Pinkie’s Guilty Movie Pleasures: Galaxy Quest

When Ross asked Chandler, Rachel claims this is her favorite movie, Chandler answered Dangerous Liaisons. When Ross asked what her actually favorite movie was Joey answered Weekend at Bernies. It was a great scene from Friends that does show truth. We all claim “Spirited Away” or The King’s Speech or some at least well acknowledged movie is our favorite movie while there are plenty movies that might give us more joy. Movies that make you laugh each time and we can’t help but to secretly adore. Yesterday one of mine was on local television and so it is time to start my captain’s log and confess about those movies I love but never talk about! Mission 1… Galaxy Quest

(such great box art)

Glory Days

The movie came out in the Netherlands in august of 2000, very lowkey it flew under the radar for me until I  finally rented it someday it might actually be really fun. In a way it can be seen as the Star Trek counterpart for Spaceballs which spoofed mostly Star Wars. Where the way more famous latter movie had characters actually set in the sci-fi world but being able to break through the fourth wall plenty of times, this movie is basically the exact counterpart of it.  In this movie the crew of an old sci-fi show gets called into space to deal with an evil tyrant named Sarris. However since they are only actors they don’t really know what they are doing. Everything is based on a lie and they are in over their heads. It doesn’t seem like a very original plot but it has the heart in the right place and has some very nice messages about fandoms throughout.

(The Thermians are actually Squids this is just how they see us)

Jason Nesmith , played by Tim Allan,  used to play suave captain Peter Quincy Taggart on the tv show Galaxy Quest. Along with his fellow actors Gwen DeMarco , portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, the elitist Alexander Dane, brilliantly depicted by sir Alan Rickman, the always cheerful Fred Kwan, played by Tony Shalhoub and grown up childhood star Tommy Webber, Darryl Mitchell, all he has left now is a handful of gigs to relive their glory days.These gigs vary from constant fan conventions to opening electronic stores. Galaxy Quest is clearly inspired by Star Trek and is focussing on the world of the Trekkie rather than the world of Star Trek itself. The actors in the movie can not find other gigs because they are to connected to their respective roles, an issue that still feels quite relatable.. looking at some careers.Their magical days of succes are over now. The movie deals with what is left for these actors when the golden days are over, what becomes of star trek ..or galaxy quest past it’s runtime which is where the movie really shines for me. 

(You can just smell the Gorn being close by)

Conventional

Jason is the only one about his crew that is super excited to visit these conventions. He loves how people look up to him, think he is a real Starship Captain, he takes on any gig he can find to be with his fans. Much to his crew’s dismay. He treats them like lesser elements of the show and they hate him for it. They hate him for taking this so seriously while they are tired of gig. Alan Rickman’s character is so fed up from using his catchphrase he has a little panic attack every time he has  to go on stage. At first the show seems to depict fans as your typical geek depiction of movies. Cosplayed, unhealthy looking way to shy and insanely obsessed with even the tiniest of details. Think Stewart of the Big Bang Theory.

(Justin Long plays “the geek”)

When a group of actual Aliens show up at a convention of course Jason thinks they are just another bunch of weirdo’s taking things way to serious like that one kid who ask them about how computers of level 2 could operate something, while seventeen episodes earlier it was clearly show those computers do not have that function. It’s a funny and sort of credible scenario, between the cosplayers it’s something hard to distinguish what is real and what is not.

(I can get why he thinks the ship is a set.. but that haircut!)

When Jason visits the bathroom though he hears some convention goers talk doodoo about him and he realises how much everything is a charade. He now knows the crew hates him and how he is a terrible person for allowing people to believe he is a real captain..just so he can feel cool.  Now at the same low his colleagues are.. The hurt captain has a falling out and resorts to drinking The next day he wakes up to four crazy fans at his house.. telling him he has to help them stop an alien warlord. Thinking this is some crazy larping gig he will get payed for Jason agrees.. only to quickly find out ..now things are real. Again the premises doesn’t feel original at all yet on an emotional side this one connects to me so much more. It’s the standard “in over your head” plot.. but the build up for this one is perfect.

