Tuesday, July 10, 2012

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial



After it had been out for about a month, I finally got around to seeing E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Perhaps I was too busy seeing Poltergeist over and over again to make the effort? Actually, I think the main reason may have been an attempt to avoid lines. The movie was huge.

I'd end up seeing it twice, but I only have a memory of one time, and I'm not sure if it was the first or second time. I'd think it was the first, as that would make more of an impression, so I'm going to say the first time I saw E.T. was with my father at the Grand Lake in Oakland.

We didn't venture across the Bay often. If we did, it was usually to go to a show at the Greek, or to buy records in Berkeley. But I think we decided to make the trip this time because of a fondness for the Grand Lake, and we were lucky in that the movie was playing in the bigger main theater. Because, yes, as much as I love the Grand Lake, (and it's still in operation), I would love it so much more if it wasn't chopped up into multiple screens.

It might seem a little odd that of the two Spielberg movies that came out in 1982, I was more taken with Poltergeist than with E.T. And don't get me wrong, I really liked E.T. a LOT. But it didn't seem to get a hold of me as much as Poltergeist did. I think this probably had to do with my general preference for horror movies as opposed to science fiction.

It might also have been because E.T. was (and still is) an emotionally wrenching thing to sit through. I mean, we watch the poor creature suffer and die! And poor Elliot! I know I was basically sobbing in that first viewing.

And yeah, I also cried during the sappy ending, which really is Spielberg at his most mawkish. (That part's a little hard to sit through in repeat viewings, just because I get a headache from all the eye rolling I do.)

And I guess that is as good an explanation as any as to why I preferred Poltergeist to E.T. Poltergeist has its incredibly sappy parts, too; but it also has a guy tearing his own face off. It wins.

I have a bunch of clippings in my Book. For this first post, here's a review from the Examiner, and some capsule reviews from other local sources.


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