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SIGNS review

When Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross reinvented the art of superhero comics with their MARVELS, something rather profound happened to me. For the first time in my life I looked at superheroes from the angle of imagining what it would be like to live in a world where the events that I’ve seen portrayed in issue after issue of a thousand comics would be thought of by the people living in that world that were… like me… normal and not super at all.

It wasn’t about the ‘hero’ shots anymore, where we stay on their plane of existence, but from the point of view of that guy down below looking up at gods, demigods and beings beyond imagination doing things one could not believe. It made me reflect upon fiction as though it were part of my world, it made me reexamine my own take on the medium that I had given so much of my active thought processes over to, and made me think… What if it were real?

Then with UNBREAKABLE - M. Night did something that was even more earth-shattering for my thought processes about comic books and super-heroes. What if you've been a super-hero all along, that your own marginal expectations and evaluation of your own abilities have kept you from discovering what you were truly capable of. What if you discovered you were a superhuman, not in the MARVEL UNIVERSE not in the D.C. UNIVERSE or any of those others... But what if you were a superhuman in our world... for real.

It is that WHAT IF quality that I love, cherish and adore about M Night Shyamalan.

When we were younger and Steven Spielberg could literally do no wrong, I believed in the magic he used to transport me. He took people living in the suburbs, blue-collar types and took them on adventures you couldn’t imagine. JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and E.T. were perhaps the most astonishing. The films he produced like POLTERGEIST, BACK TO THE FUTURE, GREMLINS and YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES captivated me with that same… this could be YOUR adventure quality. Even Steven’s television show I grew up with… AMAZING STORIES, all of his classic period work was about WHAT IF. From MUMMY DADDY to GHOST TRAIN to THE MISSION to that Alamo episode to the Sid Caesar magician bloke episode… The ideas that flowed from Steven’s head back then… all those STORY BY credits he used to have… It is just sad to see that well dry up. Now he’s an adaptation boy. Finding other people’s stories to tell, and really I miss his own. Perhaps he has no more stories to tell personally. If so, I’m glad that folks like M. Night Shyamalan and Richard Kelly and Charlie Kaufman are around to give the stories that are told on film that personal touch I miss from Steven’s films today.

For M. Night’s grasp of the WHAT IF, I can’t help but reflect upon a screening of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS at a Quentin Tarantino Film Festival, where he went into an amazing introduction in regards to the TOHO Universe, where he wished he could make a GODZILLA film that wasn’t about the military trying to get Godzilla out of the town, but rather a Woody Allen type of movie set in the Toho Universe Tokyo where… from time to time 300 Ft Tall Monsters could come and destroy everything you know and care about. How these creatures would come to have quasi-religious cults that would worship them, that you would have basic drills just like EARTHQUAKE scares and TORNADO warnings… The Giant Monster Updates on TV and Radio. How the whole of society would be conditioned to deal with the horror in the most normal and accepting manner there could be. Much like the people in George Pal’s TIME MACHINE did in regards to Nuclear War… Where it was simply a way of life that was adapted to.

There’s something wonderful about treating the incredible, in all seriousness, as though it is something that happens in our world and it is no longer a work of fiction and you… your neighbor… your pastors and doctors and law enforcement types have to deal with… FOR REAL. And play it serious, with everything having the weight of reality behind it. That this, for better or worse, is happening in our world, where people die, people get sick and it doesn’t necessarily work out for the best. OH… And life will never be the same for anyone after this point.

SIGNS is our story about THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. It isn’t about the world fighting the aliens and repelling the invaders ala WAR OF THE WORLDS, MARS ATTACKS! or INDEPENDENCE DAY… This is your story. The story of the little family that is caught up in this. They are not the key to it all. They don’t discover something profound that drives the aliens away. They are simply one of the millions of stories that would take place, the night the aliens came.

This would be like telling the story of Moses from the point of view of some anonymous stone carver that didn’t understand why flaming hail was falling from the sky, where the various plagues were coming from, but by the time the Angel of Death rumors start, you better believe he’s painting lambs blood over his door, because he’s seen shit that made him really believe.

See, to a large degree that’s what M. Night is doing. He’s making movies about characters that don’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Harvey, and he’s making them believe.

As an audience member, I find it my duty to simply let him take me with him on these stories. Just giving myself over to Shyamalan and letting the story take me wherever it may take me.

All I really knew about SIGNS was that there were Crop Circles and I think Aliens actually appear in the film… I think. I knew that Mel Gibson played a preacher that didn’t believe anymore, that he had a couple of kids and that Joaquin Phoenix played some sort of relative.

That’s the perfect way to go into this film, because M. Night, Tak Fujimoto, the actors, James Newton Howard and Barbara Tulliver are going to take you on an experience. And when it is all wrapped up at the end, well I just want to see it again. Not for any other reason than to watch possibly the most elegant old school filmmaker working today, tell a story to perfection. Knowing exactly when he wants you to know something, when to hand you a piece of information, what to put in front of our eyes, while giving our ears something else to do.

This is just perfect filmmaking for me. It really just feels perfect. Everything exactly the way I love it. There are some tiny things that might bother some folks, because they feel that Shyamalan is talking down to his audience, but I disagree. That moment towards the end of the film isn’t about the ‘audience’ realizing something, but for a character in the film. It is about that character’s blink thought – his OX-BOW INCIDENT reflection at the end of all things. Had we not seen his thoughts, for me, the moment would have lost its emotional resonance. It would have simply been… cute. As played, I felt it was perfect. It isn’t a huge twist, just a moment of realization, not unlike Chazz Palminteri’s character in THE USUAL SUSPECTS…except more subtle and a helluvalot less ‘earth-shattering’. Like I said, the scene in question, you’ll know it when you see it, isn’t about you realizing it, it is about that character realizing it. About it registering for him. Then – it is time to move forward, because that character can finally move forward with what he needs to do. No matter, I loved this scene.

Watching this trilogy of films from M. Night has been bliss. A trilogy about believing in the impossible. About dealing with the impossible. About living through the impossible. What a wonderful place to explore.

He’s done it with razor sharp humor, built out of the situations that the characters find themselves in. For example… the Baby monitor moment in the family car… how that scene evolves, where that scene goes, what that scene does… It feels organic, real and creepy as all hell. There are things to laugh at… nervously and hilariously… but it is grounded in reality.

The dog scenes are simple and utter perfection. Just hair on the back of the neck, clicked heels and standing at attention wonderful. Here there is no place for humor, and he knows it. It is so nice to see a filmmaker know exactly when to release tension and when to keep the lid on.

The way the television is used, the baby monitor, light, darkness, sounds – specifically the sound in a digitally wonderful surround sound auditorium. BTW – Yes, we’re all aware that this film is out there in the digital pirate world, if you fucking download and watch it this way for the first time… with only a couple of days left… DON’T DO THAT! This is an audience film. The nervous teetering laughter – the genuine shrieks of terror – the applause caused from the delight. This is a film that you let yourself get caught up in the minute to minute reality of the characters on screen and I couldn’t help but react emotionally at every turn.

The way he directs this family. The relationships between Father and Son. Brother and Sister. Father and daughter. Uncles and nephew and niece. Priest and community. Sheriff and Priest. Killer and Survivor. These relationships are so honestly told. So genuinely affecting and real that I was captivated and entranced. These are real relationships. Real affection, anger, frustration, delight and joy. Real fear. Real scares. Real nerves.

The skill and craftsmanship involved in this film is breathtaking. You feel a scene coming that you’ve seen in a dozen other films, at least, and he unfolds it in a way you’ve never seen before. When presented with choices he chooses the path less followed. It is very odd seeing this film after FULL FRONTAL, because Soderbergh was playing with some of the same ideas, to unfold a scene in a less obvious way, but when he did it, it felt like he was doing it, whereas here… for me, M. Night’s story telling is so consistently compelling and smart that it feels one hundred percent natural. He turns the soil, plants the seed, waters and fertilizes it, watches it grow and harvests the resulting fruit. Oh… and I chowed down like the happy hippo that I am.

I don’t feel him winking at me during the film. I don’t get any smugness or artificiality from his stories. Instead I feel that I’ve been given a log to sit on, a fire to watch and a story to hear. It feels intimate, genuine and wonderful.

M. Night has everything that I once loved to death about Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. He consummately is telling stories about real people in extraordinary situations. These people make choices that I can imagine making. I celebrate in their victories, mourn their losses and retell their stories.

After the film, for the first time in a long time, I went out to dinner with the local AICNers that were in attendance and we talked about the film. We had a dinner, we sat around that table and we talked about what we loved, our dreams about more from M. Night and what is to come from him. I’ve heard rumors that he is interested in doing the JOHN CARTER OF MARS film at Paramount, and I can’t even imagine what that would look like. Sort of like imagining what Baz Luhrmann’s ALEXANDER THE GREAT project is going to look like. Again… can you imagine?

Right now, M. Night is the one filmmaker, above all others, that I want to just transport me. Whom I absolutely trust to tell me a story exactly the way I would dream of having it told to me. Is he the best director working in films today? I think such ideas are ludicrous, that you can place one above all others, but for my sensibilities, my tastes, my way of watching films… Shyamalan is where Spielberg used to be for me. His stories are less IN YOUR FACE with the effects and the scores that he’s getting out of James Newton Howard are far more Miklós Rózsa and Bernard Herrmann than they are John Williams. In the end though, for a boy that was brought up on Spielberg, the grown-up version of that boy loves Shyamalan and hopes that the well from which he is pouring from never goes dry.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 31, 2002, 4:03 a.m. CST


    by billybobhoyle


  • July 31, 2002, 4:32 a.m. CST

    I wish it was Friday...

    by viola123

    Trying not to find out what's happening with "Signs" is very, very difficult. I want to know. Scratch that. I want it to be Friday so that I can see for myself. This wait is only going to make it sweeter when I do get to see it though. Great review, Harry. I can't wait to be able to wax poetic about it too.

  • July 31, 2002, 4:34 a.m. CST

    Was that...........

    by OWNERX

    a movie review or the third chapter from Harry's autobiography?

  • July 31, 2002, 4:48 a.m. CST

    Aliens, Ghosts and Supermen...

    by SamWave

    What else does he have up his sleeve?

  • July 31, 2002, 4:54 a.m. CST


    by whoneedscool

    This site is going down hill fast. I know there's going to be the loyal talkbackers who berate me for this--the ones who feel it their duty in life to lift harry's nuts for him when he takes a leak (that new gif of his has to be quite unrealistic by the way), but I don't care anymore. I'm risking a 99.9999999 percent chance of being banned to speak my mind. I understand it's Harry's site, but he used to be a guy worth defending... He had a certain "I'm one of you" charm, or at the very least, came off as a nice guy. The other night I was in the oh sooo cool AICN chatroom, and Harry was nothing, but a blow hard who was being worshipped by a bunch of morons. Worst than his being a moron, he was a smug one. This site's "cool news" usually adds up to half assed reviews these days. It's all just the way Rome was before it fell--the lazyness--the disgusting sex--the man on man... disgusting sex. Moriarity gets a couple of sweet reviews in here from time to time, and Herc seems to be keeping most of the site's decent material up with interesting fall spoilers, but the rest of the info, I can get (and yes I will) better at one of the many sites we all know about. We ALL go to them before we come here to read the talkbackers and laugh a little. That's where the truth heart of this site lies in. Well...I'm off...possibly for the last time, but eh.. I have no regrets.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Once again the Harry animation above is D I S G U S T I N G

    by Lord_Soth

    What next? Shitting onto your face?

  • July 31, 2002, 5:11 a.m. CST

    M. Night Shamlylmamn

    by Splicer

    is the new Spielberg. If only his name were easier to spell.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:13 a.m. CST

    "reading the reviews here at AICN" methode explained

    by Lord_Soth

    Skip to the last paragraph for the summarized info. Works well with Quint and sometimes Harry. I must admint Harry's reviews can be pure fun AFTER you've seen the actual movie.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:34 a.m. CST

    Wonderful review, Harry!

    by sparticusmaximus

    Hit the spot!

  • July 31, 2002, 5:35 a.m. CST

    I just can't...

    by Tres Skeek

    ...stand you anymore, Hairy. There is no way that any sentient creature can view SIGNS and come away with your opinion of it. I hate you and I hope you die screaming.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:38 a.m. CST


    by SimplyStupid

    Congratulations me boy. This is probably one of your best reviews in a long, long time. I am looking forward to this movie so much, even more than before after reading this. I read some punk ass review though somewhere, the guy said it sucked. What a loser, I bet this is going to be one of the best movies of the year, and diffently, one of the best films of the summer. This and Road to Perdition I think, are my favorite movies this year..and I haven't even seen Signs yet.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:56 a.m. CST

    Well done Harry

    by Not The Messiah

    It's nice to read a full SIGNS review that doesn't give away anything, unlike having to deal with Moriarty's one paragraph. Not that I'm complaining, just saying is all.

  • July 31, 2002, 6 a.m. CST

    Excellent Review Harry

    by Spacesheik

    I agree with many of your points about how Spielberg has lost his "dream weaver" status among filmmakers - the "Kick the Can" episode in TWILIGHT ZONE THE MOVIE, HOOK, MINORITY REPORT, A.I. AMISTAD, THE LOST WORLD, LAST CRUSADE - these are major misfires. Today Spielberg either does GREAT R-rated Adult dramas (SHINDLER'S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) or does middling fare like MINORITY. He just doesn't, like Harry said, have any original stories left and just cannot entice the audience the way he used to. I went to see the new E.T. reissue the other day with my kid; he loved it, the film holds up extremely well and the John Williams soundtrack sounded smashing. I don't know if Spielberg still has it in him. M. Night Shyamalan is great at subverting genres and simultaneously entertain and make his audiences think. I am looking forward to SIGNS.

  • July 31, 2002, 6:19 a.m. CST

    goddamn nay-sayers

    by gaffelgremlin

    You people... where to begin? Why is it that EVERY FUCKING TIME I read a talk back some whiny bitch has to slam Harry and completely go off topic? Does anyone else get tired of reading this horseshit? I know I do. If you dont like Harry, fine. You dont like this site, fine. But admit in your heart of hearts that you continue to post and continue to read because you love it here. Is AICN first with all their stuff? Probably not, but I come here for the perspectives. I love talk backs, and every once in a while Harry posts a beauty of a review like this one. Life is short, too short for these quick fix, sphincter tinkles you assholes get from posting random insults and bullshit. Shit or get off the pot cocksuckers.

  • July 31, 2002, 6:42 a.m. CST


    by tritium

  • July 31, 2002, 6:44 a.m. CST


    by tritium

    Are you an idiot. The .gif at the top left of the site is a scene from the "Sixth Sense" when Haley Joel is peeing, and the ghost walks by. ...jeez.

  • July 31, 2002, 6:53 a.m. CST


    by stackpointer

    He's name was Mikl

  • July 31, 2002, 7:14 a.m. CST

    M. Night and Spielberg

    by OWNERX

  • July 31, 2002, 7:29 a.m. CST

    M Night and Spielberg

    by OWNERX

    True, M Night's films and Spielberg's do have a similiar flavor--M Night--like many of us--grew up on Spielberg. Although, to say that the present day Spielberg is an "adaption boy" is just stating the obvious and sounds like a put-down to one of the greatest filmakers of all time. Of the films he's directed, I believe Close Encounters was the only one that was his original idea. Jaws-NO ET-No-Raiders-NO etc. I know he wrote a screenplay version of Jaws before Carl Gottlieb came in and trimmed down Benchley's meandering version, but basically, Spielberg has always been an adaption boy. Sure, he puts in own magical touches based on his experiences in all of his work. Sometimes, his magical touch and "niceness" hurt some films like "Gremlins and Arachnophobia. I ilike the present day Spielberg. Schindlers list and Saving Private Ryan are two of the best films from the 90's. Before these came out, I thought he had lost the nerve to ever gobble a kid up on a raft anymore. I see M Night's work in a similiar way. He hasn't gone "cutesy" yet and let's hope he doesn't.

  • July 31, 2002, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Off the subject, but need the info

    by Rant_Man

    I just bought a bootlegged copy of "Battle Royale" and was quite pleased. And I thought there was supposed to be some really graphic stuff(sexually I mean). It was mostly violent and bloody. And does anyone know where I can get a copy of "Run Ronnie Run"? (forgive me if this sounds random, but I'm stoned)

  • July 31, 2002, 8:17 a.m. CST


    by BruceL

    So Spielberg is bad because he's become adaption-boy, therefore you can't wait for M. Night to do a John Carter movie? I'm confused. But I still like Harry's reviews, I LOVE the retarded graphics in the ulhc, and except for most talkbackers being human feces I love this site.

  • July 31, 2002, 8:32 a.m. CST


    by Col paul foster

    I had a crop SQUARE in the field next door the other day.Obviously crap aliens.Talking about Invasions I saw Evilution last night.Fuck me,It was Terrible.How did it get made especially as there was no script,oh,I assume that it was a comedy? I really want to see signs.Good revue Harry,especially the log and fire similie.

  • July 31, 2002, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Shyamalan, Spielberg and Harry

    by Dickie Greenleaf

    First off, let me say how good it was to read these well-considered and passionate reviews of both FULL FRONTAL and SIGNS. With the exception of ROAD TO PERDITION, Harry has not written this well in some time. On to business, and I agree with the sentiments expressed regarding Shyamalan. He is a real talent, and what is especially encouraging about his approach is that it is tailored to the mainstream. I know that sounds like an unusual thing to say, but one only need think of the increasing lack of invention within studio production. We all rightly celebrate the ongoing progression of (relatively) young filmmakers like P.T. Anderson, Alexander Payne, Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze, some of which even work on the periphery of major studios, but they are unlikely to ever be embraced by wider audiences. Only Soderbergh seems to have been able to find a way of satisfying both critical and commercial demands (I guess one could argue that Fincher and Mendes may also qualify), so it is important that we can look to somebody like Shyamalan to continue producing such accomplished work from within the system. In many ways, he is comparable to Peter Jackson, at least in so far as he is able to bring a warmth and humanity and intimacy to high concept spectacle. In truth, I don't think he is quite at the same level as Jackson yet, or any of the other aforementioned directors, but part of the pleasure of watching THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE was knowing that we are only witnessing the beginning of the journey, and hopefully it will prove to be a rewarding and fulfilling ride. I think that both remain underrated, which is another unusual thing to say about two films as successful as they were, but the book on the former seems to be that it was a one-trick exercise that didn't stand up to repeated viewings, whilst the latter fell flat in an attempt to live up to the unreasonable expectations set by its predecessor (which, if you recall, had barely left the theatres at the time). I remember enjoying THE SIXTH SENSE a great deal upon its release, but I must confess that my initial impression was one of being somewhat underwhelmed in light of the phenomenal buzz generated around it. But when I sat down to watch it a second time on DVD, it was a far more substantial experience; I found that the real brilliance of the film did not lie in the sleight of hand with which it had duped so many, but rather the rich characterisations and the drama that revolved around the central relationships, all played out against the now familiar Shyamalan motif of emotional and spiritual reconnection. UNBREAKABLE was admittedly less successful, but not to the extent genrally believed. The same qualities that elevated THE SIXTH SENSE were present again, and I feel that it is only in the last scene that the director misjudged. The problem lies not in the twist which, though slightly melodramatic, does not betray what has gone before. It was rather a question of execution; it was played as if it would have as powerful an impact as that of the previous film when the point was not to make the audience suddenly reinterpret everything they had just seen, but instead simply bring it all into logical focus. As the picture quickly faded to black and the credits rolled, it felt as if Shyamalan had just played a cruel joke. If it had been done with less fanfare, particularly considering that the rest of the story is filtered through such elegant and deliberate style, it would have allowed David Dunn (and thus the audience) a necessary chance to regroup and consider the inherrent sadness of the situation, and it would have been far more effective. I'm only talking about one more scene, which would have constituted no more than five minutes at most, but it could have provided the dramatically satisfying resolution that the final result didn't. I still think it's a superior piece of entertainment, containing two excellent leading performances which confirmed the director's preternatural skill with actors, so I am eagerly anticipating SIGNS, hoping it will represent Shyamalan's best film yet. I also want to discuss something that continues to annoy me regarding Harry's coverage of Spielberg. The references to Spielberg here encapsulate both why Harry is seemingly unable to enjoy his latter work, and the basis for the short-sighted nature with which he apparently interprets them. Just as in the reviews of A.I. and MINORITY REPORT (which remains the best American film of the year so far), the desire expressed to see Spielberg go back to making films the way he did twenty years ago is as futile as it is ignorant. Firstly, he has not become an "adaptation boy" as you childlishly (and inaccurately) put it; aside from the fact that SCHINDLER'S LIST and, in all likelihood considering the oft-mentioned service of his own father in WWII, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN are his most personal films, how can one argue that the early stories were more his than the recent ones? I will grant that CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and probably E.T. originated from a place in his own heart, but JAWS was adapted from a bestseller (as was EMPIRE OF THE SUN which I also understand you are a fan of) and RAIDERS was a homage to countless classic genre pictures. The greatness of the man is that he unquestionably brought a fresh, unique voice to this material, but it was by no means original. And anyway, just consider the unceremonious decline of so many of his contemporaries from the seventies. Coppola, Bogdanovich, De Palma, Allen et al. have all fallen away tragically, and how mcuh of that sad fact can be put down to unwise attempts to recapture former glories. Occasionally, one of them will strike gold again (I always enjoy taking a look at whatever Woody makes), but for the most part they languish in the obscurity of semi-retirement or the anonymity of creatively bankrupt commercial leftovers. Spielberg has not only survived but remained at the forefront of the industry, because he has continually challenged and pushed himself to become the more nuanced and skilled filmmaker that he is today. I'm not going to risk starting yet another debate about A.I. I know it's an aquired taste and that's fine, but I think that the film's qualities, like AMISTAD's, are underappreciated, but more than that, these films have been so important in affording Spielberg the chance to keep exploring and refining his talents, and I hope that in the future, this fact will not be overlooked as it is today. The history of the medium is littered with such instances, where the now universally revered were misunderstood in their own time (yet again, another very unusual statement to make about a filmmaker who has enjoyed such success), but I genuinely feel that it will take the full length of Spielberg's career to truly grasp the significance of his influence. I do wish that he were afforded a little more respect in the here and now though, especially since we're all supposed to use this facility as a platform to celebrate the medium, and make no mistake, nobody is a more enthusiastic admirer of JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, RAIDERS etc than I am ( I, too, feel like I grew up with those characters and stories), but I can't believe that a fan as dedicated as Harry is actually advocating that one of the most vital filmmakers of our generation should consider regression as a means to define his current sensibility.

  • July 31, 2002, 8:49 a.m. CST

    RE: "Yes, we

    by Clavius

  • July 31, 2002, 9:01 a.m. CST

    RE: "Yes, we

    by Clavius

    (Sorry about the double-post, damn Enter key!) Anyway, I just wanted to say I find the above statement a tad hypocritical. This statement coming from a man who (allegedly) watched Episode II for the first time on a hotel room TV from a smuggled video tape with unfinished FX and score. Talk about ruining your initial experience! Films like Ep II, Spidey and very likely SIGNS, (haven't seen it yet, but I can't wait!) need to be experienced for the first time in a theater. In commune with your fellow movie-goers. Crying babies, rustling popcorn bags and all. One of the things I've always loved about Harry's reviews is that they acknowledge the state of mind that the viewer is in when viewing a film for the first time. This plays a HUGE role in your overall enjoyment and impressions of the film in the future and I don' t think a lot of people realize that. So I completely agree that most worthwhile films shouldn't be pirated and viewed initially through bootleg VCD's, MPG's or god-forbid VHS! Which is why I was disappointed when I read that Harry saw Ep II in this way. I thought he was all about the first-time, experience. But in that case I think he was just interested in seeing it FIRST!

  • July 31, 2002, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Read Dickie Greenleaf's post...

    by Monkey Lover

    That was a great post, and his response to the recent AICN vendetta against Spielberg was spot on. He summed it up perfectly. Spielberg remains the most important filmmaker in the world. So there.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:28 a.m. CST


    by Kyle.Reese

    It's not bloody fair. I just checked on IMDB and found out that we have to wait until September 13th to see SIGNS here in the UK! That's too damn long!

  • July 31, 2002, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Pleasant Surprise Of A Reviewed Film By Harry

    by Mako

    Not that I agree with everything you said Harry, but I think you did write up one of your better reviews. I think Spielberg can still make a captivating film. However, he decided to change his previous approach to film making and told the public about it. So it will be interesting to see what he does with Indy IV. Night on the other hand, is just starting out (respectivily). He has shown that he can tell a good story, and yes, he has elements in his film that seem to mirror Spielberg's "Golden" Days. But I still think they're two different directors. "Unbreakable" didn't captivate me. There's no denying it was well made, but the subject matter didn't seem as universal as "The Sixth Sense" did. Maybe that's why it didn't do as well. "Signs" looks to be more in tune with what "The Sixth Sense" had to offer. I hope it's a great film. If it is, then Night is without a doubt one of the better directors out there today.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:38 a.m. CST

    thankyou DICKIE GREENLEAF, that was brilliantly put

    by Captain Katanga

    i couldnt agree more about the attitudes toward Spielberg from Harry and some of the people here. Whilst I respect Harry's opinions, his reviews are incredibly inconsistent. He didnt like Minority Report because the characters werent up to the standard of The Maltese Falcon, and then praises Jason fucking X! Whatever its faults, Minority Report is a fantastic film by a film maker that is constantly challenging himself. Spielberg cant keep on making ET's and Close Encounters... what film maker in history has connnected with a mass audience as repeatedly as Spielberg? As an artist he is evolving and going off in new directions. It pisses me off that Spielberg films get unfairly judged on an entirely different plane to other directors. If any other director had made Minority, I guarantee Harry would have been much more positive, but just because it doesnt capture the heart like Raiders, it's deemed a failure. M Night is terrific...and I bet he fucking loved Minority Report.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Can't wait, such a huge fan!

    by Eat_Your_Peas

    I would like to echoe Monky Lover in his praise of Dickie's post. Nice critique and intelligently written! Sad that that type of "talkback" is the exception as opposed to the rule...//I have actively avoided reviews and other hoo-hah about Signs. I read Harry's review and was slightly miffed when is seemed like he was tossing out spoilers without a warning. So now I know the movie is about what a family in the "real world" would do if aliens actually landed. Thanks Harry.//And on the side topid of Master Spielberg, I would comment that if he DIDN't change or grow, that would be the shame. Yeah, I think some of the magic he used to instill in his older movies is missing these days but I also think he is challenging his audience in ways he never did with ET, Gremlins, etc. Even with the massive plot holes and inconsistencies, I thought Minority Report was a pretty fine flick.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:46 a.m. CST

    John Carter

    by VincentSpain


  • July 31, 2002, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Lay off on the Spielberg bashing

    by TheGinger Twit

    aint it cool. no it's not.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:59 a.m. CST

    I seem to be the only hardcore Shyamalandadoodle fan who thinks

    by TheGinger Twit

    Sixth Sence is what everything this guys does seems to be compared to. But personally - Unbreakable is much better crafted and much more exciting. I just wish it ended without the 'what happens next' subtitles.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:08 a.m. CST

    My problem with "Unbreakable"

    by BlankGeneration


  • July 31, 2002, 10:19 a.m. CST

    keep up the good work harry

    by fun guy

    excellent review. Lots of dickheads bashing you lately. don't take no shit from em. you're right about spieberg, too. Also, keep up the good work with the little animations in the upper corner. They just seem to be getting more creative all the time. My only complaint is that I wish there was a new one every day! Sincerely, fun guy

  • July 31, 2002, 10:23 a.m. CST

    sweet merciful crap - lets try something new

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Many of you have numerous issues with this site and the quality of certain aspects and for once I'd like to "share" mine. I cannot stand it when people criticize the review of the film - In essence, provide a review of the review. Please, for god sakes try to comment on something worthwhile - like, oh, maybe - THE FILM?!?! I know this is falling on deaf ears, but its not like your all professional writers who have the background to lob these tangental criticisms about the "quality" of the review. Its the subject that needs discussion, be that Harry's track record, or the directors' or any of that stuff. People who comment on the quality of reviews have nothing to contribute to a discussion of film - go teach a writing class and get over it. Wooo, I feel better - and yes I recognize the irony of producing a talkback that contributes nothing to the conversation. I am, as always, high as a muthafucking helicopter.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:27 a.m. CST

    "You know what the scariest part is?....

    by Kyle.Reese

    To not know your place in the world, to not know why your here. That's just an awful feeling..." How can anyone not like that ending? It was haunting, it was tragic, it was fitting for a story of real-life heroes and villains.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:29 a.m. CST

    People will never learn....

    by cookiepuss

    that nobody really gives a fuck that real directors don't do things exactly the way that AICN talkbackers want. It would be a horrible world if they did. It's one thing to rail against the hacks, but MNS is obviously one of the originals - whether you like his movies or not, they are their own entities. It would be like criticizing David Lynch or Spike Jonze or Quintin Tarantino for individual shots or scenes like you know better than they do. I'm just glad there are egotistical, crazy, creative, ORIGINAL bastards like these out there - that haven't gone downhill like the once BRILLIANT Spielberg and Lucas.. Let's face it, the guys that made CE3K and American Grafitti are fucking DEAD - buried in Jar Jar and Ted Danson cameos.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Unbrekaable was BRILLIANT!

    by neovsmatrix

    and much better than the Sixth Sense which was also an excellent film. Some of you have some irrational hatred for the ending in Unbreakable, maybe because you're bringing your personal biases/expectations into the film. Hell, M. Night Shyamalan would have made a sequel if it was better received. I would love to see what Shyamalan could have done in Unbreakable 2 because it sure as hell wouldn't devolve into traditional comic book fare. He even said so, himself on Scifi Wire. Here's the exact quote: quote: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Shyamalan Mulls Unbreakable 2 Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan told SCI FI Wire that he originally wanted to do a sequel to his superhero film Unbreakable, but thought better of it when critics and audiences reacted lukewarmly to the movie. "I would have, but I just didn't feel enough love," Shyamalan said in an interview while promoting his next movie, Signs. "That's the true answer. Most people won't give you the true answer. I just didn't feel enough love." Shyamalan added that he was a bit surprised by the negative reaction to the movie, which starred Bruce Willis as a reluctant hero. "I was mostly surprised at the lack of the acknowledgment of what at least we aspired to do, [which] was to do the classy, non-fighting [non-Green-] Goblins-on-the-roof version [of a comic-book story]. Spider-Man was the goblins on the roof. I liked Spider-Man a lot. And my favorite part of it was the first hour, again, becoming Spider-Man. That's what I like, and that's what I wanted to make a movie of. And yeah, I have other ideas for Mr. Glass [Samuel L. Jackson] and Bruce's character, but ... ." Asked if he might be persuaded to do a sequel, Shyamalan said, "I don't know. There's a lot of [fans], like when we had the first screening of Signs, these Unbreakable fanatics came out in force. And I was like, wow. They all came out. They came out with the DVDs and the posters. I was like, holy moley. And there was one Sixth Sense DVD there. And everybody else was Unbreakable. And I was like, wow. I guess there is a little cult thing going on. But that was really sweet. I don't know. I don't know. Maybe." Signs, which stars Mel Gibson as a man who must deal with crop circles on his family farm, opens Aug. 2. __________________________________ I hope he does get to make a sequel to Unbreakable, because it's the best damn superhero movie ever, IMHO, and is one of my favorite movies ever.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Preferred Unbreakable, too

    by GypsyTRobot

    Sixth Sense has that overly-commercial veneer to it. Unbreakable feels a little bit raw and understated. But then, I prefer Duel ("Can't beat me on the grade!') to most of Spielberg's other movies, so what do I know. I'm really happy to hear that Signs is more like Unbreakable and can't wait to see it. So is Shymalan working his way through popular Western mythology? After ghosts, comic book characters, and aliens, what's left to cove?

  • July 31, 2002, 10:40 a.m. CST

    must make Unbreakable 2!

    by spider-ham

    M. Night Shyamalan said about making Unbreakable 2 "I would have, but I just didn't feel enough love....I don't know. There's a lot of [fans], like when we had the first screening of Signs, these Unbreakable fanatics came out in force. And I was like, wow. They all came out. They came out with the DVDs and the posters. I was like, holy moley. And there was one Sixth Sense DVD there. And everybody else was Unbreakable. And I was like, wow. I guess there is a little cult thing going on." I did some checking. Unbreakable Opening Weekend: $30.3 million US Gross: $95.0 million Foreign Gross: $149.5 million DVD sales Gross: $47 million VHS Rentals Gross: $43.2 million. Hello, the movie made $334.7 million and that does not include pay per view or cable! How much love do you need M.Night? The Critics didn't like it? Screw the critics. Us fans, no, cult want to see the rest of Green Poncho Man's story. Yes we are a cult. A huge freakin cult. We have love, just tell us how to show it! Now with that embarrassing groveling out of the way, yes Signs looks really really cool. Hope to catch it at the Drive in this week. :)

  • July 31, 2002, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Whats left?

    by spider-ham

    "After ghosts, comic book characters, and aliens, what's left to cove? " Big Foot! Actually like Harry mention, I think popcorn SciFi is a big target for M.Night.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Well, critical reception for Unbreakable was largely mixed,

    by neovsmatrix

    but unfairly so, IMHO. In any case, for those who despised Unbreakable's ending for one reason or another, here's an ending that is far more cynical and would have been pretty cool too. I loved the actual ending, and I do think it's better. But this one would have been really good too. Anyway here it is: (SPOILERS FOR UNBREAKABLE) > > > > > > ALTERNATE ENDING This alternate ending is only "alternate" in the fact that the events happen just slightly different than in the final cut of the film. The same realization is made, there is just a different way of arriving at that realization. It picks up right after David talks to Elijah's mother in Limited Edition. David watches as Elijah's mother walks across the store and waits for Elijah to finish talking. David turns back to the frame sketch. He looks at it with his hands in his pockets. Beat David's stare turns into a gaze. His gaze turns into stillness. THE SKETCH is of a withered man with large tense eyes. He sits in the shadows. He's seated in some type of machine. There are lots of buttons and levers on the machine. The machine has wheels. David turns from the sketch. He looks across the room to Elijah seated in his wheelchair. Elijah's eyes stay focused on the customers as he finishes negotiating. David turns back to the sketch. He looks at it with growing confusion. The more you look at the drawing, the more the machine the man is seated in looks like a wheelchair. David looks back across the store. Elijah and his mother are talking. Elijah has spotted David. Beat. Elijah starts across the crowded store towards David. He wheels up to him. ELIJAH Did you see this? Elijah has a newspaper on his lap. He holds it up. There's a drawing on the front page. It's of a hooded figure shielding two huddled children behind him. ELIJAH (soft) It has begun. David stares quietly at the sketch of himself. ELIJAH When I saw it this morning, I felt a part of the world again. Elijah looks down at the newspaper. David hesitates and then reaches forward. He reaches past the paper... And TOUCHES ELIJAH'S ARM. FLASHCUT: AN AIRPORT GATE. ELIJAH IS STANDING AT THE WINDOW LOOKING OUT ONTO THE AIRFIELD. HE'S CRYING. SIRENS START SOUNDING THROUGHOUT THE AIRPORT. WAITING PASSENGERS START GETTING UP AND MOVING TO THE WINDOWS. MAN What's going on? Elijah speaks to no one in particular as he stares out the window with tortured eyes. ELIJAH An airplane just crashed. CUT TO: FLASHCUT: ELIJAH AND AN ELDERLY MAN IN A UNIFORM ARE SEATED IN A HOTEL BAR. ELDERLY MAN I've worked here twenty-five years. I know all its secrets. ELIJAH Secrets? ELDERLY MAN (whispers) Like if there was ever a fire on floors one, two, or three... Everyone in this hotel would be burned alive. ELIJAH LOOKS UP FROM HIS DRINK. CUT TO: FLASHCUT: ELIJAH LEAVES THE ENGINEERING ROOM OF AN AMTRAK TRAIN. HE PASSES THE ENGINEER WHO HAS JUST ARRIVED WITH COFFEE. ENGINEER Passengers aren't allowed in there. Elijah doesn't answer and doesn't turn around as he exits train 177. SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT: David takes two unsteady steps back. Elijah has tears in his eyes as he gazes down at the newspaper. He looks up to David. ELIJAH (low voice) I almost gave up hope. There was so many times I questioned myself. I've made so many sacrifices but it's all been worth it. (beat) There are millions and millions of mediocre people in the world David. Isn't it great that we aren't one of them. David looks like he stopped breathng as he backs up in the store. Customers step between him and Elijah. Elijah becomes obscured and then blocked from view. CUT TO: EXT. STREET - DAY David emerges from the store slowly. He braces himself against a parked car and then keeps on walking in a nightmarish daze. WE PULL BACK as David Dunne blends in with dozens and dozens of ordinary people, walking on an ordinary street, in an ordinary city.

  • July 31, 2002, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Spielberg vs. Shyamalan..... The battle is joined

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    I do not put myself in the camp that worships either of these two filmmakers, although their respective talents are similar and equally great. If I were to offer one criticism of Speilberg that bothers me to no end - its his instance on dictating the emotion of his audience - usually through music, or heavy-handed imagery. Its as if he doesn't trust the audience to get "there" without help. At times it's stunningly effective - Jaws wouldn't be half the movie it is without the score - but more often than not I find it insulting. The implication is that I'm not smart enough to understand the arc of the story or the emotion that inhabits the character at a particular point. In this way I feel that Shyamalan is interesting - he seems more inclined to bring the audience along for the ride, and find the conclusions and emotions that occur naturally. However, he cannot seem to escape the content and arc which he seems doomed to repeat - the supernatural as metaphor for spiritual growth, and the very dour depressive tone which sometimes I feel is mistaken for depth in his films, when it's simply atmosphere. Were Shyamalan to truly challenge himself and "break the mould" I think he is capable of so much more. I used to abhor the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, seeing them as good concepts, but not so much as the "high concept" that the films seemed so desperate for you to believe they were. Now I find them to be well-crafted thrillers, but little more. Speilberg plays in the field of story telling and the concepts come more naturally from there. Shyamalan seems to come from the opposite side, concepts that are translated into stories. Consequently, I feel that the story suffers. I have seen Signs, and I worry that those of you reading Harry's review are setting yourself up for a fall. It is a tidy thriller, and as most thrillers go, has trouble wrapping itself up. Shyamalan has a distinct flair for telling the story, but he doesn't seem to have hit the territory of the truly great filmmaker as he is sometimes lauded to be.

  • July 31, 2002, 11:13 a.m. CST


    by brena

    Great review summarized all of the the things that I loved about Signs. I was able to catch a screening of Signs last night and holy shit was it good. I have been following this movie for a long time and NOTHING prepared me for what I experienced. Amazing flick - right up there with Sixth Sense - and definitely one that you need to see in a theater so that you get the audience reaction too...

  • July 31, 2002, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Shyamalan is more Hitchcock than Spielberg.

    by James Bond

    Wouldn't you say? Spielberg's films have had suspenseful moments, but they're really more rip-roaring adventure yarns than anything else. Hitchcock was all suspense, leaving you hanging on until the end. Shyamalan, so far, has made suspense films only. Different stories, but all with suspense as the targeted emotion. I loved both Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, and can't wait for Signs. Whether you think he's the best director working today or not, the guy has mad talent.

  • July 31, 2002, 11:35 a.m. CST

    People that desperately need a big, fat kick in the ass...

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    (1) People who use the following statement: "Harry, you didn't like (fill in idiotically overrated borderline crap here,) so you have no credibility!" (2) People who complain about the corner animation. It's 2002 people, get over yourselves. (3) People who beg Moriarty to take over the site. Nothing against Moriarty, mind you, I'm just sick of the Harry bashing. (4) Crossposters (noticed a lot of that lately.) (5) First posters. (6) People that bitch about first posters. (7) PEOPLE THAT WRITE IN ALL CAPS. (8) People who bitch about typos. Especially people who bitch about typos. (9) People who whine about their favorite movie (MINORITY REPORT, AOTC, etc.) that whoever didn't like, appropos of nothing. (10) People who complain about "extra" personal information in reviews. People, this site is a community, where people not only discuss films, but what they mean to them. So put a sock in it, OK? (11) People who spell the guy's name Shamalamadingdong. (12) People who refer UNBREAKABLE as UNWATCHABLE. I know some people didn't like UNBREAKABLE. Some people don't like the Ramones, either. The less said about those kinds of people, the better. (13) Posts that don't even mention the film in question. Oops...

  • July 31, 2002, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Oh yeah, and BTW...

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    UNBREAKABLE wiped the floor with SIXTH SENSE.

  • July 31, 2002, 11:57 a.m. CST

    please finish the Unbreakable trilogy

    by millermeusa

    I hope and pray to the Gods of cinema that shyalaman finishes the trilogy that dazzled me and everyone else except for that idiot Leonard Maltin!!!

  • July 31, 2002, 12:06 p.m. CST

    I, too, preferred 'Unbreakable' to 'The Sixth Sense.

    by Sod Off Baldric

    'Unbreakable' is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I believe it is near to perfection. The only thing that would have made it better is if the title cards had been removed from the ending. That's a minor gripe on my part, and while I don't think the title cards ruin the ending, I do think they detract slightly from it. When I first saw 'The Sixth Sense' I wasn't too impressed, due to the fact that I knew the ending. However, the film has really grown on me upon subsequent viewings. It is a masterfully constructed thriller. Shyamalan laid down the rules and followed them to a T, never once cheating the audience. 'Unbreakable' just spoke to me on a deeper level which is why I prefer it. As for 'Signs' I cannot wait. I'm going this Friday, and I am getting increasingly excited as the week goes by.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Multiple Spielberg

    by holyRoller

    It is hard to say anything too critical of Spielberg and his work in the last 10 years as opposed to his earlier work. He is all of over the map. How many people could effectively direct a holocaust flick that really brought up awareness of the subject, a dinosaur / chase film, a WWII film, and two very different sci-fi movies and pull them all off pretty well? I am not saying that any of these movies were without their flaws, but I would, with Greenleaf, challenge people to come up with other directors of our time who have had such staying power and effective versatility. Mr. Shyamalan is to be commended for his work thus far, but I would be cautious to herald him as the next great until we see the staying power of his abilities.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:12 p.m. CST

    u gotta change ur style

    by afa

    i've been reading ur reviews for quite a while now and seriously u have 2 change ur review writing style. invariably the first half of ur review is unrelated, uninformative and just plain boring. its as if u were just putting ur thoughts into words and then suddenly realise 'oops! getting back 2 the review!' here's an idea, next time, after ur done writing ur "review", just delete the first 15-20 lines then put it up on the site....

  • July 31, 2002, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Weedy - Spielberg

    by Mako

    Weedy, Spielberg likes to over dramatize the situation. That's one of his trademarks. I love the fact that he doesn't have to use dialogue to get the point across. Using visuals and music to get a point across doesn't seem to play down the audience at all. In fact, most Spielberg films have generated interesting topics of conversations with the average film goer. Look at the possibilities of DNA with "Jurassic Park". Or the current "Minority Report" and it's message of a possible future. And before "The X-Files" or "Signs" we had "Close Encounters" which was one of our first forays into alien abduction, govt sci-fi conspiracies, and UFO cults. "Jaws" has still haunted many a beach goer and taps into a primal fear that few directors have ever been able to duplicate . Spielberg is a pop legend. He's not an independent film makeer. He makes films for the middle of the road audience. And you are right. He executes his films very well. The thing that always set Spielberg apart from most other blockbuster directors for me, was that his characters seem real. Spielberg shows us, stories about people frist and foremost. His approach to his films, is to take us along for a ride and see things and feel things thru the eyes and ears of the main character. Whether it's with Indy, Elliot, Brody or Dr. Grant. And it more so than often works. Night Shamylan is a bit rougher around the edges. He's being compaired to Spielberg, because like the pop legend, Night tells a story about people first. The sci-fi stuff is secondary. Night even has admitted that Spielberg is one of his great influences. Who are some of your favorite directors? What kind of film would you make?. These two guys are popular because they make films that seem to hit on ideas and concepts that gel with the public. Spielberg is one of the great film directors of all time, and I'm glad I got to be around to see his work. Night is becoming a top director. I hope that he branches out a little and challanges himself in the future, without losing his passion for film making. Both directors have created films that will be long admired, even after we're gone.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Well said, Dickie, but...

    by pedant

    I still feel that THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE are overrated. Shyamalan is too self-conscious a filmmaker. His directorial conceits get in the way of telling the story. But you're right that he gets great work out of actors. ***** As for Woody Allen, I think you must be smoking the crack. While his last three films can't be counted among his best, he has hardly been on the decline since the 70s. Take a look at his directing credits at the IMDB, sorted by user rating. Six of his top ten films were made in the 80s and 90s. So if he is on the decline, we're talking about a three-year decline, or an eight-year decline at most. ***** As for De Palma, what did he ever make in the 70s that was any good? Maybe Carrie. His best work was in the 80s, and even that wasn't great. Can't argue with you about Bogdanovich and Coppola, though.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Let Down

    by J-Rome

    The review was entertaining, but leaves out that the movie just isn't that good. Its slow and has a ton of holes. It has the normal formula: M. Night bores you to death and then throws in a huge TWIST at the end. Sixth Sense worked because it made the boring first part interesting. Unbreakable didn't work as far as I'm concerned and neither does this. I really, really wanted to like this too and was looking forward to it. This movie will be a flop when the word of mouth spreads.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:48 p.m. CST


    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Well, I certainly agree with most of the points you make, certainly that Spielberg is a wide-audience director, but I would say that for me most of the "stars" of his movies aren't real people. The star of Jaws was the shark, Close Encounters - the aliens and a very odd Richard Dreyfuss, Indy is definitely an extreme character, Jurassic Park (ugh) the T-Rex, ET, well you know. Special effects have played a huge role in the spectacle that his movies are meant to be. Spielberg makes movies. Period. His later work has gotten into more personal and more difficult subject matter - but his sentimentality and "dare to dream" themes always leave me wincing at some point in his films. Jaws is still one of my all time favorites because its a tightly packed story that moves briskly and does what its intended to do: entertain. I cannot argue the man's prowess behind the camera - it's all-time good, but his use of the medium as an art form is questionable - and if were going to talk about him as an all-time great, I think he warrants that kind of critique. Spielberg has always been a studio guy and a filmmaker for John Q. Public - there's nothing wrong with that, I just can't lend him anything more than a pop icon status. Personally, you can put me down as fans of Kubrick (my favorite), Kurosawa, 1970s Coppola, Malick, the Coens, Trouffaut, Fincher, Wes Anderson, Scorsese and of course a soft spot for Romero, Raimi and a host of others that I'm forgetting right now. Pretty standard actually. And I still love Jaws, Indy, E.T. and the first hour of Saving Private Ryan. I have no idea what film I would make.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:51 p.m. CST

    OK, who fucked up the talkback

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Dammit - I hate this.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Is there something wrong with me?


