I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Summer Movie Flashback: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

tn_xfiles

2008
2008

I was a casual X-Files-viewing type of individual. I watched it sometimes, but not all the way until the wheels fell off. I mostly liked the funny episodes like the vampires one with Luke Wilson (written by the guy that later did HOME FRIES and Breaking Bad) or the one where the guy describes the men in black as looking like Alex Trebek and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and then that’s who plays them in the episode. I also liked the whole ongoing story about the aliens and the black oil and shit to a point, but I mean I can only keep track of so much, fellas. I lost interest. So I kinda liked the idea of a smaller, more standalone horror movie with the X-Filesers in it, but since nobody ever claimed I WANT TO BELIEVE was any good I didn’t get around to watching it until now.

I never saw the end of the show, but it looks like Mulder and Scully both quit the FBI, and now they live together, though I don’t think anybody knows Mulder is there. Scully is a big time doctor at a Catholic hospital, Mulder is a shaggy beardo who stays in his room surrounded by news clippings and does… I don’t know. Desk work? Maybe he’s a private monster investigator, or working on a novel, or doing a video game review websight or something. Or scrapbooking maybe is what he’s into, it probly said but I missed it.

Then one day an FBI agent (Amanda Peet, SYRIANA) comes looking for Mulder’s help, and he agrees to do it only if Scully comes too. You know, couples should sometimes go out and do new things together. Or old things that they haven’t done since they left the show and Xena was on it or whatever. So that’s how ol’ Muld & Sculls ended up on The Case of the Missing FBI Agent and the Severed Arms and the Dogs and Car Accidents In the Snow and Stuff.

mp_xfilesOne important note: Peet’s partner is none other than rapper and ride pimping middleman Xzibit. He’s the Scully I guess ’cause he’s always grimacing and rolling his eyes like “oh jesus I can’t believe these fuckin white people” as they keep dealing with their only lead, an ex-priest (Billy Connolly of Head of the Class and BOONDOCK SAINTS fame) who is supposedly a psychic and may or may not be leading them to important locations related to the disappearance. Scully is arguably even more disgusted with having to listen to this guy, not just ’cause she thinks he’s full of shit, but also ’cause he is a convicted child molester. And he voluntarily lives in a halfway house. Good for him, but that means he’s got a creepy roommate around too. Scully left the FBI, that’s not her life anymore, she shouldn’t have to be a guest to two pedophiles, sitting on their pedophile couch. The things she does for Mulder.

By the way, it’s kinda funny that even though they’re a couple they still call each other by their last names. I guess it would be hard to switch after all those years. Just like if you’re on a sports team and everybody calls you by your last name only, they forget there’s anything else to call you.

It’s a very character-driven movie, and deals kinda predictably with Mulder needing a case like this for his sanity, and Scully starting to be unhappy with his obsession, thinking he’s falling for a phony, quitting the case and the relationship, getting pulled back in, all that. The part I found most interesting is actually the part about Scully working at the hospital, fighting with the Catholic bigwigs about the ethics of an experimental procedure that has a slim chance of saving a little boy, but will definitely be painful for him, and how the X-File case influences her decisions. It’s not traditional movie thrills, but that’s why it’s kinda cool. It stands out. (By the way I chose the extended version, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a part that was shorter in the original release.)

There’s one funny joke that places this in a specific era: Mulder and Scully go into the FBI headquarters and see the portrait of the president on the wall. Of course that president is George W. Bush, and the eerie X-Files theme plays when it appears on screen. (In retrospect though I don’t get the joke, because it seems like it’s that they hadn’t worked under Bush before, but that wouldn’t make sense since the show ended 2 years into his presidency.)

I enjoyed the movie, but I can see why it didn’t make an impression on the world. It’s kinda in between movie and TV. The best parts are small character things, not summer movie spectacle. It’s got cinematic atmosphere and production values (though still filmed in Vancouver I think), but the horror/mystery part is more like a decent story-of-the-week than a we-are-finally-bringing-these-beloved-characters-back-to-the-big-screen type of idea.

I mean I’m glad it wasn’t another thing where the whole series was building up to it. I like that it’s more intimate. But it doesn’t feel like it would be strong enough for a movie if Mulder and Scully weren’t there. (Or at least if Xzibit wasn’t there.) I would like if it seemed like a real horror movie but these characters happen to be on the case so things go differently than they would if it was just the neighborhood teens trying to convince the adults what’s going on. Imagine if Mulder and Scully had been there for Freddy, or Candyman, or I Come in Peace, or Chucky, or King Kong. They would’ve figured out what was going on faster and dealt with it differently than anyone else. Not Predator though, Predator would’ve probly skinned them and hung them from a tree.

