Hidden Netflix Gems – Earth Girls Are Easy

Hidden Netflix Gems is a new feature designed to help readers answer that burning question, “What should I watch tonight?” It will be updated every Saturday before the sun goes down.

In an oddball blend of ’50s science fiction classics like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still, combined with much stronger elements of beach musicals and screwball comedy, director Julien Temple‘s Earth Girls Are Easy explores interplanetary sexual politics with a light and infectiously fun touch. This is one of those ’80s movies, much like The Lost Boys, that is objectively silly and perhaps unimportant to the history of cinema, but is nonetheless one of my favorite movies of all time.

Valerie (Geena Davis) is a sort of ditzy manicurist who works at beauty parlor in San Fernando Valley with her gloriously superficial and oversexed friend Candy (co-writer Julie Brown). After discovering her physician fiancée, Ted (Charles Rocket), attempting to cheat on her with a nurse he brings home, she kicks him out and wrecks most of his belongings in a musical montage of destruction and bittersweet flashbacks of the better times they spent together. Of all the film’s musical numbers, this is the weakest, but still great visual fun and prime ’80s nostalgia, as when Valerie shoves a box of Ted’s cigars into the VCR, or when she sends a bowling ball crashing into his Commodore 64 computer. As if her relationship troubles aren’t bad enough, the next morning a spaceship full of furry, horny aliens lands in her pool, and Valerie has to figure out how to keep them secret until they can fix their flooded ship and head back to their home planet.

The aliens are Mac (Jeff Goldblum), Zeebo (Damon Wayans) and Wiploc (Jim Carrey), and of course the solution to the problem of how to hide their alien identity is a makeover. Candy assists, removing the aliens’ colorful fur and revealing “three major cute guys” underneath. Valerie falls for Mac in particular, becoming enamored with his innocent, childlike ways, a result of the culture clash experienced by all three aliens, which is a major source of the film’s comedy. In perhaps the funniest scene in the movie, Zeebo and Wiploc, en route to a beach trip with Valerie’s aging surfer pool cleaner, Woody (Michael McKean), take his suggestion that they pick up “bread and junk” for sandwiches very literally. Brandishing a realistic toy gun accidentally stolen from a child earlier, they tell the frightened cashier, “Give us bread. We need junk.”

Though Earth Girls Are Easy could fairly be labeled predictable and certainly inconsequential, it has an undeniable charm, and only the severely humor-deficient will be unable to find something to like about it. For whatever reason, this movie is actually something of an addiction for me, a film I have to rewatch at least once a year or so in order to feel that all is right with the universe, to remind me that even with all the problems of the planet earth, at least its female humans don’t play too hard to get.

  

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RIP Corey Haim

It’s tempting at a time like this to pontificate (I just discarded a paragraph where I did just that). Honestly, though, I really don’t have a clue what happened to Corey Haim, who will forever be known as one of the stars of “The Lost Boys,” one of the “The Two Coreys” and one half of a Hollywood punchline, and why he died from what appear to be drug-related causes at 38.

All I can do is wonder what it must be like to get singled out at age 16 for a bit of praise on television by one of the nation’s two top-film critics, and then a few years later to be frequently name-checked in an insulting way by, seemingly, everyone; to get referenced in a hit song, ironically by a band that’s also in danger of becoming something of a footnote;  and, of course, to find yourself trading on your own embarrassing form of celebrity. It certainly can’t make getting off drugs any easier, but then we all have problems, right? Also, I can’t lie and tell you he had the stuff to be another Montgomery Clift, though, looking at his credits, he worked more than most of us remember.

Anyhow, because it’s the thing to do, here is Corey Haim in his moment of glory.

  

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Blu Tuesday: Twilight, Bolt and Bond

Get ready to clean out your bank account, because there are plenty of great high-def titles hitting stores this week. So many, in fact, that I don’t have the space (or time) to talk about every one. James Bond fans will probably see the biggest dent in their savings, however, as five different titles have received the Blu-ray treatment. Let’s go ahead and jump right in with arguably the biggest title of the week.

“Twilight” (Summit Entertainment)

It’s not very often that a film adaptation is better than the source material, but then again, Stephanie Meyer’s novel really isn’t as good as its rabid fanbase would lead you to believe. Female moviegoers may have made “Twilight” a pop culture phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean guys won’t enjoy it too. It’s no “Lost Boys,” but it’s still worth seeing once. For some strange reason, however, the Blu-ray edition is exclusive to Best Buy and Target until May 5th, when Amazon unleashes their ultimate collector’s edition. Diehard fans looking to get their HD fix would be better of just waiting for that version, because despite the fact that it contains the exact same bonus material (audio commentary, deleted/extended scenes, making-of featurette), it also contains a sneak peak at the upcoming sequel, “New Moon.”

“Bolt” (Walt Disney)

Credit Disney for one thing: they understand the needs of their consumers. While many studios have adopted the idea of including digital copies, Disney has taken it one step further by packing every major Blu-ray title with a digital copy and a DVD version of the film. After all, kids tend to watch movies on the go, and since there currently aren’t any portable Blu-ray players on the market, it encourages parents to purchase the hi-def version without having to buy a DVD version for the road. Unfortunately, the extras aren’t quite as revolutionary, though there are a few cool art galleries that make me wish I could buy some of the prints for my home. Plus, kids and parents will both get a kick out of the “Super Rhino” short. It’s a great complement to what is easily Disney’s best CG film to date.

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