Combustible Celluloid
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With: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, K.C. Martel, Sean Frye, C. Thomas Howell, Erika Eleniak, David M. O'Dell, Richard Swingler
Written by: Melissa Mathison
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
MPAA Rating: PG for language and mild thematic elements
Running Time: 115
Date: 26/05/1982

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Still Right Here

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic centered on the simple friendship between a boy and an alien rather than the rampant destruction and violence around a full-scale alien invasion. The story feels modern rather than nostalgic. It's set in the suburbs (much like Spielberg's other production from the same year, Poltergeist), and prominently features a single mom (Dee Wallace). The children -- Elliot (Henry Thomas), Gertie (Drew Barrymore), and Michael (Robert MacNaughton) -- are realistic, and use some strong language as well as testing and insulting one another (and adults), but they're genuinely curious and good-spirited. There's also the scene in which E.T. unknowingly drinks beer from the refrigerator and Elliot begins to feel its effects at school. Much of the movie is sweet and funny, but it grows fairly intense when E.T. falls ill and government agents descend upon poor Elliot's house. And young and old alike will find it difficult to choke back tears at the movie's final goodbye, but all in all, this is a deeply-felt, warm-hearted classic.

Peter Coyote stars as a sympathetic government agent. Future Playboy Playmate Erika Eleniak appears as the pretty girl in Elliot's classroom. The movie received nine Oscar nominations and won four (Best Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Effects, Best Sound Effects Editing); Gandhi won the major awards that year. Neil Diamond was so moved that he recorded the hit song, "Heartlight." E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was by far the biggest hit of 1982, and sales of Reese's Pieces candy soared all summer.

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