    Is there something wrong with me? People are actually comparing M Night with Spielberg? Listen people, it doesn't take a genius to take pop culture supernatural phenomenon and set it in the "real world". It's an easy way out. The recipes for M Night's movies are so simple a chimp could come up with them: Take a trite supernatural element(preferably unexplained-and ooooooo creepy), mix it with the movie Ordinary People then add some pretentious higher theme like Faith and God. M Night doesn't know how to set tone so he opts for the only thing he knows: Dreary grey "reality". His films could be classics if only he didn't take his goofy subject matter so seriously. I read in an interview in Newsweek that he aims for his movies to become "A cultural phenomenon." Jeez. That just about sums it up for me. The beauty about the old Spielberg is that he ambitious but he also had a consumate sense of humor about his filmmaking. He never took what he did too seriously. He was having fun. There was spontinaeity and that shone through: The scene where the huge swordsman is shot in Raiders. His actors were allowed to breath and act on intuition.

  • July 31, 2002, 12:58 p.m. CST

    by Angelripper

    I'm still trying to figure out what makes this director so damn special. Next Spielberg? Sure, why not? Who cares anyway? Next Spielberg until the next hack comes along who makes a worse movie that is hyped and eaten up by the uneducated masses, who must be told what is cool. The Six Cents bored me to tears and put me to sleep. Unbearable was flat out Unwatchable. Now Swigns. Pass. Won't be watching it. I'm just not interested in becoming one of the mindless, happy meal swilling, "reality" t.v. watching, generic herd of cattle that is the majority of America, who gleefully conform to whatever they are told is the next big thing, regardless of whether it's any good or not. But hey, millions of morons can't be wrong, right? They've kept organized religion going for centuries, so why not trendy, crappy movies? Too bad there's so many of them. If there wasn't, swill like SS and Unbearable would never see the light of day.

  • July 31, 2002, 1:04 p.m. CST


    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Yes, I would agree with you for the most part - I don't think Shyamalan lives up to his own hype, let alone the amount he gets around here - but Spielberg I think is still a worthwhile example - the category is "great films for the common man" (god I feel so pretentious, for the record - I am the common man). However, the scene you mention - the swordsman getting shot - that happened because Harrison Ford had diarreha and couldn't do the big fight that was scripted. Never doubt that Spielberg always looks for the big spectacle.

  • July 31, 2002, 1:08 p.m. CST

    What's so bad about the end of Unbreakable?

    by pavlovs_dog

    The movie was a comic book, and the bad guy always has to go to jail (from whence he can escape), so I don't have a problem with the ending. It was the logical conclusion of the movie and the logical step for Dunn to take. What else was he supposed to do? Go vigilante on Elijah and burn down his art gallery?

  • July 31, 2002, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Glad I'm not alone (i.e. Unbreakable is better than Sixth Se

    by Andel Crodo

    I still don't understand the marvel that SS ended up becoming. Don't get me wrong, I recognize it as a well-acted, well-scripted, and well-paced film. I just didn't like it. The wife and I were there the third night. We went in stupid. And I deduced the ending once that New Kid on the Block whacked the protagonist, much to the chagrin of people sitting within a 10 foot radius of me. I turned to my wife and asked, "So, he's dead, right?" Sorry, but the guy's shot 5 minutes in and the kid can "see dead people." This is not rocket science. The fact he's a ghost is telegraphed all throughout the movie, by cracky! He never interacts with anyone but the kid, things he touches are/get cold, etc. The surprise ending, for me, was that there was no surprise. Such was not the case with Unbreakable. In fact, the movie never really does come out and tell you whether or not David is gifted, apart from the weightlifting scene. The rest is subjective coincidence. You're pretty much left to draw your own conclusion. The icing on the cake was the unique and absolutely ingenious use of color. It did drag, but the whole film was exposition, thus it's to be expected. Oh, and those titles at the end that no one agreed with, consider that the film ended the same way it began. It opened with explanatory titles and it ended with explanatory titles. I thought it fitting since the movie was about two characters coming full circle.

  • July 31, 2002, 1:18 p.m. CST



    Yes, I know the story behind that scene. I guess my point was that Spielberg was able to cultivate an atmosphere of spontaneity and was open to different ideas. He recognized something special and took it. So it arose out of Diarhhea. I'm sure if he had really wanted to have that fight scene he would of found a way.

  • July 31, 2002, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Well said Weedy

    by Mako

    I understand where you're coming from and why Spielberg does nothing for you. Fair enough. I will always consider Spielberg to be one of my favorite directors. And like yourself, I also like Kurosawa and Fincher. In fact, I like Fincher a lot more than Shymalan, as one of the better up and comming directors. "Fight Club" has been one of my favorite films of past years. "Seven" was atmospheric and evil. "Panic Room" was his stab at Hitchcock, and it worked me for. And "The Game" is just a guilty pleasure that I enjoy (great premise). "Alien 3" I think was more a product of the producer and studio giving a director a first time break. Fincher excuted the film well, but overall, it left a sour taste in my mouth. I did like the idea that Ripley was an "alien" to the penal colony. So there were actually 3 aliens. That was witty. And Jean-Pierre Jeunet had the same problem with the fourth alien film. And I like Amelie, City Of Lost Children and Delicatessen. Oh well... at least we have a large menu to choose from.

  • July 31, 2002, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Angelripper, nice post.

    by Miss Aura


  • July 31, 2002, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Hey Angelripper...

    by Sod Off Baldric

    I hate to break it to you, but you're not going to turn into one of the "mindless, happy meal swilling, 'reality' t.v. watching, generic herd of cattle that is the majority of America" just by watching a movie. You see, there's this little thing called "taste" and everybody's is different. For example, I can't stand Tom Green. I think he is a sad, unfunny and mean-spirited human being. One of my best friends loves the guy and thinks "Freddy Got Fingered" is a great flick. Does that mean I think my friend and all people who enjoy Tom Green are unintelligent and eat from a trough full of Happy Meals while watching the lastest episode of Big Brother? No...because that would be a presumptuous generalization. Just because people like Shyamalan's movies doesn't make them less intelligent than you. It just means they don't share your tastes. I for one love Shyamalan's movies. He has become one of my favorite directors...a list which includes Kubrick, Kurosawa, Gilliam, Fincher, Aronofsky, Kevin Smith, Carpenter, Argento, Romero, Raimi and many others. I love all kinds of movies from quiet character dramas to gory horror to epic sci-fi to the occasional popcorn flick. You see, I believe if you limit your tastes to one genre or style you ultimately limit your world view, and that can turn one into a pretentious, loudmouthed, boorish, pigheaded asshole. (Sorry for the rant folks. I'm just sick to death of this whole "I think your opinion is wrong so you must be stupid" mindset that infests the talkbacks. I just had to get that off my chest).

  • July 31, 2002, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Angelripper, you're a moron

    by neovsmatrix

    Unbreakable and the Sixth Sense are not swill. You're insinuating that Shyamalan's movies are nothing but insipid thrillers, and that everyone who enjoys his work are morons, so I'm labelling you as one. Yeah, Shyamalan does have a very carefully controlled style of directing, but he knows exactly what kind of movie he wants to make, and that's to his credit, IMHO. As for Signs being bad or whatever, that's up to the viewer to decide, isn't it? Just because someone thinks it's not good, doesn't make it so.

  • July 31, 2002, 1:42 p.m. CST

    animation. gross. really.

    by jesuschrist

    the animation is still gross. still.

  • July 31, 2002, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Angelripper = Grade C Beef

    by Mako


  • July 31, 2002, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Great Work Harry

    by Arriflex

    Great review Harry. . . although the animation is still way more than I want to see. . .

  • July 31, 2002, 2:40 p.m. CST

    The AICN chatroom and Harry's review

    by Nordling

    If I wanted to read a dry unemotional review, well, I'd read them. I read Harry's reviews, because he's right on (mostly) and I am not some clinical observer when I watch a film. I want a movie to make me feel it, and Harry's reviews do that. Believe me, you trolls won't be missed. (My rifle's got a perfect scope.) As for the AICN chatroom, well, there's a phrase about not being able to take the heat... I prefer the chatroom to here because at least honest opinions are said and it's not some bullshit 14 year old who has to say "First!" when they get there. Besides, we're better than you.

  • July 31, 2002, 2:57 p.m. CST

    This Site should get its own movie, enought drama for it

    by moose420

    Seriously I havn't been coming here awile but its pretty obvisous about ppls feeelins about Harry "He was Once one of us now he is one of them" thats the general feeling that i get , that harry has changed from movie geek to movie critic but I say this HARRY MADE AICN AND IN THEORY MADE THE INTERNET MOVIE NEWS SOCITY SO IF YOU DON"T CARE FOR HIM IT DOESN"T MATTER HE DESERVES RESPECT FROM ALL OF US FOR MAKING THIS SITE!!! AND THATS THE TRUTH YOU ALL KNOW IT!!

  • July 31, 2002, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Nordling, Son off Baldric

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Right-O muthafuckas! People who discount movies based on their assumed popularity with those groups that they disagree with are just as bad as those that see whatever the shiny box tells them to. Besides, if you throw around terms like Middle America, or the "masses" you better know what the fuck you're talking about. Angeltripper, seems to me like a guy with an email address like rotlord666 is trying to present himself in a very particular way. Personally I find that pathetic - but that's just an OPINION. I also am not a big fan of the M. Night, but I have my reasons.

  • July 31, 2002, 3:04 p.m. CST

    SIGNS: The Beginning of a Downfall

    by Alejandro

    Where as SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE were films that must have been inside M. Night's head for a long time, working themsleves out, developing into grand two hour films that very tightly woven together, SIGNS was the antithesis. You can tell that he had (in relative time) about 15 minutes worth of an IDEA for a film. He then, feeling rushed by a studio, felt he had to just hammer it out, and there ya go, you have a 15 minute IDEA that lasts two hours. Not a two hour idea like his first two (big) movies. Why is it so poorly planned? Don't read the next part in between the spoiler stars if you don't want to know....****SPOILER**** Okay, let me get this straight, the aliens have been laying out the crop circles for years and years, studying us, etc. This planet that they're so very interested in is covered mostly with water. Two-thirds if I remember correctly. Water even falls from the sky onto all of the dry land areas. So, in all of the aliens' study's they never figured out that water would KILL them? And if they did know water was like acid to them, why would they bother with an invasion. That would be like humans invading a planet covered mostly with lava, that had lava rain storms and lava plumbing into everyone's house. This is a massive suspension of disbelief M. Night was trying to pull off. It doesn't work. I can't just say, "oh it was only a movie." He tried to make SIGNS a reality movie. "What would really happen if a small farm family had to go through this?" I can't take it seriously as a reality film when the logic used to drive the movie is preposterous. I could go on all day on examples such as these, but I won't. Wait, maybe one more. So, Mel Gibson finds an alien and leaves it in the pantry. He doesn't call anyone? The Feds? The cops? Anyone? They could have done tests on it and very quickly figured out, "Oh shit, water kills them." Problem solved. Crisis averted. But M. Night wanted us to believe that Mel would just leave it in there and wait for it to get out. How can we still be WITH our hero at the end when we've seen him make such foolish decisions; decisions that would not be made in the real world, if this was really happening. ****END OF SPOILER**** This is really a shame. Already, a pretty good director has succumbed to the HOLLYWOOD. He's a company man now. Expect more contrived nonsense to make a splash at the Box Office and expect more and more studio films (not auteur films like everyone thinks) from M. Night.

  • July 31, 2002, 3:12 p.m. CST


    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Yeah I agree - I got blasted in my personal email for giving out spoilers so I've avoided the issue - I'm not sure about the whole "idea" theory - lots of filmmakers have ideas they save that they've had before their first movie is done - but the plot-holes in Signs really ticked me off. It was not, in the spirit of the Sixth Sense "tight" story-wise.

  • July 31, 2002, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Regarding "pedant"'s comments on my earlier post; De Palma,

    by Dickie Greenleaf

    First of all, I think you're probably right concerning De Palma. I'd forgotten that SCARFACE came out in 1983, and that's hardly perfect. Nevertheless, it was a complacent way to substantiate an arguement, particularly considering I've never been a big fan of his, but there remain many that admire his early work and whenever you pick up a book or read an article on the seventies, De Palma is almost always mentioned alongside Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppola, Lucas, Cimino and the rest as being part of that mini revolution. Whatever you're opinion of the man, however, his insistence on self-plagiarism has still seen him wind up struggling on such doomed projects as MISSION TO MARS, so his career trajectory can be seen to sufficiently validate Spielberg's thematic and stylistic experimentation. As for Woody Allen, I did say that I always watch whatever he makes, and rarely do I not enjoy the experience, but he has simply never scaled the heights of ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN in the years since, and his reliance on the same group of characters and situations mean that he has not produced anything as powerful as his early work. No matter how entertaining THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, MIGHTY APHRODITE, DECONSTRUCTING HARRY or countless others have been, they can never recapture the sheer ebullience and impact of those initial hits, so I don't think you can argue that he plays in the same league as Spielberg anymore. I can kind of understand your point though; in recent years, I thought BULLETS OVER BROADWAY and SWEET AND LOWDOWN were excellent, but there is still something about them that seems comparatively inconsequential. But you should give Shyamalan's films another chance. Just because something is meticulously crafted does not mean that it is as self-conscious as you may feel. When you consider the emphasis on stylised pyrotechnics in the modern blockbuster, you should appreciate a director that shows the level of restraint and finesse that Shyamalan does. I think Moriarty stated that the repeated use of long single-take scenes in UNBREAKABLE resulted in a slow, exhausting experience, but not only did the pace of the film appeal to me, it was perhaps the most important variable in soliciting such fine performances. Rarely have Willis or Jackson been better; they are often actors that rely on the iconography of their most popular roles as a basis for creating new characters, and UNBREAKABLE turned out to be the perfect vehicle for both in so far as it played upon that iconography (Bruce as an action hero and Sam as the bad motherfucker he likes to known as), but demanded that they infuse those riffs with something real and true. The space and time afforded by those single-take scenes were particularly effective in helping them achieve the desired effect. It's a subjective call, but what some may say is self-conscious, I would deem as sensitive direction. This would apply to THE SIXTH SENSE too, as both films reveal an impressive understanding of all of the medium's technical possibilities. For instance, rather than merely relying on visuals and deafening sensory assaults, take the imaginative use of soundscape and the way in which he uses subtle aural effects to create atmosphere. Through making full use of the digital surround technology, Shyamalan demonstrates one of the ways his approach incorporates the best of traditional and modern production values. It may be manipulation, but so much art is exactly that anyway. It's a matter of how intelligently you use those tools to craft your stories, and the compelling nature of Shyamalan's scenarios reveal a filmmaker who knows how to treat an audience with respect. He may not have produced a masterwork yet, but I believe he may be empowered to do so in the future.

  • July 31, 2002, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Prime examples of what I was talking about

    by Angelripper

    Must have struck a chord. Methinks ye dost protest too much. Mako, Sod off Baldric, and Neovsmatrix, move along, you're slowing down the rest of the herd in their mad rush to lick m.nights scrotum. Gonna have to use the electrified cattle prod on you slowpokes. Don't step in your own cowflop there, ya lemmings. And someone calling themselves Weedy McSmokey is giving people shit about their names? That's classic. Better take good care of that last brain cell there, Polesmokio, who knows when you might need to use it.

  • July 31, 2002, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Unbreakable broke me down...

    by Fatal Discharge

    ...with it's It suffered from the dreaded post-hit-filmitis disease of trying to copy what made the previous film a hit but to lesser effect. As for Woody Allen's films, I get enjoyment out of even the most inconsequential ones too. I would rank Crimes And Misdemeanours though up there with his best of all time in addition to the others mentioned. It had an emotional impact in the death of one of the characters and its statement on the morality (the lack of it) in today's culture that still leaves a mark on me today many years after seeing it.

  • July 31, 2002, 3:37 p.m. CST

    What's wrong with adaptations?

    by Billy Talent

    I'm all for more original screenplays, but how many of the very best films have been adaptations? All Kubrick, much of Hitchcock and Welles, 'The Godfather', 'Casablanca', 'The Big Sleep'. I could go on and on but you get the point. Also, 'A.I.' and 'Minority Report' wipe the floor with Shyamalan. Steven = Master, M. Night = Apprentice. 'Signs' is a dreary mess. This weekend's talkback will not be a happy place.

  • July 31, 2002, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Totally agree

    by The Pope of Balt

    nuff said.

  • July 31, 2002, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Not bad at all, Harry.

    by rabid_republican

    Well Harry, that was quite the review. Though more an essay on how Shylaman engages you as a film maker, I was impressed nonetheless. That said, it's all the more reason that I want to see this.

  • July 31, 2002, 4:19 p.m. CST


    by Der Hulk

    Hulk use Manthing for compost.

  • July 31, 2002, 4:53 p.m. CST

    The Problem with the 6th Sense

    by The Paladin

    The Problem with the 6th Sense Spoiler Warning ---------------------------------- ********************************** ********************************** ********************************** ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- I remember once I was taking a test in a cell physiology class, and there was a very badly worded question on the interpretation of a graph. I answered it right but when I got the test back I found I received no credit. I went to talk to my professor about it. At first she just tried to re-explain how to interpret the graph and told me that she had copied/pasted the question from the textbook. I replied saying that I followed every step correctly, but came up with a different answer. She then took a few seconds to look at the graph, and realized that there was a misprint in the book. She was amazed that I had noticed it, and then gave me full credit for the answer. ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- That is exactly what happened in the 6th sense! Before I begin my rant I want to say that I am not trying to convert anyone, or convince you that you are wrong and I am right. I just want to let you know about a different perspective. If you bought the DVD, and saw it 100 times, hay I am glad you didn

  • July 31, 2002, 5:10 p.m. CST

    re: Dickie

    by pedant

    Opinions differ, of course, and my defense of Woody Allen is based largely on my opinion that Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) is his best film... But even if you perceive a decline in the quality of his work, surely you agree that it appears very mild next to the the Bogdanovich / Coppola debacles. It seems unfair to lump Woody in with them. And for the record, I agree that he and Spielberg play in different leagues -- they always have -- but we disagree as to which one is the minor leaguer :-) ***** Regarding Shyamalan's filmmaking, his restraint seems artificial to me. I can't really put my finger on why, it's just a vague feeling. He doesn't sell me on it. It seems forced, as though it exists for its own sake, rather than for the sake of the story. It almost seems like he's showing off how subtle he can be, like he's trying to impress his film school profs or something. This is what I mean by self-conscious. I also think his symbolism is rather pat, and he can't seem to avoid using a supernatural fantasy gimmick of some sort. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a great technical filmmaker who sometimes shows hints of artistic brilliance, and I have every expectation that he will improve as he matures. But that doesn't make The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable any more enjoyable for me.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Paladin, I don't agree

    by neovsmatrix

    It's been a while since I last saw The Sixth Sense, but here's what I think is what you missed: Spoilers: > > > > > > In Sixth Sense, Malcolm asssumes he's alive. Never questions what he's doing there or whatever. But he's sent by God or whoever, and he appears to help Cole. All the maladies that had afflicted the former patient were present in Cole. He fades in and out, not knowing how or why he's there, just doing what he thinks he should be doing. The dead don't know they're dead, but they roam around, fading in and out of places > > > > > > End spoilers.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Polesmokio - that's pretty funny

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    So anyway, I was on the web site once and this guy kept calling people lemmings and sheep and whatnot because they showed a prediliction for this popular movie, because as we all know - things that have real value are only the property of the superintelligent ubermen who were placed on this earth to scoff at the piddiling masses as they trudge around in their miserable excuses for lives. I'm just wondering - do you hate the M. Night for a reason other than the above? Oh, and is Angelripper a old dungeons and dragons handle? Or a new one? And is your (sexually frustrated) anger misplaced because you're still steamed at being slayed by that giant elf? c'mon fuckface, tell me the news.

  • July 31, 2002, 5:27 p.m. CST

    The Paladin

    by Drop Johnson

    Ummmm... no. Were you studying for your cell physiology exam while you were watching 6th Sense? Because you missed some reaaallly important dialogue in there. The film makes complete 'sense'. Pay attention to each character's perspective of their own world and how they are/aren't interacting with their surroundings. Listen to what Cole says about the dead... more closely this time. In fact, the things you've listed as inconsistent are more than silly.. they ignore a central tenet of the film itself. What did he eat? Really? Wow. I see dumb people. They're EVERYwhere!!!!

  • July 31, 2002, 6:31 p.m. CST

    The Sixth Sense Is Not A Math Test - Paladin

    by Mako

    It's a movie, not a scientific experiment. If Night fully explained all of your "illogical" misteps, then the movie would have been ten hours long, to detail every speck of dust that Bruce Willis kicked up off the floor. Night is a film maker. It's called "suspension of disbelief". A term every good film maker knows. Night made a good film, because by the end of the film, a majority of people felt as if Bruce was actually dead. It was the dramatic beats that lead you there. Throw away any microscopic details and look at the bigger picture.

  • July 31, 2002, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Re: "pedant"

    by Dickie Greenleaf

    We'll agree to disagree. I think you may be selling Shyamalan short, but like you said, he will undoubtedly improve with experience, and for me, that means that we could be looking at the potential rise of an important filmmaker. And once again, I remain a big fan of Woody Allen, but I just can't ever see how his influence will extend as far as Spielberg's. Individually and collectively, the profound impact of Spielberg's films is unmatched by virtually every other contemporary director except Scorsese. CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is a great piece of work, and Allen has certainly retained a vitality that the other filmmakers from the era that I discussed have not been able to, but I still think that his career path has followed a similarly unfortunate trend. When he takes centre stage as the lead character in a given film, it can't help but recall his best roles in superior films. I mentioned that I was an admirer of BULLETS OVER BROADWAY and SWEET AND LOWDOWN, and maybe it's no coincidence that neither featured Woody in front of the camera. When he allows other actors to be the focal point, and he has managed to consistently collaborate with some great casts, the material is filtered through a fresher form that is more satisfying. Woody will always be an entertaining presence (one only need consider what a welcome contribution he made to this year's Academy Awards ceremony), but the question remains as to whether he either has anything new to say or a new way to say it. That does not mean I don't enjoy it, but the fact remains that he has not demonstrated the ambition or versatility that Spielberg has in his mastery of multiple genres. It would have been wonderful to see what the skewed wit and seemingly unlimited invention of a film like ZELIG might have produced if he had not devoted so much time attempting to repackage ANNIE HALL. MIGHTY APHRODITE was at times extremely funny, but the lasting impression is a film that feels as if it were just a latest instalment in a franchise. Of course, his (arguable) decline cannot be directly compared to Coppola's and that was not my intention, but if one was making a comparison, one must also acknowledge that Allen never matched Coppola's best (THE GODFATHER PART I and II, APOCALYPSE NOW). When seen in that light, not even Orson Welles fell as hard. As you say, though, opinions will naturally differ and I appreciate the debate.

  • July 31, 2002, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Re: "pedant" Part II

    by Dickie Greenleaf

    Just as I posted the last message, I remembered EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU (1996) which was superb. Maybe that adds to my overall frustration; that was relatively recent so Woody's still obviously got what it takes. I also have to admit that that represented an attempt to explore new material, or at the very least a new way of expressing familiar themes.

  • July 31, 2002, 6:48 p.m. CST

    random thoughts:

    by MrPeanut

    1)Paladin, if you really didn't like the sixth sense, I would be cool with that, but you shouldn't disrespect a film just because you weren't paying attention. I bet the ending to the Ususal Suspects went right over your head, too. 2) I really liked Unbreakable, but I don't consider it a great movie. He could have shown the train wreck at the beginning; in fact, I was sure he would. It would have made a hell of an opening scene and compensated for the slow pacing throughout the rest of the film. Also, it irritated me that the most we see Bruce Willis do the entire movie is take down some rapist with a choke felt like the director was trying too hard to be subtle. Not that I didn't like it, just thought it could have been a tad more comic-bookish for a movie about comic books. 3) *completely off topic* I just got my Blade of the Immortal print today... sweet. 4)If harry wants to put his naked ass in the corner or ramble on about his life story, he can do it because this is HIS website and he doesn't owe any of you jack shit. If it pisses you off, then leave. If your'e still here then you know you love it, so STFU.

  • July 31, 2002, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Well Harry, thanks for changing the animation to something less

    by CoolDan989

    But would you please do something about that goddamn U.S. Mail "Impact" ad! I, for one, am goddamn tired of that goddamn "boom" noise every friggin 5 seconds!

  • July 31, 2002, 7:37 p.m. CST

    Smash It Up

    by Drop Johnson

    I thought that Unbreakable was as 'comic book' as it gets.. but then I guess it depends on what comix you are reading. The chokehold scene (and the pool scene right after) were a thousand times more entertaining and thrilling to me than the Spidey/GGoblin firefight. Ahhh subjectivity, you minx!

  • July 31, 2002, 8:15 p.m. CST


    by ThePoleOfJustice answer to your concern about why the aliens would invade if they knew the planet had water on 'em...well, several points. First off, I don't think they were invading, I think they were harvesting for food. This would explain why they gassed people: keep 'em from stuggling. If they just wanted to kill 'em, where were the weapons? They didn't want the planet, they wanted food, so the fact that it had a damaging substance all over it wouldn't necessarily be a deterrent to a hungry species. BTW, the "harvesting" theory was explicitly mentioned in a radio broadcast towards the end...but it still remains just a theory. Also, the water damaged 'em, but I seem to recall seeing some minor healing going on as the alien was getting hit with the water the first time. (it's admittedly quick, but having seen this scene repeatedly, I think that is indeed what's going on.) So it doesn't kill 'em on contact. Brief exposure is unwanted, but not lethal. When the alien dies at the end, he dies because someone broke a baseball bat against his midriff, not because he was killed by water (again, theory, but methinks it's a sound one.)

  • July 31, 2002, 9:10 p.m. CST

    M. Night

    by FaZe

    Im a huge fan of his work, and am waiting for Signs to be released here in New Zealand. My experience with Unbreakable went from bad to good. I saw it late at night with a whole lot of friends, and walked out of the theatre cursing. Im ashamed of that now, because I got out the DVD and its now ranked up there in some of my favourite films of all time. (Note: Favourite is different from Best) I think the Ending of it is fine, and keeping with the flow of the story, bruce willis's characters mindset, i think that is exactly what he would have done. Its a damn good film, and easily on par with 6th sense in my opinion.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Millermeusa is confused

    by TomVee

    Leonard Maltin is probably the single best critic in the business today. I assume your knock at him must have to do with a review of UNBREAKABLE. I will also assume he was not overly fond of the film. Neither was I. I am a former film reviewer myself, for a major daily newspaper. UNBREAKABLE was like a high film school project, not a real movie. The ending was lame. The whole film was a major letdown. I write this assuming you are referring to this film. if not, my mistake.

  • July 31, 2002, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Regarding the Animation

    by freethinker

    HAHAHA!!! Harry WISHES he could actually stand his fat ass up to take a pee, rather than wet the bedpan underneath his Jabba the Hutt girth!!

  • July 31, 2002, 10:27 p.m. CST


    by Carf

    2 lame 2 be 4 gotten his movies are good, but not all this...

  • July 31, 2002, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Master of Exposition? Killing an alien.

    by filmnazi

    If M Night is the master of exposition then why did unbreakable end so stupidly with that dumb-ass epilogue. I bet he didn't want it that way. he couldn't have. i thought that was one of the best damn movies of the year until the end. I can't wait for this movie, though, i heard that an alien gets a baseball bat across the midriff... Cool. My own personal fantasy is to kill an alien with a blunt object.

  • July 31, 2002, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Goat's Blood?

    by ATOC

    One rubs sheep's blood on the lintel to escape God's plague. Thus we have the "Paschal Lamb", "Lamb of God", etc. I think you confused Judaism with Satanism.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Stop mis-using the term "Comic Book"...

    by Bones

    I am sick to death of the term "Comic Book Movie"being bandied about. "Superhero" Comics are not the only type of Comics, nor are they the only movies based on Comics. "Superhero" is simply a genre of Comic books. "Comic Books" are a form of literature that combine words and pictures for a near-cinematic sense of storytelling that gives you the power to read and reread things at will. There is not just one genre of Novels, Television or Movies--so Why do we assume the same of Comics? M. Night Shyamalan is guilty of this misuse of terminology in his film "Unbreakable" (which is being discussed in relation to "Signs") in which he mistakenly uses Comics sales figures and romantic notions of comic reader's habits to reinforce his thesis of a society in need of heroes. What he means to say is "Superheros" or "Superhero Comics" are the new mythology in his film. There are many fantastic comics that have NOTHING to do with Superheros and an ever increasing number of films that use a comic book as it's basis. Road to Perdition, Ghost World, From Hell, The Crow, the Men in Black films, The Rocketeer, Tank Girl, Barbarella, Barb Wire (I never said these were all good films), all sprung from the pages of the Comics medium. Lets not forget Anime, which is very popular, and has a high number of Manga adaptations (Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Nausicaa, etc.). But still the words "Comic Book" mean only "Superhero" to the uneducated masses--which is a shame. There are a number of wonderful stories written and drawn in the medium I love that people are missing out on. Bone, Castle Waiting, The Waiting Place, Transmetropolitan, Hellblazer, Midnight Nation, Age of Bronze, Clan Apis, The Sandwalk, Leave it to Chance, Planetary, 100 Bullets, Torso, Jinx, The Incal, 2001 Nights, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, Sandman--the list of stories, genres, authors, styles, artists is ENDLESS. Read more books, people. Don't be Afraid. Once you get used to turning pages, reading as you watch, you learn that there is more than the ordinary out there. You can live without explosions and unnaturally buoyant women for 32 pages a month. You might find a world you really like, and actually begin to use the English language properly. You might find things to be "Superhero-ish" instead of "Comic Book-ish". Or not.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 6:54 a.m. CST

    Re: the 6th Sense

    by The Paladin

    OK I am willing to admit that I could have missed some lines that would have explained the movie better. The first time I saw the Matrix, I had a bad reaction to it, but I decided to give it a second chance and loved it the second time I saw it. I rented 6th sense on DVD, and played it on my computer; my speakers weren

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 9:20 a.m. CST

    M Night! M Night! M Night!

    by JAGUART


  • Aug. 1, 2002, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Shamalamadingdong's Progress (wink wink, nudge nudge)

    by mcwhitey

    A few of you have mentioned that Mr. M. Night's filmmaking would improve with time. First, a ghost flick with spooky lighting and sound - second, the superhero movie with spooky lighting and sound, third - the UFO flick with spooky lighting and sound? While I enjoyed the hell out of M. Night's first two, I wouldn't say he's actually progressing anywhere. An old movie buff I know tells me that John Ford progressed, too, with his cowboy and Indian films. He says that he tapped into new conditions and social commentary with each progressive film. Yet to me, it 's all cowboys and John Wayne. This is the same man that told me John Wayne was a great actor ... I digress. The point to all of this is that sure, M Night is a stylist and when people see his name attached to a film, they expect to see certain traits, the tie-all ending for one. I doubt that when I walk out of Signs this Saturday, much will have changed. But that's ok; I like ol' Shamalamadingdong. His adolescent cops and robbers filmmaking in the special features section of Unbreakable even gave me hope.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 10:18 a.m. CST

    to Dickie re: Spielberg & Allen

    by pedant

    One last point on the Coppola thing: What makes Woody different is that even if you erased all 1970s films from the earth, he would still be a formidable presence in the world of film. I dare say Coppola and Bognaovich would not. Okay, I'll leave this dead horse alone now. ***** You say Spielberg is more influential than Allen... I suppose that's true in a sense. But I see it as more of a business / marketing influence than an artistic one. People sometimes imitate Spielberg's substance, but never his style. I don't think I've ever heard of a shot described as "Spielbergesque," and I'm having a hard time even imagining what one would look like. ***** Incidentally, I just saw A.I. last night for the first time, and my reaction to it is much the same as my reaction to Shyamalan's films: Technically brilliant, artistically uneven. There were about ten minutes of A.I. that were sublime, but the rest of the film suffered from Spielberg's cloying sentimentality as well as numerous plot holes, scientific blunders, and non sequiturs. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Response to WeedyMcSmokey

    by mcwhitey

    Weedy McSmokey? You want to complain about someone who names themselves rotlord666. I love how you speak of this free speech utopia and yet persecute Angelripper, calling him a Dungeons and Dragons dork a.) because he's an easy target and then b.) because you thought you get a Cheech and Chong bong-gurgling laugh out of it. Toke up, dude. Whoooaaaa. Hide the stash before the big, meanie cops come in. If they hear the Phish playing from outside the door, they'll be sure the break it down and steal your plants. I had a bunch of Weedy McSmokey roommates once; they spilled bong water on my Dreamcast, coca-cola on my computer keyboard and generally left seeds all over the living room. It sucks to be stereotyped ... even if you're named rotlord666. My momma's name is rotlord. Chill out, hoss.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Harry, even though I'm goona have to wait until tomorrow to

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    M. Night Shyamalan is BETTER than Steven Spielberg ever was, in my opinion. "Signs is gonna change my perspective upon life once again, just as "Unbreakable" did. How I wish he would write and direct a great sequel to that brilliant masterpiece.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 11:08 a.m. CST

    "gonna", not "goona. I'm illiterate this morning.

    by John_Howlett_Jr

  • There may be a sense of wonder in M. Night's films but no joy whatsoever.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 11:23 a.m. CST


    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Yeah, I know - I'm just responding in kind to a similar bozo attach a few talkbacks back. Bringing up the name thing was stupid - but, hey I started it - must finish - anyway, it's falling on deaf ears apparently. that guy Analripper, said basically outlined the most cop-outty reasoning for not seeing the movie - and I questioned it - and it escalated from there. BTW I chose my name 'cause I thought it was funny - oh I and I smoke insane amounts of grass. It's so choice, I highly recommend it.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 12:52 p.m. CST

    I see this movie tanking big time

    by KONG33

    It definately deserves to.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Bones, I need, I mean I agree!!!

    by Jaka

    Sorry. Just watched my ST:TMP dvd last night. So sheeyat! This talkback got LARGE in a hurry and I don't have time to read it all. But I want to back up what you said 100%. I also want to add that this is not a new thing. I started reading Elfquest in the EARLY 80's, and Cerebus shortly there after. There were other NON superhero comics before them as well. You mention Sandman, which in my mind, is the best story ever told in the comicbook medium. Transmetropolitan!! Fuck yeah! This book would completely blow away most of the geeks that come to this site if they would just read it. Bone! Awesome-and readable by the WHOLE FAMILY (I love my bone lunch box metal tin thing!). Both of these series will be ending soon though (sad sad days ahead for some of us I fear). Cerebus. I will always recomend Cerebus to ANYONE! But to anyone that thinks comic books are about guys in spandex with super powers-at least pick up the Cerebus phone books at your local shop and LOOK at them. I have been reading this comic for 20 years (sadly, it too will be over in late 2004, early 2005...sigh)and I honestly feel that 100 years from now it will be considerd a classic piece of literature AND art. Nothing like it has been done before. But baring some terrible thing that I won't mention, Dave and Ger are going to make it. Please just check ALL these books out. I would recomend checking them all out in their collected forms (graphic novels, that is). With Sandman and Cerebus the first books are the hardest to get thru and they improve each collection there after. Bone and Transmet grab you from the first page of the first book. Bone is probably the easiest to read, Cerebus the most difficult. But after you have read front to back through a 300 page Cerebus novel, you WILL be left wondering why in the FUCK there are so many damn superhero books selling 1000's of times the amount of these books. Sandman WAS an exception-it also changed the entire comic book medium, for about 5 years. Things have been kind of stagnant or even gone backwards since then, in my opinion. I wish I could more tell everyone (I realise many of you KNOW THIS SHIT) more about the plot of these stories. But they are long, and deep, and contain too many characters, places, events etc. to easily encapsulate. I promise you that any local shop can order ANY of thes books if they don't have them in stock and that ANY of these stores would be VERY HAPPY to just have you come in and take a look around. Give it a try. And YES! I realise this has NOTHING to do with Signs. I just think that Bones made a great point and wanted to further it. Also, I don't really want to know more than what Harry alreay said. I'm excited to go see the movie.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 1:17 p.m. CST

    However, I loved UNBREAKABLE...

    by KONG33

    It was far too slow at times, it's a pain to watch a few times, outside of the character of Mr.Glass, who I LOVE. The deleted Glass scenes should've been included in the movie on the DVD. Night shouldn't have a strange superstition about emotion during films. A film shouldn't be slow and subtle if it doesn't have an entertaining script backing that, how would Unbreakable 2 work if he just likes the realization of powers?

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 1:33 p.m. CST

    A scene from UNBREAKABLE 2

    by Nordling

    David Dunn gets a letter from Mr. Glass while in the asylum. It is simply a card that reads "Did You Know You Could Fly?" Although David knows what kind of person Glass is, Glass did point him in the right direction, so he gets on the roof of his house and jumps. Doesn't fly. He doesn't die, either, but people see him fall and not hurt himself, thus exposing his ability to the world. I don't know, this scene has played in my head ever since I saw UNBREAKABLE. Just a thought. Do what you will with it.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 2:17 p.m. CST

    My "Unbreakable 2" idea.

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    At the beginning, we see Bruce Willis attempting to save a woman from being raped and killed. But unfortunately. he arrives a little too late. Not only has she been violated and murdered, but she was apparently pregnant, and the rapist/murderer has ran away already. We are then told that his four last attempts at being a superhero were met with similar results (remember at the end of the first film, he breaks the bad guy's neck, but unfortunately the mother and father have been dead for quite some time). Bruce is depressed due to his multiple failures. Unlike the superheroes of comic books, in real life he can never seem to arrive in the nick of time and save the day. He decides to simply give up. He tells this to Samuel L. Jackson, whom he visits often at the insane asylum (even though he revealed himself to be his arch-nemesis, he was first and foremost his mentor, his initiator). He prefers to return to the simpler life of being an average father and husband. But Samuel won't let him off that easily. After all, without a superhero, Mr. Glass is no longer a supervillain, he is reduced to nothing more than a fragile freak in a wheelchair, trapped in an mental institute for the rest of his life. He decides that the time has come for him to leave his little white room with rubber walls, as he has planned to for years before he even met Bruce. I don't know HOW he escapes, maybe he intentionnally breaks something so that he may be sent to the infirmary, but I'm sure that it would be a brilliant plan which would show the audience how intellectually superior he is. From then on, Samuel keeps hunting down and watching Bruce, as he sets up several situations that shall force him to act as a superhero once again. Situations in which Bruce actually manages to save quite a lot of lives. All along, as Bruce's self-confidence grows, Samuel is preparing a mother of a final showdown between Bruce and him. Something that shall involve a torrential amount of water (Bruce's sole vulnerability), a shitload of shattering glass and a large audience, not to mention extensive media coverage. In the end, Samuel dies precisely as he wished he would, and the world now knows the identity of "the UNBREAKABLE man", humanity first real-life superhero. Oh, and here's the breathtaking twist ending:

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Since it hasnt been mentioned

    by RulingRing

    LOTR:FOTR. Yes, yes thats very good. You rabid monkeys needed to add a little froth on your lips to complete the raving fanatic aspect. And speaking of LOTR, shame shame FaZe, New Zealanders are only allowed to appreciate antipodal hobbit films.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 4:59 p.m. CST


    by Barron34

    C'Mon, man M. Night is over-rated! I figured out the plot of The Sixth Sense from the damned trailer! Obvious, man. I liked Unbreakable because I am a serious old school comic fan, and it was nice to see something like that slip beneath people's radar. Still, as others have pointed out, the ending was lame exposition instead of action, a basic film-making mistake. Are you saying that M. Night couldn't get the money to shoot an extra fifteen minutes where the hero takes down the villain? C'mon! And, I also saw who the villain was coming a mile off. Still, I forgave it because of the realistic and original take on the superhero. Lastly, I am emphatically NOT going to pay to go see Signs. I am not as interested in aliens as I am superheros, so the "fresh take" on an old genre doesn't do much for me there. Sorry. If M. Night makes a sequel to Unbreakable (which will never happen) where he actually has the villain in action, I will pay to see another of his films. Otherwise, get off your high-horse and stop believing your bullshit press. After you have survived in the industry for 20 years and produced a long list of gems, THEN you can compare yourself to Spielberg. M. Night obviously has some talent, but his limited success so far has obviously gone to his head, and that can't be good for anybody, himself included (I know this because I have read interviews and articles about the guy, and he suffers from a good case of egotism). Anyway, who am I? Just some movie fan who posts on AICN, but trust me, I have my feet on the ground and can tell when someone doesn't. That's my 2 cents. Barron out.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 5:09 p.m. CST

    it stinks in here

    by ET

    Boy, the bullshit is piled-knee high in this one. How fucking predictable. Why don't you fagfilmaphiliacs just line up and take turn sucking off Shamalamalam's dick and get it over with. Unbreakable sucked the big one! Hahahaha fuckin retards.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 5:09 p.m. CST

    To John Howlett Jr.

    by Barron34

    Thanks a good micro-treatment for an Unbreakable sequel. You have some story ability. You should try your hand at a screenplay if you haven't yet. Regardless, there will never be an Unbreakable sequel, unfortunately. The first mvoie tanked at the box office. Studios would never put a dime into a sequel for a movie that lost money the first time around. But, your ideas are good. You should take a crack at an original screenplay idea, if you have one. Later.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Woody Allen Movies make me sleeeepppyyy... Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    by Mako

    What time is it? Sorry. In all honesty, I have yet to sit thru a full two hours of a Woody Allen movie, so I can't comment on if he's better or worse than Spielberg or Shymalan. I seriously have fallen asleep to his films. Must be some trigger in his films that puts me to sleep. Hmmmmm.... anyone neet a lab rat?

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Hey Jaka, good call on Cerebus..

    by MrPeanut

    I just bought High Society, and it was damn good. And I also agree that the Sandman might be the best comic series ever published - I own every issue in one form or another, and I have hardcover editions of Brief Lives and The Dream Hunters. Hell, I even have the complete card set! I'm such a geek...

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Response to TOM VEE about Leonard Maltin

    by millermeusa

    i respect your opinion even tho i stand on mine.....loenard maltin even admitted that he does not like Forrest it is not a perfect film.....but it is great filmaking.....and I mean great....he even recomended the Brittany spears flikc crossroads......gimme a break and you think he is the best critic alive today?? i wont argue with your opinion but.....on this one i'll fight you and anyone else on it.....leonard maltin is an absolute idiot....and he does not appreciate real story telling.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 7:11 p.m. CST

    Millermeusa again

    by TomVee

    By the way, I do not agree with every review Leonard Maltin writes. But for my money, and regardless of my background as a reviewer, Maltin is the most sensible critic out there today. By the way, what's this about GUMP? It is a good, not great, movie. It is essentially a remake of a far superior film, BEING HERE, which starred the late, great Peter Sellers. How does GUMP factor into this talkback?

