A to Z Challenge 2015 - Day 13 - Men In Black

M Is For Men In Black

Preamble: It's day 13, so that means we are half way there. Only one close call so far and at this point I'm a few days ahead of schedule. How are my all A to Z folks doing? Let me know in the comment. Anywho...

OK, we're back to movies based on books again. But we had a fun little run where that wasn't the case and honestly, would most of you know that, if I hadn't told you?

There was a time in my life where I thought Will Smith could do no wrong, movie wise (I figured if he focused on his movie career it would keep him from "rapping"). While looking back, I'm pretty sure this was the start of his first decline but as an adolescent this movie was the bomb.com. For some reason, my circle of friends all got obsessed with this movie. For the life of me, I can't remember why. But we knew this movie backwards and forwards. We knew the theme song by heart and yes, we even had a choreographed dance to go with it.

This film is still fun if you don't think about it too hard and you don't watch any of the sequels. But hey, if you can find it, the animated TV series was pretty rad, be sure to check that out.
Year: 1997

Rated: PG-13

Summary - They are the best-kept secret in the universe. Working for a highly funded yet unofficial government agency, Kay and Jay are the Men in Black, providers of immigration services and regulators of all things alien on Earth. While investigating a series of unregistered close encounters, the MIB agents uncover the deadly plot of an intergalactic terrorist who is on a mission to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies currently in residence in New York City.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Written by: Ed Solomon

Based on: The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham

  • Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K
  • Will Smith as Agent J
  • Linda Fiorentino as Laurel Weaver
  • Vincent D'Onofrio as Edgar the Bug
  • Rip Torn as Agent Zed: The head of the M.I.B.
  • Tony Shalhoub as Jack Jeebs
  • Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Beatrice, Edgar's wife.
  • Mike Nussbaum as Gentle Rosenberg, Arquillian jeweler
  • Jon Gries as Van Driver
  • Sergio Calderón as Jose
  • Carel Struycken as Arquillian
  • Fredric Lehne as INS Agent Janus
  • Richard Hamilton as Agent D
  • Kent Faulcon as 1st Lieutenant Jake Jensen
  • John Alexander as Mikey
  • Keith Campbell as Perp
  • Patrick Breen as Mr. Redgick
  • Becky Ann Baker as Mrs. Redgick
  • Sean Whalen as Intergalactic Passport Officer
  • David Cross as Newton the Morgue Attendant
  • Tim Blaney as Frank the Pug (voice)

Top Picks from the Soundtrack: Men in Black: The Album
"We Just Wanna Party with You" - Snoop Dogg featuring Jermaine Dupri
"Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing)" - Alicia Keys
"Killing Time" - Destiny's Child

The Review
In retrospect what I like the most and the least about this movie is that it reminds me of Ghostbusters. I think that I may have just simply outgrown funny Sci-Fi movies. I think that great Sci-Fi movies are an endangered species. Growing up loving Star Trek and seeing how it inspired so many people to go on and create so many great things and then seeing the lack of actual American innovation and American kids wanting to go into STEM careers lately is probably what made me change my mind because I literally hadn't thought about this film in over 10 years.

But Barry Sonnenfeld's experience as a cinematographer really gave the look of this film an inspired edge while Danny Elfman provided a fun musical score. Men in Black is given life by Sonnenfeld's shot choices. He had an excellent sense for making sure everything came together for the greatest comic effect.

Throw in two perfectly cast actors, Tommy Lee Jones' whose wry delivery and Will Smith providing the funny, it makes with some true personality. Not to mention Vincent D'Onofrio is a memorable bad guy (as he almost always is).

It's a fun movie, with a great mythology and I would definitely say it deserve a rewatch. I think this movie is great to watch with kids, although it's a little gross at times.

However I would skip the sequels...

Grade - 
Then: B
Now: C-

Aces for Acting
  • Tommy Lee Jones

  • Will Smith

Favorite Character
  • Edgar the Bug

Best Character Interactions
  • Agent J and Agent K

Best Scene

[In a shooting range, confronted with numerous menacing-looking targets, Edwards shoots a cardboard little girl]

Zed: May I ask why you felt little Tiffany deserved to die?

James Edwards: Well, she was the only one that actually seemed dangerous at the time, sir.

Zed: How'd you come to that conclusion?

James Edwards: Well, first I was gonna pop this guy hanging from the street light, and I realized, y'know, he's just working out. I mean, how would I feel if somebody come runnin' in the gym and bust me in my ass while I'm on the treadmill? Then I saw this snarling beast guy, and I noticed he had a tissue in his hand, and I'm realizing, y'know, he's not snarling, he's sneezing. Y'know, ain't no real threat there. Then I saw little Tiffany. I'm thinking, y'know, eight-year-old white girl, middle of the ghetto, bunch of monsters, this time of night with quantum physics books? She about to start some shit, Zed. She's about eight years old, those books are WAY too advanced for her. If you ask me, I'd say she's up to something. And to be honest, I'd appreciate it if you eased up off my back about it.


James Edwards: Or do I owe her an apology?


James Edwards: That's a good shot though...

Notable Quotable

Jay: [Kay is blaring "Promised Land" by Elvis Presley on the car's stereo] You do know Elvis is dead, right?

Kay: No, Elvis is not dead. He just went home.

Most Memorable Moment
[Jay and Kay meet a strange-looking man holding a dog on a leash]

Jay: Now that's the worst disguise ever. That guy's gotta be an alien.

Frank the Pug: You don't like it, you can kiss my furry little butt!

  • An animated series based on the film, titled Men in Black: The Series, ran from 1997 to 2001 on The WB.
  • The success of the film inspired Marvel who owned the property, to option other properties for development.
  • Following the film's release, Ray-Ban stated sales of their Predator 2 sunglasses tripled to $5 million.

Did I whet your appetite to watch Men In Black for the first time or maybe just the first time in a long time?

Be sure to come back tomorrow because I'm discussing Natural Born Killers.

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