Week 4: Watch ‘Alien’ director Ridley Scott on the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown


“Alien” director Ridley Scott joined film critic Justin Chang at 6 p.m. on May 28 to discuss the 1979 film, the latest Times readers pick in Week 4 of the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown.

The live video conversation with Scott is available on the Los Angeles Times Classic Hollywood Facebook page, YouTube and Twitter.

Previously, Chang and entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp revisited the film and its enduring Hollywood legacy. “One of the most remarkable things about ‘Alien’ — and what makes it not just a superior piece of sci-fi horror filmmaking but a genuine work of art — is just how patient it is, a quality that seems even more apparent now than (I imagine) it did in 1979,” Chang writes.


“The first hour or so is slow, methodical, dread-inducing build-up. The camera slinks and broods and wanders the halls of the Nostromo, as chilly and clinically observant as Ian Holm’s scientist Ash. Michael Agger put it perfectly in a 2003 Slate appreciation when he noted, ‘The scariest movie in history is actually a bit shy.’”

Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang chats with Ridley Scott about his film “Alien” in week 4 of the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown.
(Ken Kwok / Los Angeles Times)

To recap the rules: Each week, Chang presents readers with a list of 16 movies from 1975 to 2019, all of which were released during a particular summer time frame. You may vote for your favorites on his Twitter account, @JustinCChang; each week’s polls are posted at 5 p.m. PT Tuesday.

You watch the winning movie on your own, then we convene at 6 p.m. on Thursday for a livestreaming event hosted by Chang and featuring special guests.

The first three winners were “The Avengers” (Week 1, May 1-7), “Bridesmaids” (Week 2, May 8-14) and “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Week 3, May 15-21). Last week (Week 4, May 22-28) might have gone the way of a science-fiction classic (“Star Wars”) or a horror landmark (“The Shining”), but instead the victory went to a movie, “Alien,” that can justly be described as both.

What’s next: Week 5:

On Thursday, “Finding Nemo” narrowly edged out “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” in the final Week 5 votingfor the next #UltimateSummerMovie.


Join Chang at 6 p.m. on June 4 for a live conversation about “Finding Nemo” on the Los Angeles Times Classic Hollywood Facebook Page, YouTube and Twitter. Update: This event has been rescheduled for June 11.