If Martians were beamed into your living room, what movie would you show them? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own
Credit: E.T.: The Kobal Collection

What movie would you show to a Martian?

If Martians were beamed into your living room right now, what movie would you want to show to teach them about film as well as the human race? —Kevin Smith

Wow, Kevin — you’re blowin’ my mind, man: What a heavy question! Martians, living room, teaching about film, human race? hmmm. Providing the Martians understood English (have I already taken this premise too seriously?), I’d have to say Steven Spielberg’s great, universal ET might be enlightening on both the film and human behavior counts, as well as giving the Martians some idea of what we thought creatures from outer space looked like. After that, I’m not sure if a Martian would appreciate the DVDs I could lay on him that I find instructive of both masterful movie-making and common human-race traits. Among these would be films ranging from Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game (1939), with its look at war, romance, and the inescapable mortal excuse — ”Everyone has his reasons” — to the best modern movie about what it means to be doomed by fate while offering lots of really cool action scenes: Michael Mann’s DeNiro-Pacino team-up, Heat (1995). This being a DVD question, I’d also cheat a little on the ”movie” stricture you impose in your question and throw in a season of The Simpsons, which has a lot to say about life, the media, and even has some extraterrestrials among its vast cast of semi-recurring characters.

(Got a DVD-related question for Ken? Post it here.)