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 7:13 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    My mistake.See it if you have not.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Manoj Shyamalan

    by Aiwaz

    Speaking as a film director, I must say that I have the greatest admiration for the abilities and accomplishments of Mr. Shyamalan. In a world of stale, empty "blockbusters", it has been refreshing to see someone with true filmic sensibilities come to the forefront so quickly. Is there ego involved on his part? Perhaps. Some of us are guilty of ego issues when it comes to defending what we do. Some of us want to achieve "personal" filmmaking, and are shot down by narrow minded producers and executives. It is amazing, in a way, that "Sixth Sense" was made at all, despite being a wonderful script. The fact that it was successful only shows that much of the public is hungry for films with some substance, even if they are "genre" films. In a time when the media glorifies and feeds off of itself, when directors like Michael Bay, Renny Harlin, Jan DeBont, Simon West and all of the rest can force feed their ultra cool, MTV/commercial crap down everyone's throats it is refreshing to find someone who cares about filmmaking. The motion picture industry has been laboring under the Producer System now for far too long, and it is time that the truly creative people were allowed to have some control. Say what you will about Mr. Spielberg, but he is a film lover, through and through, and it shows. The same is obviously true of Mr. Shyamalan. Hasn't it been refreshing to see some films over the last couple of years that did not rely on visual effects to dazzle, but rather to support the story? Isn't it much more exhilirating to watch a movie that doesn't insult the intelligence, one that is skillfully, meticulously crafted? Shot in movies should MEAN something, that is where the power lies in the medium. Yes, story is important, yes acting is important, but in the end one could watch a stage play for those elements. It is the ability of film to create moments out of simple looks, gestures, framing, etc. that makes it transcend other forms of visual art. Harry is right (for once) in comparing Shyamalan to Spielberg. I would argue that he also belongs to a larger group (although it is still early in his career) which includes Spielberg, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Scorcese and a handful of others. Beyond that, I would also say that he is striving for something that I strive for in my own work, and it is wonderful to recognize that and see someone acheive recognition where it has been earned.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 8:15 p.m. CST

    The 'Bliss' of M. Night

    by uncleslickhead

    Please, God in Heaven, save me from another M. Night Shamalamadingdong Disciple. Let's ignore the fact that his whole shtick is based on making manipulating his audience into believing that he's more intelligent than they are. Shamalamadingdong is just a hack director in an auteur's clothing. Telling your actors to whisper their every line is not direction. Shots of Bruce Willis with a yellow rain slicker billowing out behind him does not conjure images of the great four color heroes from my childhood. And Mel Gibson claiming that no human could have made the crop circles that appear in his fields because they're bent too perfectly doesn't establish any sort of fear of the otherworldly in me. I find that the majority of people who claim to enjoy Shamalamadingdong's work are just like the people who claim to like the music of Radiohead. They don't understand it, so they think it must be high in artistic value. That means they'll seem intelligent if they claim to like it. The fact is that both Radiohead and Shamalamadingdong work too hard to seem artistic. And in Shamalamadingdong's case, he doesn't understand half of what he puts into his films. All that supposed symbolism in THE SIXTH SENSE? He just threw some things in so it would look like he filled his movie with obscure symbolism. He's a fake, a fraud.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 8:43 p.m. CST

    two cents

    by stin

    since everybody is venting their spleen i figured i might as well throw in a couple of my own equally worthless thoughts. every time mr. m. night's name is mentioned a ton of negative comments are thrown about on this site and i'm questioning why? there are critics who dislike his work and that is fine, but show me contemporary examples since JACOB'S LADDER which has delt with the subject matter more effectively. the problem here is how to tell stories of the supernatural to the general audience and still be faithful to one's intellect. let's face it the modern audience are rather jaded to the boogie man. the best way to handle the problem is what mr. s. has attempted: less is more. also as a response to those who believe mr. maltin is a excellent critic. he is, for the highest bidder.

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 8:56 p.m. CST

    response to uncleslickhead

    by stin

    ok, once again, compare SIXTH SENSE to something YOU like that had been filmed recently. can't be done because of the impossibilty of telling "spooky stories" to adults

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 9 p.m. CST

    To Uncle sicklehead

    by Aiwaz

    And yet another ridiculous argument about "manipulating" the audience. Film, by its very definition, is manipulative. Nothing on film is real, FYI, and anything put on film is there in order to elicit a response from a viewer. Even documentaries are manipulating reality to espouse the viewpoint of the filmmakers. There is a touch of Schroedinger's law inherent in film -- the observer (in this case, the camera and crew) alter the nature of that which is observed. Anyone who believes that film can be "totally honest" is deluded. Movies are not mirrors to reality. They are, at best, well executed paintings of reality. As for "art", and the definition of same, I do not believe that because someting is obscure that it is artistic. I do agree that some "film types" are a little hard to take, and obscure symbolism usually results in a movie which is not entertaining, and impossible to watch. I wonder, though, if you are confusing some of the subliminal use of the color red for "symbolism" in "Sixth Sense". Those sorts of devices are used commonly, and are quite effective in constructing a unique filmic world. They add a texture, which makes the celluloid unreality take on a life of its own. In the end, however, if a movie (or music, to take your "Radiohead" example) are not entertaining, then what difference does it make? Obviously we will not all agree on what is entertaining, but that was not the point of my post. I was merely stating admiration for what I know to be skillful filmmaking. In the three features that I have directed, I have hoped to achieve similar skill in execution, and I love to see others who wish to do the same. So, in closing, I have no argument with popular, popcorn movies, nor do I care much for the "artier" crap that others attempt. I merely appreciate good, well crafted entertainment, and despise that work which merely exists because of market research and/or because some studio exec who is completely out of touch with reality might think will make money...

  • Aug. 1, 2002, 10:14 p.m. CST


    by Dyertek

    For people who stay on top of the "movie scene" too's a shock to see that none of you realize that Unbreakable was meant to be part One of a the fact that they didn't sign Willis and Jackson for 3 films still makes me scratch my head, but oh well...I guess with Signs, I'll have to wait for the DVD to come out to see how the movie was "supposed" to end...damn screen testers! Blah!

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Is anyone interested in the TRUTH about those stupid crop circle

    by Robert Blake

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 5:54 a.m. CST


    by Paul T. Ryan

    Caught a preview screening of this in Melbourne a couple of days ago. Got its good points (Mel actually playing a character rather than the recent bipolar "Larrakin Mel" or "Teary/Angry Mel") but this may not translate as well outside the US. Its heavilly moralistic "have faith in God" moral is just too aggresively down-home American to translate to more secular viewers (ie: us cynical Aussies), and I wasn't alone in thinking so at this (admittely packed) screening. The denouement is very fifties scifi (not spoiling it for ya though) but Shyamalan's approach to the arrival of the aliens does win points for creativity. Hope it does well, but with reservations.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 9:22 a.m. CST

    I just saw it

    by LordZanthos

    Signs was absolutely phenominal! Stunning cool, excellently written. brilliantly acted, perfectly directed. I was interested in both Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but own neither on DVD because, while interesting, they were not (contrary to some people's view) the incredible pieces of filmmaking that people made them out to be. Wooden characters with little emotion in an intruiging story are not exceptional. M. Night finally got the lees is more approach down pat, and perfectly balances the mood, tension, story and actors. That must be incredibly difficult, and to get it right after only 3 major movie releases is laudable. I saw this at a screening... now I will go and pay for it at the full $7.50 rate because this is one film that deserves it, and not many do.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Looking forward to it

    by ewem

    I had to scroll through at least half the page like I usually do with one of Harry's reviews so I could actually get to the information about the movie itself. Harry, we don't care who you scratched your ass with, how much you ate with who waiting in line, what music you listened to on the way to the theater, just get to the point!

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Harry's Reviews

    by RegMovGoer

    You can't trust Harry anymore. I haven't even read Harry's review for this because I know I can't trust him. After how he reviewed Star Wars Episode 2 as being great, and for it to suck as bad as it did...I can't forgive him. You shouldn't either.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:51 a.m. CST

    I think M. Night has wonderful ideas

    by Scorp16

    M. Night has completely awesome IDEAS, but....... his movies are so slow they are almost too boring to sit through. I'm an avid moviegoer and do appreciate a good show, however, M. Nights

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Movie reviews and glasses of water

    by mack2002

    When assessing the amount of liquid in a container that is at partial volume, some would say the container is half-empty, while others would say it is half-full. The volume of M. Night Shyamalan's glass overflows.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 3:14 p.m. CST

    I'm sorry

    by Westrum

    But Bones, I just can't get over the fact that when I look at a comic book I am essentially look at pretty pictures, something I haven't done since I was 3 years old. I know there are a lot of good stories in comics, and I know that there are a lot of great artists making comics. But In the end there are a lot of people who can't commit for that very reason. I read, I don't look at pictures. That's not to belittle comics, it's just a personal preference.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 4:36 p.m. CST


    by claypool

    After seeing 'Signs' I really think your the one that's wrong. Not wrong in thinking you didn't like the movie. That's cool, you can have an opinion. But wrong in thinking that other people shouldn't like the movie. I saw it. I loved. And because I loved it , I know nothing of quality filmmaking. How silly that is.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 4:50 p.m. CST

    "Unbreakable" didn't bomb at the box-office, by the way.

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    It made 46 million on its opening weekend, and it eventually grossed 95 million domestically, but also 154 internationally, therefore 249 worldwide. If a quarter of a billion at the box-office is considered a bomb, then apparently everything short of "Titanic" is a disappointment.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 4:57 p.m. CST

    "Unbreakable" had an estimated production cost of only 102 milli

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    ...therefore, having made nearly 250 million worldwide, its definitely a winner. Not as profitable as "The Sixth Sense", but still quite profitable. Oh, and I just saw "Signs" this afternoon at a matinee, and its... its simply beyond description. Its one of the greatest films of all time. Period. Unbreakable is still my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film, though.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 4:57 p.m. CST

    signs my ASS!

    by 772489

    Damn it! The trailers had this beautiful credits graphics, those letters with mowing parts etc. It really conveyed the whole misterious idea of the film. What the fuck happened in theatrical release? Cheap mother fucker "bilboard helvetica" credits, looked like made in a last minute without any thought. Fuck. I am pissed! And guess what...the film is stupid. The characters are forced. The dialog is forced. This fucking film is embarrassing. Night is finished. He has no more stories to tell. He paddles backwards. I hope sombody's gonna stop this mother fucker from offending us viewers. Damn this shit!

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 5:04 p.m. CST

    booooommm mikeessss??!!!

    by mikeelbig

    did anyone but me see the boom mike above over half of the dialogue scenes. somtimes it is almost touching the actors heads. please tell me nobody else saw them because if so it just means my theatre messed up and the movie still rocks.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Review of "Signs"

    by Pablo777

    Sorry to report the movie was barely average. I expected a lot more from M. Night, and though he does succeed on some levels, overall you get the impression this should have been a TV movie. No big scares, no great insight into life or humanity, no mind-bending twist, just some decent directing, average acting, and poor scripting. Spare yourself and wait to rent the DVD. I give it a 6 out of 10. Pablo OUT.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 5:09 p.m. CST

    M. Night-stay away from acting in your movies-YOU SUCK

    by Anyawatcher

    and you take away from the movie. M. Night Shamalamading-dong is getting as reconizable as Cameron, Lucas, or Spielberg. Seeing him in Signs takes away from the movie. If he wants to do a Hitchcock walk by fine. The acting has to go. He's stiff and when he pops on the screen all i can think is there's the director. Takes you right out of the movie.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by CommanderJesus

    Honestly. There are scenes where the microphone is in danger of smacking Mel Gibson in the head. Just when I'm getting into the film, there it is again! And no, you don't have to look for it. You'll see it. Trust me. To say it is intentional is idiotic and yet I can't imagine why the hell else it would be there. It's ridiculous. I suppose it's a testament to the film that I enjoyed it anyway, but bullshit like this makes it much harder. In addition to that, Shyamalan needs to stop casting himself in increasingly emotionally challenging roles. It's an insult to the profession that he thinks he can just walk in and act. Granted, he plays it low key, very low key, and doesn't ham it up. But he ain't great either, making you go "Oh, there's the director" instead of "Oh, there's a man who blends into the story." It's childish and he needs to stop. Take a page from Hitchcock, and hide your damn recognizable face in a newspaper or something if you must. That being said, "Signs" is an enjoyable film with a good premise and worth seeing. Just don't expect really solid technical filmmaking. I swear someone bumped the camera during a scene. No shit.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 5:16 p.m. CST


    by mikeelbig

    so they really are there can we confirm that everyone who saw this film saw the boom mics in each scene if so i will wait to see it again till dvd and hope they fix that. Gawd I love m night why did he not just look at his film before releasing it seriously in some parts the boom mic is half of the screen. somebody please tell me my man m night had some strange reason for this.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 6:10 p.m. CST

    The Basement scene (among others) was stolen from Blair Witch

    by Col. Klink

    Let's see, how many movies did M. Knight steal material from? Running around screaming in the dark basement while the audience only catches occasional glimpses of what's happening? Blair Witch. Boarding up the house while invaders try to break through the doors and windows? Night of the Living Dead. Technologically advanced alien invaders being killed by a simple earthly substance, like water? Day of the Triffids, War of the Worlds, every B sci-fi movie and Twilight Zone episode. This movie will die the same death Unbreakable did. One good opening weekend and then a quick decline due to bad word of mouth. Also, what's with M. Knight giving himself such a major part in his own movie? A simple cameo isn't good enough anymore for Mr. Ego?

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 7:19 p.m. CST


    by FimbulWinter

    First - the guy that complained about the boom mike - march your ass to the manager and tell his projectionist to set up the gate and/or mask the screen properly. Calling MNS a not technically proficient filmmaker is just asinine - if he has one irrefutable talent that is it. 2nd - the people whining about MNS, his movies and Harry as he relates to them all share a common thread: envy and jealousy. Here we have two guys about the same age as the rest of us actually DOING what everyone here TALKS about. As far as bitching about the Spielberg comparisons - they are more than valid in the context of Speilberg's early films (as in these are MNS's early films) - suggesting that people miss this type of film from a filmmaker that essentially perfected them is not dismissing the work that followed. I mean do people really NOT want to see films with the same sense of _______ as Close Encounters, Poltergeist, ET and the other highlights from that era? If MNS shows that he CAN make films like those (and he clearly aspires to) we should all be happy and wait impatiently for the next one.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 7:28 p.m. CST

    It was - eh.

    by schnipple

    When I saw 6th Sense and Bruce Willis got shot in the first 5 minutes, I naturally assumed he was dead for the rest of the movie and was genuinely confused in the theater when everybody was in a fit of hysteria at the end when Bruce discovers he is already dead. I didn't know what was going on. I turned to my girlfriend and asked her what was going on. She said, "He's a ghost, stupid." I looked at her with a 'Yeah, I know. So what?' expression but she was completely enraptured in the film. I'm not saying this to brag about how quickly I sussed out that film because I never tried to do that when I see a movie, but I just thought that was obvious. He got shot in the beginning for chrissake. Because I assumed he was dead I thought the film was mediocore and the only really interesting point in the narrative was the story within the story of how the Haley helps that murdered daughter's father discover that his wife poisoned the daughter. That was pretty cool. It reminded me of the narrative hole we fall into watching Reservoir dogs when Roth's story of how he learns to go undercover unfolds. The rest of 6th Sense confused depth with a pacing that inched along. That being said, Night did the same thing in Unbreakable which was by all counts a much better film than 6th Sense. It wasn't as populist and served a smaller niche of filmgoers but it had a much more interesting narrative structure as well as Elijah personified by Sam Jackson, one of the coolest cinematic characters in a long fucking time. However, it was really slow. And not slow in a good way like Ozu or DeSica but slow in a way like a filmmaker deciding the blocking of his scenes. If you wanna see a master in making a slow scene move watch one of Altman's films. This guy is the fucking mac, THE MAC, in blocking shots. See, the way I figure it, most of Night's scenes are dialogue driven and you can really see that he's struggling to make the shots cinematically interesting which is cool. But, what he's losing in the process is the pacing of the scene by trying so hard to hold onto the integrity of the shot. He needs to let go and loosen up a bit. Maybe time will do it. Another director who does very interesting blocking is Hal Hartly. As far as SIGNS goes, it was the worst one of his supernatural trilogy. These corporate critics who keep praising all the Hollywood dreck coming out these days need to quelled. Minority Report didn't even try to make sense, Sam Mendes, like Michael Curtiz is a hack with a good cinematographer and SIGNS was very poorly written with a really silly theme. The idea that some vague notion of faith is the answer to the travails of life is pretty infantile and so middle america I almost expected Billy Graham to do a cameo. I was also shocked, literally shocked, at how childish the ending was. I couldn't stop laughing at how laughable it was. I mean I knew some of those peripheral elements in the story would come to play a role in the end but did he really need to make sense of everything? It felt like he planted every single material in the film so it tied in neatly at the end. It really is a spoon feeding mentality in writing a script. Now there's definitely interesting ways to compose elements that intersect in a narrative to cause the viewer to marvel at the sleights of coincidences or synchronicity or serendipity in a story. But to mechanically plant them and then forced them to tie together at the end is just plain laziness. Usually in a drama you forgo things like coincidence for more serious engines to the move the story along like plot and timing or 'bad timing' and most importantly character motivation. Coincidences and chance play more a part in comedies which are allowed more leeway in spicing up reality. I, for one, however, am a sucker for good exposition on things like fate and design when it is executed properly. And in SIGNS it was just clunky. I do think that Night is great with one liners in intense moments that remind me of those action films in the 80s but without any irony. I also didn't think the suspense was all that high in this film. All I kept thinking was that skit Eddie Murphy did in Delirious when he made fun of the white people in horror films that don't leave the haunted house. I mean come on! You got one of those crop circles pointing right at your house! The least, the very least, you can do as a responsible parent is get your goddamn kids out of the house once you know there really are aliens. Until you know what the hell is going on. That scene with the voting was idiotic! I thought it would be so funny if Eddie Murphy popped out and starting going 'SEE! SEE! White People are some stupid motherfuckers! First time I saw bigfoot on the roof I would've gotten my ass into a Holiday Inn!' And if the character is that friggin stupid to keep his kids in a house targeted by one of like 300 crop circles in the world, what does that tell you about the writer?

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Why this movie kicks so much ass (major spoilers)

    by dynamotv

    For one thing this has to be one of the funniest movies this year. Nothing touches it. I can't tell you how many times I laughed hard during this movie. One of my favorite lines is when Hess tells his family never to be with cindy (or whatever her name is) alone ever. I lost it there. There is something real there and we relate. Another is how deep this movie is. M Night really has a gift for crafting characters that you really feel you know when it's all over with. You really go through it with them and when they are in apin you are too. But the coolest of all is spoilers how the aliens are portrayed and shown to us. Not with masturbatory special effects and grand shots but with video and home movies. All I have to say is "birthday party". Hands down the coolest sequence in the movie. I was watching this and I am convinced that if this really happened that would be how it would be like. Alot of people have a problem with the ending but I felt it was perfect and tied into the theme of the movie. That's it and by all means see it in a packed theatre and with a projectionist who knows what he's doing (saw boom poles too)

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 7:39 p.m. CST

    Awesome movie!

    by ewem

    I just came back from it. This is EASILY the movie of the summer! Not overrated like Minority Report was...

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 7:56 p.m. CST


    by schnipple

    Tarantino's films are self-reflexive where you are periodically reminded that you are watching a film. He creates scenes that are direct homages to other films; he references pop culture; he fractures narratives; he deconstructs his own film within the film; he slices; he dices; get the picture. It's like - cool, there's Tarantino, because my radar for references and cameos are up, on and rotating at full power. The loaves are HUMMING. Night, however, is trying to completely involve you into a story that is moving pretty fucking slow. I mean the buildup is really slow. Which is enough sometimes for me to start wondering why the old lady seated next to me keeps crinkling her plastic bag sitting on her lap. I mean the pacing alone is did I mention so SLOW that sometimes it removes me from the narrative suture and I find myslef figuring out the nearest exit sign in case of an emergency evacuation. Plus, add what I wrote above about his clunky blocking and then I'm using my imagination at full throttle to just be involved in the story and then Night fucking does a CAMEO! I mean come on! What kind of bullshit is that! I just saw this guy on the cover of newsweek! In the scene where Mel's family is eating pizza and one of them goes 'there he is' and they cut to Night Shyamalan getting into his truck. I was like DID THE CHARACTERS JUST TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHO THE DIRECTOR OF THEIR STORY IS? Was this some strange metaphysical tribute to fucking GODDARD! Is the answer to who is making the crop circles going to be GOD who is coincidentally the director of their reality - M. Night Shyamalan. WOW, this is going to be the weirdest film in cinematic history! And then, so uninterestingly, he turns out to be a very important secondary character and all I could think sitting in that theater was - 'Why does this GODDAMN OLD LADY next to me keep crinkling her plastic bag!'

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 8:22 p.m. CST

    This movie made ROAD TO PERDITION look like FAST AND THE FURIOUS

    by MentallyMariah

    sorry but this movie was a sleeper and when I mean sleeper, I mean I felt like I took 2 prozac, a vicodin and a glass of wine...BORING BORING BORING...edge of my seat? I felt like I was on the edge of R.E.M! What a total disappointment...The audience I saw it with ( packed sold out house at 2 this afternoon ) shuffled out of there...overheard on the way out..." That was retarded!" I agree...100 percent...What a misfire! The Marketing was genius but man I wish RING was released this weekend instead of this pretentious crap!

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 8:33 p.m. CST


    by Reed

    I can't believe that you even gave this movie the time to even write a review. This is the worst piece of shit that I have EVER... EVER... EVER seen. I couldn't help but wonder... Is the world really ending because people actually clapped at the end of the film. So... I have decided... the world is just filled with stupid people and HARRY you are one of them. WORST... ABSOLUTE WORST film I have ever seen. Please don't support this shit in the theatre and DO NOT go see it. Save your precious time and money and go see anything... Master of Disguise or anything... anything is better than this. PIECE OF SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 8:36 p.m. CST

    just saw it, it was damn good

    by MrPeanut

    but some people will be dissapointed because nothing blows up and without loud, violent explosions, there is nothing to keep your ADD-riddled minds occupied but the actual plot, which apparently was too much for some of you to grasp. If you are one of those people, the solution is to never see a movie unless there are explosions in the preview - that way you know you can be happy. Go see triple X, that looks like your kind of film; but quit coming to an M. Night film and then bitch about the pacing - did you really expect lots of action?

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 8:47 p.m. CST

    And for people who complain about M.Night's cameo

    by MrPeanut

    Get over it! He was in the movie for all of five minutes, and if you didn't know who he was, you wouldn't even care.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 10:07 p.m. CST

    Good movie

    by Pksoze22

    Not M.Night's best. A bit slow but the last half of the movie built some suspense. And I liked the ending.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 10:24 p.m. CST


    by HoichiTheEarless

    If you saw the boom mike that many times, it's because the projectionist screwed up. For most non-scope films, there is actually more picture on the top and bottom of the frame on the actual film itself than is meant to be seen. It's the responsibility of the projectionist to get the framing right. Your projectionsist clearly didn't. There's absolutely no way a prefessional crew led by Tak Fujimoto would let a boom mike drop into the picture once, let alone as many times as you saw it.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Signs of badtaste


    This movie started out incredibly promising. But after ten minutes into it I was already restless. M Night seemed like he went out of his way to halt any momentum. What ensues after that ten minutes is just a bunch of "cute" humor and special family moments. Dealing with the alien plot, nothing seemed to make sense. The aliens come and then they just leave. Period. They are portrayed as being neanderthal-like yet they their technology far surpasses ours. The ending was the most baffling. The aliens are all just "evil". A "grand revelation" that's really just a bunch of nonsense: ####SPOILER#### beating a single alien (abandoned by the other aliens) with a baseball bat. Absurd. Unecessary. Presto, Mel's character decides to become a priest again. There is one really cool scene which stands out from the rest of the nonsense. The birthday party caught on video. But hardly worth $7.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 10:37 p.m. CST


    by Sithlord_999

    It would've been a much better title. At least, I would've known to expect a preachy story about how fate exists and coincidences don't. BORING. 6th Sense was great, but M. Night is a one hit wonder has-been/hack. Consider the other possible working titles: "Ned Flanders' Invasion" "Ned Flanders Conquers the Universe" "Ned Flanders' Alien" Sad.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Saw it today - what a disappointment

    by 9000rpm

    I really expected so much more. I agree with Alejandro that it feels like a 15 minute idea stretched to fill a contractual obligation. Real life? This is so totally not how humans would behave in this situation. The father and brother spent the entire movie without once thinking of defending themselves. Never once picked up even a stick, even when the aliens are storming their house. Insane. The stupid flashbacks to the wife's death served no purpose other than to plant the idea in the father's mind to tell the brother to finally grab a bat and do what every single person on the planet would have done the moment they were threatened. These characters were so unreal as to be painfully frustrating. The humor was okay (I can't recall a single funny line, though) and Gibson, instead of having lost his faith, was acting as if he'd lost his balls. Kudos to Harry for another 10,000 word advertorial.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:19 p.m. CST

    M Night Acting Sucks! Why...

    by Anyawatcher

    He's stiff, emotionless, unconvincing. Do you see Spielberg, Cameron, Scorsece(spel), or any other director do acting in their films? No. Why-because they are so noticable it would take away from the film. Besides he's a shitty actor and sticks out big time in that film. It's not like he acts in any other films. He's just doing it for ego.-And no not an actor or disgruntled movie person. just hate to see awesome movies fucked up by people who think they are actors.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:33 p.m. CST

    The Manoj Shyamalan cameo debate

    by The_Black_Hair

    Okay first things first... I refuse to call this Shyamalan fellow by the awful moniker he devised for himself. He will be known of in this post as Manoj. Perhaps the culturally aware talkbacker has deduced that I am an Indo-American like Manoj. He is, with out a doubt, the most famous Indo-American in the world today (and pretty much the only one). This dude's face in on the cover of Newsweek. He'll get a gushing profile on 60 Minutes. He yuks it up with Jay Leno for christs sake. How much more popcorn can you get? And he loves all this. Basically, the point is that pop culture is becoming aware of what he looks like, and even casual moviegoers may be aware that this guy is a brown foriegn looking fellow. Even if they wouldn't recognize him on the street, more and more people will be able to recognize him in a "M.--- Shyamalan" film. I mean, if an Indian dude pops up in a Shyamalan film, you know it's Manoj. Not that the average U.S. citizen can tell one brown dude from the next, but when you see one in a Shyamalan film... hell if Sharukh Khan has a cameo in a Shyamalan film people would be thinking it was Shyamalan. I think another poster made a good point regarding Tarantino and Shyamalan cameos. Tarantino is not afraid of letting you know you are watching a movie. Shyamalan, on the other hand, clearly wants something different. He wants to drench you in his tales, to wrap you in them. And then BOOM, there's the director. Actually, it was fine in "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" where the cameos were fleeting. But here he's an important character... he is involved with a major emotional focal point in the film. We're supposed to be sympathyzing with this guy's loss and then we see that his wife was run over by... Manoj Shyamalan! He wants to be a celebrity... he wants to be the star of his films. He wants everyone to know who Manoj Shyamalan is (alright, alright, you know what I mean). I'm sure this is has something to do with him popping himself into his movies like this. There's nothing really wrong with it, but with "Signs" he just goes too far with it. Now he's distacting us from what should be his main purpose. Sure, most people watching the film wouldn't know it was him, but by now there is a significant number of folks who would. I think it's a case of his ego and his desire to craft a fine tale getting in the way of each other.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:47 p.m. CST

    Favorite Film of His

    by chicagofilm

    Straight and to the point -- I saw the film today in a packed theatre and loved it. The audience also seemed to really like it and laughed and screamed at the right times. This is my favorite film of his yet. :-)

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:48 p.m. CST

    psshaw ---- spoilers

    by Alanna Banana

    blah blah blah to those of you complaing about what a letdown the ending was. would you have preferred the aliens to have destroyed the world in some kind of vast explosive climax like pretty much every other crap disaster movie that has ever come out? i personally thought it was interesting because it was from the perspective of an ordinary family without any glimpse into government investigations or hero types discovering how to defeat the bad guys. it was about something horrible that was there and then went away, and the characters and the audience weren't shown how or why. i imagine its somewhat like what most average people would experience in that situation. i can understand why that wouldnt appeal to some people, but i really enjoyed the movie.

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:52 p.m. CST

    Pace Issues w/ M. Night

    by erendis

    I think that the current generation of film goers (myself included), has watched waaaay too much Mtv. People seem to want all movies to be "non-stop action", with no concern for character stories. Too many people in this talkback seem to have the attention spans of 5 year olds. I happen to like the fact that M.Night's movies build slow, so you get to think (my god, expect the audience to think??) while the story unfolds. I think it makes the movie that much more suspenseful, esp in Signs because it becomes a slow horror in your mind. Not intending to flame anyone here, just an observation is all...

  • Aug. 2, 2002, 11:55 p.m. CST

    Lame! Lame! Lame!

    by Batutta

    This movie was lame. M Night was about as subtle as a sledgehammer with his theme in this movie, his visual technique is too staid and deliberate half of the time, and Mel just wasn't very good in this movie. His acting talents didn't fare well with M's precious style of directing. He just seemed queasy most of the time...And try telling the ending of this movie to anyone who hasn't seen it with a straight face.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Harry's review

    by BranMakMorn

    I think you nailed it here Harry. Really really enjoyed this film! M Knight can sure write children's dialogue and get the best out of them as actors.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 12:40 a.m. CST

    So where's this alien behavior rulebook?

    by DonnaDarko

    God, some of the talkbackers are funny in a really pathetic way. "An alien couldn't be killed this way" and "It's bullshit that they'd have an aversion to XXX". That has got to be one of the more ridiculous critisisms I've read on this site. Please - email me this intergalatic rulebook and CC it to SETI. I'd love to read it.*****I've seen this film twice and didn't spot ANY microphones or "bumping into cameras". Right - like a studio would release a 90 million dollar film with mistakes like that.****The sold-out crowd loved the film this evening. Some of you just hate EVERYTHING, don't you?. Ashok - would you like some cheese with your whine?

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 1:26 a.m. CST

    Childhood fears relived for only $7

    by Banky the Hack

    Man, this movie really got to me considering that I used to stay awake all night looking out the window for aliens and flying saucers. Three years that went on, falling asleep on the window sill, and I never saw anything. And I think that's what got me...I was so sure they were out there, the fact that I didn't see them was what scared me most. And thank God someone in Hollywood understands this. For the love of Christ, follow M. Night's example and DON'T SHOW THE MONSTER! Movie makers these days are so convinced that they're at the top of their game and what they imagine is the most scary thing, and that their effects house accurately translates it to screen. Ego laden bastards. The big news is, what I find scary, many people might laugh at, and vice versa. If you let people imagine their own monster, you'll get all the credit for scaring them. So, about the movie, I think it was fantastic, but I'm never going to watch it again, because I'm in grad school now, and I need what little sleep I can get. Oh, and the birthday party video....classic.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 1:36 a.m. CST

    weak aliens

    by Neko_Bijin

    This was the most feeble alien invasion since the episode where Lisa Simpson wishes for world peace, and then those laughing aliens invade armed with slingshots. Moe finally chases them away with a board with a nail in it. Seriously though, why were they so weak? No death rays, no retractable jaws and acid blood... come to think of it, let's invade their planet.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 1:47 a.m. CST


    by schnipple

    When I say his films move too slowly it's not because i watch too much MTV. I think that put down to a legitimate criticism is a cheapshot. First, I haven't watched tv in about 12 years. Second, my favorite filmmakers all make films that most people would say move slow like Rohmer, Coen Bros., Dumont, Goddard, Kieslowski, Ozu, Bunuel, Varda, Chabrol, Ozon, Cassavetes, Noe, Assayas, Fassbinder, Zonca...etc. The REASON Shamyalan's films are slow is because he blocks every shot as if the character is having a momentous moment every moment of the story. Like it's very serious and we need to pay attention to exactly what the character is experiencing or thinking. It's too studied and amateurish especially when his characters are pretty flat without any real complexities. They are for the most part props for his 'revelatory endings.' That's why his films move so slow is because he thinks his shots are so important in themselves when he needs to be more concerned about the rhythm of the overall story. It's not like he's created real complex characters like the aforementioned masters and he is studying them. I mean these are for the most part cartoon characters. Which is fine by me, but his style is just a little off for it. It gives film geeks without any lazy attitude towards film history to say it's cool because it treats things like ghosts and superheroes and aliens as if they needed to be taken very seriously and solemnly. It validates their fantasies. It doesn't, however, make great cinema. I think ALIEN and ALIENS are still the best us vs. them films around. And BLADE is still the best superhero film yet. Ghost movies...I think THE OTHERS was more interesting than the SIXTH SENSE.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 2:09 a.m. CST

    Why do I read this crap?

    by originaltdiddy

    I don't know why I even bother to read any of this crap. Signs is hands down the best of M Night's films. Once again, people downplay good films because they can't get past that one little thing that no one else seemed to have a problem with. Just why did the shark in Jaws go after humans? Gee, never explained. What the hell happened at the end of 2001? What evolutionary processes occurred to make apes the dominant species in Planet of the Apes. It seems these days you have to write a one hundred page thesis explaining why a character picks his nose five minutes into the film or the film is a piece of crap. Just enjoy the damn movie. Watch it unfold. Watch as each carefully thought out piece falls into place. Shyamalan is the real deal, folks. When all the hack directors of this world have moved on, M. Night will absolutely be considered among the best.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 2:21 a.m. CST

    stop bitching about the aliens!!!

    by millermeusa

    this movie is about an alien invasion thru the perspective of one family who just happens to be overcoming a tragedy.....and its also about the fact there there are no random events....that things happen for a reason.....once again.....peaople......a movie doesnt have to always explain everything to be good,,,,,,and i saw the movie three times already in two diffrent theatres and i didnt see any mike might not be the filmaker but the know....that guy whos pissed cause he aint in the lobby hitting on female customers when their trying to get some nachos

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 2:52 a.m. CST

    FUCK YALLS!!!! THIS MOVIE FUCKING RULED ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by zillabeast

    Best flick of 2002. Definitely one of the creepiest of the last 20 years. The MOTHER of all alien invasion movies. Yall bitchen about it, yall suck.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 3:07 a.m. CST

    M. Night Sillyman's 3rd Strike

    by neverclue

    Maybe there was some moment of revelation and redemption that justified the infinite waste of time that sitting through this movie was, but I only lasted an hour. I haven't walked out of many movies, but I don't often encounter triteness of this caliber. Why is it that this guy is revered? His storytelling? His precious twist endings, a sudden bit of information that causes some kind of stunning retrospective paradigm shift that thrills the audience. Too bad wahtever interest the premise of the movie elicits methodically diffused in the drudgery of listening to more than an hour of gut wrenchingly bad dialogue. I lost it somewhere in the middle of the conversation between Mel and Joaquin about the "two different types of people in the world." Great, its a movie about normal people and how an extraordinary situation affects their lives. In every scene you can wonder... is this a creepy scene or a joke scene? Fortunately your guess will always be right, because it's never strays to far from the most obvious cliche possible. Please, Mr. Sillyman. No more movies.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 5:05 a.m. CST

    spoiler warning!

    by FatherMcGruder

    I'll give the guy this--he has amazing style. He can frame and compose shots like nobody's business. If he let someone write a script for him, he could make a truly great film. Ufortunately, his philosophical meanderings are pretty elemental and unimpressive. I also felt an awkward sense of momentum...massive build up, suddenly broken by "touching moment" (tm), then back to build up. A truly frightening movie is tricky; it has to pull off both at the same time, allowing you to understand and care about the characters while never letting up on the sense of foreboding and doom. The main flaw of the film, alas, is the "aliens as bad guys" idea. I mean, suspending disbelief is one thing, but this is ridiculous. Once the world learns that aliens are landing (as happens quite early in the movie), wouldn't nome state of emergency be declared? Wouldn't the townsfolk gather in some defensible location, with National Guard protection (there's even an army recruitment center in town)? Would the response be to BOARD UP YOUR WINDOWS? Oh, aliens are invading, we'll board up the windows. Someone said earlier something like "they don't pick up so much as a stick!" What's up with that? My favorite moment is when Joaqin grabs the pick axe, runs to the door where the aliens are bursting in, and jams the doorknob with it! How 'bout spiking an alien? Where did those hammers go they were using to nail the windows shut? Even a hammer would be better than nothing. But I guess these are the only humans alive who don't feel better with a weapon when under attack. Even the teenage girls in horror movies try and find a weapon, for god's sake! So, that essentially sums up my confusion over the actions of the main characters, but what about the aliens? Their invasion is being done with hand-to-hand combat, "because if they used technology, we would respond with nukes and ruin the planet for them" according to some random book on aliens that somehow becomes the authoritative work on the subject, anticipating every alien move. So these aliens fly hundreds or thousands of lights years, have cloaking devices for their ships (apparently there is no Star Trek in Shyamalan's universe, since the characters call it an "invisible hidey wall thingey") and beam down naked to our planet. No armour, no equivilent of small arms, no nothin' except a puff of gas secreted from their palm? Please. Give me a Mossberg 12 gauge, I'll take on these aliens myself! Then there's the whole "secret weakness." This is traditional sci-fi fare, but water? Do they not know that water hurts them? What did they think would happen invading a planet NAKED NO LESS on which EVERY LIFE FORM depends on water, and the life form they are specifically interested in kidnapping (for unspecified reasons) has integrated vast systems of easily-accessed water into their civilization. It just became to absurd for me to enjoy. Some creepy unknown monsters, fine, but aliens with advanced technology? Didn't work for the movie. Oh well, just wanted to vent. Ciao!

  • I have just come home from seeing this movie. I love Sixth Sense and think that Unbreakable is a mear step below genius, but what was this. He shows that he is more than capable of directing a film in a style that hasn't been seen in a long time, but this story just sucked. My friends and I have had an argument amongst us for a long time, who makes a film great, the writer or the director? I'm from the school that it takes both, but a great director can't polish a shitty script and a great script can be blown by a shitty director (beware of Red Dragon). This will now serve as my main point to this argument. M. Night is an amazing director but this script is a blazing turd. We all know he's capable of wearing both hats, but he didn't do it this time. I'm looking forward to his next film, whatever it may be, but for now will simply bask in the glory of Unbreakable.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 6:45 a.m. CST

    No film is without flaws. Great stuff, though.

    by DouglasAH

    Sure, it has its seams. We really didn't need to hear from the outside world in the film's finale, about how things turned out elsewhere. And Shyamalan's last line in the movie is rather strange. Hess wouldn't have gone in there without the warning.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 6:52 a.m. CST

    And one more thing re: the "flaws"

    by DouglasAH

    Some of the "flaws" of Signs being pointed out by Talkbackers demonstrate that they went to take a leak or something during key moments, because some of these issues were addressed in the film.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 9:26 a.m. CST

    I have to disagree

    by dmoney

    Hi everyone, I have to say that I truly disagree. While I often respect Harry's opinion, it would just feel wrong for me not to present an alternate view. I can appreciate that there are people out there who want to explore the unique view that M.Night has to offer. I can see how it is fun to enjoy a movie from his admittedly unique "what if" perspective. I also must say that I loved the Sixth Sense and hated Unbreakable. I gave M.NIght another chance after the disaster that I felt unbreakable was. I wrote it off as the comic book world just doesn't appeal to me. I loved the majority of the entire film. M.Night created a beautiful old time "spook story" based on emotions, lights, and noises and very little effects. I'll be honest, he had me scared.It was a brilliant movie set up. He did a great job through 95% of the film and then there was the ending. I won't say why and ruin the movie for you, but I will say that it was the single worst ending I can remember in my film-filled mind. It was such a rookie mistake to make. The build up was so beautiful and the ending such a let down. Of course, I recognize that when you set an audience up to meet anything as spectacular as an alien race, a super hero or God, it is hard to live up to their expectations. However, M. Night should have taken a few more looks at something like "Close Encounters" because he could learn a lot from Spielberg who almost never has a let down like that. It will be a long time before I am ever convinced to go see another M.Night Film.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 9:28 a.m. CST

    To The SIGNS Bashers

    by njjester

    The best advice I can give any filmgoer is to learn a bit about what you're actually looking at. In college, I minored in film. Not because I wanted to be a filmmaker, but because of my love for the medium. I learned to look beyond what is being said and seen in a film. To see the colors used. To understand why things are where they are. To notice the little things great filmmakers can leave behind for the attentive film goers, even if the neophytes will miss them. "Unbreakable" is one of the greatest movies every made for repeat viewings. Seeing the way M. Night uses those colors to signify the characters and their purposes (after the 10th viewing, you even start wondering why Bruce's kid is REALLY drinking the bright orange juice near the end). I feel SIGNS is the same kind of film, and that's why I told my wife M. Night is my favorite filmmaker working today (she promptly kicked me and muttered something about David Fincher). Seeing how the film ended, I can't wait to go back and witness all the clues he left for us, although we didn't see them. Think of this film like a row of dominoes--they all knock into each other because of fate, and this film is about having enough faith that they'll all fall down for a reason. So if you didn't like this movie, go again. Go and see the water glasses, so innocently placed around the house for humorous reasons. Go back and take in those seemingly pointless tales of strike-out king minor league baseball players who "keep their bat" on their wall. Think about how if Mel Gibson's character didn't slice what he sliced, a certain climactic scene involving something--intentionally left behind because of that act--would not have happened. This is a great film. Oh, and to those who want to start claiming M. Night is stealing this or that from other films...this is a re-invention of a B-movie UFO scare pic. I don't think the guy can be faulted for borrowing ideas from the greatest film in that genre (War of the Worlds) or the scariest minimalist fright film of all time (Night of the Living Dead). And for the guy who said he swiped from "The Blair Witch Project"...what, did that film invent the basement? I don't recall seeing Rory Culkin standing in the corner while...well, you know.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 9:37 a.m. CST


    by greenlightscafe

    Everybody missed it. No one came close. M Night has done it again. SIGNS is a brilliant masterpiece making three great movies in a row. What's it about? Aliens? The War of the World? No. That's on the surface. That's classic misdirection. Some accuse him of being heavy-handed in explaining the ending. He doesn't explain shit. He misdirects you. This is what the movie is actually about. It's about Heaven and Hell, the people who believe they have a destiny and should heed the signs. And hell? The people who don't, thinking life is chaos. The aliens are the devil. One shows up on his doorstep. Because Gibson chopped off his finger. His wife says tell Graham at the end, she's speaking to him. In other words, she's passed, and must get this information back to fulfil the destiny of this family, alone and boarded up in this farmhouse where most of the action converges. When they know their destiny, the boy is saved. Everyone has a part to save themselves. They have to read the signs. The clue to the entire movie is the music. Oh, horror music like Hitchcock. No. Again misdirection. It's actually based on the dance of the macabre, which is about the devil. So this movie is about faith, losing faith and allowing the devil to get you, unless you can find faith again and realize your purpose in reading the signs. I read a sign, too in this movie. Like the Monty Python sketch when someone on tv mentions WAINSCOTTING (English for the baseboard between wall and floor)and a guy in the village of Wainscotting runs out the door and says "They just mentioned us on tv". In SIGNS, the tv has a crop circle in Wakefield, England. I jumped out of my seat. I was born there. I have ten blockbuster screenplays to sell to Hollywood and they don't know me. All you need is one. Now a movie has sent me a sign.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Its Funny...

    by Warlord92

    After seeing this excellent film last night & everyone was discussing it, I said almost exactly what I just read Harry say. The film is perfect. Not 1 second of screen time is wasted, & things get downright creepy. I havent been creeped out like that by a movie in... forever. I've gotten startled even momentarly creeped out (dead chick under the bed in 6th sense) but as far as contuning spaces of time where something is genually scary, this is the only movie that has done it for me. I think this movie really taps into a basic instictual human fear of being trapped or cornerd by an assulting force & pretty much being fucked. Knowing they are going to get you, it's just a mattter of time, & all you can do is try to prevent it for as long as possible. Also I loved how M. Night didnt go with the usual looking aliens (ya know big green head & huge black eyes) These were more monster under your bed, beast in your dreams, & in turn was much more effective. The movie was perfect. Now dont get me wrong it's not my favorite movie, but it is the only example of one that I can think of that not second of film was wasted, & in turn led to one of the best nights at the movies of my life. It's really rare that all the hype & geeking out about movie that most everyone at this site does (myself included) that is really well founded. This just blew me away. Oh yea & for all those stupid stuck up 17year old dildos that do nothing but look for the bad in film, have to elevate thier own pathitic lives by bashing on everything they supposdely love in the movies, well I just feel really fucking sorry for you that you cant let your self enjoy a movie experince that will never get much better. But what do you expect from guys that the closest they've ever gotten to a naked chick is passing the bathroom door while thier mom is in the shower. Hail & Kill

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Aliens have always been devils

    by Neko_Bijin

    They abduct our children and replace them with hybrids, just like Faries in the middle ages, and Demons before that. The aliens-as-demons thing was better done a half dozen other places, including War of the Worlds and Childhood's End.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Signs shot in bucks county

    by guerillatokyo

    I loved this movie, and thought it is the best thing Shymalan has done so far, but I do have to complain about the fact that he makes Bucks county look like a hicksville, bumblefuck farm community. I from bucks county, I have been born and raised here and we are not a bunch of cornhuskin' rednecks who sit around eating pizza for dinner every day. Also, maybe ten to twenty percent of bucks county at best is farm community. Of that percentile, probably about ninety percent of that is owned by upper class families. There's also no such thing as a bucks county police department! All the police departments are divided up by township. Oh well, just thought I'd vent here. Oh yeah, Shymalan can't act to save his life ! Guerillatokyo

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:28 a.m. CST

    C'mon, people, these ain't plot holes! (Spoilers)

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    Hmm...I don't think the kid's book knew everything about the invading aliens...I think some people got that impression because the characters used it as a guide, but really, it was all the information they had, so they were forced to treat it as fact. I think there were things in the film that support this (aliens not really invading, just coming to Earth to get some food..i.e., us.) And no, the National Guard wouldn't necessarily be collecting people in a central location in a small ass town like the one we have here. This is not only an invasion, it's ALIENS, and there were probably so many crisises of faith and people who simply gave up that organized resistance was most likely dealt a serious blow. Also, um, to the poster who thought the invasion was "lame." Dunno really what to say to that, without being reduced to all sorts of insults on your intelligence, but maybe you should just stick with ID4. This wasn't about the aliens...were you not paying any attention for the first 90 minutes? This is like people complaining about the lack of shit blowing up in REIGN OF FIRE: were you sitting with your hands over your ears for the first four reels, staring at the floor until someone told you there was an alien on the screen? God, what MTV has done to even the fairly intelligent moviegoers... Also, the water was DAMAGING, not deadly. It did not KILL THEM, and if (as I believe) they were here to harvest food (us,) and not inhabit the planet, then the presence of water would be a minor concern at best (one which came around to biting them on the ass, true, but understandable nonetheless.) Also, i don't think that the aliens retreated because of the water thing. Remember, the newscast on the TV said the method of defeating them was discovered IN THE MIDDLE EAST. The Middle East is not exactly known for copius amounts of water. Besides, did the water damage their ship? No, just their bodies...if they were invading to take over the planet, why would they leave just because they found water was harmful? Couldn't they wipe us outand go from there? I mean, maybe they did what the kid said, and decide to come back later with troops (and water resistant suits, natch.) Sorry, nothing personal against those that didn't get it, but I think that people have gotten so used to having everything laid out for them (which, to be fair, Shyamalan did with the faith subtext) that they find it difficult to put even fairly basic pieces of the puzzle together without help. Have a little faith in the filmmaker, and relax your brain a bit, and a lot of this stuff solves itself. Grr...

