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MATTHEW LIEDKE ON FILM: Did Hollywood miss an opportunity with the "Men in Black?"

Outside of movies and the wide world of sports, I happen to enjoy entertainment related to the paranormal.

From listening to UFO talk on the late night radio show "Coast to Coast AM," to checking out podcasts about hauntings and conspiracies, I really enjoy the stuff. Now, I'll admit, I'm a rather skeptical individual and don't believe most of the subjects such as Bigfoot or Area 51, but it's fascinating regardless.

So fascinating in fact, it makes for solid entertainment—case-in-point, "The X-Files." The long-running series covered many of these topics from odd creatures to aliens, with some intense moments. It also featured some characters quite similar to the Men in Black.

Unfortunately, the Men in Black haven't had their own, serious adaptation.

Now before anyone asks, no, I don't dislike the movie franchise "Men in Black" with Will Smith and I'm sure the new movie, "Men in Black: International," set for release this week, will be just fine. In fact I think they're pretty fun movies, basically putting a buddy-cop genre movie into the world of UFOs.

However, there's no doubt the first three movies were in the action-comedy genre, especially with comedy. Look at the 2002 sequel, Johnny Knoxville played the villain's second in command. From the look of the new film, the tone again appears to be humorous.

To reiterate, those three films are enjoyable popcorn fun. Yet the Men in Black is such a great conspiracy topic, ripe for a serious, even frightening thriller.

According to the "Stuff They Don't Want You To Know" series by HowStuffWorks.com, the Men in Black have been a conspiracy where individuals visit UFO witnesses. Conspiracy circles often claim the Men in Black are either government agents, or actual aliens, who take the form of humans. The latter is based on the fact that the Men in Black seemingly act with odd mannerisms.

The concept of government agents in black suits persing an alien tip in a serious setting isn't out of the realm of pop culture. As previously stated, they were featured to a degree in "The X-Files" and were in other movies such as "Hangar 18."

Yet a movie about the Men in Black mythology itself, with connections to the Roswell crash, the Phoenix Lights, and everything in between, could be very suspenseful stuff. At this point, though, it may be hard to pull off with the "Men in Black" movie series giving audiences such a different perspective of the conspiracy.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

(218) 333-9791
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