(Is it weird that I feel hungry for Takoyaki right now?)

A Fake Reality

It takes a while for Jason to realise what he is doing is real.. after all he has been desensitized to all the sci-fi stuff by doing these sorts of gigs for 18 years. Yet when he finds out this is real.. something changes. He finds a drive to finally do something real.. he can make a true difference, it pushes him to take risks he normally would not have taken. He needed to realise his world was fake ..to realise this was real, to be able to step up to the plate and take on the challenge the movie presents. When he can get his crew involved he becomes super excited. Finally they can be the heroes they really are. The next few scenes have them revered as heroes.

After all the alien race they are helping led by Mathesar have found their footage, they saw their historic tellings and think this is the greatest crew of space adventurers that ever lived. Their race does not have a concept similar to acting. Everything they film is true.. so by their logic so was this. To get the crew to help them they reconstructed the ship to every minute detail. Tommy can fly the ship  just like he would in the show. Alexander gets the food of the race he played and Gwen…has to say what the computer says because that was her job on the show.

(She kinda looks like Claire from Modern Family)

No matter how hard the crew tries however, it doesn’t take long for cracks to appear  in this reality. Gwen’s role of repeating the computer, isn’t very practical or even useful, it’s just how female sci-fi roles were written in that time. She doesn’t know what else to do. Tommy over 18 years forgot  what he used to do on set to control the spaceship, even then he was just busy with acting not actively thinking on how to steer a ship. Things did not happen because of his piloting skills, things happened because of plot. So when he steers into a minefield this time.. things go bad very fast.

(Why are missles always more effective than lasers anyway?)

Fred was just saying lines on the job he has no real idea how a beryllium engine sphere works, so his reports to the captain are filled with doubt. Jason doesn’t realise he is not actually Peter Taggart.. and expects they have plot armor..but this movie tells them .. you don’t…. well of course they don’t die which would have been the most likely outcome..but still they suffer a big loss. I really like that they don’t actually have the skills and acting out the part is not always enough.

(1/10 Villian not Edgie Enough add more SKULSS PLOX)

A Real Lie

The third act of the movie is focussed on the actors fessing up to their lies and coming to a realisation that they are not the actually heroes of Galaxy Quest. They are not what keeps it alive. In truth it is the fandom. The show is over.. so it’s not the writing or their acting that keeps them having their job. It’s people who love their adventures.. much like these aliens they were trying to help. It’s those crazy sweaty guys that cue up for you and ask you stupid questions about terminal 125B-Q, it is those people who see you as a real captain.

(I would open a hairsalon on Themaria)

Galaxy Quest is not made by the actors who love being praised.. it is made by the people who praise it. These aliens made their ship.. and trough communication with some hardcore fans on earth the group is able to get stuff done. We see them come to terms with thinking as a fan.. treating this like it was real.. like the characters are real.. because in the hearts who made this ship.. they are real. At a certain point Rickman has to say his catchphrase to a dying Thermian..who just wants to here “By Grabthar’s Hammer You Shall be Avenged” .. because it means so much to him. Thus for the first time the phrase really gets meaning! It became real! Such a nice scene!

To me Galaxy Quest is not just about the jokes and the dry humor. It’s not about it’s predictable plot.. it’s the motivations that drive this movie. It’s not about the fight against some generic alien. Sarris is pretty generically designed.. if you think evil alien. you probably have one or two features of Sarris included in there. He is green, Lizardlike, Has warpaint, evil looking armor.. he speaks exactly like you imagine him to to do etc. Galaxy Quest is in essence NOT a movie about a Actor getting in over his head, even if that is the plot.  It’s about how fans can make something made by others greater. How they can understand it better and elevate it to another level. It’s about how an adventure did not have to actually have happened for it to be real. It’s a message to never stop loving!

