Three Strategical Flaws in Every Movie with Alien Invasions

Hollywood has provided us with a myriad of alien invasion movies in the past 70 years. Somehow, humankind has always been fascinated with the idea of extraterrestrial beings visiting us, although the possibility of this happening is close to zero, for many reasons, two of which are the fact that planet Earth isn’t as unique as we think (in the vast Universe there can be many planets that have similar solar systems and conditions to ours), and because invaluable resources can also be found on desolate planets. Regardless of the reasons of invasions, the silver screen always seems to end in disaster, for the invaders, of course. But how is it possible that an underdeveloped civilization (because this is usually the case) somehow manages to repeatedly crush aliens which are hundreds of years more advanced than us? Here are the strategical flaws that we have found.

1. They Usually Wait for a Counter-Attack

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Almost all alien invasion movies follow the same pattern: there is an initial, unexpected attack during which the vast majority of humans are destroyed like ants under a jackboot. In the mean-time the aliens take a “vacation”, survivors run around screaming and the remaining military forces muster their forces. The best example in this case is Independence Day, where the aliens attack, then you watch one hour of plot-development around Will Smith who somehow manages to come up with a war-winning strategy. Another example is Skyline, where the aliens who have a giant tractor beam which can suck all humans decide to run around naked picking each human individually. So next time aliens decide to invade Earth, they’d better not wait around for Randy Quaid to insert himself through their mother-ship.

2. In God’s Name, Put some Clothes on

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Is nobody else bothered by the fact that these genius, intergalactic warrior civilizations with laser shields, invisibility cloaks, tractor beams and a fleet of ships who evaporate people under their clothing don’t have clothes of their own? If you have a civilization as advanced as this, you simply can’t skip on the important stuff, and by these we are not referring to the latest fashions, but you simply cannot invade a foreign planet (which probably does not have the same living conditions as your own) with your junk flying along. Without a doubt the best example in this case is Signs. Many people laughed at the idea that they died because of water. In their defense, it wasn’t their fault that water was fatal to them, but it was their fault that they did not properly protect themselves against it. You simply cannot visit another planet without researching beforehand.

The invasion in War of the Worlds might seem better-thought out, but at a closer look you can see the same major problem. Although their shields are immune to bombs and bullets they somehow find it a good idea to start prancing about in their birthday while stuffing their faces with everything, like unsupervised toddlers. Of course, they eventually die from the cold. The same thing happens with E.T. Even if we are inferior beings, we still know that we shouldn’t eat or drink questionable things, or exit our houses naked during winter.

3. Never Attack America First

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Attacking the most developed military force in the world is like punching a mugger in the knife. Sure, it may make sense get rid of the strongest opposition and not meet any other resistance during a war, that of course, if you are an American screen-writer, but in reality wars are very different. If you’ve ever read a history book you will know that most sieges were based on a simple rule: to rob the opposition faction of its most important resources, and watch it crumble to the ground. This rule can be applied during an alien invasion. In other words, instead of vaporizing the White House it would be more effective to attack countries that provide America and other military forces with raw materials (for example fuel). Once you have done this you can just wait around for riots to start out on the street, and the military to occupy its time trying to extinguish them. Then, and only then will you be able to crush the resistance.

5 Lovable Movie Villains We Just Can’t Hate

If there’s one true thing about mankind, a trait that seems to remain the same even across various cultures and societies, it must be the fact that we do love a good story. Stories, fairytales and all forms of slightly ritualized narratives have accompanied us from, well, basically, from the beginning of our humanity. And another constant seems to be that every story has a good set of characters and a bad one, at least up to some point. While it’s true that modern stories tend to be more complex and try to also portray the motivations of the “bad guy” and to therefore cast him in a more humane light, every story still needs some kind of struggle or tension between the good and the bad. Therefore, there will always be a need for villains to make a story worth repeating. As long as mankind exists in it actual form of humanity, there will always be a job for movie villains in every Hollywood story.