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:38 a.m. CST

    they eat us?

    by Neko_Bijin

    As already noted, it would be strange that they'd eat creatures made mostly of water if they find water toxic. Why did they cut suns and moons into the wooded boards over the front door?

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:44 a.m. CST

    yikes, no edit on this board

    by Neko_Bijin

    Wooden not wooded.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:45 a.m. CST

    More These Ain't Plot Holes...

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    Yes, we're mostly water, but not water in a pure form. Hydrogen can be damaging in some forms, but it doesn't hurt if we drink it with some oxygen attached...who knows, maybe the aliens are SOLUABLE. This makes some sense, actually, if ye think about it...

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:55 a.m. CST


    by Neko_Bijin

    Only makes sense if they dry us out quite a bit. Blood is almost all water, and almost as good a solvent.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Actor ??? Shyamalan ???

    by aaansari

    Amusing to note that others have also noticed (guerillatokyo) "Shyamalan can't act to save his life". But neither could Alfred Hitchcock! But that did not prevent him from making short and sometimes ridiculous appreances; ONLY REASON, that I think Shyamalan also does is the same reason Alfred Hitchcock did. They knew/know, they are great directors and will get what they want! The few appreances are their signatures and orgasmic gratifications of something that they could not be.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Back to the hamfisted thematics...

    by Batutta

    The biggest problem with this movie is that the theme doesn't evolve organically from the events of the story. It feels grafted on, like M. Night was intent on making a film about Faith so he contorted his story to fit this concept. If he had just embellished the events of his story in a more logical and dramatic fashion he could've had a pretty taut little thriller. The build up of the invasion was compelling, and the first siege of the house. It just needed a much more visceral pay off. As is it's the most pretentious B-movie ever made...and that damn water thing just doesn't make any sense. You'd think the aliens would see all that blue stuff covering 3/4th of our planet from space and know it's not a good idea to land there. And am I the only one who thought the alien at the end looked like Abe from Oddworld?

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Re: Actor ??? Shymalan ???

    by guerillatokyo

    True, but the difference between Shyamalan and Hitchcock is that Hitchcock did it almost as a gag in his films. He also didn't have any lines !

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 12:22 p.m. CST

    One word: GUNS

    by mc2

    Where the hell were the guns? I've never seen or heard of a single farm house in this country that didn't have AT LEAST ONE shotgun in it. Heck, my pacifist, religious, frail 90 year-old great-grandmother even had a handgun in her closet. I can even understand how M.N.Sha... could have conceived of his characters being anti-gun zealots or something, but even the anti-gun nuts in this country would be looking for the closest weapon in the scenario laid out in the movie. So why did the entire movie play out without the word "gun" being spoken by any single character, at least once? Dumb.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Yes, this flick was hilarious

    by Terry_1978

    They were right when it was mentioned that this thing had quite a bit of humor, man.....for anybody that hasn't seen it yet, wait for the moment when Mel is in the house and is curious about the alien hidden in the pantry...listen to the sound made by the's gonna scare the hell outta you at first, but later you and the rest of the audience is gonna crack up at yourselves for being scared of such a stupid ass sound....just wait for it, trust me.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Signs--what I *thought* was going on in the basement scene

    by Big Papa

    I saw the first showing of this yesterday. I thought it was great, and really scary. The "birthday" scene was the only time I've ever actually screamed out loud at a movie. At first, I didn't like the ending (I left the theater thinking "wtf? that's IT? after all that build-up, the invasion only lasts 20 minutes of screen time??"), but the more I thought about it the more everything fit together. I do, though, wish the basement scene (which, IMO, was the scariest part) had been longer, i.e. I wish the invasion had lasted more than one night...still have it all happen in just one night, but stretch it out more. The Caulkin kid said the aliens are good as solving problems, and they can mimic noises (like the sound of someone trying to break down the door), so when the family woke up the next morning and heard the radio broadcast telling them "it's safe to come out now", I thought for sure it was the aliens playing a trick. I thought maybe they had had a lot of problem with people locking themselves in rooms, so to solve this they took over a radio station and mimicked a human everyone would unlock their doors and the aliens could grab them. I thought this would have been really scary. Unfortunately, that's not how it happened. Anyway, the movie was cool. Not sure how the aliens could be capable of taking over the world, but not of opening a pantry door, though.*******************p.s. I, too, assumed right from the beginning of TSS that Bruce Willis was dead, and then didn't understand why people were so shocked. Although I did like the movie nonetheless.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 4:34 p.m. CST

    A comment (and spoiler) now that I have sen this movie..

    by FloridaBombur

    I did enjoy this movie until the last few minutes. The tension was riveting , the writing superb, the characters well-rounded. But the plot, for God

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Ask For A Refund

    by Rebeck

    njjester, you need to get your money back. Not from the movie theatre, but from the film school you attended, if you think "Signs" is a great film. Both of M. Night's other films have things to recommend them, but this is just utter crap. And to those fanatics who are bending over backwards to justify the silliness of the's never a good sign when you have to "explain" to people why they should like it. And why is it if you disagree with someone on these talkbacks, you instantly have never been laid? Believe me, I've gotten more than you -- and PS, the film still sucks. It would take forever to enumerate the million and one reasons. But to continue what someone else said...if the aliens are afraid of water, then maybe Earth, which is, y'know, LIKE 75% WATER, maybe that's not the place to go. Huh? Yeah, can't wait to hear the pathetic fans of this movie "explain" that to me.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 6:51 p.m. CST

    What the movie's REALLY about

    by dno

    Okay. There will be SPOILERS in here. Read to the end and I'll seriously change your mind about the meaning of this film. I can barely believe that so many here claim film school experience, and none of you have talked about the actual MEANING of the film. Not the 12-year-old's (and sci-fi geek's) debate about whether Aliens should be allergic to water or not... but about the MEANING of the film. About the underlying meaning behind the thin veil of surface plot. This movie's clearly an allegory for what's going on between America and the Middle East. And let me tell you, fan boys, in this movie, America is most DEFINITELY the bad guys. Harry, you reeeeeally screwed up not mentioning this in the review. Stop and think for about 3 minutes. That's all I ask. The movie aliens equate to real-life-Americans. Invading. The Middle East. Do any of you even watch the news? That metaphor is played out through EVERY ASPECT of the plot. If you can't figure it out for yourselves, I'd be happy to go into detail, but anyone with a college degree should be able to draw the comparisons for yourself. The movie is, in many ways, Anti-War. Brilliantly, subversively Anti War. You're all familiar with Night of the Living Dead, right? The original? So you all should know that it was also a piece of sociopolitical commentary. What I realize is that there are tons of educated people reading this site, who love movies, watch movies, and make movies, but it doesn't take a huge leap of film criticism to see the real message here. Why hasn't anyone talked about this? I haven't read any reviews of SIGNS that mention it yet, however. Still don't belive me? Think of the Aliens (Americans) controlling Air Space over foreign cities. Think of the two outcomes... if the Aliens lose, they'll go back, regroup, and come back in a few years with more forces. (Um... that's exactly what we've done, and will probably do again.) And if you want to be very, very frightened, think about the concept of one way the Aliens are defeated. Contaminated Water. One of the greatest bio-terrorism fears we currently face in the U.S. Think about the insane balls it takes to cast Mel Gibson (THE PATRIOT) as the heroic lead in an Anti-War movie. Think about the book on aliens... it's the Holy Book. They cling to its word, literally. The book foretells the end of the world, and tells everyone what to do in preparation. That one was almost too obvious. Think about the baby monitor. That's the antiquated technological state of the Middle East. Think about the "SWING AWAY" theory. That's suicide bombing. It's unfocused, unpredictable, but sometimes effective. And Phoenix's line... "It just felt wrong not to swing" is indicative of the religious devotion that drives young people in the Middle East to such violence extremes... and the motif is reinforced when he goes TO THE ARMY OFFICE TO ASK ABOUT ENLISTING? HELLO! He's there, as well as the other weirdo punk kid. They have nothing in common, EXCEPT a COMMON ENEMY, but they both want to enlist to fight the good fight. Think about the 80s Sting song "Russians." In that song, he tried to tell us that everyone is the same, and fear is the same all over the world. Persecution is Persecution. M Night is doing the same here. Except he's dastardly more clever than Sting. I would be VERY interested in hearing everyone's thoughts on this. It's not just a coincidence. Too many examples support the theory. And when the Alien is trapped in the pantry. And Mel Gibson cuts its outstretched fingers off... and the Alien screams...Think about that scene in your mind, and tell me... I DARE you to tell me that's not September 11, portrayed on screen in the most bizarre metaphor ever conceived on film. M. Night is brilliant. No doubt. But if you all argue over boom mics, then you're never going to be able to appreciate his true genius. He is the industry's most amazingly creative storyteller. Hands down. Go watch it again. Think about the Aliens as Americans. I guarantee you'll walk away with a VERY, VERY different appreciation for the movie.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 6:53 p.m. CST

    best film of the summer

    by JefferyLebowski


  • Aug. 3, 2002, 7:06 p.m. CST

    Uh No!

    by TheFlo2

    Nice imagination, but very wrong. Give me a break. I like your theories though. Very well thought out, but also very wrong. So was Mel Gibson the equivalent to Bin Laden? I think M. Night's character was the equivalent to Mohammed Atta. I think you are way off on this. However, I do not doubt all of your theories. I think there were maybe a couple, but the whole movie was not based on that.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Ashok2, get the fuck off this site.

    by CoolDan989

    I've had it up to my ass with watching you viciously tear into people for liking movies you don't. There is no place in this site for people of your kind, Ashok2. Speaking of your screen name, I'm betting that's your new screen name because you were probably banned. WHAT A SURPRISE. Your opinions are proven facts. No, wait, THEY'RE NOT. People have their own opinions, you annoying fuck, opinions that are not right or wrong. Everyone has a right to their opinion, Ashok, whether you like it or not. May I suggest another site for you, asshole? Try I'm sure you'll feel right at home.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 8:32 p.m. CST


    by tbrosz

    Just wondering if M. Night had a near-drowning experience as a kid. He seems to have a real negative thing about water in his movies.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 8:34 p.m. CST


    by Rebeck

    We can't help you, man. You're too far gone.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 8:36 p.m. CST


    by 81666

    way better actor then Quentin tarentino, way better actor than motherfucken spike lee, i'd welcome m knight to be in more of his films! he didn't detract at all. another guy who's okay in his dumb films kevin smith (even thought silent bob is all i know from him and he's just miming.) so lay of the man, signs i thought was eaxctly the way it was going to be, a paranoid slice of middle america, even when jaouqin phoenix says "i don't think a negro could jump that high" i heard gasps in the audience. then i thought wait, this is portraying a slice of real life 3 dimensional characters that aren't flawless. it felt real. the only thing that i felt was a bit goofy was the *ahem* "weapon" used to combat said aliens... but anyways... the birthday party video sequence sent more chills up my spine than anything in a long long time. -81666

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 8:46 p.m. CST


    by MimiRogers3rdNip

    The aliens arent necessarily harmed by water itself. Could be one or a combination of the hundreds of chemicals in tap water. Also it was a raid not an invasion. So even if all water is a problem they werent looking for beachfront property so the amount of water on the planet doesnt matter much for a snatch-and-grab. Just dont raid anywhere its raining. I dont know that I get the wanting us for food part, though. I know it was only presented in the movie as a possibility but since no other possibilities were offered I guess thats what I'll go with. Anyway, Id think theyd be better off snatching cows than humans. More meat on one cow than on ten people. Maybe we taste good.

  • This movie was not about the invasion, or confrontation with the aliens. That was Just a plot device. The real story was about Mel Gibson's faith, or the restoration of it. The ending was not intended to be a surprise, so much as it was intended to tie together the various threads of the plot to show that "there are no coincidences". The words his wife says to him when she dies seemed pointless to him up to the end of the film; same with his daughter's habit of leaving half-empty water glasses around, same with his son's athsma. But if his wife hadn't said that to him, if his daughter didn't leave the water laying around, and if his son's athsma hadn't kept him from inhaling the gas at the end, then things would have ended differently. But the way these seemingly random events come togethjer to save his family show him that maybe God is watching, and that's why we see him in a preacher's outfit at the end of the film; his faith has been restored. ANd for those of us actually paying attention, there are plenty of little parallel moments in the film - like how Mel's kid tells him he hates him in one scene; then embraces him later, just like when Mel tells God that he hates him in the basement scene only to embrace him later. Do you get it fuckers? This is a film about faith and religion, which happens to take place during an alien invasion of earth. SO sorry if you missed that while you were waiting for the cool FX.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 9:43 p.m. CST

    missing the point?

    by strimps

    I didn't see Signs as a Si-Fi flick at all - in fact the si-fi thread of the film seemed mearly a means to an end. Yes, there were crop circles and yes, they served as signs, but the movie was about the signs that fuel our faith - that's what the movie was about, faith. Why do you think the overhead pans of street formations resembling the crop formations - why the slow pull back onto a window's curtins covered in needlework circles resembling crop formations. Why - at the films climax - a flash back to the sceen in which Mel Gibson's character looses faith. Why the pain staking effort to point out signs in every day life? It's because the alien portion of the film was a vehicle to deliver a movie about faith. Why aliens? Because that's what M. Night is good at - suspense, everyday heros/villians, playing the audience like a fiddle - don't think he's that good? The scene where Gibson/Pheonix decide to leave the basement - Pheonix goes up the stairs and disapears around the corner, all in complete silence. If you say you weren't on the edge of your chair, you were asleep. Anway, a very good film. M Night as good as Spielberg? Who cares? He's given us one of the best movies of the summer - arguably the best. good day and good luck.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 9:54 p.m. CST

    yeah yeah

    by Shut-in

    Mr peanut and everyone else, it isn't that we don't get it. We get it. We just aren't impressed.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 10:22 p.m. CST


    by strimps

    Ashok2 - i don't want to get into some name calling argument - just a discussion. I thought Perdition was a georgous film - and very good. But the plot there wasn't razor tight either. What ever happend to the whole bank robbing thing. Out the window after spending 45 min. on the whole concept. Snatch in the same catagory as lock stock? Not in my book. A funny film that looked cool, but not as tight, economical (not in the budget sense), and fresh as lock stock. as for signs - don't you have to be very forgiving as to plausibility in any si-fi story - especially if si-fi wasn't the main theme. i do think m. night's 'cameos' are bullshit. distracting, etc. anyway - a few thoughts.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Allegorical parallelism and other thoughts...

    by christonomy

    MrPeanut--Thank you!! I was wondering how long it would take for somebody to notice the symbolism of Graham and his kid in the hating dialogue. Shyamalan emphasized it the table, the kid says "I hate you" because "you let her die..." In the basement, Gibson says to his "Father" "I hate you" because God let her die, and was about to let the kid die, and then he says to the kid (because of the breathing thing) "WE'RE THE SAME, WE'RE THE SAME." Wow. How come nobody caught this????? Oh, and "81666", he didn't say "A negro..." He said "ANY GIRL..." The whole context was how a female couldn't jump like that...I made the same mistake at first, but then figured it out. Phoenix just mumbled.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Just another fuckin' opinion.

    by Merkin Muffley

    I liked signs. Not a single gun fired on either side. How about that for a challenge for a writer/director these days? I willfully suspended my disbelief for the "water" thing. Why not? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++A lot of the dialogue was INSANELY ON THE NOSE, but what the hell. It was a well thought out, thoughtfully paced movie that dealt with characters and ideas rather than special effects and isn't that what we're always clamoring for more of? Congrats, MNS, you made a big budget summer sci-fi movie that plays out like the ANTI big budget summer sci-fi movie! And for your next trick, try something grounded COMPLETELEY in reality.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:01 p.m. CST

    SPOILER.....something I thought of

    by don_gately we fought them off in some inexplicitly reported way, but what I'm thinking is: Middle East/Primitive Weapons = Intifadah/Water Balloons Anyone else with me on this? I guess water cannons would have worked too. When Joaquin Phoenix goes up the stairs toward the end and the camera lingers on that narrow stairway, it brought to mind the birthday party video and I was sure an alien was going to walk across the landing. Excellent foreshadowing in that first scene. Man, that birthday video scene's sense of dread is going to stay with me for a long time.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:03 p.m. CST


    by NotchJohnson

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS Where does this idea come from that aliens must always be a billion times more intelligent than humans? I've read the same argument over and over...."Well, if they're smart enough to travel light years, they're smart enough to realize most of Earth is water-based." Well, look around you......a government spends billions to create supersonic jet planes----that have faulty rear door handles. Why must aliens always have an arsenal right out of "Resident Evil"?? Why??? Because they're aliens??? Uh, that's not a good reason, folks. People confuse technological mastery with common sense. I know mathematicians who could explain the theory of laser particles, but still drive 15 miles to save 50 cents on paper towels or garbage bags. As for the "alien invasion" that has large logic holes in many times in history has a "superior" army rushed in to a job only to have it fail miserably??? Or overlook obviously perilous factors (wow, we forgot about that 1,000-mile mountain range....)?? Why must every alien invasion carry the God-like precision of "ID4", where every single move is pinpoint-perfect (Except for that *****TA-DUMMM***** one fatal flaw that Will Smith or Other Hero can find)? DOES ANYONE ELSE UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY HERE???? THANKS, NOTCH OUT.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:10 p.m. CST


    by NotchJohnson

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.....Another thing that bothers me....why are people snickering at M Night's character and the "I locked it in the pantry" scene? Is it any less or more crazy or ridiculous than the usual scene where some ordinary person "Hulks-up" and goes Sigourney Weaver on some chump alien?? Again, while you snicker at M. Night's plays on aliens, remember that most of your snicker derives from OTHER MOVIES and what is supposedly "REAL" about alien encounters. I guess because Mel Gibson didn't go out and buy a Men in Black hand cannon, it's not that credible or cool. Another thing about "driving away from town." It's not that easy. If you think the whole world's ending or going straight to Hell, would you necessary LEAVE TOWN? OK, if maybe my neighborhood was ending, or my state was ending, yes, I'd be at the local U-Haul and leaving at 100 miles per hour. But if the WHOLE WORLD MAY END, why run? You might as well perish around your true home, your neighbors, the familiar comforts of your life. Don't tell if you die tomorrow, you want to die in some remote town in Alaska instead of your hometown or area. Thanks NOTCH OUT. AGAIN, DOES ANYONE GET WHAT I'M SAYING WITH MY POINTS??????

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:26 p.m. CST

    My fundamental problems with the theme of this film SPOILERS

    by SenPalpatine

    Let me first say that I enjoyed this film. I thought it was well made and, for the most part, well acted. My problem with the film lies in this notion of faith. According to my view of the film (based on one viewing), Mel Gibson cannot defeat the alien (in order to save his son) until he regains his faith. Undoubtedly, there are several overtly religious scenes. In particular when Mel describes the two different types of people to Joaquin. I was insulted by this whole theme in that M. Night seemed to be saying that if you have faith you will survive but if you don't have faith you will DIE! In a traditional religious sense, this raises some important logic problems for the movie. For example, if there is, as Mel's character put it, someone watching out for us, why didn't this "someone" just prevent the aliens from coming in the first place. Or for that matter, prevent Mel's wife from dying. It all goes back to the age old philosophical "Problem of Evil". I thought this movie had a good deal of build up, but, ultimately, I was disappointed by the ending.

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Kick Ass Review Harry

    by Pedro's Safari

    As i stated on the other Signs review on AICN. I laughed and shit my pants. This is one of the most complete and well done films I have seen this year. It did not give you too much or little information. While it seemed slow in the beginning , there was a payoff in the end. Everyone who worked on this film is to be commended. -Pedro out

  • Aug. 3, 2002, 11:59 p.m. CST

    signs ( debunk supposed spoiler)

    by hastros

    first off whoever the person was that said the mother was the alien and that the aliens were leaving because of the water was lying. first off the aliens were not here all along and just decided to leave due to the water. I am not sure if it was harry or the other reviewer that said these two things.. but.. at least get the reviews correct when you post them. Or maybe the screening that these fellow had had a alternate story line??? hmmm .. id like to know

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 12:04 a.m. CST

    I really wanted to like this movie...But I didn't.

    by Bones

    I have been debating weather or not to post an actual response to this movie (due to possible flaming), but I can't hold it in. Like many people, I loved "Sixth Sense" and liked "Unbreakable." I was a huge fan of M. Night Shyamalan and waited with anticipation to see Signs. The Trailers looked awesome. The more I heard, the more I wanted to see it. But after seeing it, I only feel shell-shocked. I was terribly disappointed after seeing this movie, as was the completely silent audience that shuffled out of the theater. I thought the setup and the first half of the film was creepy and affecting. I thought the performances were great, and the cinematography by the genius Tak Fujimoto was perfect. Music--another winner. The plot, however is shit. I am sorry--that is my opinion. Excrement. This was not the movie that I wanted to see, and certainly not the one I wanted to pay for. It was "Signs: Omega Code 3" in which supposedly sentient beings with the ability to travel from star to star are God's pawns to reach the disaffected. Bullshit. I don't mind movies about faith. I don't mind movies wherein the lead character has lost faith and regains it. What I do mind is the fact that Mr. Shyamalan took a flimsy idea, dressed it up as a science fiction film, and due to the fact that he had creative control over every aspect of the production forced EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of the film to his inevitable conclusion. A little logic would have been nice. In "The Birds," Hitchcock took creatures that we see every day and had them follow the basic patterns of their behavior except for the overwhelming desire to harm people. This caused many species of birds to flock together as one and work as a unit. It was terrifying because it was (remotely) possible. In this film, the Aliens can operate the complex machines necessary to travel across the stars, but can't get through wooden doors or defend themselves against water and baseball bats. WTF? I do understand that the Aliens are just an excuse for the characters to board themselves up in the family home, and wait for the danger to pass, but come on! If you are going to use the mythology of the Aliens and Crop Circles, BE CONSISTENT! Do more research. People would be pissed if someone did a Biblical film and got the specifics of that story wrong--In fact, why make them aliens at all? Why not make it Judgment Day? And are we supposed to believe that EVERY SINGLE THING IN THIS MOVIE, DOWN TO ASTHMA AND GLASSES OF WATER ARE SIGNS?! For Mr. Shyamalan, there can be no other possible interpretation for the events that occur in the movie. God is there, pulling the cosmic strings making these little events happen, making everything interconnected and focused on redeeming the former Pastor. Well, to be honest, that only works in a world where the creator is M. Night Shyamalan. The real world is a little more complicated. And in this one, Mr. Shyamalan will have to work very hard and make much better movies before I waste any more money on his crap. I have lost my faith in him. Let the flames begin.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 12:18 a.m. CST

    M Night's biggest problem...

    by Shut-in

    Is his tin ear. Mel's 2 kind of people speech made me wince.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 12:20 a.m. CST

    More details, faux plot holes, etc. (Spoilers, yup)

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    BTW, the aliens didn't carve astronomical symbols on that wood...they were already there. That piece of wood is from the roof of the playhouse in the it again, it's plainly visible during a few scenes (especially at the end when Mel is giving his son a shot...right there in the background.) Also, Mel didn't have to regain his faith to kill the alien...he didn't kill the alien at all, his brother did. And, since I have been known to be a weasly little bitch from time to time, I'd like to point out that for all the whining people made about how MR was "intelligent," I don't recall a single thread relating to any of its supposed points or layered meanings, like there are here. So there ;P

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 12:30 a.m. CST

    Did ya catch?

    by Merkin Muffley

    When Houdini is "sick" Graham suggests a people doctor rather than a vet, 'cause Ray is the town vet? Probably mentioned in the ream of posts above, but there you have it.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 12:32 a.m. CST

    I'm with ya, Bones....

    by glen

    Sorry, Harry but this movie BLEW in a big way. Bones pretty well summed up my feelings on it except for one major thing....this M. Night is making the SAME movie over & over. Disaffected anti-heroes experiencing a personal crisis wrapping up in some horror or comic book or sci-fi window dressing with weak (well, okay 6th sense was at least effective) resolutions in the end. And don't forget the soon-to-be-patented M Night car wreck of the week! Now before you assume I think Night stinks all around, let me mention I LIKED "Unbreakable" alot. Even though it was gimmicky and had it's share of flaws, it was genuinely a different take on what it was doing. Not so with "Signs"... Ugh....I hadn't groaned so much during a movie in ages...every "clue" (okay, "Sign") was billboard in size and tiresome....telegraphing the ending a mile off for anyone whose seen any of Night's other two films. It wasn't the fault of the actors....I'm not a Gibson fan, but he actually was pretty good with what he had to work with. I agree with those who say the best thing Shamaylan could do the next time out is have some folks to collaborate with. After only three movies, his bag of tricks is all used up. The next Speilberg? I don't think least he has the smarts to venture out from his own mind into someone elses for inspiration. Shamaylan better consider doing the same or he's barely going to rate a blip on some future "where are they now?" list....

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 12:59 a.m. CST

    dno - you are a an idiot

    by 9000rpm

    Your f*cked up analysis of the REAL meaning of Signs is a sign of your profound ignorance of...just about everything. Find a deep hole and cover yourself over.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 1:07 a.m. CST


    by 9000rpm

    We see a dozen or so ships above one city. It's mentioned later that this was happening over 270 cites and the number would be 400 in an hour. A raid is one maybe two ships, 400-4800 (if there were 12 over each and they didn't split up) is a invasion. Even at 400 ships minimum it seems like an outlandish amount of activity just to end up being thwarted by locked wooden doors, and an even more outlandish leap to expect movie goers to accept.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 1:15 a.m. CST


    by 9000rpm

    I'm sure everyone got the extremely simple and painfully obvious theme about Mel Gibson faith issues. The movie almost had George Micheals singing "You gotta have faith!" it was so overdone. What you are having a hard time wrapping your little peanut brain around is that we had hoped to have an even slightly well-thought out plot AS WELL AS a theme. My dog shits more intelligent stories than Signs.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 1:29 a.m. CST

    sorry, it sucked

    by onepost

    just saw signs, and i have to say it sucked. for one thing, the aliens were complete pussies, he was beat up with a bat and some kids water.if these aliens were smart enough to travel across the galaxy or whatever than surely they coul come up with some gore-tex suits or somethin to block the water. also after all their centuries of development did they never figure out to pick a lock? or at least break down a door? all they had to do was break open the front door and duck under the one board, but no, they had to get on the roof and go thru the attic.the one thing that could have saved this movie is if they just said fuck the basement and showed you what was happening in the world outside some shitty town. i would of liked to see some marines fucking these pussy invaders up, or atleast some street fights. one question: did gibson not have a sing weapon in his house he could of grabbed?a shotgun, a rifle , a fucking .22 at the least. whatever, i just didnt like it i heard it was really scary, but it turned out to just try and make you jump with shock noise horror ( a real easy and cheap way out of really thinking about how to prey on mans basic fears)but hey, i can see how some of yal like it, there were some funny parts, especcially with Pheonix

  • First of all, this movie rocked. The performances and meanings that came from it were genuine and convincing. I thought that there was a nice balance between the alien, faith, and family plots. Gibson played a man troubled by the loss of his wife in a freak accident that happened when M.N.S.&#39;s character fell asleep on the road. That was a tragic accident that turned Mel from a true believer to a severe doubter. With all the dialogue said by Mel throughout the movie, the intricacies of the story were fleshed out with help from the alien invasion subplot. This dire situation enabled Mel to think re-evaluate what faith means to him. -------------->Here are some of the things I liked. 1. The way the characters were presented. They were down to earth, and I related to them more so than Captain Hiller in ID4. Will Smith CANNOT play a normal &#39;ol Joe. Mel Gibson can, and has many times proven so. Joaquin is great as the silent brother who failed at something in his past. The children in this movie reminded me of how innocent children really are. The whole alien book reading scene with foil hats was classic. The little girl brought me many laughs and sorrows. 2. The plot dealing with faith was also presented with great care. Not to be overdone, it was evidenced by flashbacks and the utterance of &#39;please do not call me Father&#39; a couple of times. 3. The whole alien (or threat) situation. Whenever something tragic occured, changes needed to be made. Death brought on a suspicion in the power of faith. Aliens reinforced the suspicion and then totally reversed it. ----->Here are some of the things I liked. Seeing Mel and Joaquin run around the house like idiots was hilarious. Listening to Mel threaten the alien in the pantry and cornfield was comical and horrific at the same time. Glimpses of the aliens really scared the shit out of me. The B-Day party video gave me a holy-shit-this-could-happen-to-me feeling of FEAR. The alien figure on the barn. When the &#39;invasion&#39; began, I was happy with glee because I knew I was going to be frightened. When the family was chased through the house I was there with them. When they were in their cellar I was there with them. Then the IMAGE of the alien on the TV before the final confrontation. The audience jumped both times, and I jumped like a scared dog. Wow, talk about bringing my worst nightmares back to life...The audience loved it! This film was very scary. ------>There might be a little confusion I (and others) may have about this film. Was it a religious film? Was it a science fiction film? Or was it a film about everyday normal people who have problems and face threats just like the rest of us? I enjoyed the film because I went into it not knowing what to expect. An open mind helps with this. And this leads me to the nonsense ramblings and over-analyzations going on here. Aliens might have the technology to travel between stars, but why should they be viewed as all powerful and perfect beings ready to take over our planet? ID4 ended with the aliens losing even when they had superior technology. Here it was the same. Why bitch and complain about these films even when we all know that it&#39;s partly/mostly fiction? Oh, the water thing. It&#39;s perfectly plausable the alien genetic makeup IS alien and CAN be harmed with a combination of Oxygen and Hydrogen. Jeez, we don&#39;t know all the details here folks! What gives you the right to question a story that was created to fit withing a 2 hour time span? There is no way to fit in all the details to satisfy your demands. Really. This film was made to expand your insight, not to give you a book to read. Let me give you a few SIGNS of idiocy in these talkbacks. 1. People complain about how each film they see is bad here, good there, or just plain retarded all around. --->It&#39;s human nature to complain and/or complement things. But to me, it sounds like there are people here who do not make sense in making their judgements. Maybe most of you are <18 years old or something, or you want to be a (bad) film maker. Some of you mention your feelings in expecting one thing and getting another. You never know what will happen, but if you go in expecting something usually it results in you disliking it. Duhuh. 2. Some people don&#39;t talk about the subject matter at all. They ramble on and on about something related to something in the subject. -->I am doing this now unfortunately. I enjoy reading all posts that have interesting subject headers. ROFL _______------KNEEL------______ before Z0D

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 1:31 a.m. CST

    Notch & Pole of Justice

    by DonnaDarko

    Excellent posts - you two said it better than I ever could.***Ashok(2) - what&#39;s the number of "I hate Signs" posts you&#39;ve written this week? In EVERY talkback? 10, 15, maybe more? You know, I hated AOTC and Spiderman - but I have better things to do than post about my negative opinions over and over and over. You hated the film - we ALL know this. Now you&#39;re just looking like an obsessive nutcase. And I have - quoting you: "Memento, Donnie Darko, Fight Club, Usual Suspects, Twelve Monkeys, Se7en, Snatch, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, Mulholland Drive, etc..." on DVD. Signs will be joining them as soon as it&#39;s released.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 1:55 a.m. CST


    by onepost

    liked your post , but one thing, the problem isnt whether or not aliens are allergic to water, the problem is why couldnt they wear a raincoat?

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 2:21 a.m. CST


    by twonkenn

    These idiots who said it sucked are Michael Bay fans. Don&#39;t listen to them. It was an amazing movie experience. M. Night is at the top of his game with this one. Once again he exceeded my expectations. If only we had a few more directors putting out consistently entertaining films as this visionary....

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 2:30 a.m. CST

    Everybody missed the point

    by Leroy Smokes

    Is it just me or did nobody really get what this was about...the alien invasion never really happened...the alien was an angel..there was only the end when the "alien" was holding the boy, it wasn&#39;t hurting him, it was holding him nicely, it didn&#39;t ever try to fight back when Juaquin was beating it with a bat...when it sprayed the gas on him, it was trying to help him...the whole thing was to get Mel to see his faith...we never saw the space ship, we never saw more than one alien, we never saw actual mass pandemonuim, becuase it was only happening to them!!! It&#39;s so simple...

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 2:45 a.m. CST

    If it was only happening to them...

    by Drop Johnson

    ...then why was the girl in the drugstore crying and talking about the end of the world and the ufos on TV? Were they hallucinating the news reports? I&#39;m not trying to be a wise guy. I&#39;m really asking.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:17 a.m. CST


    by onepost

    hey fluffy, please stop trying to be a deep philosepher comparing Humes theories with a stupid movie(not trying to insult the movie, just movies in general, the real world is more interesting than a bunch of movies0

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Time will tell


    Don&#39;t worry my friends. Time will eventually reveal this movie to be one of the most embarassing debacles ever... and rock on Ashok2

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:38 a.m. CST


    by NotchJohnson

    <<<< regardless of cost (private industry builds the things, btw). Now, if any civilization, ours or alien, can overcome the extremely tough hurdle of faster than light or even near the speed of light travel, they are by default much more advanced>>> But "advanced" on whose terms? How other worlds operate may be completely beyond our "known" imagination. That is, no matter how we try to imagine other worlds, we always bring our own knowledge to it. (For example, living quarters in distant worlds in movies always seem to resemble our condos on Earth....but has it ever occurred to anyone that not only may the concept of "shelter" be radically different, but that such a concept may be beyond other beings?). Again, I&#39;m not absolutist on this. Usually, if one is smart enough to create invisible walls, they will likely be able to open pantry doors. But can you vouch for that "Pantry Aliens" intelligence? Maybe that alien is one of the minimum-wage aliens that really IS NOT smart enough to open a door. He won&#39;t be flying the Mexico City ships, or even repairing them, but he&#39;ll be a scout that can run around houses. Are we now assuming that every single alien in a race have equal intelligence? Maybe it is like humans, where some people are destined to work at Burger King, and some are destined to cure cancer. Ever start a new job?? If a person is in an unfamiliar environment, they can do some very stupid things until they become aware of procedures, customs, etc. Back to "advanced", what does developing lightspeed have to do with knowing or understanding how earth beings live? Do they know the concept of a "household"?" Do they know that some shapes (buildings) hold living beings, and some do not?

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:56 a.m. CST

    Sorry Leroy!!!!

    by TheFlo2

    Apparently, you dont listen to well during the movies. Stop making out with your gf and actually listen to the movie. You would know that Merrill(Phoenix) says, "Many people are dead!" That they used some sort poison to kill their victims. Which was the same poison the alien tried on the kid. Also, the revelance that the alien had the cut off fingers was to give the feeling that it was acting on some sort of revenge. I like the way it shows how the aliens skin was the color of the boys shirt. Anyway, we also see that it acted on revenge because, back to the radio, they said that they were leaving. Yet, only one stayed behind because he lost his "playmate playfingers". Listen, and I mean, really listen to the movie if you are going to have any chance at posting something remotely intelligent on this forum.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:18 a.m. CST


    by MimiRogers3rdNip

    Well, I dont think the amount of ships matters as to whether its a raid or an invasion. If it was a planet wide raid it worked fine. If it was an invasion...they need a new leader. As for wooden doors, dunno. Remember Id be going for cows. If the doors locked Im not bothering to break it down and Im sure not going down the coal shaft. But who wants to see a film of me as an alien attacking cows? All in all I liked the movie. I like the way he tells a story, I like his ideas, and enjoy seeing the performances he gets out of kids. Itll be good if in his next film we maybe get to see someone laugh like a madman and maybe some of the pacing can pick up a bit at times, not always so somber. But I know whatever movie I see next week will have twice as many plot holes as this one and they wont even be interesting enough to discuss.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:27 a.m. CST

    My Review ***PLOT DISCUSSED***

    by MondoPest

    The movie was a big, heaping cup of goodness. Harry is right, a very cool audience picture it is. I too, after seeing it and being pulled into it&#39;s story had some wants and thoughts. As wants go, I really -- REALLY -- wanted to see some ground combat between Earth-based military and the alien invaders. The warmovie buff in me was just crying out loud for it. Afterall, if a kitchen knife cut so easily cut them and a baseball bat knock em around, a machine gun would have sure ripped one up. If they invaded lets say, Watts or Compton they would have their handsfull of casualties. Problem is that showing such a large scale events would have changed the claustraphobic nature of the movie. I know Graham is a peaceful, yet grief torn man but I cannot believe he doesn&#39;t even own a shotgun. They are practically standard issue as far as big farms go. ;) It also bothered me a bit about his horrid timing when talking to his children. Uhm, aliens are now inside your fricken&#39; home, lets be all chatty. He should have at least been going for a weapon. It just seemed as if he was laying down at the thought of death. Im not saying it shouldn&#39;t have been in he film, just that I can&#39;t identify with such a response.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:35 a.m. CST

    DNO...the ideas are brilliant (and very true)! But I&#39;m not s

    by TedSallis

    After seeing some production notes on this flick about a year ago, I knew he had a good thing going. Definitley some great filmaking, and Cinematography!!! Damn!! As far as his analogies, It seems like he definitley hints on the world events, as did Day The Earth Stood Still, but some of those details might not be so accurate. Only M.Night knows for sure!

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:54 a.m. CST

    Awesome film

    by ScottyD

    Just got back from watching this film and it was amazing. The fear I felt walking from my car to my door I&#39;ve never felt before. I love how he didn&#39;t take the route of movies like Independance Day and show the world&#39;s reaction to what&#39;s going on, but just one family. He knows how to scare people and uses the simplest methods to scare the shit out of you. The scene with the birthday party, amateur video, no idea what&#39;s going on, what the fuck, that was scary shit! M. Night is an awesome director and I&#39;m tired of people knocking on Unbreakable...that was a cool film too.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:23 a.m. CST

    Make A Monster Movie....

    by KONG33

    without a Monster, and you will be considered a directorial genius in America. Tell anyone you hoped for a movie about monsters or aliens from the trailer teasing it and you will be ridiculed by pretentious elitists. So he took Spielberg&#39;s idea about the shark further, he didn&#39;t craft an interesting or unique film, he owes so much to older films it&#39;s not funny. DNO&#39;s comment about anyone with a college degree could see it&#39;s an allegory for War. Now, for some bizarre reason, you&#39;d need a college degree for that (or a film-school credit people here reference to make their opinions sound more important or in-the-know), because he says, the movie is so &#39;brilliantly&#39; &#39;anti-war&#39;. I&#39;m sure he knows he&#39;s every bit as brilliant as this simple, flat plotline -- like all the guys who feel compelled to tell us about their knowing Willis was dead in the 6th Sense on every goddamn M. Night Shyamalan tb. I especially loved Mr.Peanut&#39;s post which acted like everyone (but him) missed the glaring point that &#39;Signs&#39; doesn&#39;t refer to aliens, but to God and faith. Forest for the trees. Please don&#39;t assume we didn&#39;t know that underlined theme and were just waiting for FX. For the last time, just because a modern blockbuster aimed at the typical nuclear family doesn&#39;t prove impossible for you to decipher does not make you some sort of genius! What standards for intelligence and insight that it is for some of you, why, SIGNS is more demanding than today&#39;s I.Q. tests! What&#39;s the point in making even the most complex allegorical film if you can&#39;t enjoy it in the most obvious way? Signs is a one-way street, which makes it wholly unimpressive. I understood all the little aspects and saw that it almost had some connections to a Sept.11 statement, it wasn&#39;t deep, though. All that happens is an unprovoked alien (U.S.) invades, and then the human, the Middle East strike back. It gives you no sympathy for the aliens and isn&#39;t actually anti-war at all, if you think that Mel stabbing an alien&#39;s finger was a metaphor for Sept. 11th you don&#39;t know the damage done on that day. If it is an anti-U.S. statement, it&#39;s very one-sided, far too much to be wise, because the aliens would have to arrive for a reason first, as the U.S. did in the Middle East. &#39;Strimps&#39; also hoists Signs for being about a priest who "looses faith". Now people, if you&#39;re DUMB, be dumb in your house, don&#39;t insult others and try to play intellectual hardball in one post. I hated how it replaced &#39;WAR OF THE WORLD&#39;s oxygen ending and just wrote &#39;water&#39; over it. All this from a kid in Gr.12, I MUST not have &#39;understood&#39; it. Or when Mel sees his dying wife and acts entirely nonchalant about the whole thing, pinned between the tree, I almost expected him to ask &#39;so...what&#39;s for dinner?&#39;, then she should have said &#39;tell your bro to crack them aliens in the head with his bat....ughh&#39;. *dead* Shyamalan can do downtime and slow pacing just fine, but he cannot make that time worthwhile. Moreover, Sixth Sense was a good film, not great, not genius, and it certainly doesn&#39;t make someone a Hitchcock or Spielberg instantaneously. ABSURD ENDING, stay off crack, I swear he was high. MINORITY REPORT was stupid too, Flame On!

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:47 a.m. CST

    M. Night presents.......GODZILLA: The American Version....(again

    by zillabeast

    wouldnt it be sweeeeeeeeet if he did a Godzilla flick????

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:18 a.m. CST

    Just saw it - lame, lame lame - Major Spoilers

    by BoggyCreek

    What a disappointment. I should have known going in that this being an M. Night Sh-whatever film it would be ponderous, self-important, belabored and preachy, but who knew that it would also be riddled with plot holes. Would someone please explain to me the following: Is Mel Gibson not a farmer? I know he&#39;s a (former) reverend, but isn&#39;t that his farm, with his crop? Or maybe, he&#39;s now a farmer, since he gave up the collar six months ago. Why isn&#39;t this issue cleared up? What did crop circles really have to do with this anyway? From what I could tell, nothing. The invaders are in spaceships, they need crop circle signs for what? To tell them to turn left at Mel Gibson&#39;s farm? How could no one know of Mel&#39;s crop circle? What, the airspace above his field is restricted? Why can&#39;t the aliens break through wood? A friend said it was because they were too weak to break thru wood. What? I can break thru wood. Does this mean I&#39;m stronger than the aliens? Then why should I be afraid? Why does no one in the film arm themselves? Not a knife, not a gun, not a pitchfork, nada. They know the aliens are coming, and they&#39;re very hostile, yet no one thinks of arming themselves! And what farmer doesn&#39;t have a gun on his premises? I mean, I don&#39;t care if he is a (former) man of the cloth, a farmer has practical reasons for owning guns. Did millions of people die in the overnight invasion? The morning after the invasion, why doesn&#39;t Mel Gibson take his axe-pick upstairs, since the radio announces that there "some still left behind." (Oh, I know, so Joaquin Phoenix can use the bat, how silly of me). Why would aliens who are vulnerable to water pick a planet that is virtually all water? OK, let&#39;s say they had no choice, this was the only planet left to invade, wouldn&#39;t they have thought up something (like protective clothing) to protect themselves from water? I mean, they&#39;re advanced enough to build spaceships and to make these elaborate crop circles -- but they can&#39;t throw on a garbage bag to shield them from water? And I just don&#39;t buy that they didn&#39;t know that water was harmful to them. That would just be plain stupid. OK, lame, lame, lame parts: Reverend loses his faith crap. Can you be less subtle. A man doesn&#39;t have to be priest to have faith, or to lose it. Why not just make Mel a farmer who loses his faith? Period. Besides, it was done and done better in POSEIDON ADVENTURE. All the wife stuff. This is an alien invasion film - classic B-grade subject matter. Not "Ordinary People." Talk about a suspense killer - flashbacks! I&#39;m sorry, but I had to laugh when I saw the wife pinned to the tree -- this does not belong in this movie. More suspense killers: characters taking time out to reflect on their "psychic wounds", to the detriment of loved ones around them, for example poor Isabel the dog, who is left outside during the impending invasion. "We forgot Isabel," says the boy, just as they finish boarding up the house. This brings up another point: M. Night must not be a dog owner, because NO DOG OWNER/LOVER would ever forget their dog outside, knowing full well what menace is out there. And speaking of dogs, what&#39;s with the overall malicious/callous treatment of dogs in this movie? It was odd enough that the boy had to stab his dog in the throat at the beginning of the movie, but what&#39;s with the general non-chalant reaction of the characters. I don&#39;t know about you, but if I killed my dog, I&#39;d be pretty down about it for a day or two. How many people were distracted by the director being in his own movie? Threw me right out of it. Suddenly, this became a vanity project, because if he&#39;d had any objectivity he would have seen right away that he sucks as an actor. Anyway, I could go on ad infinitum with what&#39;s wrong with this movie...but I want to hear from others.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:24 a.m. CST

    A few comments

    by DouglasAH

    Now, I enjoyed the film a great deal, and while Road to Perdition is a great "Oscar movie," I&#39;d much rather see Signs again, and I found it more entertaining, while it managed to still engage me emotionally and intellectually to the same extent. I think that makes Signs a superior film. There were some flaws, but you&#39;ll probably only dwell on them if you&#39;re more enthralled with alien invasion or zombie siege flicks than the general moviegoer. Bear in mind, these characters are not pros at boarding the place up and awaiting the end of the world, they&#39;re new at this, learning as they go along. This isn&#39;t a vampire movie where everybody fashions hand weapons from chair legs and mixed up home-cooked explosives in the sink before nightfall, this is a family defending the farmhouse from alien invaders. They&#39;re not going to try and Rambo this thing out, they&#39;re finding a room with as few entrances as possible and staying there until hell stops breaking loose. I agree that the water thing makes no sense, but it isn&#39;t used very much as a weapon in the movie. Some glimmer of hope needed to be there against these things, the idea that their spaceships were full and they decided to go home wouldn&#39;t sit well with film audiences. Cry "bourgeois!" if you like, it won&#39;t change the business aspect of filmmaking. One note here. The X-Com fan in me wants to describe the aliens we see in the film as "terror units," bio-engineered foot soldiers the aliens release to go gather up their "harvest" (farm...crops...harvest...), rather than doing the dirty work themselves.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Ideas in HOLLYWOOD are getting to be so inbred

    by KONG33

    Zillabeast makes a good point, in the form of a joke, he referenced GODZILLA (1998) in which producers felt so clever for stealing from JAWS as well by having the monster in the movie for about 1 hour, as a rule. The result, is history. Spielberg and Kubrick and Hitchcock are big directors because they have had consistantly original, entertaining ideas, because it&#39;s so fresh, people respond to it. Unbreakable was a more original idea, I mean, a regular guy as a superhero developing those powers is nothing new to comics fans but to film it was. Sixth Sense was an old idea with a new perspective, this film Signs is NotLD, with E.T. and War of The Worlds and cheap horror movie and somewhere in there there&#39;s the classic bland story about a person who begins to believe again due to ____, one of the most typical movie plots ever (how Gibson got his Groove Back). Someone who went to film school mentioned earlier that Night makes sense to him because a film class showed him what he was doing was genius. Can what he&#39;s doing be genius if he was taught these camera/story techniques in film school? Remember, that film school doesn&#39;t teach you new creative ideas, it analyzes the skeletons of old films and shows you how they worked for an audience, a director is not supposed to take those ideas as their own, but make their own story and own ideas, while keeping on track, not going too far using the knowledge of what worked for older films. G.Lucas, the Producers of ID4, Eight Legged Freaks and Godzilla with M. Night being the most recent addition (the producers being the most guilty) have done that when they should have done their own thing. The original SW was inspired by many things, like 2001 for instance, but Lucas mostly just combined a lot of elements. In spite of that, many people were surprised when AOTC had a scene straight out of the Matrix (GL called it &#39;influenced by&#39;) but they shouldn&#39;t have been. Sadly, most film goers and critics accept the blantant lack of originality, it&#39;s one of the reasons why film generally isn&#39;t any good these days. Remember when Peter Parker had a voice over, then ran to catch the bus and then couldn&#39;t find anyone to sit beside, the same scene happened in FORREST GUMP (Koepp is a hack bastard) Moriarty claimed Spider-Man overcame it&#39;s poor script, but that&#39;s impossible. Ideas in HOLLYWOOD are getting to be so goddamn inbred.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:43 a.m. CST


    by iamanidiotlikeu

    oh the rapid numbing of feelings. gee honey it&#39;s so simple. so different. so good. golly how original. it&#39;s not that bad. it&#39;s worse. let us all settle. let us be exactly what they want. oh how easy to manipulate you dumb fucks. like all of you i&#39;m proof that what they all say is true. all of it. we are the weak minded. we are so simple. why expect more. why. it is not quality we want. let us all agree that we are all idiots. keep eating. i promise you will not get fat. or more fat than you already are. of course.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 9:46 a.m. CST

    You are something else, Ashok2...

    by CoolDan989

    I write a post telling you that you&#39;re acting like an asshole because you pretend your opinions are proven facts, and what do you do? You simply restate your opinion as if it&#39;s a fact AGAIN. That is truly pathetic, Ashok. Either you are very ignorant, very stupid, or you&#39;re just ignoring my post because you can&#39;t come out and admit that I&#39;m right and you&#39;re wrong. But whatever it is, you are still an asshole, and an asshole that is not worth my time, because you simply can&#39;t exist without your arrogant ways, and by ignoring the truth plain as day around you, there is no question you look like an idiot.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 10:06 a.m. CST

    I Loved this film!

    by BigTuna

    I&#39;m a huge M.Night fan. No other filmmaker today makes movies where I am still talking and thinking of the film days later. Also, I thought Gibson was fantastic. He&#39;s not getting his due. I&#39;ve never been the biggest fan of his but for my money this is his best performance in years. Phoenix was great too, perfectly cast. A thought provoking, touching film that I loved. Best film of the year so far! P.S Some of you claimimg there were "plotholes", need to watch the film more closely. Most of the examples i&#39;ve seen on this TB were explained in the film.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Better then most

    by ijusthaveit

    I went into this movie expecting great things and for the most part received all that I wanted.It was a great movie,about being human,having faith and embracing family.It was not a horror movie so much about an Alien invasion,but about the horror of human loss,loss of your family,your soul the greatest losses of all. The movie is not flawless ture no movie is,Just not enough time to fit all we would like to see,but is a near classic and will be.The weapon thing did bother me,lnstinct will have one defend yourself.I would have been great if in the beginning of the movie Mel took his shotgun to the gunsmith to be cleaned and worked on,hell this would have added an elament of dread later in the film.As for the water hurting the Aliens,the Crop signs may have been there safe points away from bodies of water.Also a classic Horror Movie,Day of the Triffids which was very good for it&#39;s time,saltwater was what killed them off,In Invasion of the Saucer-Men it was Light.Simple yet effective.This movie is and will always be about Inner Loss not,a horror greater then an attack from Aliens.If it was about Them, then we would just turn on the sprinkler system the next time they show up on the front lawn.A great movie cant wait to see his next one...

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 10:39 a.m. CST

    For the first time in a long time...

    by Damer1

    Harry has brought real insight into a movie. This was the best review I&#39;ve seen in a long time. It was insightful and informative. This review has brought new me new insight into M Night&#39;s work. Thanks Harry. Oh, and I&#39;m still reeling from the Blade II bad pornathon. If Harry does 5 more of these, he might have made amends for his previous debacle.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Box-office results: SIGNS grossed an estimated 60.3 million on i

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    Signs has already broken a couple of box-office records, is well on its way to making at least 200 million domestically! Disregard the pointless bitching of talk back fanboys. Its without a doubt one of the greatest films of all time, and I&#39;m going to see again at the movie theater.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:03 p.m. CST

    X-Com: The Movie

    by Banky the Hack

    Now there is something I would pay $7 to see. Thanks for reminding me to get on my screenplay for this, DouglasAH!

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Opening titles & music

    by mascan

    VERY reminiscent of Hitchcock and Bernard Herrman&#39;s score for Psycho.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:07 p.m. CST

    X-Com: The Movie, Continued

    by Banky the Hack

    And before everyone calls me a "knucklehead" for wanting an X-Com movie when MIB is so;s not. X-Com was just all about alien ass-kicking, and invading alien bases on Earth, not pulling the wool over the public&#39;s eyes. That team dynamic with the shoot-em-up aspect would make for a good action flick.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:15 p.m. CST

    More on the REAL meaning (spoilers)

    by dno

    Thanks, TedSallis, and a few others who had the patience to read my post and understand what I was saying. I&#39;m afraid many people here don&#39;t believe a work of fiction can have a deeper than surface meaning. May I point to Gulliver&#39;s Travels, The Wizard of Oz, and foremost, Alice in Wonderland, as brilliant works of fiction that have excellent surface plots, but whose deeper meanings (as intended by the author) are much more rich and rewarding. Might want to try Oscar Wilde&#39;s "Picture of Dorian Gray," among many other thousands of cleverly devised, brilliantly executed literary works. As for my theories, The Washington Post review points favorably in my direction. "And the analogy to 1950s horror films extends to the movie&#39;s political mood. Just as monster movies 50 years ago played on the audience&#39;s fears of Communists and fellow travelers, "Signs" picks up on the paranoias of the past year. These references are never explicit, but their echoes are unmistakable, giving "Signs" a resonance that will most likely endure, in an unexpected way, in future years." Of course the Aliens are meant to be America&#39;s military might. Why else would Night have thrown in that line in the end about the tide starting to turn in the Middle East, where groups of people found a primitive way to defeat the aliens? That&#39;s the religion, the faith, the insane zealousness of a Holy War. They will always believe in their cause, are willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause and ultimately, that&#39;s what will defeat the alien (American) forces. We don&#39;t understand the mentality of suicide bombing. It&#39;s not in our cultural dictionary. But I think what NIGHT is trying to say...What&#39;s one of Mel Gibson&#39;s most memorable lines... "We&#39;re the same." The innocents we attack abroad, the innocents who are attacked here, (told through an alien invasion metaphor)... we are all the same, so we should all be left in peace. When the Aliens leave at the end, both sides are better for it. Remember, the book the boy has tells how the Aliens will be coming to exploit our resources (oil - DUH.) Other ideas supporting my supposition: Louisville Slugger being used to attack the Aliens. American-made weaponry being used to fight Americans... we&#39;re seeing JUST that in our encounters... we gave them the weaponry 15 years ago, and now they use it to attack us in ground war. When the Aliens are defeated, the girl tells us people are dancing in the streets... (you all saw the September 11 footage, right? With all the people dancing in the streets, celebrating America&#39;s devestation?) There are far, far too many "coincidences" for the theory to not be valid. Of course it&#39;s not the primary story. That&#39;s the characters we know and their decisions on screen. But as a work of fiction, with many levels of depth and interpretation, Signs is an anti-war film. And, indeed, an anti-American-Military film. I hadn&#39;t thought about the Americans=Aliens parallel until the old Sgt. in the Army Recruitment office drew the parallel so blatantly. They&#39;re on a recon mission. They&#39;re scouting us out. He blatantly SAYS they&#39;re the military. And they sure as heck ain&#39;t Osama&#39;s military.Remember. The Aliens (Americans) control and enforce the air space over the cities. Gibson and Phoenix were BROTHERS. Members of a brotherhood. Middle Eastern Religion. United in a common cause. The message is pretty clear to me. Only the South Park episode "Osama Bin Laden has Farty Pants" spelled it out more clearly. Remember when they&#39;re in the basement... and the Aliens are just making noise? Trying to scare them? That&#39;s a lot of America&#39;s military strategy, too. I hope this is starting to make sense to more than 2 or 3 people. Anyone?

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 3:30 p.m. CST

    its ok

    by alcester

    CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is still the greatest "ufo" movie made!

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:16 p.m. CST

    KONG33 & BoggyCreek

    by TheDirector

    ...after reading your right-on critiques I guess there still is hope for the human race. Some of the idiotic defence of the film I&#39;ve read here is almost alarming in its stupidity. If mankind was made up of Signs-defenders types pigeons would have taken over the world.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:23 p.m. CST


    by TheDirector

    If Signs can keep you thinking about it for days then you&#39;ve got a mind like Charly&#39;s before he had the operation.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:26 p.m. CST


    by DonnaDarko

    Interesting comments and you obviously spent the time to properly think them out. But..the script for Signs and the pre-production were completed before 9/11. The filming started that week. I remember Shyamalan and the crew were to have an on-location press conference on 9/12 (obviously cancelled). I also read that Shyamalan storyboards ever scene way before filming begins and "edits in his head" while filming. As a result, there&#39;s only 4 minutes of footage that was cut from the final edit. Anyhoo..I&#39;d rather read a well-thought out conversation starter than this "It sux!" garbage.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 4:56 p.m. CST

    SIGNS of brilliance...

    by HerbertWest

    Comparing M. Night to "Speilberg" is like comparing apples to ornages. The young Speilberg was able to create huge epics that made our imaginations soar. While M. Night uses epic ideas, but concentrates on the smaller more personal world that we wish to escape. SIGNS is a movie for those of us who long for the days of ol&#39; when we didn&#39;t watch movies, but experienced them. This movie has everything going for it, a talented cast, a well composed score and a story plays off of our interest of the unknown. Several instances I felt as if I was watching pure brillance being played out on the screen. The way the use of silence is used to create tension. The slow progressive manner in which the alien invader is revealed. The subtle uses of hummor to keep the audience off balance. With everything it has going for it, I still feel as if the whole "war of the worlds" idea was thrown in last minute to draw more viewer attention. The main theme of the film itself could have easily been portrayed in a different manner. But on the other hand if the director would have choosen a less popular topic, the film would&#39;ve been labeled "artsy" and peformed less at the box office. Overall this is a great film, not classic, but good enough to be labled the best movie of the summer. With our current selection of movies, I for one hope that this is a sign of more things to come.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Mostly good and a little bad

    by dynamotv

    When I saw Blade 2, I actually liked but I could definitely see why most of you hated it. With this one though I&#39;m completely lost. This movie really hit it out of the park in my opinion. It was original in the way it treated the aliens invading, the way it revealed the aliens, how it fleshed out the characters. There might be one or two flaws if you look for them. The only offensive part I found was M Night casting himself as an important character. A Hitchcock walk by? Cool. Kubrick in the jazz bar in EWS, classy. Casting yourself as the cause for Mel Gibson&#39;s loss of faith? Not good. But that&#39;s only for a short amount of screen time so let&#39;s put things in perspective. One thing this movie showed was that the idea of Spawn 2 might not be a bad way to go (told from a cop&#39;s perspective with only glimpses of the hero in shadows). Over-all I came out with warm fuzzies that comes from watching a satisfying movie. BTW, was anyone else reminded of that Simpsons episode where the aliens invade and are thwarted by Ned Flanders and a 2X4? "When we come back, we&#39;ll have a board with two nails in it!". You guys really need to ease up on movies and stop micro-analyzing them. Just have fun and accept this as a fun summer movie.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:19 p.m. CST

    All Signs point to a pastiche

    by 9000rpm

    I love the observation someone here made when they asked would tbkers be defending Signs if they didn&#39;t know it was an M.Night film. More perceptive than any of the ideas presented in the entire movie. It seems to me people should be praising the cinematographer, turning over the directorial duties to him, and running M.Night out of the business. Doesn&#39;t it bother anyone that: 1. The opening scene is almost the same as the opening scene of The Others? The camera&#39;s in tight on Kidman/Gibson laying on their side, they awake with a startle and a sense of anguish, then they walk around an errily quiet house, almost as if they are ghosts. 2. The daughter keeps saying something was seen in a dream, as if none of what we are seeing can really be trusted. These characters aren&#39;t acting like real people would but it&#39;s okay because in the end we will learn they aren&#39;t ordinary people 3. How much did we really learn about these people? I know about as much about Isabel as I do any of them. 4. M.Night&#39;s male leads all act like rigid, traumatized zombies 5. The basement scene felt way too similar to Blair Witch 6. The end, when the brother sees the alien, seems awfully similar to the moment we see Jude Law in Road to Perdition. Are filmmakers in Hollywood so tightly interconnected that everylast idea and concept is community property, plucked from the same amorphous pool of plot points? 7. The alien&#39;s gait and and presence seemed straight out of the classic Bigfoot footage 8. Wasn&#39;t the moment when they are coming up the stairs and we see the backlit board with the star shapes cutouts distractingly self-aware? 9. Didn&#39;t the car accident scene in Signs seem like a replay of the car accident scene in Unbreakable? And what&#39;s with water being first Bruce Willis&#39; kryptonite and now the aliens? Of all the substances on earth, could M.Night have come up with something at least different from his previous movie? Whatever it was would still have been a dumb easy way to tie up the ending in a War of the Worlds manner but at least make it original to your own body of work. 10. Was that sheriff utterly unconvincing or what? I was uncomfortable every time she reappeared. 11. What was the point of the army recruitment scene other than to ridiculously overtelegraph the ending? 12. Do people: really love their dogs so little that they forget them outside during an invasion; do they love their children so little that they don&#39;t think to pick up a weapon to defend them; do they have to be told by a dying person&#39;s last words to finally act out in self-preservation? True, compared to some of the truly despicable tripe we&#39;ve suffered through this summer (Reign of Fire) Signs doesn&#39;t demand the filing of a class action suit to recover our wasted money. At least the movie featured crop circles, as the poster indicated it would.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:33 p.m. CST

    It had its moments....

    by Purple Toupee

    All around, it was suspenseful, but I had two major problems with it: 1) These aliens can build ships, cloak them, stage an invasion (i.e. they&#39;re very technologically advanced), but they can&#39;t unlock a fucking pantry door or break down some boarded up windows. 2) "Hi, I&#39;m Joaquin Pheonix. I used to hit baseballs hundreds of yards. In other words, I can hit things really hard with a baseball bat. I keep it on the wall by the front door, RIGHT WHERE THE ALIENS ARE GOING TO TRY TO COME IN MY HOUSE, SO I CAN GRAB IT AND BEAT THE FUCKERS OVER THE HEAD WITH IT, BECAUSE I AM SO FUCKING POWERFUL WHEN I HAVE A BAT IN MY HANDS. SWING AWAY, BITCH!

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:34 p.m. CST

    One damn good movie

    by Cineman

    Way too many posters seem to be forgetting that this film is meant to be, first and foremost, entertaining. I think M. Night did a admirable job coming up with a realistic way of portraying this family&#39;s conflict while still using those horror movie standards that are so effective. Maybe Night&#39;s line about the locked up alien isn&#39;t exactly realistic, but it got the whole audience worked up and had me giggling in anticipation. As a filmmaker, M. Night still has to press our buttons. If Mel had a gun, the events would have went much differently and what have been the fun in that? If the kids in the film had acted like real children they would have done nothing but bitch and cry and that would have gotten old in about 3 seconds. Just about every scary sequence was executed perfectly and the film never seems to repeat itself. The events progress whereas many horror flicks just take the same situation and change the set. Just about every funny line hits it&#39;s mark, much more so than most comedies today. Everyhting comes together perfectly at the end because that&#39;s the whole damn point of the movie! Unlike most of the other ridiculously high paid actors out there, Gibson doesn&#39;t coast on his charisma and looks. His emotional scenes always get me even in lesser film like The Patriot or Ransom. Watch Tom Cruise big emotional scenes in Minority Report. They are so hollow and false. While I would have preferred Mark Ruffalo, Phoenix certainly crated a character I felt like I could relate to in the way he handles the situation. The only flaw I can see is that Night is not a good enough actor yet to make you forget that he is M. Night Shyamalan within a scene. His presence is fine in walk-ons but not supporting roles.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 5:54 p.m. CST


    by Damer1

    You are so full of fecal matter. This film wasn&#39;t about war. It isn&#39;t about "us" being the aliens. Pull your head out of your rear. Harry had about the best explanation I&#39;ve seen. Normal people in our normal world in extrordinary circumstances. End of story. Go on with your Anti-American talk elsewhere. I believe that Al-jazeera needs a commentator.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Thanks Donna - re: dno

    by 1EyedFrank

    I was looking up the date that Knight completed the script... but this bunny suit makes typing slow going. I totally agree that dno&#39;s take is at LEAST thought out and backed up with examples that follow a certain kind of logic... heavily influenced by current events... but still logical. My gripe dno, is stating this as the ONLY possible interpretation of the events. I mean, I&#39;m even willing to ponder the Joycean quality of this and ALL films.. all creative output by humans in fact - everything really IS relative (to an extent). Multiple meanings and layered story structure are certainly part of M. Knights repertoire. How about the possibility that it is a work of art, meant to be consumed and digested by the individual, who can then decide what metaphor(s) to apply to the symbolism? I&#39;ve had one friend insist that this film is a treatise on Foucault-ian anti-humanism/determinism, with the Hess family representing &#39;Man&#39; and the aliens representing the &#39;Panopticon&#39;.. always watching, waiting for the &#39;prisoners&#39; to make a move. (I know nothing about philosophy... I&#39;m paraphrasing my friend, so save your critique, thanks) Another friend won&#39;t shut up about this film being a parallel fable with the story of Jesus... replete with examples that, when you hear him tell it - sound pretty convincing. Do I really agree with any of these theories... nope. Are they fun to talk about? Hell yes! Just don&#39;t try to shove YOUR paradigm down other people&#39;s throats. That exact outlook and extreme INflexibility paired with an ultra-condescending attitude is what&#39;s at the heart of the alleged West vs. Middle East tension right now - on BOTH sides. No one is listening. Everyone is just going - &#39;shut the fuck up and listen to what I&#39;m saying. It&#39;s the only point that matters, so accept it or I&#39;ll try to force you to.&#39; It&#39;s because of THIS parallel that I felt compelled to post. Don&#39;t get me wrong tho dno. Like I said, I&#39;d much rather read a viewpoint with examples and a thread of logic - over posts like &#39;It&#39;s all so simple... it&#39;s about faith, not aliens...&#39; It really isn&#39;t that simple. Nothing is. Trust me, I should know.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:06 p.m. CST

    The aliens

    by tacyon

    As for the aliens and their tecnology, how do we know that their ships were not biological in nature. THey may not have "tecnology" as we know it at all. Also I think that the aliens knew that they could not defeat us earthlings on our own watery turff. I think that they merely put up a front to frighten the humans just enouph to (like the movie said) make a quik raid for food. Kind of like making a quik stop at Mcdonalds before hitting a dryer planet down the intergalactic road. I thuoght the movie was great.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Major disappointment

    by Messyjoe

    I am just amazed my Harry&#39;s comments. This movie is ok. Sorry, SPOILERS are necessary! But that&#39;s all! I was surprised that it was not scary at all. What did people see I didn&#39;t? (And believe me I scare easy.) Was that the director in the film? What narcissism that he thinks he is best for that role! What is a Hindu doing in rural PA? No logic, no logic! The alien (very ordinary green body suit, absolutely unoriginal), is dumb enough to be locked in a closet? The farming family with no guns? And don&#39;t tell me he was too holy to have any! They are here to &#39;eat&#39; us? 6 billion people?? They have enough invaders to have 4-5 scurry around 1 rural house roof? The touch of water is like acid to them, and they don&#39;t know we have water on this planet? How about rain? They run away at the end with no explanation? Harry admires the little filmmaking touches,nuances. Fine. I see a poor script unfortunately. The lesson is, have no expectations, no matter what the hype, and maybe, sometimes, but not this time, it may be a fine film.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Truth is one, Sages call it by different names Rig Veda, 1.164.4

    by Braaaah, MAN!

    Whenever there is a decline of virtue, God incarnates Himself on earth to uphold righteousness BG 4.7, 4.8

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 6:59 p.m. CST

    All our many meanings...

    by dno

    Thanks again, Donna Darko and 1Eyed Frank, for riding my logic trail, just to see where it leads. I understand about the script and pre-production dates being what they were. I also understand that lots of smaller elements and lines of dialog can change as a movie is being developed and shot. I only say that to imply that, at some point, I would wager M. Night thought about the film in the terms I began to relate. I never declared that my interpretation was the only correct version, merely that I thought it was legitimate and that I had multiple examples to prove how the logic flow was feasible. I wasn&#39;t sure at the time of my first post, that&#39;s why I asked for feedback, but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became. I&#39;m sure NIGHT didn&#39;t rub his hands together with Dr. Evil-like glee, thinking, "HAHAHAH! I&#39;ll pull the wool over America&#39;s eyes with an Anti-War Blockbuster!" But there is plenty of evidence to read the underlying story that way. The end VO/news report line about the Middle East being where the Aliens were first defeated is definitely a starting point to follow my line of thought. As does a repeat viewing of "Night of the Living Dead." It&#39;s a zombie movie, for crying out loud... but it&#39;s a hell of a lot more IF you choose to see it. I wish that all of the tbers here had as much openmindedness to alternate ideas as you guys. I&#39;d spend a lot more time reading and writing on this site if there were more thought-provoking stuff. Don&#39;t get me wrong. I love it, but you have to weed through so much drek to get to the mentally stimulating commentary. I hope none of you sat through the horrible, juvenile, sex-laden crap that was the Fox TV series "24" tb columns. Good grief. Scarcely a mature voice in sight. Time-table-wise, the theory about America being an intrusive force works, even before 9/11, because we&#39;ve been meddling for years, taking sides for years. That&#39;s the whole reason that Osama&#39;s dudes hit us so hard. To make a point. To them, that wasn&#39;t a first strike, it was retalliation. And it&#39;s lame and unfortunate for anyone out there to call me "Anti-American." If thinking about and putting a socially-interpretive spin on a piece of art makes someone Anti-American, in a country that was founded on freedom of thought, speech and worship, I&#39;ll leave all of you to boil in your own pudding. I loved Signs. It ain&#39;t the best movie in the world, but at least it&#39;s food for thought. And only about 5% of what comes out of Hollywood is that, anymore. Kudos, everyone involved. I like something thoughtful, engaging, challenging. Seems like lots of folks prefer the pre-packaged, easy-to-swallow versions of popular storytelling. Remember the insanity that followed Burton&#39;s "Planet of the Apes?" All the debate about the ending? That was much less of a film than Signs, with a far less plausible (and poorly thought-out) ending, but at least it got people talking. I appreciate that. Thoughts?

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 7:02 p.m. CST

    britbuffguy, blow your &#39;insights&#39; out your ass

    by TheDirector

    - I&#39;m 46 - I saw the movie - I was a huge M.Night fan going in and I was probably looking forward to Signs more than any movie this summer - and I still say Signs is amateurish story that even a 5 year old would find acutely implausible.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Don&#39;t believe the hype **Minor Spoiler**

    by HeyBobNayBob

    First of all, I have to say that I have ambivalent feelings about this movie. On one hand, it is good to see a film that takes an opposing approach to all the over-the-top sci-fi films that have been heavy on effects (i.e. ID4) but limited in depth. However, this approach doesn

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Its just a MOVIE

    by Demonic

    Some of you people take movies WAY WAY too seriously. You really need to find more things to do with your time. I read some of these responses and they make me laugh out loud when people whip out that pseudo-intellectual tone and try to enlighten us about how a movie will or will not enrichen our lives. For $7, I loved Signs. To me, it was entertaining as hell. If it wasn&#39;t, well, it was only $7. I just don&#39;t understand how people can get so upset about seeing a movie they didn&#39;t like. Most normal people go, "eh, didn&#39;t like it" and get on with life. Of course, maybe movies ARE your life, I dunno. Well, sorry about that, but all the critiquing and overanalyzing and negativity on the internet is making my head hurt. I guess only "hip" people hate everything.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 7:32 p.m. CST

    a new Mastercard commercial shoul be based on signs

    by TheMatarife

    4 Tickets to signs on 30 dollars 4 new pairs of underwear: 10 dollars Seeing a movie that will scare the piss out of you: Priceless

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 7:59 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    IS SIGNS worth paying money to see? Not in the theater, but perhaps as a video. It is a like a filmed play, with a very small cast on what amounts to a single set. Must have been incredibly cheap to shoot. It also is a talky movie, which puts a creaky, stiff Mel Gibson in a particularly bad light. Is it a sci-fi film? Undoubtedly, since Mel keeps running into bigfoot aliens everywhere he turns. Is it a spiritual movie? Yes, although embarassingly and naively so. Mel has lost his faith and works to regain it. Is it a horror movie? In part, and this is probably what makes it worth watching at all, swipes from BLAIR WITCH and PANIC ROOM notwithstanding. Is it a comedy? It might very well be. It&#39;s hard to tell how seriously the director took all of this. After all, water-hating aliens land on a planet that is just about 99 percent water. (The director also has a laughable, movie-harming cameo that only goes to show why he should stay out of his own movies.) The biggest plot hole: why did these two big, strapping men not take up arms when the aliens invaded their home? They use an ax to bar a door instead of chopping off alien heads! They run away a lot! What is the sense in this? By the way, the flick I saw on Saturday did not have boom mics evident. Must have had to with the framing. So see SIGNS if you must. But this is no CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or MEN IN BLACK or INDEPENDECE DAY. And by the way, SINGS does not refer to the crop circles, as it turns out. Is this good or bad? (Personally, I think it was a bad choice and hurts the movie.) SIGNS could be plenty worse, however. Again, if you view it as an intimate, artsy-fartsy film, not intended for the mainstream audience, you may actually like it. Who knows? Stranger things have happened! Just don&#39;t waste $5 or $10 to see it ina theater.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Fantastic. Shyalaman rocks.

    by sharondeitz

    Well done. Can&#39;t wait to see it again. Finally some sci-fi with substance.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Seems like M. Night has a thing for little boys

    by wasp

    If that brought nasty images to your head, then my mind is no more perverted than yours, and we were probably thinking the same thing during the whole scene with Mel Gibson helping his son to breathe normally. Trust me, I don&#39;t just go looking for nasty subtext in movies, but the way that scene was blocked and composed, the way it was shot, the movement of the actors, the way it lasted forever...M. Night really should have found a different way to do that. It was grossing me out even though I knew the scene was totally different from what it looked like. A long dramatic moment completely ruined unless you are some sheltered person who hasn&#39;t heard of pedophiles. Also, the last act of the movie was very sloppy in terms of execution. The film felt like build-up with no pay-off. The usage of flashbacks was irritating because it ruined tension build-up. Also, I&#39;m not one to rant at movies for being "pretentious" as many mush-headed whiners like to do. Heck, I love movies like Requiem for a Dream. Still, I do think that M. Night has a lot of pretensions in this film which just aren&#39;t justified by the content of his narrative. Although Signs is not really pretentious so much as it&#39;s just plain heavy handed. The humor in this movie works pretty well in and of itself, but goes a long way towards sucking the tension and "creepy" atmosphere out of the whole endeavor. Sure, I got some nice little frights during the film, but it was mostly from those cheap "jump scare" moments that all these movies know, where a character is behaving stupidly (i.e. Mel Gibson and the pantry door) and suddenly something happens accompanied by a loud noise and a swell in the music. If I want some true scares, I&#39;ll watch The Exorcist. I get scared every time they show the door to the girl&#39;s room, much less when they actually go in there. Now that&#39;s one freaky movie. There were a lot of things I liked about Signs (Tak Fujimoto did a great job, the acting was solid, the characters were fun if dour, I appreciated the faith-based message even if the ending was a bit of an underwhelming mess), but I can&#39;t help feeling -- in my opinion -- that M. Night Shyamalan made some pretty poor decisions with how he executed the storytelling. I don&#39;t think the movie had good flow at seemed to be building up to a climax that it somehow missed, and all the time this build-up was uneven, broken by all kinds of scenes or parts of scenes that seemed to have only periphery purpose in the bigger narrative (i.e. Mel Gibson listening to the pharmaceutical clerk&#39;s confession). This film often felt more like a collection of scenes about the same topic rather than one cohesive venture. People have mentioned plot holes, and there were indeed loads of them, but that&#39;s minor compared to the most serious problem with this movie. It felt like M. Night took a really short story and tried to stretch it into a full-length film without really adding anything to the narrative structure at all. Some filmmakers can do just that. But I think too much of the material in Signs is filler and not killer. I&#39;d call this movie good, but not much more. This year has so far been impressive in terms of decent movies. There have been a lot of decent movies, fairly good movies. But I&#39;m hoping that the really good stuff is yet to come, or this movie will end up a bit disappointing. And so I pin my hopes on The Two Towers, Gangs of New York, One Hour Photo...etc.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 8:43 p.m. CST


    by CoolDan989

    I must say your theory is very interesting, and very perplexing as well. I think you overanalyzed this movie to a degree; it wasn&#39;t meant to be a war metaphor, I&#39;m sure. I&#39;m certain M. Night himself will tell you that. The whole movie is basically about possibilities. The possibilities of what would happen if aliens existed, if they came here, if they decided to stay here, and I don&#39;t think there&#39;s much more too it than that.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 9:20 p.m. CST

    britbuffguy...oh never mind

    by wasp

    I won&#39;t even bother arguing with someone who thinks Killer Klowns and Austin Powers 3 are far better films than Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, LotR, Requiem for a Dream...enjoy the indiscriminate life. Just kidding. Sorta.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 9:42 p.m. CST

    A Message to DNO...

    by lost-ark-1

    Dno, whatever else you might be you really come off as an offputting pompous ass. If people are having a less than positive response to you then that might be the reason. Somehow placing yourself on a plateau because you had the lone skill to decipher this anti-American military message is a bit much. This whole

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 9:46 p.m. CST


    by lost-ark-1

    Plus in the end the aliens DIDN&#39;T come for our resources they came to "harvest us" as a news report said.

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 11:14 p.m. CST

    60 million? That means geeky fanboys will hate it even more.

    by BigTuna

    Maybe you could go see horrendous crap like Full Frontal by that overrated hack Soderbergh instead?

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 11:32 p.m. CST


    by 81666

    ++++++++++++++ uh, if they aliens can&#39;t stand the water why would they go to a planet covered in more than half of it?!?!?! must need us that bad! and when i wrote M. KNIGHT in his films, i of course meant micheal knight of knight rider fame! ++++++++++++++

  • Aug. 4, 2002, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Spielburg sucks ass

    by crawcraw

    A.I. was total shit, as was Minority report. Old Stevie has lost his way and thank god M. Night Shyamalan is here to replace his stale ass.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Sad little bitches

    by meeno

    ANY of you dumbshits that post to ANY topic on this website more than once is a sad piece of shit! My god, you losers, get off the friggin&#39; computer and get a life! Shit, they&#39;re just MOVIES!! Go find a cure for fucking Cancer or AIDS or some shit. By the way, Signs was the BEST movie of the year and anyone who replies to this post is a sad mutherfucker.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 1:28 a.m. CST

    at least i got to repeat the lines i come in peace

    by stevefromjersey

    didn&#39;t like the beginning that much much to slow. the concept was neat. the idea of "beleivers" and non was ok. a quite simiplified version of faith so i keep with it. but when out of no where the kid buys this book and everything they read out of the book comes true. oh well at least the end where it mirrors night of the living dead that was done to perfection. it scared me. the two kids i don&#39;t know, were not real characters as they seem out of place in a farm community. the exminister doesn&#39;t believe in God. but the very struggle of not believing makes you believe. at the end of the movie i thought there was going to be a scientology message or something.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 1:28 a.m. CST

    at least i got to repeat the lines i come in peace

    by stevefromjersey

    didn&#39;t like the beginning that much much to slow. the concept was neat. the idea of "beleivers" and non was ok. a quite simiplified version of faith so i keep with it. but when out of no where the kid buys this book and everything they read out of the book comes true. oh well at least the end where it mirrors night of the living dead that was done to perfection. it scared me. the two kids i don&#39;t know, were not real characters as they seem out of place in a farm community. the exminister doesn&#39;t believe in God. but the very struggle of not believing makes you believe. at the end of the movie i thought there was going to be a scientology message or something.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 2:07 a.m. CST

    "swing away"

    by dr. robert

    I absolutely adored this film. So beautifully done that I was completely ignorant to so many of the "errors" that many of you have wasted so many words trying to prove. It&#39;s an even stronger film on a second viewing. Both audiences I sat with felt cheated by the climax (or the apparent lack of one), so like (the wonderful) Unbreakable i&#39;m convinced that word of mouth will kill this film next weekend. BTW The Sixth Sense isn&#39;t his first film. He fell out with Miramax over their butchering of a film he made with Rosie O&#39; Donnell(!) called Wide Awake.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 3:42 a.m. CST

    Fuckin Fantastic

    by GreenPonchoMan

    maybe the aliens hadnt ever come into contact with water before. Who says they&#39;re planet is exactly like ours and needs water to survive. maybe it dont. and Maybe they dont got guns on theyre planet either. i think maybe it was a point not to explain everything about these green little bitches. and what the hell does Shammy-man have against water? - first its the Unbreakable Man&#39;s kryptonite and now its the aliens weakness as well... i mean hell. did the dude fall in a well as a kid ala Timmy O&#39;toole? also, seeing the bum behind Winkies in Mullholland Drive. got me way worse than the birthday party scene in this film. brilliant movie though. he makes movies exactly like how i want to make them.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Plot, and WASP

    by KONG33

    Yes, we all know NoTLD is an allegory, thanks for repeating yourself. By so arrogantly stating &#39;if you choose to see it that way&#39; is irrelevant, Signs is what we&#39;re discussing. If you knew that the script was finished before Sept.11th, you probably should have mentioned that, not tagged it on later, saying it could&#39;ve been altered later. Signs isn&#39;t &#39;food for thought&#39;, comparing them and saying that the Planet of the Apes ending was &#39;far less plausible&#39; is also comedic gold! The POTA ending actually does work, they&#39;ve shown, now of course it could never happen(!) but under this twisted story it&#39;s as consistant and possible as landing on Planet X with Apes at the beginning. Now, I believe the new POTA was a huge allegory, that I might get into later, but not one that matters, because the basic plot doesn&#39;t hold up. You assumed you were right when you said &#39;Signs is a brilliant allegory&#39; and that you knew &#39;What the movie&#39;s REALLY about&#39; and how you&#39;ll &#39;seriously change your mind about the meaning&#39;, then turned around and tried to act like our resident intellectual eye-opener, merely trying to ruminate deeper about things everyone else overlooks by throwing out ideas. Now, how about the fact that the humans did nothing to the aliens or each other to earn an alien attack? I did consider your idea, and even if it is an allegory, It&#39;s not much like our current situation and stabbing someone&#39;s finger isn&#39;t just like Sept.11th as you mentioned earlier. Ultimately, dno, it was my hate for your diva-air of arrogance that got me started, you are no better or smarter than the next guy and at your presumed age you should have known that two decades ago. Now, Wasp, that creepy scene you mentioned is multiplied when you;s a CULKIN. I&#39;m not trying to slander anyone, though.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 7:18 a.m. CST

    major plot point *spoilers*

    by virginiatown

    First of all, I LOVED this film. It is by far the most original movie I have seen in a while. I am appreciative that disney did not give away any plot points in the trailers. Anyways, I have read about 75% of the posts here, so if I repeat something I&#39;m sorry. The plot point that I&#39;m talking about is in two different scenes. First, when the family is having their "last" dinner Graham says he will never waste another minute on prayer. Then after the encounter, when they are all outside, he keeps repeating "His lungs are closed, he didn&#39;t breathe the gas" that sounds like a prayer to me. Even though he was saying it to himself I think he meant it as a prayer. I believe that is when his faith was restored. This movie is not about crop circles or even aliens, it is about the fear of the unknown. This movie was not scary at all to me because I see scarier things in real life every week. But I understand the directors motive on using aliens as the unknown. Each and every one of us is afraid of something, and this movie plays on those fears. Again this, I think, is a great movie. And to those who try and point out every logic flaw, I&#39;m sorry that you can&#39;t enjoy a little movie. Watch it again and remember, it&#39;s from a single family&#39;s point of view. They don&#39;t have all the answers and neither should we.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 7:31 a.m. CST

    If you don&#39;t like it...

    by radio1_mike

    God. Whassup with all this pseudo-intellectualism? Ya did not like "Signs"? Fine. But, hey, I enjoyed it immensely. Dug it, dug it, dug it! I find it weird that people who don&#39;t like "Signs" are recommending "ID4", when these same people did not like "ID4" in the first place. Like someone said earlier, go friggin&#39; cure cancer or AIDS already! (If you&#39;re f&#39;in brilliant, I may add!)

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Water water everywhere

    by FennRysha

    It&#39;s not all water the aliens don&#39;t like. I&#39;m guessing only treated water hurts the aliens. Otherwise they would not have been able to run around a dew-soaked corn field on a foggy night. Who would have guessed Mel could have protected the old homestead with a super soaker and a garden hose...

