01 March 2013

The Brother from Another Planet

I am both disappointed and excited about this post.  The disappointment is the result of the end of the 2013 Sci-Fi Experience.  I had very high hopes for this year.  In particular I wanted focus on expanding my participation this year to film/television in addition to my Hugos (they are mine).  In fact I did that and more.  As a result of Carl’s delightful non-challenge (we are teaching Emmeline to say “delightful!”) I read part 1 of the graphic novel Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo, made a return to the delightful concept album Deltron 3030 (and actual posted briefly, but I’m not sure if it counts), finally began to wade into Star Trek: The Original Series (5 or so episodes written by Hugo winners or other SF writers), and I also watched the delightful film from the 1980’s, The Brother from Another Planet - the topic of today’s post.  I’m also disappointed that I wasn’t able to write about more of these experiences so, on this last day of the non-challenge, I am tearing myself from studying for the delightful Graduate Record Examination to sneak one last review in before the closing bell.

The Brother from Another Planet (1984) – Rated R
Dir. by John Sayles
Starring Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards

After Joe Morton (The Brother) escapes his home planet, where he was a slave, he crash-lands his horrible shaky light-up cardboard box delightful spaceship in New York Harbor.  Luckily for him, he passes for human as no one ever seems to notice his feet.  Aside from a few really hairy moments and his inability to speak, his assimilation is unbelievably rather uncomplicated.  Shortly after his arrival in NY however, we also learn he is being pursued by two ridiculous men dressed in black.

The Brother from Another Planet is about outsiders, featuring outsiders.  It isn’t a pretty film.  It’s dark and grainy, and the sound, lighting, and effects can be a bit wonky at times.  Nevertheless, it was precisely those elements that made it feel all the more serious at times.    

The Brother From another Planet vacillates between biting social criticism and hilarious parody.  The film plays with and goofs on traditional alien tropes but in a way that is but can be dead serious too.  “The Brother” as the speechless alien trying to interpret some of the most inexplicable phenomena that make up the modern human experience provides plenty of laughs but other times strips our social conventions to the bone with just a look.  He comes to earth and though he’s certainly the outsider, he understands so much in his wordless yet hyper-expressive way.  Morton is well worth the watch (and stay for the delightful scene featuring Fisher Stevens).

I’d like to say more, but it’s late, I’m tired, and it’s almost March.  Please check out this vastly under-appreciated, delightful film.  It’s on Netflix Instant so make it happen.

Oh, and if you were wondering: 8 times.


  1. delightful, eh? I like the sound of it. will add it to the queue.


    1. It's cute when it comes from a 3-year old :O)


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