Wait a minute, what about E.T.? Would they have ratted him out? We can only speculate.

Anyway, if this is the end of these characters I’m not gonna cry. But I think there’s potential for them to take more, better cases. Or an Xzibit spinoff called X to the Z Files.

p.s. Some of you probly don’t know that before he was a likable giggling stoner on Pimp My Ride and vehicle-provider in xXx: STATE OF THE UNION Xzibit was a pretty serious rapper, and underrated in my opinion. Check out this great CHILDREN OF MEN style video from Gregory Dark, the director of SEE NO EVIL and BETWEEN THE CHEEKS 2.


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 at 2:33 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

58 Responses to “Summer Movie Flashback: The X-Files: I Want To Believe”

  1. Oh shit I was totally going to suggest this one for SMF but I forgot. I think it has a lot of DTV action sequel-isms going which is odd since it’s not DTV or action. Just ends up being a little bit TOO small and unambitious in the end.

  2. I haven’t seen this one yet either, but I used to watch The X Files as a kid even though it not only scared the shit out of me sometimes but I never had a clue what the fuck was going on most of the time, but there was something about that show that kept bringing me back, I think I enjoyed how “grown up” it felt, it was about FBI agents and shit, but not in a dry police procedural show sense, there was enough scares and whatnot to make it fun and while all the “mythology” just went right over my head, it was confusing in a fun way

    and I crush on Scully too, if I’m being honest, I always had a thing for older women as a kid

    anyway to me The X Files is absolutely the quintessential TV show of the 90’s, so much so that you can actually chart the existence of “the 90’s” as a cultural movement by when the show was on air, from 1993 when “the 90’s” really came into it’s own thing to 2002 when any last remaining strains of it finally died for good, funny how that works

    I did see the last episode but I had not a clue what the fuck was going, there was someone old Native American guy in these ruins out in the desert that Mulder and Scully visit, then the old gets blown up by a black helicopter and it ends with Mulder and Scully in a motel room and it implies that they’re gonna do it, or something

  3. oh yeah and this is the part where I post my thoughts on 2008 I guess

    I don’t really have a whole lot to say about it other than the fact that I can’t fucking believe it was half a decade ago, I remember it like it was yesterday

    it sucked compared to 2006 and 2007, there was some family related shit going down and it was generally a gloomy year for everyone what with the economy going up in flames and a very ugly Election season, but all in all it wasn’t THAT bad, just not great, interesting at least

    it was a transitional year, we we’re leaving the Bush era and entering the Obama one

  4. I’ve never been into X-FILES. I saw maybe three episodes of it, because I didn’t have cable when it was on and after that I never felt the urge to watch 9 episodes of a show, that as everybody agreed, overstayed its welcome by at least 4 or 5 seasons. Maybe one day, if they show re-runs from the beginning somewhere, I’m gonna check it out.

    I think X-Zibit’s PAPARAZZI was a top 10 hit over here though and his videos got steady airplay on our music channels, but I don’t really know much about him. My favourite PIMP MY RIDE moment* though was when he surprised a young woman, who was so excited that she hugged her Grandma and yelled: “Grandma, that’s MTV and they are gonna pimp my ride!” And X-Zibit got totally emberassed for a second and said to the old lady: “Uhm…we REVAMP it! We revamp it.”

    (Also I still remember that one moment when they were ripping a car’s seats out and discovered a family of mice underneath it!)

    *I always wondered what happened once they had to repair their newly pimped cars. I guess they had a guarantee for a while, but then it would be cheaper to just sell it on Craigslist.

  5. I liked the self-contained monster-of -the-weeks episodes as well. Did not give a fuck about the conspiracy arc like at all.but the horror episodes were sometimes brilliant. My favourite was the TCM-esque one with the red neck family and the buried inbred baby, that episode was both scary and funny.

  6. Shoot, hell yeah, that episode about the inbred rednecks was fucked up. I too liked the monster-of-the-week type episodes over the more mythology-heavy episodes. After a while it was clear that Chris Carter had written himself into a corner with no exit strategy.

    These days there are plenty of TV shows that are, or at least aim to be on equal artistic footing with cinema, but back then THE X-FILES was one of the few shows that was trying to bring big cinematic ambitions to the TV box. It was hit-and-miss, but when it hit there was nothing else like it.

  7. I did ride THE X-FILES until the doors fell off, and it’s left me with trust issues concerning long-running TV dramas with convoluted central mythologies ever since. The truth was NOT out there, that’s all I’ll say.