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 10:40 a.m. CST


    by coytuck

    Everyone&#39;s got their opinions, which is fine. But the one comment I hear all too often about this film and others that choose to take their time and tell a decent story, is that it&#39;s too slow. I&#39;d like to hear these same people when The Godfather is mentioned. I&#39;m sure they jump on the film aficionado bandwagon and sing its praises. And we all know that neither Godfather film was known for its warp speed pacing. Which leads me to my point. If you complain about films like Signs being too slow, but you claim to love the classics from the late 30s to the 70s, then you&#39;re a HYPOCRITE! If you feel even those (classic) films are too slow, then you&#39;re a bonafide MTV Baby, and surf on McDuff! Strange though. These same MTV types hate Michael (Armageddon, The Rock) Bay, who was spun from the same cloth. Go figure.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Right on, Harry!!

    by redwingster52

    Knowles, your review on signs was right on target man. This movie was an excellent addition to the resume of M. Night. I mean, is this guy awesome or what? Thw Sixth Sense was a phenomenon, Unbreakable was astounding, and now Signs, which I think is his best film. I resolved to see the movie before reading your review on it Harry for the purpose of keeping my opinion un-tainted by those of others. After the movie, I was very glad to see most of my very thoughts about the movie in your review. As I watched the opening credits, the first thing I thought was "Hitchcock. This guys the next Hitchcock." I certainly hope we get to see more amazing writing, filmmaking, and even acting out of Mr. Shyamalan.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:28 a.m. CST

    People liked this movie? Even Harry? Hunh.

    by Freca Tindrock

    I can&#39;t figure it out. Amateurish filmmaking, painfully contrived story, really boring scenes... SIGNS openly insults your taste and intelligence as a filmgoer. Above all, it has probably the worst editing I&#39;ve seen in a major film in some time. Really, just terrible. Every scene was painful to watch. M. Night S. may have promise as a writer, or even a director, I don&#39;t know. But if he is, that has nothing to do with this particular offering. Whether or not I agree with Harry all the time, he usually seems to know crap when he sees it. But something other than the film itself must have contributed to his review, because the thing was so hard to watch. Harry, watch the movie again, I believe you have the power to realize what a dog it is. I was sitting there, like, "was this meant to be a made-for-tv movie? Could it really be a satire about how popular entertainment uses cliches and contrivances to manipulate the emotions of the complacent masses? OK, OK, I get it, it&#39;s about signs. But crop circles as signs of aliens are neither literally nor metaphorically related to the idea of religious faith in premonitions from dying people... I mean, could the ideas be any muddier? And am I still supposed to be impressed by these tired old make-the-audience-scared techniques? Did people really compare this to Spielberg and... gulp... Hitchcock?! Maybe I&#39;ve over-rated those guys. When is this going to be over, anyway?" And so on. I guess a lot of people like this movie, and that makes me feel bad for Cinema. Even worse, it makes me feel bad for plain old movie-making. "The New Spielberg"? Yeah, as if.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:30 a.m. CST

    left over chicken teriyaki


    In the original Signs script, left-over mashed potatoes, bacon cheeseburgers, french toast and chicken teriyaki give the aliens a really bad rash.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Freca Tindrock


    Bullseye. Freca Tindrock, you are my new hero.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Gripes *SPOILERS*

    by NotForYou

    Saw Signs this weekend. Thought it was very tense and enjoyable overall. Great job with making you think something would happen when it didn&#39;t so when it did, you were more shocked. Also, I loved the faith questioning and ultimate result. My gripes: So the aliens travelled through space, made intricate crop circles, are strong enough to jump on top of a house, but they can&#39;t break through a door? Also, why would they come to earth to harvest humans when humans are something like 75 percent water? Water is bad right? And finally, they should never have shown the whole alien. Any tension and fear you got when shown small body parts (hands) disappeared after seeing the whole thing which ended up looking like a sleestack (sp?) from Land of the Lost. I generally don&#39;t care if there are some things that don&#39;t quite fit in a movie, don&#39;t add up, but these were major explanations of what happened in the film, so they bothered me. Tear me apart if you like. Just thought I&#39;d share my opinion.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:48 a.m. CST

    ManOwaR, Kong 33 & Lost-ark-1

    by dno

    I&#39;m really sorry I offended you guys so much. Seriously. I re-read my earlier posts, and I did come off sounding way f-ing arrogant. In retrospect, let me say it was just because I had a theory I was quite excited about, and I was surprised no one else had posted about it yet. I still think many of the points I made are valid. I never said the film was Anti-American, merely anti-Military, anti-War, anti-meddling. One could easily interpret &#39;Saving Private Ryan&#39; as an anti-war film. Why not &#39;Signs.&#39; There&#39;s no shame in that. Big, big difference between Anti-American and Anti-War. As for retalliation, I am by no means a poli-sci expert, and I&#39;d leave it to any of you with more expertise to debate the specifics, but we did build military bases on their Holy Lands, if I&#39;m not mistaken. Long ago. That&#39;s not seen as friendly behavior. It wouldn&#39;t be if it were done to us. And of course we want their oil. We need it desperately. If the U.S. can do anything to maintain/encourage political stability in that troubled region, that&#39;s good for America. I think M. Night&#39;s work is great. Sure, the ending was a let down, from a literal perspective. But not if we dig a bit deeper. I love the fact that it got me thinking, I love the fact that it got everyone posting here thinking. I think there are enough &#39;signs&#39; present throughout the film to support multiple interpretations, including my own. And as I said earlier, that&#39;s not standard Hollywood fare these days. I apologize again, for sounding like a "pompous ass," as someone rightly claimed. The fact remains that I&#39;d love to see more thoughtful, serious discussion of film here, and not so much aimless ranting all the time. Agree? And BTW, didn&#39;t those opening credits SCREAM Hitchcock? They made me giggle in anticipation. Fincher&#39;s &#39;Panic Room&#39; opener did, too... so arch and trend.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 11:53 a.m. CST

    this movie sucked. its all hype. I guarantee you it will not a

    by inkymae

    m. night is manipulating the audience with the way "everything ties together" ooooh, swing hi! and the bats on the wall...whatever. stupid. they should have picked up the bat the second the damn aliens started beating on the door. or pick up ANYTHING for that matter. They&#39;re hostile, Mel, do something! I guarantee you after people have some time to think about the logic problems with the film, they&#39;ll start hating it. For every person that likes this film, you have been manipulated by a gimmicky script not by clever storytelling.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 12:20 p.m. CST


    by Alejandro

    You got it absolutely right. SIGNS was amateur hour. The editing particularly bothered me in the scene where the alien is in the pantry. It reminded me of film school where you&#39;d watch one of your fellow classmate&#39;s latest works and say to yourself, "What the hell was that?" I can&#39;t believe M. got paid to make this. I hope he reads these posts and takes note for his next try out. I&#39;ll give him one more chance.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Why has nobody mentioned...

    by TraBickle

    that the "aliens" are essentially demons (hooved feet & all). They cannot be killed simply by water. They are only hurt by the water in the house b/c it has been made "holy" by the angel (the daughter). Isn&#39;t it quite obvious that the daughter is an angel. Gibson has the whole speech about how the doctor&#39;s all said she was an angel...eye&#39;s so big...they say babies that young can&#39;t smile. She dreams the future. The dogs attack her b/c she is not human.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Interesting idea, dno, but...

    by Kaitain;re a little overconfident in your observations and inferences whose truths are "obvious". Case in point: your insistence that the baseball bat is a metaphor for terrorists using American technology against America. The baseball bat is made by Americans, and is used against the aliens, who are metaphorical stand-ins for the US military in your version of events. Ummm, you&#39;re not exactly being consistent here, are you? If it was to be a case of using the opposing force&#39;s technology against itself, the bat would have to have been made by the aliens. If you want to use a metaphor, maintain its consistency throughout rather than mixing and matching to suit your argument.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 1:36 p.m. CST

    You know!

    by Halloween68

    Even though I hate all this M. Night Shamalamadingdong is the next Steven Spielberg crap, I have to say... Signs is MNS&#39;s most solid piece of work to date. It doesn&#39;t have any of the flat scenes that Sixth Sense had, and it doesn&#39;t have any of the holes (most notably the crappy, fizzled out ending) that The Unbreakable had. I really loved Signs. It was enjoyable from beginning to end. I have to admit, the guys got the eyes of a film director. He keeps getting better with each attempt. This of course does disclude script work. Sixth Sense has the best of script of his 3 films.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 1:37 p.m. CST

    MNS&#39;s latest trick **SPOILERS**

    by Kaitain

    I should start off by saying that I really enjoyed "Signs", and that it&#39;s my favourite movie of the summer so far. My main thought coming away from this film was that MNS had pulled off yet another clever trick with "Signs", but that unlike "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable", it was a meta-trick. In the first two films, the tricks are carried out almost exclusively within the film itself. In "Signs", the trick is played largely before you enter the cinema (although the first half also misdirects, especially with its humour). You think you&#39;re going to be watching a PG-rated (it was here in Canada) film about crop circles, one man&#39;s self-doubts, paranoias etc, and are suddenly hit by one of the most thrilling stories about overt alien encounters in recent movie history. I could be wrong about this. Maybe I just got lucky going into the cinema not realising what I was going to see. But the trailer seemed (unusually in this day and age) to be designed specifically to mislead as to the overall plot direction, and MNS seems to have made the scariest movie possible that still qualified for only a PG rating. (Was it the same in the US?) Like Sixth Sense in particular, however, it&#39;s a fragile trick: if someone had told you that the movie was really scary, you probably wouldn&#39;t have found it so. (The same thing happened with Blair Witch.) So I&#39;m not telling any of my friends back in Britain anything about it, just recommending that they go and see it knowing as little as possible about it.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 2:10 p.m. CST

    morgoth & Ceristagg

    by dno

    MorGoth, thanks for your harsh words, especially right after I acknowledged my lack of expertise, and asked for more learned minds to offer more detailed facts. That&#39;s counterproductive, my friend. I don&#39;t think any of my statements were absurd. Regardless of what any foreign government asked the U.S. government to do, doesn&#39;t that ignore the many innocents? The citizens? The civilians? The families, like Mel Gibson&#39;s family, who didn&#39;t ask for an invasion, or do anything to deserve an invasion, but got one, nonetheless? In fact, that family had already put up with many other hardships, but instead of finding reprieve, they&#39;re made to suffer through yet another invasion of their lives. Again, regardless of government shenanigans, many of the Middle Eastern civilians do not seem to want the U.S. anywhere nearby. Some even protest in the streets against us. As to the Palestinian/Israeli issue... think about the scene in SIGNS where the father asks his family whether or not they want to leave their home... In other words, whether they want to desert their homeland. They all vote NO. That definitely seems like an echo of a long-waged Middle Eastern war, does it not? And CeriStagg, I take very much to heart your point about mixing metaphors and extending them to seemingly unnatural places, but without that kind of freedom to intellectually explore, one can&#39;t devise a sensible hypothesis in the first place. Thin line between madness and genius, right? But more to your point, In my version, everything is metaphor, and Mel Gibson&#39;s family, living in rural nowhereland, aren&#39;t hard-working Pennsylvanians. That&#39;s the literal interpretation. As I see it, they&#39;re a symbol for something else. Representative of something else. Just as the aliens are symbolic, just as the bat is symbolic. And all the symbols fit together. Notice that I never drew a parallel between Mel Gibson&#39;s famliy and terrorists. I didn&#39;t equate those in my mind. I see the Hess family more as the unfortunate and innocent bystanders, drawn into a battle not of their own devising. Even notice their initial unwillingness to do physical battle... no guns, Phoenix does NOT sign up at the military enrollment office, etc. They just wish the aliens would go away. Leave them in peace, to deal with their own problems (the deceased mother) and their own battles (son vs. Mel Gibson). Violence becomes a last resort to chase the alien away. And when pushed, the family proves they&#39;re good at violence. I still see many parallels to support my initial supposition. If you all think it&#39;s so absurd, I&#39;m sorry for wasting your time. Please find another post to discuss. However, if you think there&#39;s some merit in it, please kick it around the back of the brain for a day or so. You may think of 20 things I haven&#39;t!!! To me, that&#39;s the beauty of these discussion boards.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Its a good sign

    by delwin

    I loved it. I just loved it. I&#39;m a film goer. But I let movies take me and tell me a story. I don&#39;t look for every flaw. I don&#39;t look for how the movie maker has deceived me, that&#39;s so ridiculous. Either you&#39;re a good story teller or you&#39;re a lousy story teller. This Night guy has an A+ in my book. I didn&#39;t really like Unbreakable, but I liked it style. I love his style. I loved the Sixth Sense. I&#39;m calling it Neo-Alfred Hitchcock. It WAs just one family experiencing an invasion. A simple family who has seen tragedy. A father who has lost faith. What is this film is really about? Not just aliens and crop circles, but seeing the SIGNS. The signs from God. Its all about faith. It moved me. "Are you one of the people who think people get lucky, or are you the one who thinks someone is watching over us?" This Night guy, is defining a new era in filmaking. It was all about faith. "Swing Away". Not only did it move me, it fucking scared the shit out of me. I&#39;m one who thinks the scariest is left unseen. The army recruiter, the dog outside, the attic, the TV broadcast gone dead, the not knowing if the whole world is dead and you and your family is next. DREAD, was his name and he scared me. If aliens invaded the planet this is how I would imagine it. All on TV, not knowing what the hell&#39;s coming next. I&#39;ve heard people complain there wasn&#39;t enough gore, but I&#39;m sick of gore. These are the same people who think Blair Witch 2 was the best thing ever. Anyway I loved it and I want more.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 2:55 p.m. CST

    How did Unbreakable have a plot hole in the ending?

    by neovsmatrix

    The movie, IMHO, was pretty tightly conceived. I saw Signs, and I think it&#39;s very good. Just not nearly as good as Unbreakable was. IMHO, Unbreakable is Shyamalan&#39;s best.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 3 p.m. CST

    Excellent movie

    by LoStSouLZ

    Watching the trailer I always thought the line " theres a monster outside my window..can i have a glass of water" was a rather silly line, but now after wathing the movie and having time to soak in and anaylyze the film, you realize that again this is a sign that water is toxic to the aliens. I just love little details like that you only pick up after watching the movie a second time. Highly recommended.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Shyamalan&#39;s Planet of the Apes?

    by Carl_Kolchak

    It became obvious last summer that Tim Burton was a fraud, a con man. His "remake" of Planet of the Ape revealed him to be a low-talent hack. Could the same be true of Shyamalan? Is Signs his Planet of the Apes? I&#39;m not sure, but the Signs certainly point there. You&#39;d have to watch Wide Awake to get a full sense of the great potential within Shyamalan to create an incredibly dreadful film. Of course, having Rosie O&#39;Donnell in the film didn&#39;t help, but she ended up being--if you can believe--one of the better performers in the movie. Signs smells of Wide Awake: tone-deaf storytelling, silliness, and treating the viewer like an idiot child who needs a lot of help "getting" the rather banal message of Signs. Shyamalan is obviously no philosopher. That "chat" on the couch between Gibson and Phoenix was third-grade level chatter wasn&#39;t intended to reveal superficiality in the characters. Instead, it M. Night attempting to hit us over the head with a superficial point: some people believe in a benevolent, intervening God, and the rest of us have concluding that life is just a series of chance occurrences with no meaning at all. That&#39;s the stuff they tried to cram down our throats in low-rent Catholic school ethics classes. And he keeps pounding away with this overly-simplistic message for about half of the film. All right, all right. We get it. Two freak occurences. One destroys a man&#39;s "faith" the other redeems it. Does it just mean that God has a way of balancing things--giving each of us really bad stuff, but also really stuff? Did God personally intervene to get Gibson to become a believer again? What would Gibson have done if his son had died at the end? Would that have answered the question for him that life is meaningless chance? This is movie that has a secondary message (like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable), but it lacks all of the subtlety and artistry in both its content (let&#39;s face it, his two immediately prior films had very profound things to say about human relationships and middle age) and the manner in which the message is delivered. Of course, the biggest problem with the movie is all the holes in his "cover story" that have been well documented by other comments here. My favorite is aliens who can remember to bring raincoats to a planet that is 70% water (or that their weakness to water is discovered in a place where there is almost no water, or that they are strong enough to withstand a baseball bat-beating, but can&#39;t get out of a cupboard ...).

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 3:34 p.m. CST

    i hope i`ll experience the film similar

    by drjones

    though i think it`s better to say he comes near to steven or as newsweek said THE NEXT steven ...but not a new steven... well...ok steven changed his style and i`d love to see him making movies of his old style although i know that

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 3:38 p.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    I wasn&#39;t around for the discussion on "Unbreakable", which I thought was an absolutely excellent film. What were the main camps re: the final scene? In my circle of friends and acquaintances, there were those who thought that Mr Glass being hauled off to jail as a footnote to the film was a damp squib note of finality, whereas I assumed that Glass specifically *wanted* to be caught, that this was his official debut as a criminal mastermind, that it would take him no time at all to escape and that this was the beginning of a classic Superman vs. Lex Luthor situation which would potentially go on for years. He relished the fight, the challenge. He wanted it.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:09 p.m. CST

    m. night is the new tarantino

    by stuftseveredhead

    meaning he is overhyped and a one trick pony that gets worse with each movie AND thinks he is the greatest thing to moviemaking since...well..he believes he IS the greatest thing to moviemaking.

  • kudos to the tb&#39;er that realized that. MAJOR LOGIC PROBLEM THERE.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:15 p.m. CST

    What does it take for you people to realize...

    by TraBickle

    that regular water does not hurt the aliens (although this would provide a nice link to "Unbreakable"). The "aliens" are "demons" who are hurt by the "angel&#39;s" (daughter&#39;s) "holy" water. There is no plot hole there or stupidity on the part of the aliens.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Spoiler-free trailers

    by Kaitain

    Incidentally, is the success of "Signs" (I certainly regard it as a success) not a testament to the value of having a spoiler-free trailer? Just imagine how much better "What Lies Beneath" would have been without a trailer that told you the plot. Even more radically, imagine what it would have been like watching "The Truman Show" knowing little about the important details of the plot setup, i.e. not realising at first that Truman lived in an artificial world, and only discovering that fact as he did. It would have made for a far more powerful and emotionally rewarding experience. (Can you imagine now, for example, watching "Psycho" for the first time and NOT knowing that Norman Bates was the killer?)

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:22 p.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    TB, what you are pushing as an undeniable fact is actually just your personal theory. There are alternative hypotheses, e.g. that the fluoride/chlorine (the "contaminants"?) in the water is what does the damage. Your "angel" idea does not leap off the screen as the one obviously correct interpretation of the film&#39;s events.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Maybe, but...

    by TraBickle

    I think we&#39;ve come to expect that M. Night very rarely throws in plot points that don&#39;t have some purpose to the conclusion of his films. If this is true, 1. Why have the dog attack the daughter unless she is not human? 2. Why have the daughter early in the movie say "There&#39;s a monster in my room...may I have a glass of water? 3. Why have that she dreamed her brother almost dying in the same way he almost does. 4. Why have Mel Gibson go into a whole rant about how the nurses thought she looked like an angel...big eyes, smiling when no child that age should be able to? I don&#39;t think anyone can deny that there is certainly something up with the daughter. She always finds the water "contaminated." She is purifying it, making it holy. Everything happens for a reason...if this is the point of the film, how can all of these things relating to the daughter mean nothing?

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Two kinds of moviegoers


    After listening to the bitter dispute of the merits of Signs it is obvious to me that the world is divided into two very different kinds of filmgoers. The first kind find that plausability is a major criteria for an enjoyable movie-going experience, no matter if it is set in a fantasy or a reality. They believe a movie must set rules and follow them. The other group is much less discriminating. They don&#39;t mind careless, flagrant jumps in logic. Logic has no importance to them. Suspension of disbelief can be granted to just about anything. They don&#39;t see the movie as a whole but as singular moments which offer fleating scares or laughs. I originally meant for this talkback to be non-discriminating but I just can&#39;t seem to do it. I&#39;m too angry at people.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Angel theory can&#39;t be right

    by Freca Tindrock

    I can&#39;t believe I&#39;m commenting again on this waste of celluloid. But there&#39;s a theory floating around here on talkback about the aliens being vulnerable to water that the little girl "contaminated" (i.e., blessed or something) because she&#39;s an angel. And it can&#39;t be right. I mean, I know that it&#39;s tempting to try to find some kind of interesting explanation for the plot holes, but this isn&#39;t it. They say probably 3 times in the movie that a surprisingly simple technique for fighting the aliens has been discovered in different places around the world. Obviously what they&#39;re talking about is the discovery that water does the trick. Why the newscasters wouldn&#39;t just say this, instead of being mysterious about info that would obviously be of great help to everyone listening to the broadcast during the invasion, is a question best left unanswered. Obviously it makes no sense in the world of the story; it&#39;s just a device to avoid giving away the lame ending too early. Anyway, as dumb as they are, the overheard broadcasts contradict the daughter-as-angel theory. After all, the little girl only left half-finished glasses of water around the farmhouse, not around the world. Nice try.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:40 p.m. CST

    I believe that&#39;s wrong

    by TraBickle

    I believe the specific wording in the telecast is that they used "a primitive fighting technique." I&#39;m assuming this was not simply throwing water at the "aliens." I don&#39;t throwing water at them would be reffered to as a "primitive fighting technique." In fact, its not really a fighting technique at all. I think the other people just used simple hand to hand combat to beat the "aliens." This is consistent with the book&#39;s theory that these aliens were so smart that they had not developed fighting techniques. Sure, they could run fast & jump high, but, besides their gas, they had little in the way of fighting techniques.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Angel debunking continued

    by Freca Tindrock

    Just to complete the thought, people that think M.N.S. put all the "daddy my water is contaminated" stuff in there to indicate something about this theory, well, listen: it was supposed to be one of the SIGNs in the story. In this case, it was a sign that water was the way to kill the aliens, just like "swing away" was a sign to hit them with a bat. I know, I know, those aren&#39;t really "signs" in the way that the crop circles were evidently supposed to be. But let&#39;s not hold this thing up to the light too much. The point is, the little girl&#39;s references to water contamination DID have significance, but it wasn&#39;t a hint that she&#39;s an angel. It just shows that the dad had all kinds of hints around him but he wasn&#39;t open to hearing them because he wasn&#39;t faithful (or something stupid like that). Of course, how COULD he take them as signs of ways to kill aliens when he did not yet know anything about the aliens even existing? So... God gives hints, but only when you don&#39;t have enough info to recognize them as such... uh-huh. This is the kind of movie that&#39;s more fun to bash than it was to watch.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Angel debunking Part 3

    by Freca Tindrock

    (sigh) Now someone&#39;s saying that the newscasts were referring to a simple "fighting technique," not to the use of water to kill the aliens. You mean, like hitting them with baseball bats or something. Could be... we know that works, too. But if so, why the water business at all? I can&#39;t claim to remember the dialogue... my brain has a mechanism that helps me to forget pathetic crap. But I think it was something about discovering a suprisingly simple way to fight the aliens. That sounds like a reference to the water trick, not to some way of engaging them in hand-to-hand combat. But either way, it just illustrates my point about how stupid it was that the newscasters didn&#39;t just say "people have discovered that doing X is a surprisingly effective way to counter-attack the aliens" instead of leaving out the one crucial detail that listeners needed in order to actually benefit from the announcement. This was a world emergency, right? Why be coy. Excuse me but this is quite funny, having such a stupid argument about such a stupid device in the stupidest movie of the summer.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:54 p.m. CST

    No, no,no

    by TraBickle

    Yes, the daughter saying the water contaminated is a sign, but who do signs usually come from...angels. Your comment doesn&#39;t address why she also says, "There&#39;s a monster outside my room...can I have a glass of water." She also tells him the tv has "the same thing on every channel." She also leads him to the crop circles. When all is dark in the basement, she "turns on the light."

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:57 p.m. CST

    The newscast...

    by TraBickle

    is about to say what the technique is when Mel Gibson unplugs it to bring it into the next room. Besides, they already think the aliens are gone, so its not as big of a deal.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 4:59 p.m. CST

    the primitive technique

    by dno

    I think the primitive technique used to defeat the aliens was faith. The belief that they&#39;d go away. The belief that things would be better. That&#39;s what made them stop pounding on the basement door. And the Middle East is a center for religious belief. Strong, fervent, age-old religious belief. Just like Mel Gibson&#39;s new-found faith helped turn the tide against the aliens, that belief, worldwide, helped chase them away. They fed on fear, and they were averted by faith. When they arrived, they thought they could win, when they encountered massive faith that they would lose, they lost their courage, and were defeated. It&#39;s a question of one groups faith being stronger than another groups might. (this parallels the interpretation of the film as America vs. Middle East.)

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Angel debunking Part 4

    by Freca Tindrock

    OK, Bickle (you were great in that movie about the taxi driver), I see that you find the angel theory convincing, and that&#39;s cool. I mean, it&#39;s cool when a movie makes you think. Personally, this movie makes me think about how easily people are impressed by terrible movies, but whatever. Let me just ask: if the little girl&#39;s running commentary about glasses of water was supposed to be a sign that when she drinks water, she blesses it and makes it capable of killing aliens, but not that water in general kills them, then why are there also lines of dialogue about how the aliens don&#39;t make crop circles near bodies of water, and why does the guy in the truck (M.N.S.) decide to head to the water to escape them, and so on? Had the little girl gone quickly around the world sipping from bodies of water as well as the glasses in her farmhouse? Again, it&#39;s best to not work so hard about this. Thinking about the meaning of stories is only worth it when the stories themselves have some actual thought behind them. This one was generated by the same computer program they use to write hallmark greeting cards.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:07 p.m. CST

    About that...

    by TraBickle

    The M. Night character comes up with the theory (I think he&#39;s the only one who mentions it) that the crop circles are not close to water. The Culkin kid, taking his cue from the book, gets everything right about the aliens. (of course, this also makes the ending less "happy" as it indicates these aliens will be coming back with full force) When he hears this theory, he says it sounds like its made up (Of course, the theory is pretty simplistic; how many crop fields are cloase to bodies of water). I think it is more likely that the kid was right about this too, and the water only worked b/c it was "holy."

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:13 p.m. CST

    THAT&#39;S what it means?

    by Freca Tindrock

    Wait, the point of the movie was that religious faith kills aliens from space?! Well, that&#39;s both the stupidest thing I&#39;ve ever heard and, fittingly, the best summary of this movie I can think of! We&#39;ve got some great ideas going here... faith kills aliens, little angel-girls&#39; glasses of water kill aliens, baseball bats hurt them too (but you forget there&#39;s one hanging on the wall unless reminded by a memory of your dying wife&#39;s muttering). Yes, yes, I see it now. What genius story-telling. Religious faith kills space aliens. Classic!

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Ray not in jail?

    by Doc Brown

    Didn&#39;t Ray commit manslaughter just 6 months before the events of this movie (hitting Mel&#39;s wife with his truck)? Is there not some punishment for wreckless driving in Bucks County? I know he fell asleep at the wheel but still, he killed a woman, yet seemingly recives no punishment. I hope this wasn&#39;t already mentioned in the talkback and if so, could ya just answer it anyway.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:20 p.m. CST

    SIGNS=cheap scares and wholly unoriginal.

    by lucreangst

    (SPOILERS) Take the plot from WAR OF THE WORLDS (right down to the quick exit of the alien invaders), a dash of ALIEN NATION (water is like acid to the aliens), a sprinkle of ALIEN (the camouflaged hand scare like the scene when Ripley is on the escape shuttle), a bit of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (group of people trapped in a boarded-up house) and a healthy dose of DONNIE DARKO (God did it through a series of accidents/coincidences that seem unrelated) and there you have it! An entertaining (ie. cheap scares) yet wholly unoriginal (ie. complete rip-off) film! And enough with the Hitchcock!! The cameos and Bernard Herman music swipes are embarrassing... it seems like M. Knight got better at dialogue, and worse at plot. If he can combine the two, (and stop making his "homages" so ibvious) it should make for a great movie.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:22 p.m. CST

    OK, whatever

    by Freca Tindrock

    And don&#39;t tell me the aliens symbolized devils or something. See, if it was all symbolic about religious faith, then you wouldn&#39;t have a clergyman who lost his faith as the main character. I mean, not if you were a half-decent writer. Hm, maybe your theory is right, come to think of it. But if so, the movie was even worse than I thought.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:27 p.m. CST


    by NotForYou

    I think your angel observation is very astute, but I also think, like most of the ending of the movie, it&#39;s very thin. You can&#39;t dismiss the fact that the vet went by water to hide. You can&#39;t dismiss that fact that others had also found ways to defeat the aliens. I think you&#39;re right in the intent of the little girl, but that doesn&#39;t change the fact that the threads that fill out the ending are strained and not completely filled out. I don&#39;t think you can throw in casual mentions on a radio program as a means of explaining plot-pivotal details and expect people to buy it. It comes off as, "Oh yeah, and we&#39;d better tie up this end. Oh, just throw it into a radio broadcast." And on a side note, I still think the alien was cheezy looking.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:28 p.m. CST

    And anyway

    by Freca Tindrock

    If the aliens WERE supposed to be symbolic of devils or demons, then you can add CHILDHOOD&#39;S END to the long list of books and movies that MNS got his ideas from. There was quite a bit of POLTERGEIST in there, too, for those keeping score at home.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Its perfect to have him as a father who has lost his faith

    by TraBickle

    see Graham Greene&#39;s novel (I forget the name), "From Dusk Till Dawn," "The Last Temptation of Christ." Why would this make the film worse? Of course, the "aliens" aren&#39;t literally "demons," but they definitely work on that level, and that is the parallel I think M. Night was trying to draw.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:36 p.m. CST

    I don&#39;t think...

    by TraBickle

    that the broadcast ties up any loose ends. I think the point of it is, the reporter is about to reveal whprimitive technique they used to beat the aliens. Then, Gibson pulls the plug before he can hear it. Next, you see the alien&#39;s reflection in the tv. this creates tension b/c the audience feels that a solution was just missed. As for the vet going to the water, again, the kid who is right about everything else says it sounds made up that the aliens are afraid of water. Why would he be wrong about this? Why would the vet know what he&#39;s talking about?

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:39 p.m. CST


    by Freca Tindrock

    Sorry, I don&#39;t mean to be insulting. Like I said, it&#39;s cool if the movie made you try to figure out its subtext. It&#39;s just unfortunate that this movie was badly-made, and that its subtext was so lame. I understand better what you&#39;re getting at. I think K&#39;s book LAST TEMPTATION is great. And the movie too, obviously. But there, it&#39;s directly ABOUT religious faith, so there&#39;s no allegorical symbolism to figure out. A basic concept in writing is, you don&#39;t mix symbolism about some theme into a story that&#39;s also directly about the same theme. Symbolism works by being used in place of the thing being symbolized, not alongside it. Like, if the aliens represented devils or something, then the guy should have been having a crisis of faith regarding the intentions of aliens or something... I suppose MNS might have been trying to do something metanymic (a metaphor where the symbol is the thing itself), but it was far, far too contrived, awkward, and artless to convince me that he was doing that. But, bottom line, sorry if I said your idea was stupid; it was more interesting that the film itself, which was very stupid.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:46 p.m. CST

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    "See, if it was all symbolic about religious faith, then you wouldn&#39;t have a clergyman who lost his faith as the main character." Y&#39;know, maybe you&#39;re on to something there. I mean, if you were writing the New Testament, for example, you wouldn&#39;t put a scene in there about Christ having a moment of doubt, would you? I mean, that whole "Why hath Thou forsaken me?" thing. No way those writings would eventually develop into a mass cultural movement that&#39;s about 1700 years strong, right? Not to mention the suffering of Job, or...I&#39;m not gonna get into heavy Theology here, but you get the point. I don&#39;t wanna be a dick here, but I have to say that&#39;s one of the dumbest, most absurd, most squirt-Dr. Pepper-out-my-nose hysterical things I&#39;ve ever seen on this or any other site. Once again, for those who missed it: "See, if it was all symbolic about religious faith, then you wouldn&#39;t have a clergyman who lost his faith as the main character." With "thinking" like that running through your noggin, it&#39;s no wonder the movie didn&#39;t speak to you...

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:46 p.m. CST

    the WATER question, answered?

    by lucreangst

    (SPOILER) If you say that water being the downfall of the alines is stupid because they would have already known that from the beginning, then a counter argument could be that the water was HOLY water. There is mention in the mvie about a "simple means" found in the Middle East. Gibson&#39;s character is/was a priest. Or, maybe the aliens are really stupid and didn&#39;t think that people would actually throw it on them.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:49 p.m. CST


    by NotForYou

    I forgot that I was also going to say that the little girl wasn&#39;t the only person animals were viscious with. The cop said animals all over the area had become aggressive and dangerous. Overall, I&#39;m all for subtlety, but things that are subtle should still make perfects sense when put into the rest of the movie, and I just don&#39;t think MNS was very successful at it this time.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:50 p.m. CST

    I see, but

    by Freca Tindrock

    Since you asked why the boy would be wrong about the aliens being hurt by water in general (as opposed to daughter/angel holy water), and why the vet would also have the same idea, I guess my answer is, EXACTLY. Obviously those points are in the film because it WAS water in general that hurt the aliens. In Mel&#39;s life the daughter provided signs to this realization (just as the wife provided signs to the aliens&#39; vulnerability to baseball bat attacks), but that doesn&#39;t mean that only water specifically touched by the daughter was such a weapon. She was, like, the vehicle of HIS salvation. So she was an angel, I guess, in a way. And presumably other people found out about the water through "angels" of their own, I don&#39;t know. But in terms of the literal story, it was water that hurt the aliens, not HER water. The more I think about this movie, the more I think it was a particularly terrible piece of writing, which is interesting because originally I thought its writing was no worse than its directing and editing, which were both ABYSMAL. But in terms of nominating it for badness awards, it should receive special condemnation for the writing.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:53 p.m. CST

    I&#39;ll admit I don&#39;t remember exactly what was said here

    by TraBickle

    I remember Cherry Jones saying that dogs around town had been acting strange...afraid and peeing on themselves. Does she ever say, though, that the dogsb actually were attacking people? If that&#39;s the case, it weakens the angel argument somewhat.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 5:58 p.m. CST

    yeah she did

    by NotForYou

    She first said they were acting kind of strange. Then she said (I can&#39;t remember the exact words, but) basically that they were being aggressive. That&#39;s when Mel suddenly became alarmed because he didn&#39;t hear his kids anymore. TB, I still like your angel argument and think it was the filmmaker&#39;s intent, but think little things like that and the vet&#39;s water observation (if he was wrong about it, why even mention it?) make it just too weak to really hit home with me.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6 p.m. CST

    By the way, Cherry Jones

    by NotForYou

    That name is ripe for porn.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Um...Wow, Slight Return

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    I go to check the formatting on my post, and I&#39;m greeted with: "A basic concept in writing is, you don&#39;t mix symbolism about some theme into a story that&#39;s also directly about the same theme." do that, you&#39;d have to make the melding of symbology and life narrative the main focus of the movie...oh, wait. I&#39;m sorry, you&#39;re obviously very intelligent, but do you think this stuff through at all? What about Kurosawa&#39;s STRAY DOGS, where the main character loses his gun? The film is about the main character losing his self confidence in general, and the gun serves as both a lietral goal (get it back before someone does something nasty with it) and symbolic (must restore masculinity, which, of course, is quite often symbolized by the phallic firearm.) Or that cinematic turd ALPHAVILLE, which is both implicitly and explicitly about mechanical dehumanization. And, of course, that stinker THE SEVENTH SEAL, which...oh, forget it. I&#39;m still in amazement that someone who seems to have a brain in their head has managed to deride not one, but TWO of the main cimenatic structures of the post-war filmic era as "bad writing."

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:04 p.m. CST

    The Pole

    by Freca Tindrock

    <chortle> That&#39;s excellent, I realize exactly why you were sarcastic about my post. You *were* being sarcastic, right? Why, indeed, would a symbolic story about faith involve a clergyman who had lost his? You think it should? Well, see (stay with me, now) I was responding to the notion that it was all supposed to be half-assed symbolism. Obviously in something literal, like a bible story about faith, you have characters who are religious types. But if you have a story that&#39;s *literally* about space aliens, and *symbolically* about faith, then you don&#39;t inject literal faith-related stuff. Right? That destroys the allegory. Get it? You can&#39;t have a story that&#39;s both literally and allegorically about the same thing. Well, you can, but it sorta defeats the purpose of the symbolism. It&#39;s a "category mistake," know what I mean? Like, to use the sort of example you did, when jesus is telling parables about casting seeds on the ground, as an allegory for preaching the gospel or whatever, he doesn&#39;t say "sow your seeds and stick words in the ground, too, and be sure to give them plenty of water and readings from the gospel so that they will grow up to be healthy plants or religious followers." If you still don&#39;t understand, and think I was saying something contradictory, maybe someone else can explain it. Anyone?

  • Aliens are coming into this guy&#39;s house and NOT ONCE does he even think about picking up something as a weapon. He just stands there. Even in close encounters when they abducted the little boy, the mother fought like crazy to save her child. Mel gibson just stands around and goes "gee, i hope they dont get inside" If that was me, I would have AT THE VERY LEAST PICKED UP A KITCHEN KNIFE. so you guys can sit here and debate the religious issues until the end of time. the bottom line, Mel Gibson&#39;s character is an idiot because he does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to defend his home or his family AND IF HE HAS LOST HIS FAITH IN GOD, it makes sense that he would be fighting hard to protect his family because he doesnt believe in some higher power to help him. FOR THAT REASON ALONE this is a stupid movie. never mind that he has enough time to prepare that he can board up the entire house but he doesnt stock up things that he can use as weapons, or food, or batteries, or water, or get the dog inside, or MAKE SURE AS HELL HE&#39;S GOT THE KID&#39;S ASTHMA MEDICINE. The only way this movie makes ANY SENSE is if MEL GIBSON&#39;S CHARACTER IS THE DUMBEST PERSON ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET. So screw all you guys that liked the movie because of the "faith" angle. with or without it, Mel Gibson still does not act in even a remotely realistic way to the situation that exists.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Inkymae is right.

    by stuftseveredhead

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:12 p.m. CST

    The Pole, hi there

    by Freca Tindrock

    OK, now this is weird. I have a feeling we&#39;d agree if the context of this discussion wasn&#39;t the dumbest movie of the summer. But anyway, my rant was about not mixing symbolic and literal elements in an allegory. Now, Antonioni did stuff like that, using metanym in film, for which it is well-suited. But MNS is certainly no Antonioni, and I feel all dirty from mentioning them together like this. But whatever you think, please don&#39;t compare MNS to Kurosawa or Bergman. Oh, please, please. I&#39;m sure if you are able to cite their films, you MUST realize that MNS is not in the same universe as them.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:17 p.m. CST

    One darn minute here

    by Freca Tindrock

    Inkymae, thanks for reminding us that it&#39;s pointless to search for meaning in a story as painfully dumb as this. That was my point all along. I&#39;ve seen few films as dumb as this one. Let me just use the word "dumb" one more time here. But don&#39;t spoil our fun. The movie itself provided no stimulation, but arguing ironically about it is giving me a little satisfaction and making up for the pain of blowing $8.50 on the experience.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:21 p.m. CST

    freca tindrock is right

    by stuftseveredhead

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:23 p.m. CST


    by inkymae

    my point is why waste time debating over a movie that is just BAD? discuss the good points or bad points about something like Road to Perdition or christ, even Spider-man. My point is Signs is so goddamned awful that its stupid to even sit here and analyze the filmmakers intent because the filmmaker is so goddamned awful (yet he has no problem telling how great he is by the way - read ANY of his interviews) Paul "Resident Evil" Anderson deserves more attention than M. Night Piece of Shitaman is getting.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:25 p.m. CST

    the columbian is NOT right

    by stuftseveredhead

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:40 p.m. CST

    SIGNS is just plain DUMB

    by Mr. Boden

    Is everyone out there brainwashed, or did I just see a different movie? A man in a rubber suit; the acting was stilted; Mel Gibson looked like he was making fun of someone who has real emotions; I mean, c&#39;mon - This was a dumb movie! The theater I was in was sold out, and when M. Night&#39;s name came up at the end, the whole theater chuckled. I loved his other works, but the only good things about this movie was the music, and M. Night actually acting! (unlike the rest of the characters). The best part is... this movie cost $70million to make! WHERE WAS THE BUDGET?!?! I honestly consider this weird - that everyone likes this movie. And if people say "Well, you just had too high expectations for the film!" Don&#39;t kid yourselves... The man&#39;s not Spielberg yet...

  • Give me a break. This film was just average - stupid dialog with a few genuine scares. It could have been much better with a small dose of common sense. First, any little kid who just saw a "monster" outside would be screaming and petrified - period. That is unless they were told to act unaffected, like they were drugged, as in this film. I hate that whole line "There&#39;s a monster outside. Can I have a glass of water?" Not one bit of it rings true. The kids were zombielike the whole time. The dialogue is forced and unrealistic throughout the film. And that is completely unnecessary. Newsweek calls M the next Spielberg? Yeah, right. His monotone, somber, one note acting direction worked in The Sixth Sense, but does he have to do it in all his films? And the lady cop just walks into Mel&#39;s house without knocking? When would that ever happen? Both adults don&#39;t even attempt to defend themselves when the aliens are coming. They just stand there waiting for their fate. Bullshit. Any responsible parent would have had a stick, or a bat, or a knife or something to throw in their hands - they would fight to the death to save their children. How about that pickaxe? Wedged in the door instead of holding it at the ready? And why wouldn&#39;t they have gone into town to seek safety in numbers once they found out their crop circle was a landing beacon? Or call the police, or the national guard? Come on, Harry. It just doesn&#39;t ring true at all. The scene with the alien at the end was the best of the whole film. That sequence was eery to be sure, and the alien ws very cool looking. But the few scenes that worked well could lift this film above the idoitic one note acting and dialog. I understand all the underlying themes etc - which were interesting. But the stupidity factor and unreal dialog kind of drowned those themes out for me.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:46 p.m. CST

    the columbian

    by inkymae

    I go back to what I have said before in a previous have been manipulated in to enjoying the movie by a gimmicky script not clever storytelling. the reason there are so many hostile comments on this tb about this movie is everyone else is starting to see it too. You walk out of the movie going "WOW, THAT WAS COOL HOW IT ALL FIT TOGETHER" but then after you think about it, you start to realize that there are so many things that dont make sense and you start to get angry because M. Night has tried to let it slip past you by "being clever" which is the excuse of bad storyteller. I dont believe the Mel Gibson character acts like a real person would therefore I cant buy into anything else that&#39;s happening. M. Night wants to make "serious" films. Fine and dandy, I never question logic problems like the gibson character in a hitchcock film because hitchcock thought things through and never ever used gimmicky storytelling to jump over plotholes. and in regards to gibson&#39;s reaction to being attacked by aliens..HE TOOK THE TIME TO PREPARE BY BOARDING UP THE HOUSE. OBVIOUSLY IT WASNT A SPONTANEOUS THING SO IT WASNT A "OH I JUST DIDNT THINK ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT ALL HAPPENED SO FAST" He knows they are coming. He knows they are hostile. Yet he does nothing to prepare like..oh I don&#39;t pick up the goddamned baseball bat the second that they start beating on the door? or maybe let Joaquin do something, he&#39;s not a preacher, he can be aggressive! IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE AND I PROMISE YOU, ONCE YOU SIT DOWN AND THINK ABOUT IT YOU&#39;LL REALIZE THAT EVERYONE THAT DOESNT LIKE THIS MOVIE IS RIGHT. IT WAS COMPLETE AND TOTAL CRAP CRAP CRAP.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:49 p.m. CST

    kraaken is right

    by stuftseveredhead

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:55 p.m. CST


    by Freca Tindrock

    c&#39;mon, you know it can be fun to argue about stupid movies. right? What I don&#39;t understand is how anyone can compare this guy to hitchcock... or godard or bergman or kurosawa or even spielberg. That hurts to even think about. But, point taken, I think I&#39;ve expended enough time and effort on this movie. I think it may itself be a SIGN of the apocalypse... When movies this bad are this popular, the end of the world must be nigh indeed.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Curry is an Indian spice....

    by ijusthaveit

    Curry is an Indian Spice,Not all people like,M Night is this spice,it sounds as if not all like him.He&#39;s not Steven Spel yet.but his first few movies are way above the exception.In the 6th sense I knew Willis was dead right from the get go,but the movie held itself together quite well(Jaccobs Ladder used Tim Robbins as a Dead Nam Vet,looking for peace)Unbreakable was an near masterpeice,his best film to date.Signs is a movie about the horror of loss,the aliens are just window dressing.Who cares if water hurts them,what about fire,would you be pissing and moaning if fire made them melt,I think yes,why because this is the Horror of Lost Faith,Lost Family,Lost wealth,LOSS.Not the horror of UFO&#39;s,simple window dressing.M.Night biggest problem is how to close out the show,once he gets this down,he will be one of the New Breed Best.He Builds Suspense Very Well.Funny is Down,has great timming.he just needs time with his Crescendo.Like curry you have to getuse to it...

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 7:10 p.m. CST

    inkymae, you have the same problem Ashok has...

    by CoolDan989

    You state your opinion as if it&#39;s a fact, and assault people for not thinking the same way you do. I can&#39;t stand people like you and I urge you to lighten up and accept that some people like movies you don&#39;t.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 7:37 p.m. CST

    The Colombian Owns All of you

    by Miss Aura

    Excellent post, they are probably trying to dissect your post now too - you cant have one over on them. Watch the replies. Nice One Colombian.

  • I&#39;m not the only one that has found these problems in the movie. and I have found from the many people that I have discussed the film with the usual response is "yeah, that was bugging me too" or "now that I think about it..." I really really wanted to like this film and for a little bit of time I did but then I thought about it and I realized what shaymalan was doing to get past the logic problems. I could even maybe get past that if for the fact that this guy comes across in every single interview as an arrogant vain bastard who thinks he is the greatest filmmaker of all time. Even Spielberg at his most successful has always come across as gracious for his success. And while I agree everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I feel that Shaymalan is using cheap tricks get past telling a good story. thats my opinion. oh and by the way, I loved the Sixth Sense and still think its absolutely brilliant. and Unbreakable is a brilliant concept with flawed execution.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 7:54 p.m. CST


    by ThePoleOfJustice

    Well, first off, no, I wasn&#39;t putting Shyamalan in the same realm as Kurosawa, etc...I was merely noting that your sweeping statement about mixing allegory and literal meaning didn&#39;t hold up, since it was a basic element of some of the best films of all time. And your statement "But if you have a story that&#39;s *literally* about space aliens, and *symbolically* about faith, then you don&#39;t inject literal faith-related stuff. Right?" Sure you do. First off, I think saying that the film is literally about space aliens is oversimplistic...if so, where are they? Yeah, they&#39;re around, but compare the screen time dedicated to Faith vs. the screen time dedicated to the invasion (admittedly, there will be a lot of overlap.) That&#39;s bringing the mystical back to the level of functional, which is (for me, at least) exactly what SIGNS ultimate message is. Shyamalan did this in UNBREAKABLE, bringing the legend of super human strength back to human proportions, and SIGNS does this for Faith and day to day problem solving. Bringing the mystic back down to the level of the real makes this mixing of literalism and symbolism not only acceptable, but absolutely necessary. The invasion is a framework, nothing more. Keep in mind that your statement was "A basic concept in writing is, you don&#39;t mix symbolism about some theme into a story that&#39;s also directly about the same theme." Since you brought up Antonioni, what about BLOW UP? Literally about a murder, literally about not knowing what you saw, and also SYMBOLICALLY about not knowing what you saw. I think what you&#39;re driving at is that you thought these messages were clumsily done (and although I loved SIGNS, I can see how you would think that.) It&#39;s just that when you make statements like "See, if it was all symbolic about religious faith, then you wouldn&#39;t have a clergyman who lost his faith as the main character," well, that&#39;s gonna rub me the wrong way BIG TIME. You may think that it may not work particularly well, but saying the above flat out simply doesn&#39;t stand up to some basic facts (Lamb returning to the fold? Prodigal son? Any one of the several stories, Biblical and otherwise, which tell the story of someone who has gone astray, only to return to their basic beliefs? Anyone?) I see your point (kinda) on some of this stuff, but I simply can&#39;t accept the statement "See, if it was all symbolic about religious faith, then you wouldn&#39;t have a clergyman who lost his faith as the main character."

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 7:56 p.m. CST

    I thought Signs was incredible...Am I crazy?

    by B-ill

    **SPOILERS** The scene where Gibson&#39;s character drops his flashlight was excellent. The tension builds and builds, culminating with a brief glimpse of the alien&#39;s legs shifting out of view. And then the tension is released with the ridiculous sight of Joaquin Pheonix and the children wearing their "helmets". I think the humor in this film was placed perfectly. And I did think of Poltergeist or Night of the Living Dead and various other movies or books that influenced Shaymalin - but I consider this to be a good thing, since they happen to be some of my favorite books and movies. And as for anybody calling Shyamalin a rip-off, I&#39;m surprised you watch any movies or read any books. All artists are influenced by the people they admire. How else would they be motivated? Also, all of the lame questions I keep seeing such as "Why wouldn&#39;t they have known about the water?" are irrelevent. All of these questions could have been answered if we were watching a 6-hour movie. Perhaps they knew all about the water, but could not find another planet within striking distance that contained the resources they desired. Who knows? Who cares? Suspend disbelief!!! Am I the only person who thinks this movie was perfect?