(If you stop loving what you love Saris will kill you!)

I really love and watching this movie always makes me happy to be a geek. Loving a show isn’t a bad thing.. even if a story is fake it can inspire us. Maybe one day a Trekkie will actually discover warp speed based on the show, maybe one day aliens will read my blogs and use technology to give me anime powers.. because I inspired them.. who knows! Fiction can touch us in different ways and respecting it’s fandom is key. We as fans do not create shows.. or movies.. or have a say in what type of game we get. It’s our duty as fans to keep alive what we love!

Which Popcorn flick is your Guilty Pleasure? What movies are you overly positive about? Let me know in the comments and spread some love!

The Deadliest Mind Game – Pinkie Watches: Circle

You are in a room, the entire room is black except for a a weird small monolith in the middle. Around it are 50 red arrows, pointing to 50 right dots. On those dots are 50 people including you. If you exit your circle , the monolith zaps you and you die.  If nobody moves for two minutes, you hear a chime signal and after 10 seconds somebody dies. What is going on here? How do you survive? Soon you figure out that through a device in your hand and eye.. you can vote for who will be shot next. How do you play the room until you are the last one left? Do you even want to be the last one left or do you want to save a child, or a brave soldier? These questions are all answered in the 2015 movie Circle.

Game Night

Circle is a movie directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione and “stars” Julie Benz as “the wife” Kevin Sheridan as Man # 1 and David Saucedo as “The Hispanic” man. Straight from the billing it should become clear. This is not your average movie. There is no gore, there is no story, there is no big journey of discovery. We get one room and it’s not even really a room. It’s a black set with red lights and people on it and that is it. There is no story to tell here. In fact the ending is why most people seem to hate on this movie. Here is a “spoiler” for the ending.. since it’s completely and utterly inconsequential to the rest of the movie. In fact it’s so blatantly obvious that anyone who is actually surprised by the ending I deem mentally incapable of judging this movie that I do not mind them hating on it. Here goes… it turns out.. that that black area ..with the monolith firing death beams and people, you know that room where people had invisible devices installed in their eye with augmented reality, invisible forces installed in their hands.. so that corpses can be cleaned up, it was a SPACESHIP all along.

(Defo Earth Tech)

I was so surprised it wasn’t our black liquid like metal shooting instead death beams at people. So yeah.. technically this is an alien movie. Yet there are NO aliens in this film. It’s not what it is about in the slightest.  This movie is basically just Duck Duck Goose or Cards Against Humanity..but instead of voting for the funniest person you choose who has to die. It’s all about how people play this diabolical game. How do you maximise the changes of your survival, who would you kill. It’s the trickiest and most nerve wrecking game you will ever play, and there is not a single thing more to this movie than 50 people playing that game. I like that! Aliens.. are just a flavor slapped onto that and nothing more. 

Judge Jury Executioner

This movie, which feels actually more like a publication of a thought experiment highlights how people think. I do think it nails the thought process during such a game. A lot of the the choices being made are logical, a lot of the strategies being played by it’s players are quite briljant and the conclusion was satisfactory. I felt this mental process was actually quite real. At first the group decides to pick off the oldest people, those who already have lived a full life. They had a good life, now it’s time for others. This makes sense. Yet when you cull down an age group eventually people start to rebel against the idea for simply being somewhat middle aged. They will vote differently and the strategy will have to change. Minorities fear being picked off, for simply being outnumbered. However if you start to kill on a racial basis they can never win.. so they can’t turn it into a race war either.

New strategies have to arise. The game is constantly changing, strategies are dropped when they don’t pan out but later people try again. It’s all rather well done.Never was I sure who was going to die. I would plan how I would strategise to make my own way out of this and what I came up with is not that much different from that of the winner. The movie succeeds in both showing of how cruel humanity can be , but also how our moral fiber can work against us. In a room where 50 people enter and only one can leave, in truth everyone is equal..however only very few will be able to see this.  Everyone has a bias to what people are more important to save. To one person you may be a low life that lives of the coin of others, to another person in the room you might be worthy to save because your pregnant thus count as two lives. In fact what people see doesn’t even have to be true. We see people lie, accuse others of crimes or sins.
We see people trying to condemn a lesbian..because her adopted kid would have a “less normal life” than that of other parents in this room.  We see people play the christianity card because there is a large chance people believe in god. We see atheists try to exploit that very same christianity to target sinners. 

