you could have two guys in Members Only jackets doing.
-It’s only 8 o’clock and those two guys are shitfaced? Back in college, that was the start of the pregame.
-FACT: Dogs don’t like aliens.
-It’s one thing to buy an album because the art is cool…but throwing the album away afterward? Quite a waste.
-NOM NOM NOM street drugs.
-That girl looks less like a hooker and more like a fan of Avril Lavine.
-I’m confused…it looks like he ate crack, shot heroin…and then weed is what puts him over the edge? Weak sauce.
-I just saw the exact blender and food processor that my grandparentsused to have. Kind of a trip.
-Funny; when talking about “the South”, nobody mentions Richmond, capital of the Confederacy.
-…It was the destination for a kidnapper in “Painkiller Jane”, and the site of a home for pedophiles in the second “X-Files” movie.
-…In comics? The home of Power Pack. No love for RVA. The 804. River City.
-…Wait, crap, I forgot I was supposed to be watching a movie.
-The club owner is all sorts of creepy and oblivious. I hate people like him. I guess that’s the point, though.
-“I like you. Here’s beer.” There’d be so many more unwanted pregnancies if that actually worked.
-I’m sure she’s jumping into bed with him because of some freaky-deaky alien hormone powers. Just a guess.
-The Mormons making shrieking noises at one another in the dark is like something out of “It’s Always Sunny”.
-Those synthesizer tones? That’s the sound of PHYSICS!
-That’s right. Don’t talk to the cop, and he can’t get anything on you.
-That eyeball looks like it’s got problems beyond the scope of your corner optometrist.
-I’m completely surprised that the eye didn’t get stolen and pawned. Probably could’ve pulled around $5 for it.
-Guy sitting alone at night by a wall. What’s his cover? Do you think “night sudoku” works? Probably not.
-(By the way, “Night Sudoku” is the name of my j-rock cover band.)
-He’s parked right by a fire hydrant. I’m super-surprised he didn’t get a ticket.
-I’ve heard similar conversations about relationship labels from my 16y/o sister and her friends. Silly kids.
-Interpretive football dance? I could see an entire episode of “Glee” based on this concept.
-If there ever were a fight scene that looked over-rehearsed, it’s this one.
-This song is NOT a fight song. Worst. Jukebox. Selection. Ever.
-FACT: Sandwich bag technology didn’t find its way into the drug market until after 1984.
-Aw man! You’re going to put that eye back in your head AFTER he had his hands on it? At least rinse it first!
-Hey, the sign says “No Standing”, goddammit! This is strictly a dance-battle zone!

AFTER THE FACT (may contain spoilers):
I’ll be entirely honest: as a white male watching and commenting on a movie where race is the primary theme, I feel very uncomfortable. VERY. Far be it from me to say that a white man has any problems, but any white person who mentions race in any context comes off as a bigot.

I have, however, learned quite a bit from this movie:
1) Haitians carry voodoo germs.
2) “Internal malfunctions” and “space germs” are valid excuses for anything. ANYTHING.
3) Ranting old drunks make movies better.
4) Weed is more dangerous than crack and heroin.
5) Synthesizer soundtracks mean that SCIENCE IS HAPPENING!

That said, I didn’t like this movie all that much. It seems like it JUST missed the point of “so bad it’s good” and is instead just “so bad”. It just didn’t seem to go far enough. It wanted to be weird and wound up weak. Hell, I’ve got super-low expectations for these things, and even those weren’t enough to make me enjoy this film.
All of that aside, I think I might’ve been too sober for this movie. So, if you wanna watch this, friends and drinks are probably required.

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