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 Loser's Guide to Life

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Scientific Anomaly 

I am watching a movie called Survivor (1999), in which some people are drilling a hole deep under the sea, looking for oil, but they strike some mysterious green slime. This slime is like aloe vera oil and has curative properties, but there is also an alien down there, and that turns out to be a difficulty.

Another problem: not only does the alien want to kill everyone, but the people have somehow managed to lock themselves into the drilling station. That happens, though. Just when the place is going to blow up, or an alien decides to eat everyone, people misplace their keys.

The hero is unshaven and smokes a cigar for coolness, good-looking but with a bit of an edge. There is also a sensible black man, some women, and assorted workers.

What's interesting is that when things go awry, the science nerd gets to step forward and explain something in a blithering, dysfunctional way, talking too fast and looking all bashful in his glasses and uncool vandyke and dumb turtleneck with a v-neck sweater-jacket over it. He seems to be modeled after engineering genius “Brains” from The Thunderbirds. He uses lots of excessively long words that normal people can't understand, so the hero squints and looks tough and makes his assessment: “So you're saying this is for real, right?”

No, that's not interesting. The interesting thing is that the woman hero is just as smart as the science nerd. Yeah, yeah, don't explain anything to her; she knows. After the alien starts sneaking around the drilling station killing people, she explains: “I mean—this thing was here before the first living organism swam through the primordial sea.” So she's terrifyingly articulate as well.

But that's not interesting. What's interesting is that she's smart, but she also gets to be hot. That happens often enough in real life, or course, but in the movies it just translates into fewer jobs for women actors.


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.