UFOria (1985)

“It spoke to me — in my dream… There’s a space ship coming, and it’s gonna be like Noah’s ark, and I’m gonna be Noah!”

Synopsis:
A drifter and small-time con (Fred Ward) hooks up with a quirky, religious check-out girl (Cindy Williams), who believes aliens are coming to earth in a UFO.

Genres:

Review:
John Binder wrote and directed this small-town comedy about kooky Californians during the tail end of the Me Decade. Deftly satirizing both Christian fundamentalists and those with more far-out approaches to divinity (one local couple names their child “Krishna Jesus”), it’s grounded throughout by a sweet romance between two people who seem, at first glance, highly unsuited for one another. Both Fred Ward and Cindy Williams (perfectly cast) are delightful in the lead roles, and they’re surrounded by a host of fine supporting actors — including Harry Dean Stanton as a shyster revivalist, Robert Gray as Stanton’s faithful sidekick, and Darrell Larson as an all-purpose “believer” (whose naive idea of proselytizing is to implore overweight patrons at the supermarket to “stop eating meat”). It’s too bad UFOria lingered in the cobwebs for several years after its production, because it was truly a timely satire, and deserved a wider contemporary audience.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Cindy Williams as Arlene
  • Fred Ward as Sheldon
  • Fine supporting performances by Harry Dean Stanton and Darrell Larson
  • A clever, quirky script by Binder
  • Richard Baskin’s pleasing score

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended. Listed as a Sleeper in the back of Peary’s book.

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One Response to “UFOria (1985)”

  1. First viewing – not must-see.

    We’re in a period now in which people don’t seem to talk much about UFOs, but about 30 or so years ago (for a time) there was quite a bit of bother about them (a sort of revival from the ’50s)… which accounts for this film, which is now forgotten (somewhat understandably so). It’s not an easy film to find; I happened upon it on YouTube.

    Admittedly, it has the good fortune to have an engaging cast – and the actors do what they can to make it work. But it’s all still rather awkward and meandering and it can’t quite settle on a tone. It seems to kinda-sorta want to be a comedy (except that it’s only mildly amusing intermittently) – but we can’t really laugh since we’re soon caught up in Williams’ strong, earnest conviction that a UFO will be coming soon… for personal reasons on her part.

    Overall, it’s not all that entertaining a flick for any particular reason, mainly because there’s something awfully half-hearted about the script.

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