My Stepmother Is an Alien

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.
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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

My Stepmother Is an Alien

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:51 pm

Image

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
Original lossless 2.0 stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Brand new audio commentary by critic Bryan Reesman
Cosmetic Encounters: Directing My Stepmother is An Alien, a brand new interview with director Richard Benjamin
Original trailer
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Amanda Reyes

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domino harvey
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Re: My Stepmother Is an Alien

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:54 pm

Surprised they couldn't get Aykroyd to talk about aliens for the extras!

Here's my writeup from the 80s list:
domino harvey wrote:
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:05 pm
My Stepmother Is An Alien (Richard Benjamin 1988) I was surprised at my own enjoyment of this extremely silly but warm-hearted sci-fi comedy (even those words in that order aren't usually my thing) that finds alien Kim Basinger sent to seduce dorky widower/SETI scientist Dan Aykroyd into restoring her planet's gravity (?) and in the process discovers she actually likes the guy and Earth. Many of the scene's best moments come from Basinger's game willingness to sell lines and motivations that would fall apart in a lesser talent's hands. Yeah, I said "talent"-- I have to walk back my lukewarm Basinger-bias from an earlier update, as between this and Nadine and Blind Date, it turns out she is a gifted comedienne when removed from her usual dramatic fare. Shame she never really capitalized on it, but I definitely get her appeal in these films. Though this is pretty much all Basinger's movie, I thought Aykroyd did a good job selling his disbelief and then all-too-eager readiness at Basinger's advances, and there's probably a good academic paper in here about how their entire courtship is a metaphor for the willful ignorance of faults/warning signs by those in unhealthy relationships (Can you imagine presenting on My Stepmother is an Alien at a conference? Christ, I want to do it just to be able to put that on my CV!)

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knives
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Re: My Stepmother Is an Alien

#3 Post by knives » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:56 pm

It’s ghosts, not aliens who are real.

Also, I remember seeing this all the time as a kid, but don’t remember anything about it.

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cdnchris
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Re: My Stepmother Is an Alien

#4 Post by cdnchris » Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:52 pm

I saw it a lot back in the day as well but the only I thing (I think) I remember is her reaching into a boiling pot to pull an egg out and the daughter seeing it.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: My Stepmother Is an Alien

#5 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:08 pm

This was a far better sci-fi comedy than it should be in central conceit, but Basinger admirably sells the strong explosion of writer's room gags that explore cultural dissonance with creative perspective-taking. The kissing scene's use of eclectic media's presentations of various cinematic social engagement is hilarious, but the film keeps upping the ante, and I want to meet whoever combed the files to dig up all these old clips of propaganda for contextual jokes (the WWII-era explicit command for abstinence is a highlight). Still, most of what works is dependent upon situational humor that threatens typical 80s values, particularly masculine prowess. Aykroyd is far from machismo here, but the film's posturing at male impotence (literally so when Basinger demands more too soon post-coitus) is carefully yet quite directly delivered, and I can't imagine many audience members escaping this film without some personal discomfort in shock value, even if the belly laughs assist in digesting the layered content with distracting stimuli. Like domino, I also found myself gawking at Aykroyd's lightswitch-transformation from asexual dad to hypersexualized star-eyed vegetable. His tunnel-vision is funny and unnerving at once, especially for anyone who has experience becoming totally drunk on love, enough to temporarily blind huge pieces of our identity (can everyone raise their hands?)

The film refuses to be cruel and take this to any dark comedy territory, so it's a fun time capsule when viewed in today's zeitgeists of sex-positive feminism and #metoo's spotlighted objectification, messily clashing under these dated conditions as each party essentially manipulates the other with their own private wills, and ostensibly without an authentic desire to navigate a healthy relationship with the consent and comfortability of their partner. Is this film ultimately about the recognition of our inability to 'know' another, and perhaps even more disturbing (or admirably, and ironically, 'realistic'), a surrender from trying to bridge this gap at all, formulating a successful partnership around ideological customs out of contractual bargains for individualistic needs rather than striving for communally-intimate reciprocity. The naked presentation of these characters' efforts to remain on the surface instead of doing the deep therapeutic work is a satirical Reagan-era punchline, and also a brittle view of human nature regarding sexual politics, coated in silly tones to dilute its intentions. Placing an alien in the female role might convince some against this sociopolitical reading, but the fact that a sexless, innocent child is the only one with the skills to be sober to what's going on is telling, considering her lack of motivation for solipsistic power. This is a great fringe narrative about youth for this reason, demonstrating the loss of worldliness we all experience when encountering biological milestones and undergoing social conditioning that withers our trust, willingness, or capacity to part from our own subjectivity.

Of course, this isn't where the film winds up, but it takes magical intrusions (gravity-defying visual evidence for Aykroyd and the introduction of non-antisocial compassion for Basinger) to shake either 'adult' character from their self-serving spells of enforced will power and towards a personal conversation of compromise and needs-sharing! Can this not occur by any other means? The film is too fun to ask that question, but its subliminal currents suggest the query as fair game. I'll take the celebration-of-life's-simple-pleasures denouement though.

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