The Ten best Man v Aliens films of all-time

Having just sat through Battle: Los Angeles (or Independence Day meets Black Hawk Down but not as good as either of those great films), I got to wondering what my list would look like of the ten best man v alien films would be. Now we all have opinions and no one has the right or true list (a quick check of the best rock songs of all time usually makes me roll my eyes at some of the songs I wouldn't consider for the top-100 making the top-5). So with that in mind I re-trace my first ever job roots (as a $20 per movie critic for a small newspaper in Georgia in the late 1970's) to come up with this opinion list. Feel free to blast away with a green Martian ray gun.

10) The Thing (1982) - John Carpenter's drenched fightmare. Far superior to the James Arness/Howard Hawks 1950's original (though there is yet another version of this due this summer). Truly a scary film and if there is one drawback, it is flat out gory and hard to watch because of the buckets of blood. My girlfriend at the time hated me for a month for giving her nightmares.

9) War of the Worlds (1953) - No, not the Tom Cruise re-tell of the same title, but the original 1950's invasion movie telling of the Orson Wells/Mercury Theater radio scare fest that a gullible American public felt was a real news broadcast (despite constant disclaimers during that show). The acting is leaden and the over-arching social commentary (biological, nuclear) fit the times but seems overwrought. Still phenomenal special effects that nearly stand some 60 years later. Way ahead of its time in modeling aliens. And the sound of the Martian machines is still haunting.

8) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - Another remake superior to its first film. Gleefully paranoid to the extreme. Arguable the second best ending to a movie ever, eclipsed only by another film on this list.

7) Alien (1979) - Dark, brooding and menacing. An entirely different film from its sequel. Most of the killing takes place off camera but it gave us possibly the most classic movie character entrance of all time. Making the crew of the Nostromo more concerned with getting their overtime pay was a smart way to humanize a film set in the distant future. This was not 'heroes to the rescue‘ it was isolated overworked blue collar miners just trying to get the hell home. That and a young Ridley getting into her space suit to blow the hatch... well guys get that part.

 6) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Go ahead - let that music rift play in your mind. Richard Dreyfuss melting down with clay mountains on the kitchen table. Thought provoking and brilliantly done on every level.

 5) Independence Day (1996) - Some hate it, sadly they have no sense of joy in their lives. Stand up and cheer -- and even the hokey lines seem perfectly fit for the tenor of the movie "oops!" "welcome to earth!", "In the words of my generation... up yours!". If you can't have big fun with this film you need to check your pulse. Very happy they resisted, given the huge box office, a sequel... so good this War of the Worlds re-telling stands on its own. "Get on the line to every squadron around the world. Tell ‘em how to bring those sons of bitches down!" Classic.

 4) Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) - It's a close call between T2 and Aliens for the best action film of all time. (It would be interesting to see which the director would chose at the better action film). James Cameron scored huge again. I am one who views the original with little less love with further viewing (to me the original simply doesn't hold well, it comes across as too schlocky 80's and the 2nd becomes even more superior a film). Arnold at his cyborg best. "Get out! (chopper pilot shakes head)" - love it!

3) Planet of the Apes (1968) - Start at the end, the single best ending in movie history. If you have never seen it and don't know the ending, try not to spoil it for yourself. A third or even fifth viewing will yield things you did not catch before, clever social commentary (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil -- if you've never caught that glimpse it's classic). Tremendously well done and holds against modern films despite its age. Great acting throughout the cast, especially to Charlton Heston and Kim Hunter. A truly great American movie -- 5 stars and a must see if you never have -- only to be followed by the worst sequels of all time.

2) Aliens (1986) - If the first was Ridley Scott's gem.. this was... wait for it.. Cameron's best (and that's saying something considering this list alone). "Eat lead Alien!" -- the US Marines strike back!  But it's Ridley's classic showdown with the nasty-nesting Mama wrapped around Paul Reiser's slimy corporate flack. Sarah Connor was tough as nails, but Ripley was the unbeaten champ.

1) E.T. The extra-terrestrial (1982) - Spielberg, like Cameron is a master - just that Spielberg is a master in every form of film. It was hard to pick just one, but the quality of the film on all levels and its enduring story make it a film that will remain a classic for as long as Hollywood makes movies. It's that Wizard of Oz quality that makes this such a wonderful experience and if you haven't seen it in 25 years, you will love it again.

