I almost forgot that there are movies this good out there, but The Man From the Earth reminded me that if you look and listen carefully, ye shall be rewarded. Although the recommendation for this movie came to me a long time ago, I constantly kept putting it off because the movie looked like a C production without any redeeming qualities. Upon seeing it, I can honestly confirm that it looks like a C production with questionable acting and directing, but boy was I wrong on the redeeming qualities… Science (fiction) porn, this is ladies and gentlemen, a fistfight between Attenborough and Sagan that lasts for ninety minutes and when it’s over you want more.
Written by one of the greatest science fiction and mystery writer Jerome Bixby, who also worked on Twilight Zone and Star Trek, The Man From the Earth is a movie for anyone with an inquisitive mind. Someone who enjoys day-dreaming and thinking about possibilities wrapped into a rational and scientific mindset. And unlike other movies that rely on flashy visuals or emotional baits, it bases its story and atmosphere in sheer intellect. Dear lord, I already sound like that douchy hipster thinking highly of himself after a semester in college. And while there are a lot of great movies set in one location like Rope or 12 Angry Men, just to mention a couple of old ones, this is the only one with a story stemming from science and let’s say fiction.
Sometimes I wonder, alone at night, naked, drunk and high, would this movie be better with a bit more familiar cast. The answer eludes me. After you have seen the movie, take a second and imagine it with Spacey, Hopkins, Freeman, and the rest. Now imagine all the hype, spoilers, and the fact that it would be dragged through the crappy tabloids and crummy talk shows, just to show that people who endorse it are actually smart. Yeah, that proves it alright…
As you might have noticed, I didn’t write a single word about the plot of the movie. I didn’t want to spoil the fun for you guys, but considering the fact that I’m the one recommending the movie and I’m not saying anything about the plot, it means the whole thing actually is a spoiler. It means that the plot is so fucked up that I couldn’t write a thing about it. The plot can be summed up as a joke (how ’bout a limerick?): Eight University professors make a farewell party for their retiring colleague… And these professors know how to party, trust me.
And one final note. I believe that the essence of this movie is the thing that propelled us from tribal humans looking only to survive to a little less tribal humans somewhat looking to survive. Storytelling and scientific inquiry seem like strange bedfellows but they were one here. You can imagine our ancestors gathering around a fire and carefully listening to a story…
Director: Richard Schenkman
Writer: Jerome Bixby
Cast: David Lee Smith, Tony Todd, John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, Annika Peterson, William Katt, Alexis Thorpe
Fun Facts: The Tony Todd character, “Dan”, mentions that he is gonna go home and watch Star Trek. Tony Todd appeared in seven episodes and one video game of Star Trek since 1990, John Billingsley starred in Star Trek: Enterprise and screenwriter Jerome Bixbywrote several episodes of the original series. Richard Riehle also guest starred in episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Star Trek: Voyager and “Star Trek: Enterprise”.