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"John Was Trying to Contact Aliens" Review

The missus and I had a little time to kill before the 11 o'clock news came on and decided this would be the perfect opportunity to knock off the oddly-titled, 16-minute-long John Was Trying to Contact Aliens, which we had noticed (for its brevity) while perusing Netflix's virtual shelves. We wondered how much information could be crammed into such a short running time. Afterwards we wondered why it was so long.  The preview below is 6% of the films running time, but almost entirely encompasses the doc's content.

John Shepherd lived in an unnamed northwestern Michigan town with his grandparents who indulged his hobby of building ever larger collections of electronic gear and antennas dedicated to reaching out into the cosmos to find signs of extraterrestrial life. It's not clear where he was making the money for this assemblage, but as it took over the house eventually his grandmother helped funded a massive two-story addition to the house to shelter an even more powerful antenna array.

 Part of his plan to attract aliens attention was to beam music out to the stars, particularly left-of-dial jazz, world, and Afro-beat tunes, which led me to remark that it seemed like his true goal in life was to be a DJ for a public radio station. His odd pursuits led the missus to muse about his popularity with the ladies, which was shortly mooted by John discussing being gay and how difficult it was to be that way in rural Michigan. (Frankly, I think the hobby would be more of a stumbling block, but whatevs.)

Eventually the money ran out and he had to dismantle and warehouse his collection of archaic whatnot. (He could probably run his entire operation off a laptop these days.) But he eventually found a soulmate in an equally hirsute fellow, so that's nice. 

Which begs the question of what took 16 minutes for John Was Trying to Contact Aliens to tell? You've already read everything that happens. Odd fellow is enabled by his grandparents to spend 30 years accomplishing nothing, but he met someone. The end.

Score: 2/10. Skip it.


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