When you can fantasy-draft anything, it is inevitable that your drafts will grow increasingly esoteric over time. We here at MMH are no exceptions to that rule, moving slowly from a combo Star Wars/Game of Thrones draft, to a Lord of the Rings draft, to our favorite Kaiju, fictional bands, until we finally designed our best fictional self-improvements by using the sci-fi talent-suction technology used by the Monstars of the first Space Jam movie.
It, therefore, seemed about time to bring this series back to its roots, and just do a simple draft of some movies (aka we’re phoning it in this week).
Welcome to the “Invasion! Draft,” where Dan, Sasha, and Dave will be drafting films that feature extraterrestrials coming to Earth.
There are no other criteria, other than the movies somehow feature alien life arriving on this planet. It is up to you, our beloved readership, to determine who assembled the best movie catalog.
The draft order is Dave, Sasha, Dan, and will snake. We will go four rounds.
Let us begin.
Dave, Pick 1: Predator
Dave: Not just one of the best alien-comes-to-Earth movies ever made; one of the best movies ever made. Yeah, I’m saying it. For pure, popcorn entertainment, Predator is one of the best movies of all time. The truly exceptional thing about Predator is the trick it pulls halfway through, making you think you are watching one type of movie- a dumb 80s actioner- before pulling the rug out and revealing you’re watching a completely different type of movie- a slasher, just with big brawny action stars in place of virginal teens. It’s like if Die Hard got invaded by Jason Vorhees, and it’s pure magic.
Sasha, Pick 2: Arrival
Sasha: Give me anything from They Live to E.T. to Independence Day, for my money Arrival is the best “aliens come to earth” movie of all-time. Brilliantly directed by my favorite auteur in the business, Denis Villeneuve, Arrival is a film as magical as the world it presents.
Amy Adams gives a tour de force performance as Louise Banks and her story hits a Luke-Skywalker-on-the-Death-Star-like bullseye with how much “sci-fi spectacle” it provides.
The ending is absolutely devastating, and the film’s message about time, forgiveness, and fate is beautifully executed. Every once in a while you get the best pick in the draft without possessing the first pick; that happened today.
Dave: Beautiful film.
Dan, Pick 3: The Thing
Dan: Any discussion on best movies about aliens coming to earth can’t ignore this all-time great horror film. Some of my other picks lean into the fun and funny ideas that spring from aliens landing on earth. The Thing demonstrates how absolutely creepy and terrifying it could be.
Dave: Aside from Predator, this might be my favorite movie that gets drafted.
Dan, Pick 1: Men in Black
Dan: There’s a reason this movie was a phenomenon when it came out in 1997. It was hilarious and inventive and the performances were excellent. It really set the standard for fun alien invasion movies. I loved this movie when it came out in theaters and I still think it’s one of the best of the genre.
Sasha, Pick 2: E.T.
Sasha: Huge mistake letting that fall to me in the second.
Dave: Yeah, that was a terrible error.
Sasha: To get E.T. in the second round feels both startlingly fortuitous and like a huge strategic oversight by my competitors. The alien film with the biggest heart in the galaxy, a Steven Speilberg-helmed masterpiece, E.T. speaks for itself. I rewatched it recently and was knocked back by its charm, tight form, and how terrifying Speilberg makes the government troops appear. E.T., phone it in: game over.
Dave, Pick 3: Independence Day
Dave: An obvious choice. Independence Day is one of the all-time summer blockbusters. It’s big, dumb, and fun, and everyone likes it that way, thank you very much. So many shots and scenes from this film are iconic, it’s too much of a chore to count them all, so I’ll simply point you towards the most exciting scene in film history as a reminder of the movie’s excellence:
Another tick in the film’s favor: though it’s full of great performances, from Jeff Goldblum’s twitchy charm to Bill Pullman’s iconic motivational speech, it is noteworthy that Independence Day is the movie that provided Will Smith the vehicle with which to finally break out into full-on movie stardom.