    But I do love these characters, and while the conspiracy uberplot ended up being a total bust and not worth revisiting, I do pop in some random monster-of-the-week episodes from time to time. So I was psyched for this movie. But it kind of sucks. Somewhere along the way somebody in charge got an erroneous memo that what people liked about the show was the idea of Mulder and Scully being a boring couple who didn’t enjoy hanging out very much because they reminded each other of all the traumatic experiences they endured together. That’s not what anybody signed on for. The core of the show was the platonic-with-possibilities chemistry between the leads that both of them were way too cool to ever bring up. It was all bubbling just below the surface while they dealt with weirder things. By the end of the show and in this movie, it’s barely about the monsters anymore. It’s a really depressing soap opera with a vaguely supernatural subplot. Not what I ordered.

    As for this movie, the plot is just too small and half-assed to satisfy. I’ve seen it twice and couldn’t really tell you what it’s about. There’s a psychic and a Russian doctor sewing limbs back on and once again it’s all about faith or something? Hardly worth the attention of the team who once battled a plesiosaur.

    I’m all for more of these things. But let’s lighten things up, please.

  8. I was a huge X-Files fan back in the day. I still have them all on DVD and watch an episode now and then. This film isn’t as good as a lot of the episodes, but I thought it was a nice send off to the characters. I felt like Mulder being on the edge of a psychotic break because he’s been out of the game for so long made sense and so did the fact that Scully was working at a Catholic associated hospital. I had spent nearly a decade with these characters, so I was actually interested to see where they ended up. There are a few descent set pieces in the film, but it’s not going to make any new fans of the series. But as a capper to the series, I was reasonably happy.

  9. I thought this was decent when I saw it, for some of the same reasons Vern did. I dunno, for some reason I loved the movie making a correlation between Mulder’s search for UFOs with that priest’s search for God: They both believe in something that they can’t prove. (You missed that Mr. Majestyk.)

    Better than the first X-FILES movie, which oddly enough I found it to be a typical episode over-sretched into a movie. Now in retrospect its laughable because its whole scheme was that FEMA was really a secret government 5th column. Who takes that idea seriously now after Katrina?

  10. I don’t think I missed it, RRA. It’s never been a series that makes its themes difficult to unpack. I mean, the correlation between Mulder’s faith in the paranormal and Scully’s seemingly-out-of-character faith in God was a well the series returned to often. I’m pretty sure I just forgot it, the way I forgot most everything else about the movie. It’s just not an interesting enough piece of work to stick in the memory.

  11. Man. that inbred episodes. One of the few episodes that I was able to catch too. I think stuff like this is co-responsible for the higher tolerance of graphic violence and sensitive topics even in network TV shows. (Interesting enough, Chris Carter’s MILLENNIUM cranked the violence on TV up even more. The pilot is even by today’s standards pretty heavy stuff.)

  12. The thing I remember best about this movie is the very, very end, when Scully and Mulder are on a rowboat in the tropics and then they look up and wave at the camera.

  13. Countdown to longwinded X-FILES rant about why this movie is underrated from Mr Subtlety…

  14. He’s the one who got me to give it another chance. Unfortunately, I ended up liking it even less the second time. While I appreciate his detailed breakdown of the movie’s themes, absolutely none of his points make it more enjoyable to watch.

  15. Apparently today also marks the 20th anniversary of the series’ premiere. Great timing, Vern!

  16. That’s Mr. S in a nutshell

  17. unfortunately, I never saw the “inbred” episode, I only watched the show sporadically, it’s been on my to do list for a very long to eventually buy all the dvds and watch the whole thing, partly out of nostalgia and partly out of curiosity, but that’s obviously a lot of time and money to invest in something flawed

  18. It’s a great episode, Griff. I don’t remember what season it’s in, but I think it’s titled HOME, if you can find it on Netflix, or somewhere. I think that was the episode that finally sent my roommate in college over the edge. She had already run screaming from the room in a previous episode where a body liquified in a morgue drawer & then sloshed over the edge when the slid it out.

  19. No no, I’m saving my strength for Vern’s promised Prequel Marathon. If I must make my stand, I will make it there.

    However, I feel obligated –as the sole person who managed the task of actually enjoying this movie– to say: I think it sucks that the world in general judged it not on the basis of what it is, but against the X-files movie they personally imagined. I know you guys here gave it a chance after I browbeat you and still didn’t like it much, so I don’t lump you in that category. But you know how the great unwashed masses are. You either give them exactly the same thing as what they already like or they’ll turn on you.

    I actually mostly agree with Vern’s take on IWtB: the best things about the movie are the small things, the little character moments, the atmosphere, the subtext about faith and the possibility of forgiveness, the way the movie subtly alludes to our long history with these characters. I even like the creepy body-snatching plot and it’s icky sexual complications, even if the movie seems weirdly disinterested in it. I agree the movie would hardly be worth it without Mulder and Scully, but hey, it has them, so good. I still maintain there’s some very interesting and unique subtext going on here, but I think most of you guys see that by now, and it still isn’t your cup of tea. Which is understandable.

