John McCain protects us from aliens: “Night Skies”

October 9, 2012

In 1997, a bunch of lights were seen in the skies over Arizona. It is one of the most compelling and mystifying unexplained phenomena in recent years, and the event became known as “The Phoenix Lights.” Ten years later, the movie Night Skies reveals the untold story of the Phoenix Lights—the story of the six people who encountered aliens. Before that long night was finished, only one would survive to tell the tale. The other five would be…uh…well, there’s no actual evidence they exist. So, that’s gotta be the work of aliens, right?

Night Skies begins with archival footage of Senator John McCain being asked about the numerous reports of the Phoenix Lights and the military’s stonewalling any inquiries into the matter. McCain handles the question graciously (and reminds us all why he’s so likable when he’s not running for President), by saying that, yeah, he’s curious about that, too, and intends to demand an explanation from the military. And that’s how the Senate Oversight Committee for Unexplained Flying Objects got to the bottom of all this UFO nonsense.  Oh wait, no, that never happened.

This is supposed to give the events of the film the sheen of verisimilitude, but all it really does is really make you admire McCain’s composure at being asked a really, really moronic question.

Next we join most of our cast as they trundle across Arizona in an RV. They are one married couple, an engaged couple, and one of the dude’s sister. We get a couple long scenes setting up their various, um, personalities? That doesn’t seem like the right word.

Nothing says fun like a vehicle with a chemical toilet and no shower.

Pretty much it boils down to: 1) the engaged chick is pregnant, but hasn’t told her bf, because he’s a commitment-phobe; 2) One is a hot, Asian chick; 3) one is a single chick on the prowl; 4) one is the hot Asian chick’s husband. And that’s about it. Then they get into an accident, swerving to avoid a stalled car on the highway, and meet Richard, who is, by default, our, um hero? That doesn’t seem like the right world, either, but okay.

Well, the accident leave hot Asian chick’s husband with a knife embedded in his shoulder at an inexplicable angle, and everyone promptly freaks out. Fortunately, Richard is a veteran of Desert Storm, and fairly resourceful. He manages to stabilize stabbed-guy, but they can’t get the RV running, and their radio is dead.

Dude, how did you MANAGE that?

Then we get an interminable middle-section, during which single-chick hits on Richard, and Richard relates his history of being a tortured POW and recovering morphine addict and alcoholic. Engaged chick frets over her pregnancy and keeps her boyfriend from attacking Richard, because, well, he’s kind of a cockbag. And there are no aliens.

Finally, stabee starts to bleed out, so Richard and Boyfriend set out into the darkened forest of, uh, Arizona to follow some power lines to what they hope is a helpful cabin. Along the way, they get ambushed by aliens, and these aren’t your friendly, Close Encounters/E.T. aliens. No, these are the sodomizing kind.

“Really? This is what we came across the galaxy for? Really?”

Richard accidentally shoots the boyfriend (well, that’ll happen I suppose), but manages to get back to the RV, and convinces the women that they need to barricade the RV against the marauding aliens. Because nothing is more impregnable than an RV with a locked door.

The women don’t believe him, and think he murdered the boyfriend, and there’s a lot of screaming back and forth. Then the aliens attack, though, in fairness, they probably just want to get everybody to shut the hell up. They break through the RV’s windows and snatch some people, and suck some others up off the ground (you’d think they would have just done that to begin with, but maybe these aliens aren’t too bright, either). Eventually, everyone ends up either dead or snatched.

Six shots against beings that have traversed the galaxy. Yeah, that should work.

On the UFO, Richard manages to cut his way out of the goopy bonds that hold him, and finds the pregnant chick being experimented on, so he does the manly thing and shoots her. In fairness, she did want him to, probably so they couldn’t take her unborn baby and make a hybrid or something out of it. That makes the aliens really, really mad, and they work Richard over pretty good.

At this point it should be said that aliens kind of look like your typical little, gray ones, only they have really mean expressions, like they have a mouth full of sour owls or something. They’re probably the ones that live next door to the Close Encounters aliens, and bitch at them to keep off their lawn. Like, they probably won’t return their baseballs or Frisbees when they land in their yard, either. They just look like jerk-aliens.

And the movie ends with Michael Dorn playing a patrolman who finds Richard’s half-dead body. The end notes tell us that Richard remained in a coma for almost a full year, and told this story when he regained consciousness. It also informs us that there was no record of the people he described having disappeared in Arizona. And I guess that’s supposed to make this all seem more truthful.

Michael, why are you in this movie? You have TNG and DS9 money.

So, yeah, that’s Night Skies. A bunch of people scream at each other and then they get kidnapped by aliens. What makes this movie different from, say, Communion, or Fire in the Sky or The Fourth Kind, you ask? Um…er…well, this one has an RV.

Moral of the story? I guess it’s that you should drive around the forests of Arizona at night unless you want to play the Ned Beatty role in some extra-terrestrial game of Deliverance.

Idle thoughts:

*The hot, Asian chick has apparently shown her and her husband’s sex tape to the dude driving the RV. I guess that was the filmmaker’s lone attempt at sexing up a really, really, unsexy movie.

* Richard is played by Jason Connery—Sir Sean Connery’s son. Man, family get-togethers must suck for him: “Anyway, that’sh the shtory of how I bedded Jill St. John on the shet of Diamondsh are Fohreveh. Now tell me more about that movie where you’re buggered by shpayshmen, kid.”

* The travelers are all in their 20s, which begs the question: Who buys an RV under the age of 55 in this day and age? Moreover, what group of people collectively buy into the notion, “Yeah, five people living in absurdly tight quarters in a motor home would be a fun way to spend a couple days?” I’m sorry, but if you’re that dumb, you pretty much deserve to be butt-raped by aliens.

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