But how about those kind of nice movie villains that are so cute that we just can’t hate? As if resonating with the bad guys up to some point and seeing the problem from their perspective wasn’t enough, some villains are also impossibly cute or just so charismatic that we can’t really want them to lose. Since those delightful fellows are such an interesting mix of good, wrong, and plenty of spice, it was time to have a cover story that featured the most memorable of this strange villain breed. Therefore, here’s our take on how the list of top 5 lovable movie villains should look like, in a random order.

1. Victor from “Despicable me”

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Victor is, initially, a pure villain who is, well, just despicable. But the problem is that even the term best used to describe him, despicable, is in itself impossibly cute. Really, each time one hears “despicable” being used to describe something, one can’t help but smile, right? So since the bad guy in this movie makes you smile even from the beginning with the way his evilness is described, that should be a strong hint for what’s to follow. The cute movie villain falls in love with three adorable little girls and adopts them, while the audience falls in love with him. And they conquer the world together, happily ever after.

2. Dracula (from almost all Dracula movies)

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The daddy of all vampires, Dracula provides movies with a very rich and seemingly inexhaustible source of inspiration. We’ve previously shared with you a list of the best movie depictions of Dracula, and it’s already pretty clear that in many cases, the character is so charismatic and sometimes so human (like when he shows us his vulnerable side that is nostalgic for his dead wife and falls in love with Mina) that we can’t help rooting for him. Admit it.

3. Loki from “Thor”

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We won’t deny that Tom Hiddleston’s charms may have very much to do with it, but even though Thor is the main character in the series, Loki has a way vaster girl fandom. The man (well, villain) is pure erotic intensity in a pack, walking around and throwing witty come-backs. How could anyone not like him?

4. Beetlejuice

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There are two reasons to be crazy for this guy. One, he’s one of Tim Burton’s best creations and we’re in love with that man’s mind. Two, even though we don’t secretly root for him and want him to win at any point in the movie, the character is just so cool (in a 90s kind of way) that everyone agrees he deserves to have the movie named after him. P.S: He brags about the good times he had during the black plague. Adorable!

5. Hannibal Lector

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Even though the man is clearly psychotic and probably the only truly evil entry on this list, we all somehow hold up a small hope that he genuinely loves Clarice and that this details makes him a bit more human. Also, we’re fascinated by his intellect, thus making a list of lovable movie villains incomplete without him.

Great movies about poets that you should see

If we’re recently shared with you a list of great movie portrayals of fictional detectives, today is the turn of the best movies about poets and poetry-writing. Some of the poets whose stories are presented here are very real historical people, albeit their story is modified to a lesser o greater extent to make a better movie, or, in other cases, the characters presented in them haven’t existed altogether. The lure of poetry as an ancient art hasn’t faded even in contemporary times when the image seems to have replaced the word in importance, and movies about poets and poetry continue to possess that je ne sais quoi many of enjoy. You may be more prone to love these if you’re a teenager, or a junior letters student, or a middle aged literature teacher for an elementary school of kids that don’t seem to get you, but we promise they’re nice to watch even if you don’t fit any of those categories.

1. Dead Poets Society (1989)

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The movie of my childhood and still one of the best movies about poets ever to be made. It features the brilliant Robin Williams, a very young Robert Sean Leonard (who later played Dr. Wilson in the Dr. House TV series) and the best kind of teaching atmosphere any student and (open-minded) teacher could wish for. No more to say other than that: this first entry is also the best.

2. Bright Star (2009)

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The final three years in the life of John Keats and his relationship with Fanny Browne are explored in this romantic-toned movie. The title is inspired of a famous poem Keats wrote for her, named “Bright star, would I were I as steadfast as thou art”, while many of their love letters served as sources for the script. It sounds very cheese, but the list of great movies about poets wouldn’t be complete without it.

3. The Raven (2012)

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This wonderfully esthetic movie explores the final days of the poet Edgar Allen Poe (whose historic circumstances of death are still a mystery) as he attempts to discover the killer behind a series of murders and to save the angelic woman he loves. In a way, the poet doubles as a sort-of Sherlock figure throughout the movie, but it’s an interesting twist that seems very natural. The story is completely made up, of course, but John Cusack plays magnificently and the atmosphere is so dark and goth and poetic, while the themes and many of the characters are inspired from the work of the actual poet and writer, that it makes this piece a must-see.