    X-FILES was a show that wasn’t afraid to be a lot of things. Some people loved the conspiracy angle, some people went for the relationship stuff, or the human element, some people loved the humor, some people loved the horror, some people (presumably) loved the heavy-handed philosophical stuff. As a series, it could dabble in a little of everything, but as a movie it chose to mostly be only a few things. I WANT TO BELIEVE neglects quite a number of major elements, focusing mostly on the relationship, some philosophical stuff, and a small dose of horror. I guess I’m not surprised that this choice alienated a lot of people who liked things about the show which are not well represented in the movie, but for me personally it makes I WANT TO BELIEVE a little less pandering, a little more pure in what it’s trying to do. Many of my favorites X-FILES episodes are the serious, atmospheric (and even kind of depressing) horror entries, which get a little much needed relief via Mulder’s dry wit and Scully’s comforting likability, and that’s pretty much what we got here. Every once in awhile, the universe hands me a movie which obviously only I am equipped to really love, and I guess this is probably one of em.

    Still, I can’t disagree with you that if they make another one (and I hope they do) they go in a different direction with it. Something a little lighter and more fun would be a more fitting end to the series.

    goddamit, that ended up being a longwinded rant anyway. Curse you, Dan Prestwich!

  20. Bumped the hell out of some Xzibit and The Liks in various parking lots back in the day; it wasn’t a major part of my circle’s rap&beats rotation, but it was there. Never was the biggest Xzibit fan, but his stuff had great presence & crowd appeal, put a knowing smile on everyone’s face even though it wasn’t anything soft and it made some heads bob even though it wasn’t anything too hard or mindblowing. No classic albums, but some of the singles made for excellent party soundtrack filler material.

    Some of my best memories involve loads of blunt smoke, red solo cups, and me suddenly hearing the opening chimes of a certain beat that leads to a hook that every one of the girls at the party knows — “Call it what you want to call it, I’m a fuckin’ alcoholic” {raising glasses, “whoo”-ing, waving of hands in hip-hop fashion as show of solidarity & intoxication, irreplaceable sense of togetherness for 3 minutes, etc.} Real life became a music video whenever that happened.

    Pretty clever to cast him as an X-Fileser. Wonder how many X-Philes picked up on that.

    “Pimp My Ride” couldn’t have come out at a worse time if it wanted to capture me & my peers’ attention. We were so over the rims & neon-FAST-&-FURIOUS-tuned-up-showcar thing by 2004, the premiere date for that show, and that’s when Xzibit had completely fallen off as a rapper, too, as far as I could tell, other than the occasional guest verse that I can’t even remember. I hate everything about “PMR” — the nasty, ignorant, problematic title; the decadence; the judgmentalism of the hosts & participants; the gaudiness of the results; the stagedness of the “pimping” process & the excitement of the winners; the celebration of adding monitors to a fucking automobile; the path of frivolous, reckless irresponsibility presented to a pool of young drivers who are statistically the most frivolous people and irresponsible & reckless drivers to begin with.

    With “PMR” and “Cribs” (or was it “Cribz,” to appeal to the cool kidz?), mTV has dubiously proudly represented so much that is wrong with the world. I hate.

  21. Vern — at the risk of having the boys here throw chalkboard erasers at me and call me a nerd, Mulder actually never served under Bush. He was abducted and declared dead in May, 2000 (or anyway, that’s when the episode aired), and when he returned, his application to re-join the FBI was denied. He would be a recurring character on the X-FILES show thereafter, but would never return to the FBI in an official position. (OK if you want to get technical he did briefly rejoin the FBI for about a day in April 2001, but maybe he didn’t get a chance to look at the new portraits before getting fired.) So it makes sense that, at least for Mulder, seeing Bush at the FBI feels like returning to old haunts in a new era.

  22. NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERD!!!

  23. *shoves Mr. Subtlety’s head in toilet*

  24. Hey, I remember that carnival episode as well! Plus the one where they did the bodyshock horror thing in the very first season (and did it really well) with Xander Berkeley in an ice-station. Many, many references to “The Thing” were thrown out. I tried to watch the movies. The first one, I remember the giant insect tanks and the buried alien pods, and I quite enjoyed it back then, although it was a long time ago… and as for the second one, I just couldn’t get past the first twenty minutes. I just couldn’t get anything from it. I can’t even remember Billy Connelly being in it (did he appear later?) although I’ve read that he was.

    “Pimp My Ride” was freakin’ GENIUS! Did you see the episode where they pimped the guy’s ice-cream van? (Yes, that happened.) Or the time when they put a working bowling rink in the back of somebody’s pickup?

