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Movies and TV shows to prepare you to storm Area 51

Updated August 22, 2019 - 12:30 pm

Alienstock is less than a month away, so you should probably start getting prepared — even though, judging by the general disarray surrounding the Sept. 20-22 event in Rachel, hardly anyone else seems to be.

You could pregame the alien-themed festival just by bingeing all 14 seasons of History’s “Ancient Aliens.”

Thanks to Viceland, you can even spend hours watching rapper Action Bronson watch “Ancient Aliens” on the cleverly titled series “Action Bronson Watches Ancient Aliens.” (No, really. That’s an actual thing.)

If that isn’t enough — or you demand a little more variety — here’s a look at the movies and TV shows that will get you ready to head to Area 51.

‘Area 51’ (2015)

“Paranormal Activity” writer-director Oren Peli goes back to the found-footage well with this cautionary tale about young adventurers who decide to breach the Area 51 perimeter — after pit stops in Las Vegas at Hooters Hotel and the Seamless strip club, as well as the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel. “It would be easier to rob a bank than to break into Area 51,” one character declares. “That’s because a bank expects to be robbed,” he’s told. “Nobody expects anyone to break into the base.” Oh, what a difference four years makes.

‘Bob Lazar: Area 51 &Flying Saucers’ (2018)

The reclusive Bob Lazar, who made international headlines in 1989 by claiming to have worked on reverse-engineering alien spacecraft in a top-secret facility near Area 51, makes a rare on-camera appearance in this documentary. George Knapp, the KLAS-TV, Channel 8 reporter who first interviewed Lazar, produced the film that relies heavily on footage of Lazar’s Channel 8 appearances, as well as an awful lot of filmmaker Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell talking to Knapp on speakerphone. It also includes the four words you almost never want to encounter: “Narrated by Mickey Rourke.”

‘Independence Day’ (1996)

A Marine pilot (Will Smith) leads a caravan of recreational vehicles carrying survivors of an alien invasion to Area 51. That’s also where Air Force One and President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) land before he launches the U.S. counteroffensive with the “Today, we celebrate our Independence Day” speech. Three months before the movie’s release, Pullman and co-stars Jeff Goldblum, Robert Loggia and Brent Spiner visited the Little A’Le’Inn to dedicate a time capsule intended to be opened in 2050, the plaque reads, “by which time interplanetary travelers shall be regular guests of our planet Earth.”

‘Paul’ (2011)

British tourists Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) head straight from Comic-Con to the Extraterrestrial Highway, where they meet a weed-loving little green man (voiced by Seth Rogen) and give him a lift in their RV. Before that, though, they stop at the Little A’Le’Inn, which still displays a signed poster from the cast.

‘The X-Files: Dreamland’ (1998)

Aliens are nearly as important to “The X-Files” as Mulder and Scully — and certainly more so than those FBI agents portrayed by Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish in later seasons. This two-part episode, though, takes place in Area 51 and Rachel — albeit a Rachel that’s home to upscale neighborhoods with lush, manicured lawns and homes with a $400,000 mortgage in 1998 dollars. There’s even a fake, sprawling Little A’Le’Inn where residents gather to sip wine.

‘Groom Lake’ (2002)

This inexplicably terrible Area 51-adjacent tale co-stars William Shatner, who also directed and received a “story by” credit, as Commander Gossner, who leads a series of experiments on aliens in the Nevada desert. When a couple of meddling kids go searching for signs of extraterrestrial life, it leads to one of his alien test subjects being captured. Or maybe it was just some random dude in a wonky scuba suit. It’s hard to say for sure.

‘Starman’ (1984)

Who says you have to go all the way to Area 51 to see them aliens? If you’re patient enough, one of them might just come to you. Take this John Carpenter movie about an extraterrestrial who crash-lands in the woods near a recently widowed woman (Karen Allen), assumes the form of her late husband (Jeff Bridges) and kidnaps her at gunpoint before — in a scene that doesn’t seem problematic at all in 2019 — they make love in the cattle car of a train bound for Las Vegas. Desperate for money, “Starman” uses his powers to rig a slot machine at Binion’s, and the two drive off in a new sedan from Cashman Cadillac.

‘The Hills Have Eyes’ (1977)

If you need any lessons on the dangers of wandering too far out in the Nevada desert, look no further than this Wes Craven classic. When a vacationing family stops for gas at Fred’s Oasis, a dilapidated shack in the middle of nowhere, the old coot warns them, “You folks stay on the main road, now, ya hear? Stay on the main road!” They don’t and are quickly set upon by a family of mutated cannibals.

‘Naruto’ (2002-07)

The anime series, focusing on young ninja Naruto Uzumaki, is key if you want to master the art of the “Naruto run” — that awkward, arms-locked-behind-you-parallel-to-the-ground style of sprinting the character popularized — referenced in the original “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” Facebook post. (“If we (N)aruto run, we can move faster than their bullets.”)

‘Fyre Fraud’ (2019) and ‘Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened’ (2019)

A hastily organized music festival, centered around a social media sensation, with few concrete details scheduled for a remote location with absolutely no infrastructure? Why does this sound so familiar?

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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