In such a situation in actuality, genders, age, sexual preference, it all doesn’t matter yet it does. You do not face people in this arena. You face gods. Everyone has the power to smite you if you do not smite them first. The writers seem to know this very well and the outcome feels realistic without feeling forced. I think if you ran simulations the one who survived never would have one in a single simulation..but were you find their mirror counterparts 100 times over it would always end the same. Since this movie is all about the game being played and I enjoyed the game being played I can only give them great praise for making it feel so real to me.

Clue

Not everything is great about this movie though, the cinematography rarely works out as well. More often than not we miss who died, and while most of the time a offscreen death is of one of the more silent characters sometimes a major character can be killed why you still wonder “Wait who died”.
The sound is very echo-like which makes sense in the room but can be a bit harsh on the ears. We often hear critical lines of dialogue being said while we do not say who says it. Luckily I watched with English Subtitles with fixed this problems but with 50 people in the game I really would not have know who said it based on their voice alone. I would really recommend everyone watching this to watch it with English subtitles for more than one reason. Fairly soon after a woman who introduced herself by name is remorsely gunned down for blabbing she had no children, people decide it might not always be wise to talk and share. At least not names as it will only make it harder to do what needs to be done.

Thusly virtually no one is named. The way the subtitles fix this is by updating themselves. Older Woman #2 can suddenly become “Cancer Survivor”  Hispanic Lady can become “Translator” and so on. Yet many characters only begin to speak when they have to reveal something. Saying too much of course means you can say something wrong. Here is where the true strength of the movie lies.  If you play along with the game, you can find out which lines can condemn someone. You try to find who will be the last person standing based on how they play. You pick your own strategy yet you constantly read the room. However this means that his movie isn’t something you should watch to casualty. You have to at least play along a bit. Keep a focus and think about motivations a bit. The journey from point A to B (being from 50 persons left in a room to 1 )  isn’t very interesting. It’s established early on.. there is no escaping there will be one survivor.The last kill had some scary implications that actually made me shiver when I realised what just happened. Yet all of this would have been lost on me if I would watch something very casually. This movie will do nothing for you if you crave mindless action or an easy watch. You’ll have to feel like playing a game and think on who might be up to something evil

Good Versus Evil

Morality and trying to always be kind and good can sometimes be our own worst enemy. This movie shows us the need to take care of yourself..because no one else truly does so. In the second half of the movie a “good” and “evil” camp start to form, but no one truly belongs in either category it’s all relative. We see people sacrifice themselves only to have their names instantly forgotten. We see  a cleary “evil” characters who trying to vote kill a young kid, and we see that the logic and arguments he uses is completely correct. He gets a following and in fairness I would have sided with him as well. Which brings up other interesting things.

Depending on who I would have replaced in the game it could have been a totally different game. A single different vote somewhere in this game could have changed the outcome dramatically. How long can we be good in the face of death? Will being good be rewarding?  This movie poses some interesting questions and it does a great job in answering them as well. It does a great job in reflecting a randomly grabbed mishmash of people, where no one is really truly the same yet in essence we all are. How do we twist perception to suit our needs? In a way we don’t just to this in a black monolith laser death game. We do this in real life as well. Damn people for being different, take away their chances because it will give ourselves a bigger chance. In essence we are all the same, no good people, no evil people. We just play the game differently from each other, and we can not just refuse to play the game. So in the end all you really can do is play the game in the way you would play it and hope for the best.  This movie is available on Netflix! So take a peek if you are into these kind of things.