4. Howl (2010)

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Howl is a somewhat controversial movie, or, better said, a movie which means to explore the life of a rather controversial poet: Allen Ginsberg. It stars James Franco in the lead role and it focuses on the American author’s Six Gallery Debut and his 1957 obscenity trial. The poet was sued in that public obscenity trial for his poem “Howl” that alludes to some drug use and homosexual practices, and that historic moment is considered an important milestone in the battle for free speech.

5. The Edge of Love (2008)

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Since not all things pertaining to the society of poets (and writers in general) are all that nice and dreamy, this movie explores the somewhat darker and turbulent side of things. Without being overly disrespectful, the movie explores the life and relationships of the poet Dylan Thomas and the harmful effects of his personality on the life of his friends and close ones. A good secondary reason to watch it is because Keira Knightley is as hot and intriguing as usual in this film.

6. Kill Your Darlings (2013)

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Another movie in which Allen Ginsberg appears as a character, Kill Your Darlings is about the early members of the Beat Generation and their friendships and interactions. Not only is this a watch that will make you think about how all changes and yet all remains the same in the youth culture, but it’s also a must-see as it marks the re-debut of Daniel Radcliffe in a non-Harry Potter movie.

The Most Loved Fictional Detectives

Reading about private investigators or watching their stories come to life under the transforming wand of the movie industry is a classic soft spot for generations upon generations of people. We all adore solving puzzles and, generally speaking, we’re a society that takes much pride in its rationality and logic; this powerful belief in the power of reason, coupled with the fact that these detectives are always in the service of good, seeking to discover the truth for benevolent purposes, is what makes their stories irresistible.

The bravery and wit of private investigators who manage to uncover the truth against all odds and often against dangerous villainy was a popular theme even in Victorian literature, but it has become a staple of British literature especially during the so-called “Golden Age of Detective Fiction” (1920-1930). The first one to reach public recognition was C. Auguste Dupin, created by the dark and gloomy and wonderful Edgar Allan Poe. Of course, there are also notable private investigators who were not created by British literature, or who weren’t the product of one author’s imagination but of folk fables and so on. What we’ll be presenting here is a short list of the world’s most loved fictional detectives, as they’ve managed to captivate the mind and hearts of readers and viewers everywhere.

1. Sherlock Holmes

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The character was first created by Arthur Conan Doyle and then took over by many other movies, pieces of fiction and other hubs of popular culture; he remains to this day the iconic figure of the job. The name “Sherlock” has pervaded the everyday speech either as a synonym for an investigator of any sort, either as an ironic term or tease-phrase for someone who is lost, confused or inattentive to what’s around him or her. There can never be an investigator to match his recognition, but Sherlock would also never be complete without his assistant, Dr. Watson.

2. Jessica Fletcher

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Interesting because she’s a female private investigator, easy to like because she’s not your typical young-and-hot bombshell that just logs hours on a screen under the cover-up of being the main character of a mystery series, Jessica Fletcher appeared in Murder, She wrote, a TV show that aired between 1984 and 1996. Though the fiction world doesn’t lack strong female bad-ass characters anymore, this witty old lady is vulnerable and charming but not any less effective than other well-known male detectives. The character was first of all a harmless mystery novel writer, but her brilliant mind also helped her solve the murder cases that somehow seemed to find their way to her, so she was more of a reluctant albeit nosey detective, and she was extremely popular with TV viewers for precisely these reasons. She can remind some people of the also wonderful Agatha Christie herself, since they’re both mystery writers.

3. Colombo

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This time, the fictional investigator is an American creation, but he was somewhat contemporary with Jessica Fletcher, as their shows were both at the peak of their popularity in the 90s. The friendly detective Colombo, of Italian descent, is so adorable to TV viewers because of his apparent clumsiness, his lack of luster appearance and his seemingly absent-minded naivety. This collection of traits is what also makes the criminals despise him and leave their guard down, but they soon discover that in spite of his playing-dumb behavior, Colombo is actually very smart and will always end up getting them.

