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085: Top 5 Alien Invasion Movies  & Stranger Things 2

Maximilian Rivera November 7, 2017


By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

This week we are counting down our Top 5 Alien Contact & Invasion films! We also finish the episode with a spoiler-filled Stranger Things 2 review.


This week we’re diving deeper into the alien contact & invasion genre to bring you Scott & Max’s Top 5 Alien Contact and Invasion Films. Now, our rules were that we can’t just list movies we’ve watched (Sorry, Mac & Me), and that it has to at least be partially set on Earth as a Human-Focused Story. We bend these rules when we need to, of course.

After we briefly discuss what we define for this subgenre, we go right into our list.

Runner Up List: Star Trek First Contact, Fire in the Sky, Mars Attacks, Predator, and Super 8.

Scott’s #5: Galaxy Quest

It only JUST qualifies as an alien contact movie, but meets enough of our standard where we kept it in. As a satire of the Star Trek franchise, it manages to stand on its own legs.

Max’s #5: Independence Day

It’s cheesy, a lot of people hate it, and it’s always playing on TBS. Independence Day rocked theaters when it premiered, and is still discussed to this day. It’s a film that depends on disaster tropes to sell the emotional beats, and delivers a bunch of America, F-Yeah moments.

Max’s #4: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Not the only Steven Spielberg film on our list, Close Encounters is a classic alien contact film which shows what happens when a father becomes obsessed with a UFO experience. The film builds around his obsession and we join him on his journey towards making alien contact.

Scott’s #4, Max’s #3: District 9

Neill Blomkampf’s best film, without a doubt, is District 9. This film is unique as it takes place in Johannesburg instead of NYC or Los Angeles, and the whole plot is an allegory for apartheid and racial inequality. The story takes place with a bunch of amoral humans pushing different agendas while the aliens try to adapt.

Scott’s #3, Max’s #1: E.T. The Extraterrestial

E.T. is a touchstone moment in cinema that still influences media today (cough, Stranger Things, cough). The story is simple enough — an alien gets stuck on earth, befriends a child, and they help each other get better and go home. It’s the same plot as Mac and Me!

Scott’s #2: Edge of Tomorrow

One of our more action-oriented films, Edge of Tomorrow (Live, Die, Repeat — All You Need is Kill) is a Tom Cruise take on Groundhog Day, but with aliens. This movie is a fun-filled scifi romp that cleverly use time-play to tell a story that is unpredictable and satisfying.

Max’s #2: The Thing

The Thing is a memorable sci-fi horror film that is set in Antarctica. It uses isolation, paranoia, and special effects to horrify audiences as they watch a group of researchers get taken down by an alien invader. It’s worth watching without too much knowledge, but know that you will be terrified while also entertained.

Scott’s #1: Arrival

Scott probably mentions this movie once per episode, but who can blame him? Arrival is the ultimate alien contact film, literally focusing on language and what two species communicating would feel like. The humanity angle is poignant and doesn’t pull any punches.

What are your favorite alien contact and invasion films? Send us a message and let us know!

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.