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Signs suxorz


    What WAS the primitive technique? Water??? Oh yes...WATER is soooo primitive. When the first alien appeared, on the roof it looked like the green goblin, I laughed my ass off in the theater when i saw that gay fucker standing there. The movie is lame and sux. If the last 30min were like Dead Alive or something. Building creepy kinda atmosfeer then turn it into a gore fest woulda been awesome like aliens dieing left and riht hahaeahea tht be so kewlz. SIGNZ SUX GONADZ

  • "I have nothing against people from india and the same about indian americans but lets leave the movie making to directors like spielbergh who knows how to direct a movie." I&#39;m not an indian i&#39;m an american like you but What type of statment is that? "who know how to direct a movie" you believe Indians cant direct? Yes people like Shekhar Kapur (elizabeth) and M night Shayamalan (6th sense) don&#39;t know how to direct. These two indians haven&#39;t made any money from their movies at all. Oh yes the guy who directed elizabeth was from india too. What does his being an Indian have to do w/ anything? If you believe he is a bad filmmaker, just say that. Why bring up the fact that he is Indian? Are you jealous? I mean this brown Indian guy has made a name for himself and millions of dollars and write comments on websites? Nice;re such a winner! Yea..Shyamalan isnt a filmmaker...I mean all those millions of people who made 6th sense into a box office phenomenon dont know anything. Indians..what do they know right? I mean ...wait...doesnt India have the LARGEST FILM INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD...yes bigger than Hollywood...Indian films are shown through out Asia w/...hell people in Russia can list Indian film stars over American celebrities... And for your kind information even the people in India have no idea who M Night Shayamalan is, believe it or not. The reason being that he was born in philadelphia,pa. His parents were from india who immigrated before he was even born. So now are you going to hold that against him? One of my friends who is a foreign exchange student from india told me that nor he or anyone else he knows from India has ever heard of him, and his favourite directors are steven speilbergh and john woo. Imagine that. India which is a country that holds 1 billion people is a very peaceful country. It it is a secular and diversified country. It has more than a 1000 religions and 1000 cultures. It has people of hindu, christian, jewish, buddhist and muslim religions and many more. People think that if you are from india you are a hindu then you are obviously wrong, hinduists are only the majority hence the idea. Ocassionally it get&#39;s into fights with pakistan it&#39;s muslim neighbor which has only muslims, the reason being that the pakistanis want land that has been a part of India since it&#39;s birth. And every now and then some muslim extremist happen to blow up a car or a building in India and still india tolerates them. With India being a nuclear power and it having the second largest army force in the world after china they still tolerate the pakistanis. I guess they&#39;re really peaceful. And last but not least, india is not a part of the middle east. What ever gave you that idea? Have you people out there failed in geography or something. They&#39;re south asians. I&#39;m not Indian, but I&#39;m sick of people making stupid comments that generalize...fuck you

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Aren&#39;t we missing the point...???

    by oracle13

    Don&#39;t ANY of you find it sad that whether or not this was a good film (and for the record, I thought it was just ok) there are next-to-no creative ideas left in Hollywood anymore?? Harry didn&#39;t mean to say it, but all that watching this film is, simply, is watching "Independence Day" from a farm in B.F.E. Great... but who cares? And the string of films lined up that are based on Comic Books, Sequels, and books or tv shows or whatever seems to get longer and longer everyday! How will a new, refreshing idea ever be allowed to break out and be seen? It&#39;s just truely sad.

  • Jesus, he&#39;s a filmmaker! He&#39;s suppose to attempt to get scares/laughs, different feeling of emotions from people. If Night wasn&#39;t getting the attention of "the next Spielberg", or his movies weren&#39;t HUGE freaking successes, most of you would like him and his movies more.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 9:42 p.m. CST

    OK, Freca, I think I get what you&#39;re driving at...

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    ...unfortunately, I still don&#39;t agree. I think you&#39;re saying that having both literal and symbolic elements in the same story is a problem because once the symbols make the transition into reality, they become absurd (i.e. your burying the Word parallel above.) Well, no arguement with the example you used above, but yours is not a black and white point, and IMHO SIGNS does a decent job of being on the other side of that spectrum. OK, let me illustrate via the Loaves and Fishes story. Some Theological historians believe that Christ simply, through the sheer force of his presence, convinced the multitudes to share what they had, and through the resulting meagre portions, everyone was satified, not purely by their hunger, but through the miracle of co-operation that Christ inspired. If we take that as the "reality," and the literal translation (He simply went POOF and turned a small amount of food into a large one) as the "symbol," well, the space between is where the Leap of Faith goes. It can be precisely defined (as some believe) as a miracle that Christ really inspired that degree of sharing in the multitudes, which (to some)seems as impossible as just going alakazam, there&#39;s more food. Faith belongs (according to some) in the gap between. To draw this parallel with SIGNS, there is the reality of the water damaging the aliens, and the symbol of the daughter being an Angel whose presence ensured that the water was there to damage the alien when it was needed most. The gap between these two elements is exactly where the faith that "there are no coincidences" goes. One is a sign to the other, but not a hardcore truth. That&#39;s why it&#39;s called SIGNS and not TRUTH or, maybe, MIRACLES. Having said that, you may think it didn&#39;t work, which is purely subjective and therefore pointless to argue. But your assertion that you cannot mix symbolism and reality goes precisely counter to (1) my personal understanding of the evolution of myth, oral history, and faith, and (2) what I feel is the whole Raison D&#39;Etre of the film. So, with all due respect to your subjective interpretations and undeniable smarts, I feel secure in saying that you didn&#39;t really "get" this one, since you flatly denied the presence of what is (IMHO, of course) the basic constituent element of the film. Now, I&#39;m gonna go watch BARBARELLA again, my brain hurts.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 9:49 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    I write about consumer electronics for retail trade magazines when I am not working as a daily newspaper editor. With all the technical innovation going on in home theater and the movies, the magazines I write for occasionally do pieces on where the average consumer is spending his money these days. There is only so much extra cash to go around, and there are a number of new electronics and related products and services "yelling" for that finite pile of money. Examples: video game systems, which keep getting better and better; digital video products like HDTVs, DVD players, D-VHS recorders and now DVD-R; and digital audio devices/whole house audio servers. Competing against this are vacations and vacation homes, cars and mobile electronics, movie theaters and shopping malls. So here is what I am wondering as I write this on Monday night: will the debut of LOTR on DVD and video this past weekend (for those who live in areas where they have to wait, the official arrival is this week) affect moviegoing for a bit? Specifically, will the arrival of LOTR have any impact on a marginal summer movie like SIGNS? I suspect so, although it would be very hard to prove. I find it very interesting to think about.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 9:52 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    I write about consumer electronics for retail trade magazines when I am not working as a daily newspaper editor. With all the technical innovation going on in home theater and the movies, the magazines I write for occasionally do pieces on where the average consumer is spending his money these days. There is only so much extra cash to go around, and there are a number of new electronics and related products and services "yelling" for that finite pile of money. Examples: video game systems, which keep getting better and better; digital video products like HDTVs, DVD players, D-VHS recorders and now DVD-R; and digital audio devices/whole house audio servers. Competing against this are vacations and vacation homes, cars and mobile electronics, movie theaters and shopping malls. So here is what I am wondering as I write this on Monday night: will the debut of LOTR on DVD and video this past weekend (for those who live in areas where they have to wait, the official arrival is this week) affect moviegoing for a bit? Specifically, will the arrival of LOTR have any impact on a marginal summer movie like SIGNS? I suspect so, although it would be very hard to prove. I find it very interesting to think about.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 10:02 p.m. CST


    by JohnBigbooty

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 10:05 p.m. CST


    by JohnBigbooty

    What i meant to post was this... did ANYONE see Close Encounters or ET... if so, then how can you look at SIGNS and say it has ANYTHING original to contribute?? From the alien in the cornstalks (E.T.) to the daddy makes family cry at the dinner table scene (Close Encounters) this movie is 1hr47minutes of M.Night sucking SPIELBERGS wrinkly old pole and swallowing leaving nary a drop on his chin... it was disgusting to watch... I guess M.Night is trying like hell to get the Spielber and Lucas to let him work on the Indy4 picture... remember they tosseed his script... anyway... you guys all suck who would accepts such garbage and then call it "fresh"... AND THE MAGAZINE REPORTER GUY... WTF ARE YOU DOING HERE... GO AWAY!!

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Ignorant whores

    by crawcraw

    Any of you shit holes who didn&#39;t like this film should have a dildo stuffed up your ass and twisted. I&#39;m tired of you arrogant whores thinking you know what makes a film good or bad. If you knew anything, you&#39;d be making films instead of sitting in your basements whacking off to movie threads...ignorant whores.

  • Aug. 5, 2002, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Signs full of dumb protagonists

    by Rupee88

    I don&#39;t understand how any intelligent person could love this movie, unless they just get a hard-on for all things sci-fi. I could not get into this film because the protagonists (good guys) are just plain stupid. If aliens were breaking into your house to attack you, wouldn&#39;t you maybe grab a gun? Or even say, "I wish I had a gun". Or maybe pick up a knife or a pointed stick or something??? No, of course not..if you are a character in this movie, you would just cower in the basement and hope they don&#39;t break in. And if you had small children, wouldn&#39;t you find some place safe to put them? No, of course not. You would instead let them run around out of your sight, so they can get grabbed by alien intruders multiple times. Then when you finally figured out to pick up a bat and hit one of the aliens, would you hit it quickly over and over again and make sure it dies? No, in this movie, you would you hit it one time and then just stand there and stare at it for awhile before hitting it again. God bless you people who liked this film. You must be happy all the time at the movies because you are so easily entertained.

  • Well, I went back and read many of the other "Talk Backs" and I can sleep a little better tonight. I take comfort in the fact that there are many others who were insulted by the huge plot holes and inconsistencies in this film. I suppose that Jerry Springer does well in the Nielsen Ratings, so it should not be surprising that Signs will do well at the box office. M Night is a multi-millionaire hack, and a one trick pony and I only pray that more people stop buying the hype and realize this sometime soon. Signs is a bad movie and I pity you if you think it is a good movie. If you enjoyed it because you have a crush on Mel Gibson or some other such reason, that&#39;s cool. But if you don&#39;t think think it is a very lame movie, you probably didn&#39;t do very well on your SAT&#39;s either.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:11 a.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    Pole wrote (quoting Freca first): &#39;"See, if it was all symbolic about religious faith, then you wouldn&#39;t have a clergyman who lost his faith as the main character." Y&#39;know, maybe you&#39;re on to something there. I mean, if you were writing the New Testament, for example, you wouldn&#39;t put a scene in there about Christ having a moment of doubt, would you?&#39; <Further sarcastic derision snipped.> Pole, it might benefit you to reflect on the fact that the stories in which Christ, Job et al have moments of doubt are not SYMBOLICALLY about people losing their religious faith. They are LITERALLY about people losing their religious faith.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:28 a.m. CST

    there is hope for the world after all

    by Rupee88

    Well, I went back and read many of the other "Talk Backs" and I can sleep a little better tonight. I take comfort in the fact that there are many others who were insulted by the huge plot holes and inconsistencies in this film. I suppose that Jerry Springer does well in the Nielsen Ratings, so it should not be surprising that Signs will do well at the box office. M Night is a multi-millionaire hack, and a one trick pony and I only pray that more people stop buying the hype and realize this sometime soon. Signs is a bad movie and I pity you if you think it is a good movie. If you enjoyed it because you have a crush on Mel Gibson or some other such reason, that&#39;s cool. But if you don&#39;t think think it is a very lame movie, you probably didn&#39;t do very well on your SAT&#39;s either.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:39 a.m. CST

    The bile in here is incredible

    by Kaitain

    So is this what it&#39;s like to really enjoy a film that was actually complete crap? Is this what it was like for the people who enjoyed e.g. T2 and Independence Day? It&#39;s strange to be on the other side. A few thoughts: did the people who seem to have hated "Signs" hate the whole 105 minutes, or just hate the ending and allow their sense of being annoyed/cheated/outraged to wash back retrospectively over the entire film? The end lacked punch for me, but I&#39;d nevertheless found the preceding 100 minutes totally absorbing and found that several of the sequences raised the hairs on the back of my neck in a way that no film has been able to for years. I bought into the "this is really happening" feeling far more than I did with ID4. The film had a huge emotional kick throughout most of its duration. As for the ending.....well, it&#39;s true that I left the cinema with a slight frown on my face. No interpretation seems satisfying. Was the restoration of faith supposed to be the entire point of the film? It felt kind of incidental to me. One theory that occured to me (not an especially strong one, however): is the entire sequence of events a delusional fantasy conjured up by Mel&#39;s shattered mind in the wake of his wife&#39;s death, a schizoid restructuring of the world and sequence of partially synthesized events contrived to allow him to feel that all the misfortune that has happened has some meaning, some positive purpose, rather than none at all?

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Two camps who will never meet

    by Messyjoe

    I find it interesting that those who liked the film are either &#39;worshippers of master&#39;s works&#39;, who need someone to look up to, and for whom the master can do do wrong, or, who see little snippets of scenes, see them as brilliant, and find them an adequate validation. I belong to the camp who sees a film as a whole, expects it to be a complete work. I can appreciate well-done bits of moviemaking but will judge on the whole every time. There is no meeting of the minds possible with such two radically different approaches. These two camps would be better off on different websites.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Opinion on Signs splits along political lines...

    by TheDirector

    I wonder if the polarized opinions here correlate to political views. I have a strong suspicion that the pro-Signs posters are Democrats and the anti-Signs posters are Republicans (Liberals vs Conservatives, whatever applies to your country).

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:52 a.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    "But if you don&#39;t think think it is a very lame movie, you probably didn&#39;t do very well on your SAT&#39;s either." I do love the assholes who post stuff like this. If you do want to go head to head in this particular dick measuring contest, my friend, you may be headed for an embarrassing ego reduction. MNS&#39;s films divide opinion. This does not mean that the people whose opinion does not match your own are less bright than you are, much as you would love to think that this was the case.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:11 a.m. CST

    Someday, I dream....

    by Bunkwitch

    Someday, I dream that people will learn to respect each other&#39;s opinions for what they really are: Individual opinions. Someday, I dream that faceless people will stopping bickering with other faceless people over topics that are completely irrelevant or asinine to being with. Someday, I dream that people will stop reading movie reviews, will stop having people tell them what they should like or shouldn&#39;t like. Someday, I dream that people will think with their own minds instead of huddling with the masses on whatever side of the pissing match seems to be winning. Someday, I dream that this will all end up being a bad dream, the way these people behave on here. But until then, I have to listen to a bunch of fuckjars argue over who figured out the ending to "The Sixth Sense" first. Here&#39;s a clue on the winner guys: He&#39;s the guy who gives up first and gets over himself. Now, I must step down from my podium, crawl into a sock drawer... and sleep... for days.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Everyone is an idiot but me.

    by Shut-in

    No, seriously. Everyone but me.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Frailty did this alot better. way too many holes.

    by Integra

    This movie was terribly written IMO. The concept that a space going civilization would traverse the distance of space to hop out of their ships and run around in a cornfield and play peak-a-boo is just silly. We know they have great strength (jumping over 10 feet onto a roof with incredible speed) but they are unable to break a door? They run around naked on the planet? Hate to break this to Night but theres water in the air we breath. its called humidity. These aliens are so clueless, its impossible for me to believe they could have the rational thinking required to become a space going race. they dont pose an effective threat. Its all just a cheap poorly fleshed out plot device to get to the movies message that "you should believe in god". The characters act ridiculously unrealistically. What parent would sit in the foyer of their house while life threatening intruders have entered, and talk to his children about how special they were at birth? There is imminent mortal danger to his children and he sits there. No parent would react this way. this is just poor writing. Maybe have that conversation while they are locked in the basement, id buy that. Explain what is the point of the crop circles to the aliens? directions? they can navigate space making complex calculations concerning orbital projections but simple planet based navigation they need crop circles? If they are for the humans, why warn them you are coming to KIDNAP them? Why show yourselves hovering over cities, THEN cloak your ships? Blessed water? If that is so, why does Nights character know about the water as something they are afraid of? does he bless all his water too? is he an angel (postulized by others about the daughter) as well? The aliens can detect and learn about human life (their intentions were to &#39;raid&#39; the humans) but dont detect water or even make a basic attempt at protecting themselves from it? Why is it a magnificent act of faith for Gibson to tell his brother to use the bat when its so incontrovertible that he is being looked after? what the hell was the alien waiting for? what the hell was gibson waiting for? again a silly unrealistic characterization. No parent would act this way. Its just a cheap device. The message of this scene is "Look to God for permission to defend your children". thats brilliant!

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 4:05 a.m. CST

    (Spoiler) Aliens good or bad intentions?

    by isam

    I was wondering if anyone had thought that maybe the aliens were just trying to communicate with people on Earth. My reasons follow below. All those noises the aliens were making around the house could of been them making the cut outs around the house, IE. the sun, stars, moon cut out on the board above the stairs. At the end when the child morgan was sprayed, maybe it was a cure for his asthma or a vaccine of some sort. "did someone just save me?" Crop circles could of been a way for the aliens to communicate with us or each other to say we are here. Crop circles could be their interpretations of our Earth. Looking top down our streets and formations may very well look like patterns and shapes of some kind. What do you guys and girls think?

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 5:26 a.m. CST

    Sign O The Times

    by Beeznest

    I dunno...don&#39;t think anyone will read my (first) post BUT...hasn&#39;t this been done kinda before? Wasn&#39;t there a canadian tv movie/low budget flick about a disappeared family, and the authorities investigating it find videotapes in the abandoned home. On viewing them, it&#39;s like any normal gathering (thanksgiving?)being recorded for posterity, when three of the party go out with the camera to goof about in the woods. They then see something unusual on a country lane...anyhow, the video tapes chronicle what becomes an alien encounter/attack on the house, when (it turns out to be aliens) realise they&#39;ve been filmed and go after the men, who naturally run like shit back to the house. V. spooky, atmospheric with brief glimpses of the aliens and shots such as one ofthe family around the dinner table being filmed when "my god did you just see outside in the yard something walk past?". Anyone care to tell me the name of this film? Cheers!

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 6:10 a.m. CST

    this movie sux

    by boomzilla8

    what are these aliens made of that they can survive without clothing but are allergic to water? That they are smart enough to build interstellar cloaking ships but too dumb to break out of a closet.(though i guess if you don&#39;t need water it&#39;s easier to travel) But don&#39;t they know all they need to do is stay in orbit and drop meteors on us? Or ddin&#39;t they notice how 98% of human settlements was near this toxic stuff called water? This movie was just made because of the 6th sense success. Now M. night can make any piece o crap he pulls from his nose. This movie Sux!!!

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 10:27 a.m. CST

    I love it when people who don&#39;t even know what "plot&#39; me

    by Wee Willie

    start pointing out the "plot holes" in a story. Signs is one of the best films I&#39;ve seen in a long time. It reminded me of Hitchcock with M. Night&#39;s sensibility trhown in for good measure. Just a hint to all the retards with Star Trek posters behind them on the wall. The Alien invasion was the maguffin for a story about a man getting his faith back. Did you noltice that in the first several shots of the film, right up into Mel leaves the house, there&#39;s a crucifix in every shot. M. Night better win an oscar for writing on this one.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 10:27 a.m. CST

    B-ill: Why SIGNS is a "rip-off"

    by lucreangst

    When you take the exact plot from various movies (especially contemporary movies that came out within a few years of SIGNS) it&#39;s a "rip-off". I will state them again: Basic plot is DIRECTLY from War of the Worlds. The whole water thing could be tied to Alien Nation. The subtext is DIRECTLY taken from Donnie Darko (if you haven&#39;t seen Donnie Darko, rent it and you will understand, it is also a better movie) and the camouflaged hand scene was DIRECTLY stolen from Alien when Ripley is on the escape shuttle and doesn&#39;t even notice the alien until its hand comes shooting out, sound familiar? I&#39;m not against homages, or influences, but when you simply harvest plot points (or entire stories) from other movies (not even old movies that people might not remember) then you&#39;re just asking for gripes like "It&#39;s not very original." I agree with some of the posters: I was entertained during the movie, and then felt a letdown about 20 minutes later when I started to actually THINK about the film. I kept hearing Johnny Rotten in my head.... "Did you ever feel like you&#39;ve been cheated?" The only bright spot was Phoenix... no faux english accent, weird haircut or deadpan acting... he was actually funny, somewhat believable and one of the few things I liked about the film. Unfortuantely, the movie will make an assload of money (i heard coutless girlie screams throughout the packed theater) and may encourage him to make more contrived thrillers. MNS also forgot the first rule when ripping off Hitchcock: beautiful, blonde leading lady. Oh, and the music in SIGNS reaks of Bernard Herman. Again, it&#39;s one thing to do an homage, but it&#39;s another to just swipe someone else&#39;s style... come on, after 3 films, you&#39;d think his own technique and voice would start to emmerge... i&#39;m still waiting...

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 10:30 a.m. CST

    BTW, MEl Gobson&#39;s character was one if the best written pare

    by Wee Willie

    I&#39;ve ever seen on film. The fact that he was comforting his kids as the aliens were breaking into the house was exactly what any parent would do -- unless they are a stock character in an action movie.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 10:52 a.m. CST

    MSN and Hitchcock

    by lucreangst

    Brian DePalma did it better (buy Blow Out)... do did Kurosawa (buy High & Low)... why do I not mind those Hitchcock-like movies and dislike MNS&#39;s attempt? Because DePalma makes it clear he&#39;s doing an homage and it&#39;s brilliant (the end of Blow Out is one of the most horrifying and uncomfortable things you will ever hear/see in movies), while Kurosawa&#39;s style is still evident in his Hitch-inspired thriller. And enough with the Spielberg comparisons, while SS had a great deal of experience in TV, his first three feature films were Sugarland Express, Jaws and Close Encounters. Three very different films, and far above anything MNS has done (ok, I guess Unbreakable was a little better than Sugarland Express). I&#39;m tired of filmmakers doing the same film over and over. They should all take a page from Ang Lee&#39;s book, the most interesting director working today. While he may not be a filmmaker, he at least seeks out various projects. Of course, MNS has yet to show he can write in any other genre.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by ThePoleOfJustice

    Actually, I was a Theology major for several years, I am well aware that the stories are literally about losing faith. They are ALSO symbolically about losing faith (i.e. iconic, etc.) and while Christ on the cross having his moment of doubt in not necessarily symbolic in and of itself (although that could spark quite a long debate,) Freca&#39;s assertion was that if you&#39;re telling a story that symbolizes faith, you can&#39;t have a main character have doubts, is absurd.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    &#39;I am well aware that the stories are literally about losing faith. They are ALSO symbolically about losing faith (i.e. iconic, etc.)&#39; Okay, I&#39;m willing to learn something new. Explain to me how this works.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 1:26 p.m. CST

    A Plot Hole Explained *SPOILER*

    by Ozmotic

    Seriously, you people. I get the feeling some of you watch movies only to scoff and then when you find something that might be a plot hole you run out of the theater giddy with laughter. I want to address the whole "Well there&#39;s humidity in the air, so why did the stupid aliens come to this stupid planet?". First, the only thing we know about the aliens is that they apparently want to harvest us, and since they can camoflauge themselves, they are probably predators. Now if you&#39;re driving down the Interstate and hungry like a mofo, are you going to wait until your favorite convenience store pops up, or one that has a 2 for 1 special on Ho-Hos? NO, you&#39;re hitting the first joint you see! How many other planets do you know of in he area with living organisms (big ones)? Granted, they never said the aliens were hungry. They just wanted the humans, why? we dont know, the movie isnt about that. Where else do you find humans? Earth is it, even if its covered in 75% water, it&#39;s called taking a risk. About the humidity, I want everyone to take an Alka-Seltzer tablet and walk outside. Run around, jump, whatever you please. Has anything happened to the tablet? Ok, now pour some water on it... WOW! Science IS fun! About Gibson&#39;s actions while boarding up the house... the man had NO FAITH. So he is under the assumption that these are the last moments he will ever have with his kids. Is he planning ahead, "oh maybe we&#39;ll chat in the cellar"? He&#39;s saying the things he needs to say before it&#39;s too late. Try every once and a while to answer your own doubts and plot holes instead of letting them fall out of your mouth onto the rest of us.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2 p.m. CST


    by TedSallis

    DNO, It looks like a lot of folks in here have taken your observations to heart. In regards to whether your comments are PC or not, let them be known!!!!!!!!!! Thats your right!!! Anyone who has issues with that is an enemy to Democracy! By the way, I still liked the film, and your posts have sparked much heated discussion with my wife and my fellow officers. There does&#39;nt seem to be a whole lot of debate going on in this country right now, and I think thats a shame.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:08 p.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    I&#39;m not sure that people were so offended by what dno said so much as the rather strident way he asserted it as being the obviously correct interpretation. But he apologised for that, so fair enough. I personally think it&#39;s an interesting take on the film, although I&#39;m not at all convinced that it was what MNS had in mind. And you&#39;re right about the lack of debate and tunnel vision in the USA over the last year. It&#39;s been an atmosphere in which reassuring dogma is preferred to truth, and in which the media has presented a very blinkered view of events in the middle east. Still, things are slowly returning to a state of sanity.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:21 p.m. CST

    CeruStagg (again)

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    Well, without writing a book about the Midrashian and Egyptian origins of Biblical storytelling, what I mean is that most scholars generally do not look at the Bible as a straight historical telling. Many, many stories have bases in oral traditions (some thousands of years old,) and even some of the unique characters in the tellings (Christ, etc.) have many, many fictionalized (and symbolic) aspects to their narrative. What this means in context of this discussion is that many of these tales were literally about faith (Job holding onto his belief despite his problems, etc.) They were, however, also symbolic of Faith: they contain many aspects that, while not technically "true," nonetheless, they represent the core truth of what was being told. Freca&#39;s assertion that you can&#39;t mix literal and symbolic in the same narrative and the same subject is countered by this Biblical storytelling tendency. For example, Christ&#39;s moment of doubt on the cross. He literally died on the cross, yes. But there is no historical proof that he actually had a "moment of doubt." Why would the writer add this? Because it was a symbol of Christ&#39;s humanity, that if He was indeed wholly human and wholly divine, this moment of doubt, while (popssibly) not factually accurate, nonetheless drives the point home, and amplifies the truth of what the story is trying to say in the first place. Hence, the symbol (suffering) is mixed with the realistic (Christ DID exist, regardless of whatever religious belief you choose to adhere to.) Etc. Urgh, Theology geek gland stikes again :P

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:23 p.m. CST

    DNO is brilliant.

    by Wee Willie

    It&#39;s just one man&#39;s opinion, but it&#39;s awfully clever.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 2:47 p.m. CST

    The Columbian pretty much summed it up.

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    The talk back fanboys bitch pointlessly about great movies simply because they wish to attract attention, and its far easier to achieve this by putting down a film like this than by criticising it positively. I pity those fools.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 3:07 p.m. CST


    by Wee Willie

    This movie sucked. The writing of the plot was, like, lifted out of dozens of movies. The idea of alien invasion is such a ripoff. Plus added to that is the fact that the director is an indian and everyone knows they can&#39;t direct. What, he was raised in Philly? So, he&#39;s still not American. Plus, Mel Gibson sucked as the priest who wouldn&#39;t beleive in god anymore. You know what was really contrived? How just before the aliens invade, Mel has to lose his wife and have this big stupid crisis of faith. Yeah, like that&#39;s gonna happed RIGHT before an invasion, just so his faith can get tested. An how convenient was it that they happened to own a TV. How many farms have tvs on them? And could the aliens have been gayer? I think not. THE PRECEEDING WAS A SATIRE OF THE BULLSHIT AND NONSENSE IN THIS TALBACK. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU, EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE I AGREE WITH, SHOULD BE AWHAMED OF YOURSELVES, I AWARD YOU NO POINTS AND MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL. OH WAIT, YOU DON&#39;T HAVE ONE!

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 4:45 p.m. CST


    by don_gately

    Looking back it seems that before any instrument was used as a weapon in the film (if it was even used at all as a weapon) it was used as a tool. The knife was used as a mirror, the baseball bat was used as a tool by Merrill as a pro baseball player. The axe was used solely as an instrument to bar the door, as were the hammers. I guess you could extend it to include water (used as an aid to life before being used as a hindrance to alien life), and Graham&#39;s faith, which was used by him harmlessly as a clergyman and then regained to allow the other items to be seen as weapons. Oh, I guess the barbecue fork was used as a weapon straight off though.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 5:42 p.m. CST

    A few things I need to say.

    by Nozoki

    Okay, I need to say a few things about this film. First of all, I liked it a lot. Why is everyone calling M a shitty actor? I thought the scene in the car was great. And the deadpan way he ends with, "Oh, don&#39;t look in the pantry", was a great way to set the tone for the next scene. The audience knows that they are going to get to see some alien interaction. And as for the "why would aliens invading a water planet when water is so bad for them" question, there are plenty of examples here on earth of people or animals entering a dangerous area for food. I would have enjoyed a longer basement scene, but all in all, I thought it was a great flick.

  • Aug. 6, 2002, 9:23 p.m. CST

    If Spielberg ever wanted a free blowjob, he should advertise on

    by Filthy Fox

    Spielberg is simply the single most overrated director of all time. Actually DePalma is, but Spielberg isn&#39;t that great. You fanboys need to check out some movies by David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia is better than anything Spielberg ever made. Also, do you really think you would like his movies as much if you saw them for the first time now instead of when you were ten? I doubt it. I mean listen to you guys! You are praising movies from the eighty&#39;s! One of the worst decades of American culture ever.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 12:34 a.m. CST

    PLEASE don&#39;t refer to Spielberg as STEVEN. It is the most p

    by Neil MacAuley

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 12:40 a.m. CST

    And don&#39;t ever call Spielberg "Adaptation BOY" again, please

    by Neil MacAuley

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 1:09 a.m. CST

    what a joke.

    by thebic

    oh my god! what a farce. great film until the very end where we learn that the invading spacemen have the same reaction to water as the wicked witch of the west. never mind the fact the the earth is over %70 water and water frequently falls from the sky. you&#39;d think they would wear a water proof suit but no. and no weapons...they can travel through space but have no weapons. i get angrier the more i think about it. 2 hours of good suspence completely ruined by stupidity

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 6:08 a.m. CST

    Wee Willie, I&#39;m sorry mate but screw you

    by curvespace

    How the hell can you say that? Do you realise the implications of your statement? You are saying that ANYONE who has a varying opinion to your own is worthless, unintelligent, souless (?) and fuck knows what else. I disagree with you on this film. I don&#39;t like it, I think it&#39;s flawed. My opinion, yours is different, but that doesn&#39;t give me the right to claim that you are ANY less worthy a person than I am. I can&#39;t BELIEVE you could say what you have. Does freedom of speech mean anything to you? You have said something that is practically the basis of dictatorship and fascism "You don&#39;t agree with me? Your worthless. Put him in jail boys". I shouldn&#39;t let myself get so worked up about this, but you&#39;ve really fucked me off big style. Human beings are all different, its our essence. If we were to agree on everything then think how fucking dull the world would be? I mean imagine AICN if everyone had identical opinions! I loved the satire thing by the way, very clever, I bet that made you feel really big and superior God, I wish I was you sometimes, so very &#39;contemporary&#39;. The use of upper-case and lower-case mirrored brilliantly, conciously or not, your own view on yourself and others, illustrating the &#39;class&#39; divide that you believe must exist. Any chance you could pull your &#39;WeeWillie&#39; out of your own ass and come back down to earth, this time without the ego? Oh and I think an apoligy to all the talkbackers would be order. I&#39;m not expecting one from you &#39;cos I realise how much that would dent your &#39;rep.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 6:23 a.m. CST


    by CommanderJesus

    "If you saw the boom mike that many times, it&#39;s because the projectionist screwed up. For most non-scope films, there is actually more picture on the top and bottom of the frame on the actual film itself than is meant to be seen. It&#39;s the responsibility of the projectionist to get the framing right. Your projectionsist clearly didn&#39;t. There&#39;s absolutely no way a prefessional crew led by Tak Fujimoto would let a boom mike drop into the picture once, let alone as many times as you saw it." Thanks, Hoichi. That actually explains everything. I enjoy M. Night&#39;s work and admit that it is typically very polished, so these technical goofs really bothered me. Now I realize it was the jackass behind the projector who was responsible.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 9:34 a.m. CST

    PoleOfJustice (again)

    by Kaitain

    Sorry, Pole, but your explanation makes little sense to me. You seem to be confusing the concepts of "symbolic" and merely "untrue". The story of Jack and the Beanstalk is untrue. This does not make it a story that is symbolically about a guy climbing a beanstalk. It is LITERALLY about a guy climbing a beanstalk, and it is untrue. You talk of Christ&#39;s moment of doubt being a symbol of his humanity. Well, in fact it is something that is indexical of his humanity rather than symbolic, but let&#39;s ignore that. You are shifting the goalposts here. You are giving an example of someone&#39;s literal loss of faith being a symbol of something else. What we were talking about before was someone&#39;s literal loss of faith also being a symbol of LOSS OF FAITH. And a story about loss of faith that is fictional certainly does not automatically make it symbolic. It merely makes it apocryphal.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 10:50 a.m. CST

    One More Time...

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    ...well, this is gonna be my last post on this one, not because I&#39;m getting tired of the conversation or anything, but because this TB has gotten so huge that it takes forever to load the damn thing. OK, CeruStagg, maybe I&#39;m splitting hairs here, or maybe I didn&#39;t explain my self well enough , but the original point is that Freca insisted that it was "bad writing" to have a story be about something literally and symbolically as well. I think we have a slightly different meaning (and, perhaps, understanding) of symbolism here. I&#39;m referring to symbols so far as they were taught to me : i.e. the Cross and His moment of doubt being symbols of His suffering, etc. Now if you&#39;re saying that a WHOLE STORY can not be symbolic of something that the same WHOLE STORY is also literally about, I&#39;d agree with you, but since that criticism makes no sense whatsoever when applied to SIGNS (or, frankly, anything else I can imagine,) which is what Freca was talking about in the first place, I assumed that couldn&#39;t be what was discussed here. Something can not (not SHOULD not..CAN not) be wholly symbolic and wholly literal simultaneously...once something moves into the literal, one of two things happen. (1) it starts to mean something else, or (2) it simply stops being symbolic. That&#39;s like saying "This television symbolizes my owning a TV. Which, of course, is my real TV. That one. That symbol there." It may be INDICATIVE of a whole, but not symbolic. Since the original statement said that putting the symbolic and literal in the same subject was "bad writing" and not "physically impossible," I approached it from the only rational angle I could. I can only assume Freca meant that putting symbols in a story that pointed to the same conclusion as the literal conclusion was "bad writing," which I strongly disagree with. (In fact, if they don&#39;t point to the same conclusion as the main story, what in the Hell are they there for in the first place? Scenery? I&#39;m talking about SIGNS specifically here.) I think that thread got lost somewhere in our debate. While His moment is indeed indexical of his humanity, it is also symbolic, in that many other things that attest to His humanity also may have occurred, but this stands in place for all of them. I brought up Biblical stories instead of any symbolic film I could think of to illustrate how old that tradition was, although in light of this conversation, I probably should have stuck to "Hour Of The Wolf" or something...

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 11:48 a.m. CST

    this movie took in 60million, it beat movies like minority repor

    by chris323

    just wanted to bring that up.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Symbols, indices and metaphors

    by Kaitain

    Why does the letter i in my name keep getting changed by you to a u? Anyhow, I suspect we are in the middle of an argument based largely around semantics, using "symbolic" to mean different things. I believe Freca was using it interchangeably with "metaphorically" whereas you seem to be using it in a context that regularly suggests "indexically". I would disagree with this, for example: "This television symbolizes my owning a TV. Which, of course, is my real TV. That one. That symbol there." This is a bit of a stretch. It&#39;s true that the TV and your ownership of the TV are not one and the same thing (if they were it would be wrong to call one symbolic of the other), but if you allow this to be an example of symbolism you could just as happily claim that e.g. a chair is symbolic of the existence of chairs, i.e. that the token symbolises the existence of its own type (rather than merely being an example of that type). This is a pretty odd claim. I understand a symbol to be something that stands in for or suggests another object or concept by association or some kind of functional congruence, but is not itself that object or concept. So where does your example fit? Is the TV indexical of your owning a TV? I would say yes. Is it symbolic of your owning a TV? I would say no. However, I&#39;m pretty rusty on the whole semiology thing, so if someone can set me(/us?) straight, please go ahead.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 11:51 a.m. CST

    kudos to indian directors like shekhar kapur(elizabeth) and m ni

    by chris323

    even though i&#39;m an american i recognize talent when i see it.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 1:05 p.m. CST

    M Night Shyamalan IS American

    by Kaitain

    "American" describes someone&#39;s nationality, not their ethnic group. (Or were you being sarcastic?)

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 1:09 p.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    did you think Shyamalan was actually a citizen of India? Coz he ain&#39;t.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Signs-Don&#39;t believe the hype

    by Idiofudder

    Why is the world so quick to try and annoint Manoj as the "next Spielberg"? On the basis of what? One semi-interesting flick that struck a chord with people? Hey, so did Blair Witch and no one&#39;s calling those guys geniuses! Let&#39;s face it he did two films before Sixth Sense that went nowhere, now he&#39;s done two films since Sixth Sense that are complete borefests. Come to think of it, he&#39;s looking more and more like the Blair Witch guys, guys who had one brilliant idea and that&#39;s all they have to offer. Far from being a master storyteller and director his stories are plodding and his direction and choice of staging and lenses always screams "BIG MOVIE MOMENT". This doesn&#39;t make his films cinematic, it makes them look amateurish. And his actors&#39; propensity for standing stock still and looking slack jawed is getting really tiresome. As for Signs, there&#39;s simply no tension (does anyone really think Mel or his family will die/be hurt?) and until the last five minutes everyone is completely passive. As for the big hook of Mel losing his faith and regaining it, what kind of faith did he have that he lost it over his wife&#39;s ACCIDENTAL death? For him to have become a minister in the first place he must have had an overwhelmingly strong faith and calling to that faith. And as a minister he must have dealt with things like sudden and accidental death, the kind of death that there&#39;s no reason for and no explanation for, so why does he suddenly lose faith when it happens to him? And is the message that God staged this alien invasion and numerous other people died so a minister in bumfuck Pennsylvania could regain his faith? Manoj&#39;s scripting is also amateurish. All the coincidences that add up in the conclusion are simply too cutesy to be believable. And yes, I know the point is that there are no coincidences. But this doesn&#39;t play out like clever structuring, it plays out like an inexperienced writer who&#39;s read too many "How to Write a Screenplay" books. And teh book Mel&#39;s son bought was beyond absurd. What a clever coincidence that the one book on aliens in the bookstore has a picture of a house being destroyed that LOOKS JUST LIKE THEIRS and even has ONE ADULT AND TWO CHILDREN layed out on the lawn! Gee, what are the odds of that? To compare Manoj to Spielberg is an insult to Steven. Just go back and watch Jaws, Close Encounters and E.T., then watch Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs and tell me there&#39;s any kind of comparison whatsoever. I think the most telling aspect of Signs is that the doctor Manoj plays is the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD who realizes the crop circles are not near water, therefor the aliens don&#39;t like water. This makes Manoj&#39;s character the smartest person on earth for figuring out what the world&#39;s top scientists and thinkers have all missed. It&#39;s a hugely egomaniacal thing to cast yourself as the smartest person in the world. But why not, since it&#39;s obvious that that&#39;s how he thinks of himself and that&#39;s exactly how he makes films; as if he were the smartest person in the world and we&#39;re all lucky we can partake of his genius. Too bad his films don&#39;t live up to his own hype.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 2:48 p.m. CST

    No...Not the Super Soaker!!!!

    by #42

    Hmm, Saw it last night. Worth the price but barely. I think people should not look at this movie as an "alien" movie. It is not. It is about a man who lost his faith and regains it. I do agree with some of the comments regarding the aliens. Clearly, it is not water that hurts is our chemically treated water. Even so, why would they not come down with protective suits. All this effort to establish their claws and that alien stood there and let baseball boy go to town on him. Anyway, who cares, the movie was about Mel Gibson&#39;s character....not aliens.

  • I&#39;m surprised this hasn&#39;t come up yet, but there is a whole dualism in the movie that leads to a sort of meta-commentary on itself: fear vs. faith. I know this isn&#39;t well thought-out but I had internet problems and couldn&#39;t post last night; I&#39;ll just throw out some thoughts and you can either fill in the blanks or bash me. First of all we&#39;ve got some great higher intelligence in the sky coming to confront the world, but is it aliens or God (and do I even have to bring up the words on Fox Mulder&#39;s favorite poster?). For all we know that duck could&#39;ve flown into a big wall of God for all the characters know. And the characters knowing whatever it is is more important than what the audience knows. The thing is, as an audience, thanks to the previous 2 MNS movies we&#39;re primed to come in expecting symbols and signs, they&#39;re what makes what in dramatic terms is called a "well-made" story, think Ibsen or Chekov. The thing is, the characters don&#39;t know they&#39;re in a well-made story, and neither are any of us, unless we get a bunch of signs that come together where we have no choice but to accept the meaning behind them. As for MNS&#39;s role, well, there&#39;s this whole fear vs. faith dichotomy going on and he&#39;s the main agent of fear by removing Mel&#39;s faith (kinda apt characterization even if the role was a bit much). Furthermore, adding to the fear side are all of these horror movie standard rip-offs. Adding to the faith side are things like Mel&#39;s talking through his son&#39;s asthma attack, especially when the camera&#39;s focus isn&#39;t on them at all. As for the water issue, for all we know the invading aliens were armed to the teeth and well-protected. We only saw 2 aliens in the movie, the pantry one and the B-Day video one, and thanks to the chronology we know they were probe aliens. They also knew that they&#39;d scare the planet shitless with their appearance so they didn&#39;t need much backup protection. Also, yeah the alien was trapped in a BOARDED UP pantry. It eventually got out, but probably couldn&#39;t within the short timespan that Mel got to the place. Some of the gripes in here are prety particular, but to each his own. My only problem was why Morgan had to be right where the alien could grab him as the whole ending was predicated on it. Rambling ramble off, does anyone get what I&#39;m trying to say?

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 4:01 p.m. CST


    by The White Rabbit

    Hey Harry, I hate these talk backers and can&#39;t imagine reading them yourselves...they even get on my nerves sometimes so i wanted to write on this talk back with something possitive to say...i dearly loved signs and thought it was the second best movie of the year...although i havent seen TOO many great movies this year, I thought Minority Report was the best...I know you disagree...i miss Spielberg&#39;s old flavor, after all i am quite a big fan of his older work, and dont think he knows how to end his movies anymore...i still consider him a great director...i grew up with such films as jaws, raiders, close encounters, e.t. and totally dispise the special editon of 15 and i love this me if u want at

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 5:02 p.m. CST

    "Oh, no, they&#39;ve got a board with a nail in it!" - Kang

    by robmillernow

    - my one-sentence review for SIGNS.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Idiofudder - right on

    by 9000rpm

    and this week&#39;s Entertainment Weekly review (B-), too. EW rips the movie a new one and for all the right reasons. Signs is just incredibly sloppy and insulting.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Why do non-persons enjoy maliciously putting down a great film l

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    Would they also get off by taking a shit on the Mona Lisa?

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 7:57 p.m. CST

    dno, my theory, adapted from yours

    by bjtew

    I dont think the movie is as "anti-Anmerican-Miliary" as it is pro muslim pacifist resistance to a western invasion. The term invasion I believe can be construed to include a standard miliary invasion or perhaps a more tactical invasion of ideals or western beliefs? (remember: the aliens are very clever and knows many ways to get in) Either way I think the form of the invasion is irrelevant with the goal being resources; oil for us, human crop for the aliens. Keep in mind America very rarely uses its miliary against the Middle East. Like the aliens, we realize the war and devestation that would cause on both sides. However, American is guilty of an invasion of ideals (cant help that). How do the charachters react to this invasion? Do they leave the area where invasion activity is known to occur? Nope. Do they hit the local gun store and prepare for war? Nope. Instead of those very rational decisions they choose instead to board up all entry points into their home (homeland? isolationism?) and wait it out. Which, imo, is a decision that seems to reqiure alot of faith from someone who supposedly lacks it. Faith that the aliens cant figure out a board and a nail, wont set the house on fire and that their food supplies will hold. Oh wait, what supplies? This "wait out the invaders technique" appears to work and the newscast even explains the invasion was defeated using old middle eastern techniques. Old middle eastern techniques being faith and customs and not military might, technology and god knows NOT WATER. I think comparisons to the daughter being an angel and the aliens/invaders as being demons is just an example of demonization of outsiders/invaders that middle easterners are guilty of. Further examples of the "put down the guns muslisms" theory are weapons being used in non-violent fashion; knife for a mirror, pickaxe for a doorjam, bat for knocking water onto a alien and would further explain the family&#39;s hesistance at using violence as a recourse. BTW the dogs represent the muslim zealots with their barking and their turning on their owners. Like the zealots, they will be left out to die or poked in the throat with some barbeque implement.

  • Aug. 7, 2002, 11:09 p.m. CST



    I finally saw Signs today, it was so so. I absolutely hated Unbreakable, so I suppose it was a big improvement over that. But it has become clear to me that M Night blew his wad with The Sixth Sense. Signs had some pretty creepy moments, and the actors were good, but overall, it was just an average movie. People shouldnt be asking if M Night is the next Spielberg, but if he&#39;s the next Paul Anderson.

