E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial ★★★★★

Struggling to keep up with Woovember, the November Daily Horror Hunt and Edith Wharton’s Collab, this seems like a questionable time to watch something that has nothing to do with any of them. Yet for my 1000th review on this site, I wanted to take on a major motion picture that I had managed to go through life avoiding, E.T. The Extraterrestrial. How did a child of the 80s pull that off? To quote Egg Shen: “Wasn’t easy!”

There is a scene in which Dee Wallace reads Peter Pan to Drew Barrymore - while hiding, Henry Thomas and the alien listen too. Slightly older, Thomas is past the age where such interactions would be considered age appropriate, which isn’t to say he doesn’t want to be a part of it.

Being roughly 2-months-old during its initial theatrical release, my first opportunity to enjoy it would have been substantially later when it hit the home video market. By that point it would have already become a childhood cornerstone for those slightly older than me. This put child me in the awkward position of looking down on it as lowest common denominator populist crap for those three to ten years my senior (don’t trust the old) or too infantile - belonging on the docket of the babies younger than me (resent youth). I speak autobot, spare me your rubber monsters. Which isn’t to say I don’t love Amblin or that Steven Spielberg and the ILM crew weren’t prominent architects of my formative years, I was just on a separate course from this mothership. My only previous encounter was walking in on a second cousin viewing it for that shot of fleshy ET in the storm drain. Five seconds was all I needed to know this was not for me. So thirty odd years after that decision, I finally sat down with the Atari scourge, and only one question came to my mind...

Where have you jerks been hiding this?

Melissa Matheson’s screenplay has an understanding of childhood which has not been seen since. Younger brothers desperately trying to be accepted into their senior’s circle of recreation, despite the Dungeons and Dragon nature potentially making this cool crowd the outcasts. Fear that manifests on hospital gurneys while faceless adults leave you in the dark. The exciting and oddly dangerous possibilities that exist only on Halloween night. This was not my childhood, and it was.

If I had to come up with any criticism, it is only that that much graphic sexual interaction is not appropriate in a family film*

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