4. Arsene Lupin

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Another crowd favorite, Arsene Lupin is sort of the French counter-version of Sherlock. He was created by Maurice Leblanc at about the same time with the British detective, but the major difference between them is that Arsene is actually a gentleman thief first and foremost, and his detective skills and deeds come as somewhat as a mere chance event. He is sexy and witty and great with the ladies (and he’s played by the awesome Romain Duris in the movie adaptations), but his good heart is the trait that redeems him and makes him one of the most loved fictional detectives of all times. As we soon find out, the French rascal’s actions always lead to the capture of villains worse than he is; this makes him a bit of a Robin Hood figure.

This list of well-loved fictional detectives could also include many others, but since we want to keep it relatively short, we’ll settle these four aces for the time. Plan some reading and some movie nights if our presentation sparked curiosity or nostalgia. Enjoy.

Top 5 Depictions of Dracula

Since we’re recently shared with you the funniest depictions of Hitler in popular culture, it was about time we’ve also put together a list of the best depictions of another historical villain, Dracula. Well, to clarify things a bit, the historical figure of Vlad ?epe? upon which the fantastic character of Dracula is based wasn’t actually a villain, at least for the standards of his time. But the phantasy representation of him in Bram Stocker’s original novel and all the subsequent versions of his tale that followed all kind of depict Dracula like a villain.

There are a few stories that want to cast him in a somewhat positive light, of course, portraying him like the tortured hero that is noble and means to fight his impulses the best he can, and a few love stories thrown into the mix contribute inevitably to this romantic idea. With all these somewhat conflicting ideas projected upon the image of Dracula, the character has become quite a complex figure in popular culture. Vampires are a very popular topic in movies and shows (perhaps only recently bested by zombies), precisely because of this cocktail of danger, cruelty, lust, good looks and a touch of romanticism. As much as we enjoy the concept of vampires, let’s not forget that Dracula was the daddy of them all. Let’s see what the top 5 depictions of Dracula might be.

1. Bela Lugosi (1931)

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Whether you may prefer a more romanticized version of Dracula or not, Bela Lugosi is still the first name that pops to mind when you think of the best movie depictions of Dracula. If you try to re-watch it now, it may not seem a big deal for our modern taste, which is trained to like more contemporary forms of entertainment, of course, but the movie is still valuable and unique. Moreover, if you try to put the movie in context and compare it with other movies of its era, you’ll see that it was actually pretty dark and quite creepy, for the time, while also exhibiting a great deal of Lugosi’s macho-like charm.

2. Gary Oldman (1992)

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If it’s about my personal tastes, I would have put this one first, because it was quite the romantic version of the story and I have to admit I have a soft spot for it. Especially since Gary Oldman was in such good company: with a cast including Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins, how could a movie be anything less than a masterpiece? Small chance. If you share my weakness for romanced-up vampire stories and haven’t seen the film yet, please do. Check out the “river princess” scene for extra emotional goose-bumps.

3. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (2013)

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Ok, so this wasn’t a movie per se, but a series of ten episodes, and it’s still so fresh it couldn’t be counted among the classics. Yes, but the portrayal was also great because, first of all, Jonathan Rhys Meyers has a charm and a madness that few can match, and second of all because all of the romanticized reasons described at the number 2 above. Plus, the series is seriously lustier than any of the movies; perhaps that’s not great art and just great entertainment, but as long it’s great it doesn’t matter.

4. Klaus Kinski (1979)

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Ok, no more fluffy romanticized or lusty stuff. This is a seriously disturbing and creepy portrayal of Dracula in a seriously disturbing and creepy movie (Nosferatu the Vampyre). If you’re a true horror fan, this one’s for you.

5. Max Schreck (1922)

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Another great actor in another Nosferatu movie, Max Schreck is brilliant (again, for his time) in how he manages to play a believable blood-hungry corpse withered but still menacing, that may have been around for hundreds of years up to the point in which he may not even remember how it is to be human. It’s less creepy than the previous version, but a list of the best depictions of Dracula wouldn’t be complete without him.