    I always felt sorry for the guy who got to do the wheels though. That guy must have been one of the most unappreciated people in the history of reality TV. Everybody else on the show was busy converting a Landrover into a machine that would turn air into water so that African orphans could have something to drink (Yes, that happened too.) And then you’ve got the guy who’s responsible for the wheels being trotted out every week to parade the fact that they’re ever so slightly bigger than they were before, and sometimes had shinier hub-caps. And everybody else would watch earnestly and pretend to be impressed, before going off and figuring out a way to fit Saint Paul’s cathedral in a Mini.

  25. And the closest I ever had to a “swirly” in my school was having a bottle of tomato ketchup dumped over my head. (It’s very sticky, and it doesn’t do too much for your hair.) I feel as though I’ve missed out on a seminal childhood experience.

  26. There was also that episode where Mulder and Scully are used as the basis for characters in a movie and have to help with the research, and Gary Shandling was who was cast as Mulder, while Tea Leoni was cast as Scully, and has a thing for Mulder when she meets him.
    This is also the episode where Skinner admits to having a bubble bath while on the phone with Mulder, with no self consciousness because Skinner was a total badass on that show.

  27. In the wake of all the CIA Prism stuff and hand-wringing about spy drones, it’s interesting looking back at THE X-FILES as a time capsule of 90s paranoia. In the years post 9/11, the idea that the US government was hiding these huge, world-shaking conspiracies seemed kind of quaint. When the government is tapping phones and holding secret military tribunals fo realsies it kind of takes the fun out of it.

  28. What’s wrong with being filmed in Vancouver? The best episodes were shot there.

  29. Oh, and I have seen this movie but I barely remember anything about it. I wonder what Chris Carter’s motivation was for making it, because it seemed to have very little to say. I like that it’s smaller scale and doesn’t even bother touching that dog’s breakfast of a mythology, but the whole thing comes off like a lost mid-tier TV episode that Carter found under the couch. It makes me wonder if the whole impetus for making the movie was some sort of use-or-lose-it contractual thing.

  30. I fucking love Xzibit’s album “Man Vs. Machine.” It almost feels like a concept album at times and the production is really weird and bouncy.

    I think that if Wookiees could rap they would sound like Xzibit

  31. I think the idea was that this movie was to “test the waters” of public interest in X Files before making a movie that dealt with the mythology, obviously it didn’t quite work out

    although, I dare say the time is probably right now, not 5 years ago, for an X Files revival

  32. Subtlety – Right now I’m giving a you slow clap for that wonderful display of geekery.

    A lot of people talk about how the last ten or fifteen years has been the golden age of television. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I do think that the 90s might have been the golden age of network television. There were a lot of ambitious shows like Twin Peaks (I know it started in 89, but I’m including it anyway) and Northern Exposure and, of course, the X-Files in the 90s that networks are just not interested in anymore.

  33. Thanks Subtlety, that was exactly the type of explanation I was hoping to get about the Bush portrait joke.

    idiot boy – nothing wrong with Vancouver, just that the show (like a million other TV shows) had to use Vancouver as fake-everywhere-in-the-world-they-ever-go so it would be cool if for a movie they got to actually film on location in some places. I think maybe they did on the first one? Maybe Subtlety knows.

  34. Mouth – “No classic albums”

    I don’t know about that. I mean if you asked me to list my top 50 MC’s I don’t think Xzibit would ever make the list. However AT THE SPEED OF LIFE is an album that has held it’s own for almost 20 years now and seems even more relevant at points in terms of it’s commentary on the hip hop climate today than it seemed 17 years ago. That’s the sign of classic material to me; timelessness.

    RESTLESS came out on the heels of 2001 and survived off the hype of that album but was even more diverse and had more to say than the album it was setup by. It was his most commercial release but still had enough substance to make people question some of their moves in lives and their own temperaments (IE: BEST OF THINGS, DON’T APPROACH ME). As well as not being afraid to pay tribute to classic cuts by rap pioneers (KENNY PARKER SHOW 2001) like many other West Coast MC’s in the 90’s used to do (IE: Ice Cube, Dogg Pound, Snoop).

    It brought a formula that was around since the 80’s in mainstream west coast rap and kinda withered by the late 90’s back into the forefront and into the 2000’s. It introduced a new generation to a type of west coast MC who could both be hard but also accessible as “one of the guys” which is something cats like The Game and Kendrick Lamar thrive from today. I’d say that’s a contender for “classic status” in terms of impact and overall quality as well. Granted nothing he made since even came close to the cohesiveness of that album but I don’t think it’s far fetched for someone to claim that Xzibit indeed does have some classic solo albums either.