An anecdote I heard him tell, that I love, goes as follows: Prior to Independence Day, Hollywood agents loved meeting him and calling him Will. “Will! Hey Will, how you doing?! Hi Will!” The day after the box office results for Independence Day came in, from that day forward, it was always “Mr. Smith.”
And now, my next pick is solely for the purposes of getting under Sasha’s skin.
Dave, Pick 1: Space Jam
Sasha: Dave, that’s a low blow.
Dave: What kind of monstar would do such a thing?
Sasha, Pick 2: Edge of Tomorrow
Dave: I like that film.
Sasha: On this one, I actually have to give credit to the internet–Who would have thought! I saw this movie once and thought that was cool, okay. However, over time, as it’s risen to sci-fi royalty status, I have revisited it and I get it. Both leads are electric and their charisma explodes off the screen. Merging Groundhog Day and Independence Day makes as much sense as having live music at a BBQ party. The Mimics’ design, abilities, and execution are as good as you’ll find in the alien pantheon and there are some crazy videos on the production team’s work to bring them to life. If it’s Friday night and you want to fire up kick-ass, sci-fi action: Edge of Tomorrow is the move.
Dan: So tough to pick between a lot of great movies… honestly, I went back and forth between so many choices but here we go…
Dan, Pick 3: Mars Attacks!
Dan: Alien invasion movies in the 50s and so many others, from B-movies to the classics, get spoofed in this underrated gem. Any draft that focuses on alien invasions can’t miss this cult classic that is a darkly comic twist on the whole genre. Speaking of cult classics I’m shocked Dave didn’t take The Blob.
Dave: I wanted to mess with Sasha!
Dan, Pick 1: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Sasha: Strong final pulls, Dan. But I know what I’ll take to close, stoked to get it in the fourth…
Sasha, Pick 2: The Fifth Element
Sasha: An absolute steal in the fourth round. My crew grew up on this rocker. Bruce Willis is in peak form bringing understated charm, wit, and humor to every scene. Milla Jovovich giving us all-time mysterious beauty from another planet who kicks ass energy. Chris Tucker is an eccentric firecracker, and Oscar-winner Gary Oldman is throwing down! This movie is a thrill ride from start to finish; loud, colorful, ambitious, a Mondoshawan-sized addition to our team.
Dave: I think you guys succumbed to an oversight that I could take advantage of here.
Do I choose Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame…?
Fortunately for you, I want to get a classic movie on the list.
Dave, Pick 3: War of the Worlds (OG)
Dan: I know Sasha was happy to get Spielberg’s E.T. for this Alien Invasion draft, but Close Encounters is the true mothership of the genre that changed how audiences think about aliens and UFOs coming to earth. Movies like Arrival wouldn’t exist if not for this film. Science Fiction legend Ray Bradbury called it the “greatest science fiction film ever made.”
I think my picks really fully represent the breadth of the genre without leaving the core of it like something like The Avengers might have done. Horrific, fun, subversive, and a way to look at our own humanity.
Sasha: GIGANTIC oversight. Didn’t even register, but you’re freaking right man. God damn.
Dan: Yeah I thought about Avengers but I don’t really see it as an aliens-come-to-Earth movie. Don’t get me wrong, it totally is. And same with Fifth Element; but I just view them differently.
Dave: As I mentioned, I could have taken any one of a dozen MCU films to round out my selection, but ultimately chose to take this classic. Why? Because I saw it as a kid, and this 1953 movie holds up. The Orson Welles radio play sent panicked listeners screaming into the streets, fleeing with their loved ones (at least apocryphally). This movie sent my 6-year-old-self doing the same. Classic 50s alien designs and classic sci-fi sound effects make this movie an absolute delight.
- Independence Day
- Space Jam
- War of the Worlds (1953)
- Edge of Tomorrow
- The Fifth Element
- The Thing
- Men in Black
- Mars Attacks!
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind