You may not have seen this little slice of fifties sci-fi. You probably didn't miss it. Trailers From Hell guru Mick Garris says "The Phantom Planet" opened - and possibly closed - in a theater in La Mesa, California. At least it was Academy-eligible, even though it was understandably left out of the Oscar nominations.
If you can't find it, the trailer may be just as entertaining as the feature. In fact, the "Let's all go to the snack bar" commercial may provide more bang for you viewing buck.
"The Phantom Planet" rocks along in Saturday-matinee fashion with fakey effects, ridiculously staged "man-in-space" scenes and comedic monster suits which, in another setting, may have actually been scary. In other words, it's a near-perfect example of the kind of movies we so looked forward to on Fear Theater, Chiller Theater or whatever they called the Friday night late show on the television station where you grew up.
The alien monster from the Phantom Planet has a face which looks like a cross between Droopy and Donald Duck by way of The Outer Limits. Maybe the fact that he comes from a planet that's really just a big rock - well, not all that big - has a lot to do with his ill temper. A warning for the socially-impeded among us, there is some kissing. It doesn't last long, however. Sadly, it doesn't involve the alien.
The wine for "The Phantom Planet" is a no-brainer. Bogle Vineyards makes - for my paltry amount of money - some of the most enjoyable and affordable wines around.
Bogle's The Phantom red blend is mainly Zinfandel and Petite Sirah with a splash of Mourvèdre. The $15 price tag means you have better than a ghost of a chance of enjoying some with "The Phantom Planet."
Other phantoms to try and see:
Phantom Rivers Wine - This Arroyo Grande producer is inspired by the coastal fog which helps give Central Coast wines their character.
Phantom Wines - A part-time winemaker with a Napa Valley Merlot/Cab blend.
Phantom Canyon Brewing Company - Colorado Springs is home to this brewery with everything from root beer to cocoa stout.