  35. Back to THE X-FILES. Did they ever resolve who the cigarette smoking man really was? I stopped watching that show after the first movie and never looked back outside of the one episode with Frank Black because I got caught up with following MILLENIUM and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER instead.

  36. Replace Xzibit with Fluke Man (or Man Fluke, if you prefer) and now you’ve got a proper X Files film. Paul WS Anderson can direct!

  37. Aight, Broddie, deferring to you on the rap breakdown; I got no qualms about that, dude might have a classic disc that transcends his status as “pretty good banger with limited range,” just saying I’m a fan but not a huge fan who thinks he has historic lastingness. I had forgot about Xzibit’s minor contribution to “Big Bang Theory,” a minor song on one of my favorite shouldn’t-be-minor albums, here comically compromised by YouTube & Disney:
    http://oi42.tinypic.com/1zzm2w8.jpg

    They, uh, know their audience? I feel like there’s a Google Analytics/AdSense joke in here somewhere.

    And Xzibit’s now also played a Navy SEAL that helps shoot Osama bin Laden in the face, so, despite that being a mark of working for or of even literally *being* The Man, that actually increases his artistic cred. I’m for it.

    I assume Vern has seen that Xzibit movie, SEAL TEAM 6: THE RAID ON etc., and didn’t like it and is being tactful toward me by not posting about it.

  38. Vern, sorry to disappoint, the first X-FILES movie was intended to have some location shoots, but a tight schedule forced them to sub LA for Dallas and London, and Northern British Columbia for Alaska (where they wanted to shoot the ice scenes). Of course, the scenes in the Alien ship were shot on location (although actually in a government hanger where the ship now rests, rather than Antarctica). You can’t fake that shit.

    It should be noted that although the first 5 seasons were shot in Vancouver, the subsequent seasons were shot in LA, which allowed some new geographic features to appear. I think I WANT TO BELIEVE is supposed to take place in West VA, but it was filmed in Vancouver. It looks nothing like anything on the East Coast, but it does look like the world according to the X-files, and so I’m OK with that decision. It feels like returning home, to a place where everywhere looks kind of rainy and Canada-y.

  39. reminds me of that sci fi channel show EUREKA (did anyone else watch that?) where it was supposed to be set in Washington State but was so obviously filmed in Canada and filled with Canadian actors

  40. thinking back, I think the main reason I watched X Files as a kid was simply because my mom used to watch it and I would watch it with her, my parents were pretty lenient in allowing me to watch what they watched most of the time, same reason why I got to watch SNL as a kid (and THANK GOD FOR THAT. my childhood would have been a lot less fun without the antics of Will Ferrell) which resulted me in seeing a few movies a kid probably had no business in seeing but I’m glad I saw them anyway because they were great, movies like FARGO

    however, the one time I distinctly remember them crossing the line and forcing me to go to bed early was BOOGIE NIGHTS, which confused me not only because that was such a rare occurrence but also because as far as I could tell it was just a movie about a guy who lives in the 70’s, so what’s the big deal? they wouldn’t say

  41. This was such a ballsy tv show in so many ways. Has there ever been a show that was so chaste in spite of the massive sexual tension between the two main characters? How about the decision to have the main characters speak almost exclusively in monotone and without facial emoting? the blatantly accusatory tone it took towards government? the insanely baroque alien colonization mythology? how about a main character that 90% of people would clearly label a lunatic in real life? even the gilian anderson casting was pretty ballsy (the network wanted a tall blonde pretty badly, chris carpenter said “fuck off” repeatedly).

    such good stuff. plus great bit actors and a weird soundtrack by mark snow.

  42. oops. i have no idea who “chris carpenter” is. i meant “chris carter”.

  43. I LOVED The X-Files. Back in the day it was the only show that set new quality standards for television and the first show I remember that developed an ongoing story arc. It was great up to season 5 or so and then somewhat lost it’s mojo, but overall it’s still one of TVs finest shows, even though TV has come a long way since then with some mindblowingly good shows.I consider The X-Files to be the one that paved the way for other TV creators to try something ballsy.

    It was pretty gross in some episodes, but still tame compared to some of the stuff from today (anyone seen Hannibal?).

    I also really like the second movie, not so much because it is The X-Files, but because it had tons of atmosphere and a good mystery. I have become a sucker for (mostly scandinavian) crime/thriller shows (the original The Killing and others) and I WANT TO BELIEVE is closer to those than Sci-Fi or Horror if you ask me.