Having just sat through Battle: Los Angeles (or Independence Day meets Black Hawk Down but not as good as either of those great films), I got to wondering what my list would look like of the ten best man v alien films would be. Now we all have opinions and no one has the right or true list (a quick check of the best rock songs of all time usually makes me roll my eyes at some of the songs I wouldn't consider for the top-100 making the top-5). So with that in mind I re-trace my first ever job roots (as a $20 per movie critic for a small newspaper in Georgia in the late 1970's) to come up with this opinion list. Feel free to blast away with a green Martian ray gun.

10) The Thing (1982) - John Carpenter's drenched fightmare. Far superior to the James Arness/Howard Hawks 1950's original (though there is yet another version of this due this summer). Truly a scary film and if there is one drawback, it is flat out gory and hard to watch because of the buckets of blood. My girlfriend at the time hated me for a month for giving her nightmares.

9) War of the Worlds (1953) - No, not the Tom Cruise re-tell of the same title, but the original 1950's invasion movie telling of the Orson Wells/Mercury Theater radio scare fest that a gullible American public felt was a real news broadcast (despite constant disclaimers during that show). The acting is leaden and the over-arching social commentary (biological, nuclear) fit the times but seems overwrought. Still phenomenal special effects that nearly stand some 60 years later. Way ahead of its time in modeling aliens. And the sound of the Martian machines is still haunting.

8) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - Another remake superior to its first film. Gleefully paranoid to the extreme. Arguable the second best ending to a movie ever, eclipsed only by another film on this list.

7) Alien (1979) - Dark, brooding and menacing. An entirely different film from its sequel. Most of the killing takes place off camera but it gave us possibly the most classic movie character entrance of all time. Making the crew of the Nostromo more concerned with getting their overtime pay was a smart way to humanize a film set in the distant future. This was not 'heroes to the rescue‘ it was isolated overworked blue collar miners just trying to get the hell home. That and a young Ridley getting into her space suit to blow the hatch... well guys get that part.

 6) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Go ahead - let that music rift play in your mind. Richard Dreyfuss melting down with clay mountains on the kitchen table. Thought provoking and brilliantly done on every level.

 5) Independence Day (1996) - Some hate it, sadly they have no sense of joy in their lives. Stand up and cheer -- and even the hokey lines seem perfectly fit for the tenor of the movie "oops!" "welcome to earth!", "In the words of my generation... up yours!". If you can't have big fun with this film you need to check your pulse. Very happy they resisted, given the huge box office, a sequel... so good this War of the Worlds re-telling stands on its own. "Get on the line to every squadron around the world. Tell ‘em how to bring those sons of bitches down!" Classic.

 4) Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) - It's a close call between T2 and Aliens for the best action film of all time. (It would be interesting to see which the director would chose at the better action film). James Cameron scored huge again. I am one who views the original with little less love with further viewing (to me the original simply doesn't hold well, it comes across as too schlocky 80's and the 2nd becomes even more superior a film). Arnold at his cyborg best. "Get out! (chopper pilot shakes head)" - love it!

3) Planet of the Apes (1968) - Start at the end, the single best ending in movie history. If you have never seen it and don't know the ending, try not to spoil it for yourself. A third or even fifth viewing will yield things you did not catch before, clever social commentary (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil -- if you've never caught that glimpse it's classic). Tremendously well done and holds against modern films despite its age. Great acting throughout the cast, especially to Charlton Heston and Kim Hunter. A truly great American movie -- 5 stars and a must see if you never have -- only to be followed by the worst sequels of all time.

2) Aliens (1986) - If the first was Ridley Scott's gem.. this was... wait for it.. Cameron's best (and that's saying something considering this list alone). "Eat lead Alien!" -- the US Marines strike back!  But it's Ridley's classic showdown with the nasty-nesting Mama wrapped around Paul Reiser's slimy corporate flack. Sarah Connor was tough as nails, but Ripley was the unbeaten champ.

1) E.T. The extra-terrestrial (1982) - Spielberg, like Cameron is a master - just that Spielberg is a master in every form of film. It was hard to pick just one, but the quality of the film on all levels and its enduring story make it a film that will remain a classic for as long as Hollywood makes movies. It's that Wizard of Oz quality that makes this such a wonderful experience and if you haven't seen it in 25 years, you will love it again.

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