What do you to stop your 13-year-old from playing video games? Put in Men in Black.
The sci-fi comedy premiered in 1997, along with one of the greatest duos of our time. An unlikely pair to some became a crowd favorite, so much so that a third sequel was made some 16 years later.
The tag team:
J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) make this movie. The know-it-all Smith and the seasoned Jones create an on-screen presence that’s hard to ignore. It’s one full of wit, sarcasm, and meanness, but of the best kind. Whether it’s the banter or the two men bullying Tony Shalhoub or a pug, they’re a perfect mix of rookie and veteran. The script and gestures are hysterical, and I just noticed Jay scratching his eyebrow with his middle finger for the first time this weekend. I always see something new.
Is there other life out there?
One of my favorite parts is the discovery phase. I love finding out there is a secret organization that manages the aliens on the planet. There aren’t a lot of aliens in this movie, but you know of bugs, the little worm guys in the break room, and the cute baby squid, to name a few. I remember seeing this movie as a kid and thinking, Wow… that would be a cool job. MIB made me question if we were alone in the universe.
Special effects don’t have to be over the top.
As we watched Friday, my son turned to me and asked, “Mom, how did they make that look so real?” The answer is a great movie crew and some CGI. The bad bug in this movie looks vicious, not cartoony. The spaceships don’t look fake or so unbelievable that you can tell a computer was used. The producers used real New York landmarks and celebrities, which adds something special. The effects aren’t so fast that you can’t keep up, and it’s a perfect mix of real and digital — certainly a lesson some directors should pay attention to now.
Take the time to rewatch.
I admit the sequels are not as good, as most sequels, but the series is super fun and entertaining. There are some light life lessons and touching moments, but overall Men in Black just takes you on an adventure without traveling too far from home.
Here are some of my favorite lines:
Beatrice: You here to make fun of me too?
Kay: No, ma’am. We at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we’re aware of. May we come in?
Kay: All right… That’s confiscated. All of it. And I want you on the next transport off this rock or I’m gonna shoot you where it don’t grow back.
Jay: [shaken] Yeah and… and… and I’m gonna be back to talk about them Rolexes.
Jay: [stepping on some cockroaches] Oh, I’m sorry. Was that your auntie? Then that must be your uncle over there!
Jay: You know what they say. It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Kay: Try it.
Kay: I don’t suppose you know what kind of alien life form leaves a green spectral trail and craves sugar water, do you?
Jay: Uh, wait, that was on Final Jeopardy! last night. Damn, Alex said…
And don’t forget the song!