    Mathias

  44. Spoiler I guess but The Smoking Man ended up being Mulders real father. And Mulders sisters father I believe. Subtlety probably knows Samantha (Mulders sister) and the various explanations for what happened to her is a whole other rabbit hole to go down. I do think the two parter in the 7th season worked though to resolve that finally/again. The Native American in the last episode was actually Smoking man after disappearing for a good while and presumed dead. Anyway count me in as really liking this movie while seeing it’s flaws. I just love the characters and it was great to see them again.

  45. how did he turn into a Native American guy and why did that black helicopter blow him up? I thought he was the head of the conspiracy?

    also, remember that 90’s conspiracy theory of black helicopters? what was that all about again? secret helicopters that don’t make any noise and fly only at night or something? the 90’s was such a quaint decade even it’s paranoid ravings were quaint

  46. from what I remember of 90’s conspiracy theories they all revolved around right wing ideas of America being taken over by the UN with Clinton’s blessing and the Branch Davidians being intentionally and wantonly slaughtered by Clinton’s fascist ATF troops and whatnot

    all of it as ridiculous as modern day Obama theories

  47. oh and the OKC bombing was actually done by Arabs, not a white dude, of course

  48. Griff: CBG was just trying to be inconspicuous, not indigenous. You might have been thrown by his long hair and casual clothes. Albert Holstein – the actual indigenous character from early in the series – died (from cancer?) in a smoke lodge at some point in the later seasons and visited Scully as a ghost.

  49. I was a serious X-Phile back in the day. Watched (but didn’t love) the series until the end. Great stuff. I like the atmosphere and the characters. Mulder and Scully on my screen again. I agree that the movie is fine. It breaks no new ground, but it was a pretty good visit with this duo. The conspiracy stuff occasionally produced some great episodes. There was the whole arc where Scully was originally kidnapped. The season 3 finale that ended in the New Mexican desert with a train blowing up and stuff. Back before they had to get too clever for their own good one too many times and turn the whole Samantha mythology on its head, doing a bait and switch on practically everything that had “made sense” before about the clones and shapeshifters, etc.

    But I also had serious problems with how they handled Mulder’s disappearance. It was hilarious that in the episode in which he finally turned up again, there had been this other kid running around feverishly tracking UFO sightings looking for his “buddy”. When what did Chris Carter and Co have Scully doing the whole time? Working without even bringing up Mulder (though they did a decent job with her new partner; I thought it was amusing to bring Robert Patrick in, and have Scully having to channel Mulder despite herself; but there was the second layer of shapeshifting mythology and supersoldiers that couldn’t help but remind you of the terminator). I mean, Gillian Anderson was fantastic with the subtle “face acting” to show a lot of emotion (part of the whole stoic/unemoting theme they had going, as pointed out previously in this thread). Would 10 seconds or one shot every other episode or so of Scully worrying about Mulder’s fate have been too much to ask? I just thought that they totally lost the emotional theme that kind of kept us moving with these characters through all the ridiculousness. I wasn’t looking for declarations of everlasting love (which would have been out of character anyway); they just squandered what could have been a really strong theme, I think. Anyway, it just highlighted the whole problem when this young dude in the episode finally found what would probably be his gay lover or husband in this day and age, with the amount of devotion he showed (though I think he found him dead, sadly), and Scully could barely be assed to get to the site where Mulder reappeared. Way to kill a good thing, Carter.

    And finally, to get the rant off my chest, it was like the producers and writers were laughing gleefully amongst themselves at jerking the fans around in the last season or so, by basically negating all previous mythology, and muddying up anything that had previously made any sense. I’m not saying that creators and producers owe so much to the fans that they should go against their vision, because that can cause a bunch of problems. But I think it’s really nice when there’s a long-running series that’s had a loyal and vocal fanbase, to do some things that you know those fans will really like, throw them a bone or two for being there over the years. I know there are multiple audiences. And there are also lots of episodes to really do a farewell with. Which we barely got. Which really cemented my cynicism when it comes to trusting creators/producers as well.

    Skinner was always a badass. If he wanted to take a bubble bath, he would, damn it!

    Also, sorry for the length of the rant.

  50. Maybe I should have put more about the acting and producing being good until the end, though. And it’s true that Fox would never let a show like this stick around and grow an audience like back then (repeatedly kicking Whedon in the face). Boy there was something for everyone, though. The lightning episode with a much younger Giovanni Ribisi. The Ice one mentioned. The funny ones with the cockroaches, or the guy with the tail, when they went undercover in the suburbs to fight the garbage monster, or even the witches/syzygy that made Mulder & Scully bicker meanly the whole episode. And classic monsters like the sewer fluke, or Liver Man, or Krycek. Good times. There are tons of good shows on these days, but there’s something about the X-Files, tapping into paranoia, really using the cell phones in a way that really wasn’t possible in the previous decade.

