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Monday, September 7, 2015

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

An Indiana lineman (Richard Dreyfuss) experiences a close encounter with a UFO while driving in the early hours of the morning. This alters his life when he becomes obsessed with the subject to the point of alienating his wife (Teri Garr). He bonds with a single mother (Melinda Dillon) whose child (Cary Guffey) has been kidnapped by a UFO. One of the greatest science fiction films ever made and a personal favorite. Steven Spielberg's second feature film is pure bliss. With the rare exception like DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, in the 1950s UFOs were portrayed as threats to humankind. Aliens wanted to invade and take over the planet. Spielberg's dreamy vision is more optimistic. There's magic in the making here and Spielberg plays on every nerd's fantasy of how we would like an actual encounter to be realized. Dreyfuss's family man is a kid who's never grown up, abandoning his family for the skies (something Spielberg has said he'd never do if making the film today). The film still retains its ability to fascinate. One of the most joyous films I've ever experienced, I can still remember the collective gasp of the audience when the mother ship was first shown in all its glory in a 70 millimeter blow up. I have to mention Melinda Dillon's Oscar nominated performance. It's amazing what she is able to do with so little to work from and John Williams' underscore gives me goosebumps. With Francois Truffaut, Bob Balaban, Roberts Blossom and Josef Sommer.  

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