  • Aug. 8, 2002, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Hey Jr!! Mona-Lisa vs. Signs??! WTF are you talking about?!!

    by curvespace

    People who don&#39;t like Signs are not "non-people"! What the hell does that mean?! Obviously because my opinion differs to your own I&#39;m not worthy of "human" status. Frankly that might be a good thing because it means I might not have to be associated with narrow-minded pricks like you. I DON&#39;T LIKE SIGNS, I AM NOT EVIL NOR STUPID!!! Some people don&#39;t like Citizen Kane (crazy but true) for fuck-sake!! How can you POSSIBLY compare the Mona-Lisa to Signs?! If Signs is regarded as a work of art that recognised by all in 500 years time then I&#39;ll admit I might have been wrong about it (I still wont like it though).

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 3 a.m. CST


    by Michel Delving

    This movie is a werid one. It feels low budget and there&#39;s no music, but once you get past that, it&#39;ll rock your world! It&#39;s a great flick. This dude directed "I see dead people" and he&#39;s followed it up! He&#39;s the real deal!!! I can&#39;t wait to see what he&#39;ll do next. (p.s. I&#39;m not a plant, oh, wait, yes I am, I&#39;m a plant. I&#39;m in a hotel room with Martin Scorcese and we&#39;re on shrooms. - wait.... no we&#39;re not... OH YES WE ARE ON SHROOMS AND SCORCESE (SP?) IS NOT HERE!) ---- I&#39;m the one on shrooms. good lord, am I ever high. I&#39;m asking for a drink and the dealer is saying I need to hit a 15. Why is he saying that? He has 15 too. He&#39;s trying to cheat me. Am I in Vegas? Black Jack! I knew should have hit the 15. Fucking, everyone around me had a 12 or a 13 and they all hti and I stayed on a 15! Damnit! I just lost 50 dollars!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 11:58 a.m. CST

    what a bunch of nerds

    by KongMonkey

    You people, I mean, Damn! Are your lives so fucked up that the only thing you have better to do than going to Star Trek conventions is argue all day on a computer about a fucking movie!! Get a fucking life people. Certain movies entertain only the target audience, and thats it. If your not a part of the target audience, then your a dumbass for buying a ticket into a movie you knew you wouldn&#39;t enjoy. This movie wasn&#39;t about seeing aliens or the world being invaded. If you paid attention, you&#39;d see alittle bit of precognition in it. His daughter, who has no idea why, just gets a glass of water, and leaves most of it behind, unaware that it will come in use later. His son losing his medicine at the right moment, ends up saving his life. His wifes last message, "Swing away" all of it eventually falls together, like the writer intended it too. And the water thing, its only the contaminated water. Possibly the fluorine. You throw one of the aliens in the ocean and it would probably not kill him. He may drown, but the water itself wouldn&#39;t hurt him. Take a fucking clue people. besides its just a movie, which is why this will be my one and only talkback on it. I got better things to do than argue over a movie.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Curvespace, I wasn&#39;t referring to people who simply didn&#39

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    ...I was referring to people who criticize it negatively and pointlessly over and over again simply because they somewhat recognize it as being art, and taking a dump verbally on a work of art makes them feel important somehow.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 8:30 p.m. CST

    Worse than Unbreakable and that&#39;s saying a whole lot.

    by SlayerOfTheGods

    Just saw Signs. M. Night is turning out to be a One-Trick pony. If Hollywood is making you, M. Night, do this, then stop and reflect a moment because THEY"RE DESTROYING YOU&#39;RE CAREER!!!! If not, then you better stop and reflect for a moment because YOU&#39;RE DESTROYING YOU&#39;RE OWN CAREER!!!! Ride the wave as long as you can. If M. Night thinks that he and Spielberg are the only ones that can tell a story, then he&#39;s as stupid as he makes his audience out to be with his trademark flashback sequences. All of this just so Mel Gibson&#39;s character can find his faith once again? C&#39;mon!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 8:42 p.m. CST


    by yabebe99


  • Aug. 11, 2002, 12:47 a.m. CST

    Missing the point

    by DarthJeremy

    I think you all missed the entire point of this story. It wasn&#39;t about aliens at all, so stop arguing about how he didn&#39;t answer the alien story and about how there were problems with it. The entire point of this movie beginning to end, start to finish, was faith. It was a godly story describing the now-so-common loss of faith and answers for the "why does God let this happen?" question. Many fundamental questions about God and faith that have been questioned in the past 11 months since the terrorist attacks in the US listened to and tried to explain in this film. Regardless of your position religiously, this movie told a solid story about regaining faith and having faith in the fact that God has a plan for all things.

  • Aug. 11, 2002, 2:10 a.m. CST

    Lame-o endings

    by scoffey21

    Memo to M Night: Not every film has to have a twist ending! Shyamalan keeps trying to repeat the twist ending formula of Sixth Sense, where in 6 sense the ending worked perfectly, lately its become an annoying gimmick. Although Signs is a big improvement over Unbreakable, with scenes skillfully blending tension and humor. Everything in the film was done with such precision, the steady build up of tension, the perfectly timed humorous moment, the right use of sound and silence; you just felt like this guy really knew what he was doing. Its a shame to have the audience eating out of your hand, and then come up with THAT ending....

  • Aug. 11, 2002, 8 p.m. CST

    the "twist" wasn&#39;t a twist (spoilers)

    by Jack Burton

    M Night doesn&#39;t tie up his movies in perfect packages. There is obviously a reason why they were spared. 6 characters played a key role: the vet, the wife, and the 4 main characters. The wife had to die to set everything in motion for their piece to play out. How do we know that people all over the world were not having the same things happen: little coincidences coming together into a solution to save their lives. Maybe that was all God&#39;s way of helping us. Maybe there is a deeper meaning for Gramm&#39;s family. Maybe they are meant to do something later, they are destined for something. That is part of the mystery of the movie and why I think it is M. Night&#39;s best film.

  • Aug. 12, 2002, 8:12 a.m. CST

    What bothers me... (like it matters!)

    by HuffyHenry

    I think what bothered me most was that the whole movie, in the end, was to show just how much trouble God goes through to protect Mel Gibson&#39;s fallen character and his family. Thousands of people (we can assume) died and disappeared as a result of the "invasion," but one teeny-tiny family in rural PA came through it ok because God was on their side. I dunno... that leaves me... unhappy. And *really*, did EVERYTHING have to be for a reason? That last scene... honestly, I&#39;d have preferred it if the whole movie turned out to be a dream!

  • Aug. 12, 2002, 8:54 a.m. CST

    What movie were y&#39;all watching?

    by gilker

    I&#39;ve seen Signs twice now. The first time, I thought it was kinda dumb, poorly paced and had an ending that took my willing suspension of disbelief and rode it like a prison bitch. But I kept seeing glowing reviews for the thing and thought maybe I saw it on a bad day. So I went with someone else and did my best not to groan at the bad dialogue and the set ups for the moronic &#39;no coindences&#39; blather so I wouldn&#39;t influence my moviegoing companion. That&#39;s when I noticed the giggles, both from my friend and from places all around the audience. Yeah, there were the usual nervous relief laughs from a suspense scene being resolved, but this time I noticed lots of sheer guffaws from the dumb plot logic and strained reasoning. "I noticed the crop signs aren&#39;t near water." Huh? Human habitation is almost always near water. Pennsylvania ain&#39;t exactly the Gobi. But that groaner was nothing compared to the idea that both Shyamalan&#39;s vet and Gibson&#39;s Hess blithely neglect to call the army or police or SOMEBODY when they have an alien locked in a pantry. I mean, c&#39;mon. That was just about the time my friend started losing it, going into MST3K mode. I&#39;ve seen some apologetic comments above about how &#39;Water doesn&#39;t really KILL aliens, just kinda burns &#39;em a little," and such silliness. Guys, you&#39;re swimming upstream in a sewer of Shyamalan&#39;s making. Give it up. When a movie tries to play an sf concept straight the way Signs does, the way Close Encounters does, internal consistency is paramount, otherwise the results are ridiculous. That is, deserving of ridicule. And that&#39;s what Signs is.

  • Aug. 12, 2002, 3:59 p.m. CST

    "Signs" points in the wrong direction

    by mrbob

    I don&#39;t see how anyone can laud M. Night&#39;s new creation. The dialogue is preachy, the pacing is slow like half-dead turtles in the dead of winter and quite frankly, the flagrant plot devices -- endless glasses of water, the baseball bat, etc. -- didn&#39;t do anything whatsoever to elevate this story or leave the viewer with a sense of wonder; if you can&#39;t figure out what&#39;s going to happen, consider yourself brain-dead. Also, I have never seen such god-awful acting from so-called major actors. The only surprise "Signs" provides is the wonder that this film didn&#39;t put the audience to sleep; if you suffer from insomnia, trying watching this thing. It&#39;s more potent than tranquilizers. Harry, I don&#39;t know what you were thinking when you gave this soporific turkey in F-flat minor a thumbs-up.

  • Aug. 13, 2002, 7:08 a.m. CST

    I thought Signs was great. I&#39;m gonna go see it again tomorro

    by Almost Sexy

    But I wonder if M. Night Shyamalan reads John Irving, cause that ending manages to channel the climaxes (or should that be climaces??) or both Hotel and Prayer. Loved the ending by the way. It was also interesting to see a film where the film isn&#39;t all violence and the whole family wiping out the bad guys as in The Patriot. These are people that for the most part, were just too scared to even consider fighting back.

  • Aug. 13, 2002, 2:40 p.m. CST

    The Sleestaks are back and boy, are they pissed

    by laterspacecowboy

    Nothing much to add to the rants above about the failings of this film... it rips off a lot of previous done work, and I&#39;d like to add to the list Land of the Lost. C&#39;mon, if you&#39;re over 30, didn&#39;t they remind you of those lizard creatures? I do, however, believe that there is a very good film trying to get out, but can&#39;t because it&#39;s weighted down by all the hokum. It&#39;s like someone tried to write a serious background story to a cheap sci-fi flick - which I think m-night was trying to do in the first place (see Harry&#39;s review). Solution - a better storyline involving aliens - ET/Close Encounters were movies that were believable - this wasn&#39;t at all.

  • Aug. 13, 2002, 3:05 p.m. CST


    by yabebe99

    The part where the dog scares the shit out of the audience marks the first time I&#39;ve actually spilled something on someone sitting next to me. In this case it was starbucks coffee and the person sitting next to me was my girlfriend. she didn&#39;t find it very funny.

  • Aug. 14, 2002, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Signs is one of the best movies of the year, and certainly Shyam

    by a goonie

    a critic once said about The Sixth Sense that it is as though "Hitchcock has taken possession of every frame." well, with Signs, it feels as though Spielberg has done the same. and i mean, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Close Encounters Spielberg. don&#39;t get me wrong: A.I. is one of my favourite Spielberg films by far, but it&#39;s a different Spielberg behind the camera and the script there. and we see that New Spielberg in Minority Report and it doesn&#39;t work so well. but the Spielberg of old, the one that blew audience&#39;s minds from 1975 to 1982 BIG-TIME, that&#39;s the most consistently brilliant Spielberg. and that&#39;s the one that seems to be lurking through the shadows in Signs. except for one thing. this is still M. Night&#39;s movie, and its genius is due to him. first off, the acting. oh the acting. i&#39;ve been saying it for a while: Mel Gibson is a great actor. and people never believe me. but then again, these are people that pretend to know what they&#39;re talking about and who don&#39;t know, love, and understand movies the way i do. of all those famous major blockbuster stars with a successful movie series under their belt, Mel is by far the best. Harrison Ford can&#39;t really act anymore. he had incredible comic timing in the Indy and Star Wars trilogies. after that, he was just fun to watch. but not a GREAT actor. Mel is, however. and here he shows it. he&#39;s wonderful in Signs. but what about Joaquin Phoenix?!? i went from liking the guy to hating the guy to now completely LOVING him! he&#39;s fantastic in this movie. this is the best performance of his that i&#39;ve ever seen. he&#39;s incredible in this movie. Rory Culkin is VERY GOOD. believeable and real, this is strong proof of M. Night&#39;s talent for directing children. then we have Abigail Breslin. in some ways, she steals the show. she&#39;s so damn adorable you can&#39;t help but love her. but she actually performs here, breathes wonderful life into this sweet character and makes her something truly special. then we move on to the writing. this script is bloody insane. the story is what draws us in. but it&#39;s the way that it all unfolds that makes this movie one of the best Sci-Fi pictures of the past ten years. M. Night makes an absolutely brilliant move by opening his movie with the discovery of that crop circle. for the next two hours, we will see an alien invasion across the world told through the eyes of this one family living on this one farm. normally with these movies, or any movie with even the slightest similarities to this one, the script would spend approx. 15 to 20 minutes building the characters, describing the location, setting up the relationships, etc. THEN the first big bang/shock/whatever comes. but here M. Night opens with a great sequence that automatically introduces the premise of this movie to us. and normally this almost eager style of writing would lead to pacing problems further into the story, but here it&#39;s perfect. i couldn&#39;t imagine this done any other way. M. Night&#39;s movie is, from the very beginning, about crop circles. about aliens of some sort. OR IS IT? the entire movie is covered in this extraterrestrial-related shroud, from beginning to end, but there&#39;s more going on here than just Independence Day rehash. the characters are built right from the start, and they are so beautifully created, so perfectly realized, even though we only ever REALLY know these characters in the context of this very terrifying, paranormal situation. Night has dreamt up all these amazing ideas: Mel seeing a leg in the corn field, the figure on the roof that escapes, the news on tv, etc. and he has pieced them together in a way that is absolutely mind-blowing. that scene where Uncle Merrell is in the closet watching tv and the news plays that video footage of the kid&#39;s birthday party is for me one of the greatest moments in sci-fi movie history. it&#39;s also one of the scariest. the whole bit is so perfectly imagined, so intelligently conceived, and so damn realistic. it&#39;s that feeling you get when you&#39;re in the presence of a truly gifted filmmaker. and as for the trademark, now-expected TWIST ENDING, this is my favourite of the three. it is in some ways the simplest. it&#39;s not as much of a shocker as the landmark ending of Sixth Sense. but it&#39;s better. the way that everything comes together so perfectly for Father Graham Hess that it is as though God is speaking directly to him and saying: "I&#39;m here, and I love you and everything DOES happen for a reason" is beyond touching and beyond brilliant. it&#39;s the stuff of great storytelling. i know i&#39;ve used the word brilliant throughout this post a lot, but that should only go to show the extent of this movie&#39;s power that i cannot find a single word that does it more justice.

  • Aug. 14, 2002, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Searching for Signs of Intelligent Life

    by impermanent


  • Aug. 15, 2002, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Joaqin Phoenix is AWESOME!!!

    by Manske112

    I have two things to say 1st Who the hell cares if jackie Chan and Jet Li do a movie together and 2nd SIgns is the SHIT!! I thinks it&#39;s Shamalayns best mix of horror sci-fi and drama yet. I think the way in which this movie is put together is absolutely amazing next to LOTR this is the best movie i have seen in the last 6 months.. ...SWING AWAY MERYL!!!

  • Aug. 16, 2002, 12:24 a.m. CST

    LEONARD MALTIN hated Signs are we suprised

    by millermeusa

    maltin is still the worst critic on the planet.....he even hated Forrest Gump I cannot stand this critic!!! I know you all will disagree with me.....but maltin needs to be raped by ewoks!!!!

  • Aug. 16, 2002, 1:07 a.m. CST

    ok smart guys....

    by freshsammyj

    how would YOU end signs?

  • Aug. 17, 2002, 8:44 a.m. CST

    I love this film! I love all Shyamalangodibbles films... but one

    by TheGinger Twit

    This would have been so much more clostrophobic... so much more dark and scary if it&#39;d just been these characters isolated with aliens creeping around outside in the dark.

  • Aug. 18, 2002, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Did everyone miss the point?

    by chewinggum

    The film was not preaching at the audience to have faith, it was open-ended. Mel Gibson regained his faith, I saw it as coincidence. It depends on your p.o.v. The discussion about two types of people is saying that it is OK that we are all different, we should just not try to enforce our beliefs on others. And any of the supposed &#39;plot holes&#39; I have read about on here are so easy to dismiss that I wonder if some of you actually watched the film. For example, we are never told where the aliens are from or what they want, or how dangerous water is to them. We only get some speculation from the characters about this stuff. The person who made up the Unbreakable 2 synopsis: usually when people post their ideas for sequels on the internet, they suck. Yours actually sounds like something I&#39;d really enjoy, worthy of the original.

  • Aug. 20, 2002, 12:29 a.m. CST


    by thetruthhurts

    THIS is one of the worst films I have ever seen. There is nothing else to say. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS SHIT. You would have more pleasure paying $7 for a nice log of shit, and eating it, then to go see this pathetic excuse for a movie.

  • Aug. 20, 2002, 5:02 p.m. CST

    It was okay

    by HobbitsOnCrack

    It generated real suspense when it wanted to and had some of the scariest moments ever put on film - the brazil home video was F-R-E-A-K-Y. But that alone doesn&#39;t make it a great movie. The plot holes were just too glaring. Sure, you can sit around all day coming up with a hundred different scenerios to force it to make sense. But that should be the director&#39;s job. If everyone&#39;s going out of this thinking - that make no F***KING sense! - then he failed. I&#39;m not saying he should&#39;ve explained everything. Not at all. The fact that he flirted with audience and showed very little of the aliens was a smart move. But when they start showing up on the news and sticking their scaley arms under pantry doors, then it&#39;s no longer a mystery and he better be prepared to come up with scenerios that can be at least reasonably explained. And the ending.... ugh.... I can talk for hours why it just did not work on so many levels. Trite, predictable, and way too Sixth Sense-esque even when it seems to be trying hard *not* to be. This guy badly needs a new concept.

  • Aug. 21, 2002, 2:33 a.m. CST

    to the guy who made the political comment

    by JFeul

    For the guy who said that Democrats would be pro-Signs and Republicans would be anti-Signs, I think you are placing the wrong emphasis here. Why must liberals always assume that conservatives (so-to-speak, on both terms) all think along the same base lines? This Republican loves Signs and most intellectual movies to boot--as well as many of my friends who share the same political sentiments. Liberalism is not some sort of exclusive intellectual club, nor is conservatism some kind of heathenistic group of nay-sayers. I hope I didn&#39;t pounce on you, but I just get tired when people infer a intellectual split among people who may think along different political lines.

  • Aug. 22, 2002, 2:16 p.m. CST

    poor farmer joaquin pheonix wearing Deisel Jeans?

    by NOZZZ4THE666

  • Aug. 24, 2002, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Signs sucked

    by Karenski27

    I can&#39;t imagine what any of the praise for this movie is about. Did we see the same movie? I&#39;m sorry, but I think it&#39;s of extreme importance why the aliens came and why they left! Without making sense of that, it seems that they only came to earth for one night to help poor Mel through his crisis of faith: Mel gets his faith back and poof! they&#39;re outta there! Next, for any thinking human being, when we are finally shown what water does to the alien invaders - and it was pretty severe, in my opinion! - we begin to wonder how in the hell the aliens be running around in the corn fields after dark?! Can&#39;t think of a wetter place next to shower! They would&#39;ve been sizzled by dew! Not very cinematic, I reckon. Which made me think, if water was so caustic to them, why&#39;d they pick EARTH, a planet more than 80% water. Hell, our bodies are mostly water, too. We could just bleed on &#39;em to kill &#39;em! Heck, wouldn&#39;t 100% humidity kill them or at least hurt them somehow? And then I decided that in his rush to get another movie out, M. Night forgot to think through so many important things that I was thoroughly disgusted. He did the same thing with Unbreakable. Both movies are great ideas with shoddy execution. His only well thought out movie was/is Sixth Sense. Perhaps before he releases his next movie, M. Night will have completed the script FIRST! I for one, will wait for his next on video. At least I won&#39;t get burned paying for it in a theater.

  • Aug. 26, 2002, 8:09 a.m. CST


    by Auzzie

    Sorry, this is my first visit to this site and I have to disagree with your review of this film. I enjoyed the almost Hitchcock use of darkness and atmosphere to build tension but neither Mel Gibson&#39;s character nor his family really engaged my sympathy and my only feeling at the end was "thank heavens, Now I can have a cup of coffee". This movie is but a pale wraith of a thing when compared with "Sixth Sense" Sixth sense used a long buildup to a punchline that knocked me off my chair. A "How didn&#39;t I see that coming" sort of reaction. A film maker who can do that to me earns his admission price. Signs, on the other hand, started nowhere, meandered around going nowhere and finished with a whimper rather than a bang.

  • Aug. 27, 2002, 9:39 p.m. CST


    by maclin

    I just saw Signs with my wife. We are both production professionals and we think that it was the worst drivel we have seen in years. Kill and alien with water? Please!! I&#39;m melting, I&#39;m melting. The alien looked like it came from a 1950&#39;s horror flick. Throughout the film a boom mike was visible in every interiot scene. We would have walked out of this mediocre, predictable tripe but we felt that there must have been a reason that the mike was there so we waited until the end... Maybe it was the aliens observing our "stars" in a zoo or some such other explanation. But no. It was a tremendously amateurish prodcution error. Didn&#39;t anyone else see this error?

  • Aug. 27, 2002, 10:29 p.m. CST


    by gongman

    Stupid and boring. I especially liked the end, where Gibson goes like "Well golly all this horrible stuff happened to us, but now it has stopped, therefore there Must Be A God." Nothing could be more wonderfully oafish! Everything else in it was a pale shadow of the originals they ripped off. If you haven&#39;t Seen It All before and better you haven&#39;t been paying attention.

  • Aug. 30, 2002, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Re: Maclin&#39;s "observations" beware of *spoilage*

    by Raimi'sLoveChild

    As "production professionals" I&#39;m sure you are familiar with the fact that sometimes your theater will not frame a film in the correct "aspect ratio" (this term should be in your "production professionals" handbook), therefore causing things like boom mics to show up unintendedly on the screen. In the future, make complaints to your local theater&#39;s under-paid projectionist concerning this matter. However, if you are sincerely interesting in exploring the notion of peering in on the lives of a "captive audience", read George Saunder&#39;s books "Pastoralia" or "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline". ***SPOILAGE ENSUES---*** Also, it is open for debate whether water or a debilitating blow to the midsection caused the alien&#39;s demise. But, for the sake of argument, would you risk exposing yourself to a lethal substance for personal gain? Obviously, we humans do it every day- natural gas, for example (and the list goes on...). And finally, if you are referring to the movie&#39;s "video footage" of the aliens looking fake, I believe that was a gift to us 30+ folks that grew up with the Bigfoot phenomenon. It was brilliantly aimed at shocking and creeping us out specifically. Sorry you missed out. If it was the alien at the end of the film that bothered you... well, I&#39;m not crazy about the Hollywood&#39;s CGI-centric view either. Maybe things will improve.

  • Sept. 4, 2002, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Parallel between Signs and 9/11?????

    by justanne93

    Filming began 2 days AFTER 9/11. So I suppose it is possible that there are parallels - however could it just be "human nature" Isn&#39;t that what we all did on 9/11 - sit glued to the tele?? In times of disbelief with the media holding our views so tightly - we the huddling masses sit and watch??? Just a thought

  • Sept. 5, 2002, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Between 6th Sense & Unbreakable

    by bpichon

    This guy... WHAT?! Look, the movie started out great! Up until about the last third, it was masterful. M. Night (as Knowles calls him - are they buds? that would certainly explain a lot) is definitely an incredible director. But he really needs someone working with him to bounce his writing off of. The movie stalls out and goes nowhere. The ending is totally contrived and weak. It&#39;s obvious that for the director, the point of the movie was to show the first 2 thirds - real people dealing with the possibility of aliens or something else unknown in their town. Again, it was awesome. But once it&#39;s all out in the open, it&#39;s like M. Night isn&#39;t sure what to do. He&#39;s not as into the ending, so he just comes up with some quicky crap and THE END. Anyway, still better than Unbreakable (another movie with great direction that started out good and went to shit! - oh, except for the opening commentary on comic book sales - gimme a break!).

  • Sept. 7, 2002, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Signs was great, not for ID4 seekers

    by SyncMaster955

    Signs was a great thriller. It&#39;s NOT an aliens-come-blasting movie. Some bash it for that, saying that the aliens weren&#39;t powerful enough. Zoom! They missed it. I want to try and theorize on the aliens. First of all, they seem to be incapable of breaking down boarded things. Well, I recall Bo saying that the aliens would be skinny and weak, because of their superior intellect. Maybe the aliens possess huge amounts of muscle in their legs for jumping, but lack upper body strength to pound down doors. If they try to ram it using their legs, they could break all bones and kill themselves. Second, their ways with water. Maybe it&#39;s not water. In one of the other talkback posts, they said that a lot of drinking water contains flouride. Maybe that&#39;s it. They just didn&#39;t land near rivers and lakes because well, they just didn&#39;t feel like it? It&#39;s probably easier landing craft on a farm than on a harbour. Third, the usage of crop circles as navigation when they had space travel navigation tools. Who knows? Maybe it&#39;s the equivalent of humans drawing crude figures in the dirt with a stick to make plans and tactics with other people, when batteries of their cell phones run out. Use your imagination. But all of the above aren&#39;t important. If this was an alien-action movie, it would be, but it&#39;s not. It&#39;s a movie about faith. For all you secular humanists that wanted ID4, M. Night style, no wonder you&#39;re peeved. Approach it as a movie about a breaking family, a desperate man, and how the most unlikely events came to save them.

  • Sept. 10, 2002, 3:41 a.m. CST

    good stuff

    by fango

    I thought it was a bloody good movie. I hope I don&#39;t see the boom mike on the DVD. Eeek!!! Waz in Oz

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 9:58 a.m. CST

    RE: Karen

    by Glass

    I think we all need to be reminded of something, here. SIGNS is a movie, not a documentary. What&#39;s more, it&#39;s a HORROR movie, and one of the scariest I&#39;ve seen. I have seen many, many horror films, and this one is at the top of my list. So all this technical drivel, this mumbo jumbo about humidity and dew and the human composition is completely pointless. It&#39;s a horror movie, a terrifying horror movie, and that&#39;s all. And I agree, it was very Hitchcockian.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 8:11 p.m. CST

    Avoid "Signs"! This IS serious!!!

    by WhatIf

    I must admit that Shyamalan&#39;s debut, THE SIXTH SENSE, wasn&#39;t the big thing I suspected it to be. Following, UNBREAKABLE was a try to use the SIXTH SENSE formula for another movie: a nearly identical Bruce Willis character, another annoying kid and the &#39;surprise&#39; ending&#39;. OK, this time, Bruce is played by Mel, we have two(!) enerving kids and the surprising end is... well... so bad, trashy and absurd that I couldn&#39;t stop laughing when I saw it. Actually, nearly everyone in the audience felt like me and and the movie ended with a mixture of laughs, Boooos and one(!) single person clapping... I never saw &#39;typical&#39; calm, emotionless German moviegoers getting in such a rage about a film. Will Shyamalan see how far he can go with the same formula over and over again? It&#39;s a shame. The once &#39;Wonderboy&#39; has turned into another Joel Schumacher... Well, this may not be fair: Even Schumacher had one more fine movie than Mr. S., FALLING DOWN. But after seeing SIGNS, Shyamamlan is now #3 on my list of the worst current American film-makers... right behind Michael Bay and my ole buddy Joel.

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 3:53 a.m. CST

    You people make me despair

    by Mr_B

    Well this comment is coming late as I only caught the advance screening in the UK yesterday. I tried to stay away from all reviews and articles about this movie so I could discover everything for myself. I loved this movie, nobody makes movies like this now. Shyamalan has imagination and style and limitless potential. So after the movie I come here and read Harry&#39;s review and it mirrors my own feelings about the movie. Then I come down to talkback and get the same shit that seems to infest every talkback. I&#39;m not the kind of person who thinks everyone should share my opinion, but the amount of venom in this talkback is totally unneccesary. All I can put it down to is that you write your venemous little comments about an engaging and well made movie so in doing so think yourselves superior. Kind of like saying "you know that movie you all thought was great and clever, well not by my standards, I&#39;m so clever that it seems stupid to me". The news and reviews on this site, although I don&#39;t agree with them all are all about celebrating a medium we love. And I know nobody is really going to give a damn when I say that this is the last talkback I ever read. I don&#39;t need the good feelings that movies give me dampened by people with nothing but hate and a need to show their intellectual superiority. And truth be told, those who feel the need to show themselves as intellectually superior usually aren&#39;t.

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 8:17 a.m. CST


    by zebes707

    !!! OH MY GOD !! I&#39;ve just had one of the most BORING cinema experiences of my life. This film is complete horse-manure, I can&#39;t find one redeeming feature within it and on top of the boring/ridiculous story, it ... iss ...ssoo ...S-L-O-W...[zzz!] The story falls down at every concievable turn and twists itself in knots constantly. Please people avoid &#39;Signs&#39; like the plague!! along with &#39;Bad Company&#39;, this is the WORST film this year. The only mystery in the film is that its only 1hour 47mins long - I could have sworn it was about three days. I AM NOT JOKING! I feel like hours of my life have been robbed away from me and I want them back! (Do you hear me Shyamalan!!) All I can say is that &#39;6th Sense&#39; must&#39;a been a Fluke. M Night Shyamalan has gone way, way down in my estimation with this horseshit. I doubt I&#39;ll watch his next &#39;project&#39; (If anyone is daft enought to give him one that is). If there were any justice in the world - everyone who saw this film would get a full apology and refund. THAT IS ALL! :o{

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 8:44 a.m. CST

    RE: Mr B = We make you despair do we?

    by zebes707

    I just read your comments &#39;MR B&#39; and EXCUSE ME for not having the same opinion as you! I&#39;m not jumping on any bandwagon by saying that this film is crap. I say it as I see it and unfotunately the &#39;it&#39; in this case is &#39;Signs&#39;. Now apparently you enjoyed it (god knows how though, do you get out much?). I can&#39;t agree, but fair-play to you. Don&#39;t however belittle other peoples opinions just cause they don&#39;t tally with yours. I can say that I have never come out of a cinema here in England, where everyones face looked as glum/bored/cheated as they did after &#39;signs&#39; so is that &#39;venom&#39;? No it&#39;s truth .. and I stand by it!

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Ummmm OK

    by TDevil

    This was about the same for me as Jeepers Creepers . . . The overall the movie was full of plot holes, if you can call it a plot, but it had some genuinely scary moments. Things lurking in the shadows, a leg hear, a hand from under the door, and something coming around the porch . . . but after the shock wears off and your waiting for Mel to realize whats going on . . . he sulks. He sits. He cries. He props the door open with a pitchfork, then after hearing about how many people were killed, he leaves it in the basement. I&#39;m sorry, but if I lived in the middle of no where and aliens were arriving, I&#39;d have a shot gun ready. I&#39;d protect my family. Yeah, they might be nice. But I would rather have one just in case.

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 10:53 a.m. CST

    "Feeling superior", Mr B? I don&#39;t...

    by WhatIf

    OK, I made my statement about SIGNS before... and I don&#39;t like hate speech about movies, too. But about your opinion of "the people which feel superior to those who like SIGNS": after I have seen the movie, people have told me that I don&#39;t like the movie because "I don&#39;t get it"/"I don&#39;t understand it"/"I don&#39;t want to believe" etc. Hey, that&#39;s also very arrogant and many fans in this Talkback try to give you the feeling of intellectual inferiority by telling that -to say it straight- "most of you are to dumb to see how good SIGNS is!" Once again: I don&#39;t like the useless swearing and the hate speech in this talkback... but I don&#39;t like the people who tell me that "we dont like SIGNS because we are unable(!!!!) to accept the fact(!!!!!) that there is a God who loves us all and protects us" (s.a. in the talkback section)... Hey, anyone heard about freedom of speech and opinions?

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 6:30 p.m. CST


    by R0CKY

    I so wanted to be a M.Night fan, but Signs left me gasping at the awful "baby monitor communication device", "crop circles navigation goof" and "water is the weapon" gaff. Disapointed.

  • Sept. 14, 2002, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Quite posible the dumbest movie since.... well ever

    by evaphoenix

    This movie was just incredibly STUPID, dont think I cant watch a film without good fx, but Ive seen more realistic aliens in crittersfor crying out loud. I can&#39;t believe Mr Night thinks that aliens smart enough to travel through the stars can&#39;t have any sort of weaponery or at least teeth or something. I mean would we want to go to a planet where it rains sulfuric acid and melts our skin? If not, why in the hell would those stupid aliens want to come here? They might as well have been alergic to air. Why wont they wear protective suits or at least a raincoat? Im having trouble getting over the dissapointment in this movie cause I actualy like SS and unbreakable. But this is just and insult to your mind, I actually felt stupider just for watching it; even mars attacks seemed more plausible than this stinking pile of c$rap.

  • Sept. 14, 2002, 12:36 p.m. CST

    To all those people trashing Signs

    by Kyle.Reese

    This film was amazing. Stop trying to make yourself feel special by putting down a good film. And to that prick who made that racist remark about Hindus earlier, get a fucking life.

  • Sept. 16, 2002, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Whatif & Zebes

    by Mr_B

    Ok first my issue isn&#39;t with people who dislike signs, it&#39;s with people who dislike signs and say that if you did you must be an idiot, and you can&#39;t deny there are plenty of comments like that on this talkback. I&#39;m not even of the opinion that people who don&#39;t like it don&#39;t "get" it. The premise is simple enough, it&#39;s not whether you get the movie just whether you like it. I loved it, and yes I do get out enough thanks. My original post says I don&#39;t have a problem with people having different opinions than me, debate is good, and I welcome it. But most of these posts aren&#39;t in the kind of tone that I like to discuss things in. (I&#39;m not saying your posts were like this, but it seems a large number are). If people give good reasons why they didn&#39;t like the film then more power to them, but it&#39;s the climate of "insert movie title here" sucks and anyone who likes it blah blah blah.... that pisses me off, because it infects every talkback, and I think it&#39;s goes against the spirit of the site.

  • Sept. 16, 2002, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Mr. B

    by Glass

    I completely, totally 100% aggree with you. People who hate such a brilliant movie with such daunting diligence must be trying to prove their own mental superiority. I am so sick of people behaving that way. Who cares how much money the movie made or how many people see it? Yes, some blockbusters suck, but this one did not, and to say it did means one is either a) blind, or b) is attempting to belittle others. And you are completely correct: usually, people who feel the need to prove their mental superiority are in fact mentally inferior.

  • Sept. 16, 2002, 1:13 p.m. CST

    ZEBES returns, calmer this time... [It took a while after that B

    by zebes707

    First up, I have to re-iterate that I have seen many bad films in my time which other people have enjoyed. It&#39;s just that Signs truly was one of the most boring films I had ever experienced(that&#39;s why I used &#39;strong tones&#39; in my condemnation of it). Now as hard as it is for me to beleive that ANYONE could have enjoyed ANYTHING about this particular movie, I guess I HAVE to as people have stated as such! (you lot don&#39;t work for TouchStone perchance do you? ;oP ) I guess I just took offence to being lumped into a bracket that I don&#39;t belong in. I don&#39;t follow the crown or enjoy panning something just for the sake of it. I really wanted to enjoy Signs, I really did ..well I payed my moneys&#39;n&#39;all did&#39;nt I? If a Films good, I&#39;m the first to reccomend it to people. GOOD films I&#39;ve seen recently include: Amnesia, Bourne Identity, Minority Report, Goldmember & Spiderman. BAD Movies = Signs, Bad Company, StarWars II. SEE - I LIKE more movies than DISLIKE on the whole. No hard feelings, MR B ;o)

  • Sept. 17, 2002, 9:05 a.m. CST


    by WhatIf

    Dear Glass, thank you for supporting my prejudices concerning the people who like this movie and tell others that "these are to dumb to understand that SIGNS is a masterpiece." Am I blind because I didn&#39;t like this film? Well, that&#39;s your opinion and it&#39;s OK for me (and by the way: I don&#39;t care if anyone loves or hates SIGNS... and I don&#39;t feel superior to anyone). But please stop complaining about all those people which don&#39;t like SIGNS and saying that these "feel superior". Sometimes a movie is just a movie... and claiming to be better (in any kind of way) because YOU like SIGNS sounds extremely arrogant to me...

  • Sept. 21, 2002, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Night is amazing.. metaphors people

    by jossjr

    I think any of the "Signs" haters should really get their heads out of their asses and watch the film again. Aliens aren&#39;t aliens in the film. They represent metaphors for Mel Gibson&#39;s loss of faith. Don&#39;t bash literature until you&#39;ve taken the material and really dived deep into it, and unearthed the metaphors. Night is an amazing artist, one with the talent of the pen and of film. k

  • Sept. 22, 2002, 8:44 a.m. CST


    by Jamalio

    You people, confusion. I don&#39;t understand. WHAT IS THAT? With the motion, and the things, I think this one is the kind. Mr. Shymar, he is too good, and I like it the filmis which he make it. And signs is a good comedy one. I RECCOMEND THIS ONE!

  • Sept. 24, 2002, 4:33 a.m. CST


    by Temple2k2

    I for one thought the movie wasn&#39;t that bad. I think too many people take movies too seriously. I remember the first time I saw the Matrix, I wasn&#39;t that impressed. It was only after I saw it a second time that I enjoyed everything about it. Movies are entertainment. Most of them ask us to put ourselves in a distant and made up world. If your going in to see "SIGNS" looking for everything to make sense because of our reality then you won&#39;t like it. I saw one poster say he was disappointed because the alien was naked and couldn&#39;t break down a door. Are you kidding? I&#39;ll admit "SIGNS" was rather slow in pace but that was done for a reason to set up one man&#39;s transformation in belief. "SIGNS" is a good movie if you can go in a movie theatre and just take what the director and actors give and believe in the material. After all didn&#39;t the film that broke all the records this year deal with an average boy that was bitten by a mutant spider that gave him superpowers? How believeable is that. And for the record, if "SIGNS" is such a bad movie, how in the world did it gross $218 MILLION in 8 WEEKS. Ladies and Gentlemen I think we call that word of mouth. I&#39;ll bet you $218 Million that word of mouth was positive.

  • Oct. 1, 2002, 1:23 a.m. CST

    It&#39;s all about nerds

    by Coturno

    There is this buch of nerds who never had a girlfriend and live in their mom&#39;s basement that analise greek mythologies and show up on internet talkbacks saying loads of shit and excrementing mental turds so that they can feel special about themselves. If they don&#39;t do so, then they feel the urge to start forming secret societies and making crop circles, so then they can ALWAYS feel special. I hope you all choke to death. &#39;nuff said.

  • Oct. 3, 2002, 7:24 p.m. CST

    (ahem ahem)

    by grouchoX

    I agree with you, but you can&#39;t turn "excrement&#39; into a verb

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 3:02 p.m. CST it THAT bad?

    by gr4m

    i saw this movie when it first came out because it was hyped up enough that i was going to see it regardless. however, the fact that i was very impressed with shayamalan&#39;s previous film credentials was enough to get me there alone. he has earned my respect that i want to see his works hot off the presses. anyhow, i can honestly say i wasnt expecting that much dessiminating opinion toward this film when i left it. i thought it was well thought out, well put together, and full of good acting and direction. however, now that ive seen how many of you dislike it, i thought i would put my thoughts forth. not necessarily to swing you over to the side that likes this film, but to just state our case. one of the overwhelmingly weak arguments i hear (notice i said weak, as in opinion is "stupid" or "wrong") is that of the lack of technology the aliens brought with them. while this could have just been something you were expected to suspend disbelief over (which it wasnt), it was in fact addressed in dialogue. i believe it was in the book which graham&#39;s son had picked up that the author stated in an invasion of this sort, where the resources of the planet were to be harvested, the aliens would avoid using high tech weaponry to avoid invoking the great nuclear power of the planet and thus destroying everything they were after. another argument i hear is that this is just a big advertisement for organized, western religion and i KNOW how much people hate having that thrown in their faces. however, ill point out that shyamalan was raised hindu. now this doesnt mean that he would never write anything supporting christianity, but the fact is, this film is not a device for pushing any religious beliefs. it is just a story of how faith can be lost and regained under special circumstances. you can find faith in whatever you want. i dont think any of us needs a movie to tell us what we need to believe. so thats pretty much all that is coming to me atm. i thought it was a good movie. if you didnt, im sorry you feel that way, particularly because your 5-10 bucks you plunked down dont reflect the true support this film is receiving monetarily. and yes, i wish there was a different system for determining the popularity of a film. perhaps attendance numbers rather than gross profits? i dunno....anyhow, for a film to get the kind of renoun this has, several people must have gone, liked it, and told someone else to go...maybe even gone again themselves. so once again, i say. is it really that bad?

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Great Director, Shitty Script

    by JAGUART

    Signs is a perfect example of a bad film and good filmMAKING. Just think how M.Night would perform again with a competent script. That&#39;s the films who weakness. It&#39;s script sucks but the implementation is flawless. Even God makes mistakes, but he does it oh so well...

  • Oct. 10, 2002, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Signs is SHIT, a film that ends crap, starts crap & I missed the

    by The Highlander

  • Oct. 19, 2002, 3:09 p.m. CST

    M. Night is a one-note filmmaker and the fat lady is singing tha

    by Fatal Discharge

    In other words...any notions that this guy is a good filmmaker are over. What a godawful boring silly piece of shlock. I read somewhere that they had problems finishing CGI effects in time so I guess that explains the shoddy and laughable effects in the film. That would've been ok though if the film actually worked but sheesh....the idiotic plot of water as what drove the aliens away (what? the earth is 3/4's water and they wouldn't have checked if it was dangerous to them before sending an invasion fleet!!??!!). As for the "everything happens for a reason" message...I broke out laughing (Swing away...GROAN!). Some of my favorite movies have a slow pace but yikes.....Unbreakable got on my nerves for its un-ending shots and Signs just got me fed up. I also wanted to shout at the screen - "SPEAK UP!"...I can understand everyone talking in whispers in order to build suspense and apprehension of what is going to happen. It worked in The Sixth Sense but when you keep doing it in all your films it feels like a dumb trick and especially when you have no plot it lulls the viewer into sleep.

  • Oct. 22, 2002, 4:59 a.m. CST

    I still respect M. Night

    by Ronnie_Dobbs

    But SIGNS has some major flaws. It's nowhere near as good as his other films, that's for sure.

  • Dec. 8, 2002, 2:57 a.m. CST

    everyone's a FUCKING critic

    by Ryoga_x

    Is there anyone in the goddamn planet that isn't one? People nowadays are realists. they see a scene and insult it because they don't comprehend it. CRITICTS are like dumbass jocks that have to find a reason to vent aggresion. We watch movies as a way of escaping real life. People have to stop analyzing everything and enjoy the movie for fucks sake!!!

  • Jan. 9, 2003, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Water allergy?

    by macjazz

    The aliens in this film are deathly allergic to water. They smoke and burn and fizz when exposed to it. So why are they attacking a planet that's 75% WATER???!! What, are they attacking on a day when it's not raining anywhere in the world?? Moreover, they're supposedly "harvesting" humans (presumably to eat). Don't they know that that we're 90% water?? They've been casing the planet for ten years - they'd know this shit. Secondly, why don't Mel Gibson and family arm themselves when they know the aliens are coming. Try and get ahold of some guns, or at least grab a bunch of knives, shovels, whatever. That's one of the first things anyone would think of. There's a lot of good stuff in this movie, but the water thing is a real stumbling block to me. They needed to rethink this before they started filming.

  • Jan. 10, 2003, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Clarifying some issues

    by DeeJay

    There were a few things that people seem to miss about this film. First, an analogy. The human body possesses an electric charge (or, rather, it's neutral due to a balance of charges). However, we all know that humans can be electrocuted. This thing here is the nature or balance of an electrical charge determines whether it can harm us. The same thing could be the case with the invaders' weakness to water. The invaders are only affected by it in the concentrated form familiar to us. A similar (although more abstract) argument could be made about the acids in our body. The water vulnerability wasn't explained well in the film, but it's not too hard to find a rationale. Similar with the invaders' simple-minded nature. Since the goal was to harvest people, who is to say that the creatures weren't simply biological lifeforms sent down by the "real" aliens to do their work in the same fashion that we use mechanization? That would also explain their water vulnerability... something that could have been engineered to make the creatures/machinery easily disposable. These elements seemed to be intentionally vague, but aren't necessarily illogical. Truthfully, I think that Shamaylan's problem is that he hasn't publicly denounced the notion of his films having a surprise ending. Until then, there will be many expected a shocking twist at the end accompanied by clues throughout the story. The problem is that his last two films didn't have surprise endings based off of any real clues... but most people expected that they would. People made abstract guesses like "Glass is going to be the bad guy" and "the brother will swing his bat", but such ideas almost completely miss the point of the films' endings. "Signs" was a *very* good film, but I think that Shamaylan's next film might need to implore a new marketing strategy.

  • July 1, 2003, 12:16 p.m. CST


    by rjwood

    this is the first time i have visited your site. due to the reputation you had for your honesty and frankness towards films i felt it would be worthwhile in reviewing your oppinions before i paid to view a film and ultimately be disapointed. i decided that the best way to guage your oppions would be to take a film that i consider to be the most over rated, bland and frustrating film that i have ever had the misfortune to witness (signs)and see if your oppion mirrors mine. sad to say i was disgusted to see that you had taken the same view as every other cheap and 'blockbuster loving' reviewers that would rather judge a film by the hype than its actual content. i now feel that i cant put any confidence in any of your reviews and im left with having to wade through the stacks of disapointment in order to find the occasional 'great film'.