  51. Skinner is so badass that I’m convinced he’s in deep cover as a nazi meth dealer in Charming, just waiting for his opportunity to bust open the whole white trash gun runner conspiracy. Yup, Opie’s an alien. Doesn’t seem so surprising in retrospect, does it?

  52. For me, my favorite episode is the one where Mulder finds a ghost ship in the Bermuda Triangle and goes back in time to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on a crucial atomic scientist while Scully and the Lone Gunmen rush to save him in the present. The way every scene was shot with one long take, then switching to splitscreen when the two stories intersected, remains the most ambitious and cinematic filmatism I’ve ever seen attempted on TV. And they didn’t just attempt it, either. They fucking nailed that shit. Even a seemingly simple scene where Scully is running around the FBI building has her taking multiple elevators and coming out into a real parking garage in one continuous eight-minute shot that must have been murder to get. Throw in a lot of humor, a big band brawl, Skinner in an SS uniform, and Mulder and Scully’s first kiss (kinda) and you’ve got one of my very favorite things in any medium. Did it win all the Emmys? Because if it didn’t, it got robbed.

  53. I think Mathias actually makes a great point, I WANT TO BELIEVE has a lot in common with slow, atmospheric, melancholy Scandinavian thrillers (SMILLA’S SENSE OF SNOW, INSOMNIA (1997), TERRIBLY HAPPY). More, anyway, than it does with most American sci-fi/horror. I don’t know if it was intended that way or not, but that probably explains why it’s such an acquired taste.

    Andy C– the final explanation as to what happened to Samantha is, mercifully, at least pretty clear if also kind of convoluted. But I’ll always prefer the first half of that two-parter, where the series flirts with the idea that maybe she was just the victim of a random killing by a creepy Santa Clause fetishist and Mulder got into the whole alien game for nothing. Guess that would make all those clones kind of harder to explain, though. See, writers of long-term story arcs, this is why we don’t just make up random shit all the time, you really paint yourself into a corner later on.

  54. Andy C – Oh snap!!! they actually went there with it. That’s a cool resolution. Makes me almost want to catch up with the seasons that I never watched. But just almost.

  55. They also did an episode on Cigarette Smoking Man’s backstory where he’s setting up to assassinate the Lone Gunmen because they supposedly have his life story, and as he listens to it, we get flashbacks to what they’re telling Mulder. It’s implied to be true, because what he hears really affects him and he instead decides not to go through with the hit(also because the young CSM is played by the same actor who’d later play Spender, his son).
    http://manishchauhan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/musings-of-cigarette-smoking-man-x-files.html

  56. I remember this film as mediocre, but I should give it another shot. I’m fine with the stand-alone, monster-of-the-week concept, but I think this ranks in the 25th percentile of X-files standalone episodes. If Chris Carter wanted to resurrect this franchise, he really needed to bring his A-game, and he didn’t. Between completely dropping the ball on the alien invasion mythology and then waiting a decade-ish to make a so-so revival movie, he has his work cut out for him ad far as getting another one of these made and having it be a success. Also, directing is not really his strong suit, so it’s not clear why he took the reins on this film, and I’m guessing it was a miscalculation (maybe a budget thing?).

    On the Xzibit side, the song Loud and Clear is dope.

  57. Broddie, I don’t know when you stopped watching but the later seasons actually have some pretty cool stuff. Now as then though while liking the story I wish they’d tried a little bit harder to name the “Super Soldiers.” Season 9 is more problematic though. It does have an interesting Brady Bunch centered episode though. It was the last episode before the finale. I’m pretty sure it was written and directed by Vince Gilligan. I think he’d been pitching the story for years and they finally said okay.

  58. I was home sick yesterday & my roommate owns this on DVD, so I decided to watch it. I have to say, I liked it. I totally agree with Mathias, that it has more in common with the Scandinavian crime dramas, than anything else. Granted, I’ve only ever seen the American version of The Killing & the British version of Wallander, but it has that same stark world and emphasized how the characters dealt with it & their own actions. It was all about the characters – not the plot. I guess that’s why I liked it. I liked the character study of these characters I knew from the TV series. I was interested in what they’d been up to, how they’ve changed & how they’ve stayed the same & how they dealt with getting drawn back into this world. I do think it had a more hopeful ending than the Scandinavian crime dramas I’ve seen, which is good. I prefer a happy ending.

    I’ve always thought the X-FILES had 3 types of episodes – the alien/govt conspiracy ones, the monster of the week & ones dealing spirituality/faith, usually Scully’s. I think this movie falls in most with that 3rd category. Maybe if they make another movie we’ll get a classic horror, monster of the week type, which would be cool.

    I loved it when Scully told Xzibit to let her talk to someone at the FBI with balls & the next thing you know, she’s with Skinner.

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