So you think you've seen every '80s movie from the mainstream Sixteen Candles to its bastard sister, Just One of the Guys? It's time to get reacquainted with a few video store gems. I would like to highlight a queen of this bygone era: Catherine Mary Stewart. Stewart has played roles ranging from a bootleg Luke Skywalker's no-nonsense girlfriend to a gun-slinging, post-apocalyptic mother figure -- all while retaining perfectly hair-sprayed, Farrah Fawcett curls.
Ok. I can admit it. The Last Starfighter is not the greatest movie you'll ever see. But its nostalgic anything-in-the-universe-is-possible storyline will touch your pole position. Set in rural America, it's the story of Alex Rogan, who realizes after being accepted to college that his trailer park family will be unable to pay for it. Brokenhearted, he comforts himself by playing his favorite video game. Although grieving, he beats the game, becoming the envy of the entire park. Unbeknownst to him, this is no ordinary video game he has conquered, but an alien fighter pilot recruitment device. (Jesus, you can't make this stuff up... ok, you can, but isn't it CRAZY?!) Then this ill alien, who looks like a human at first, but is really a gooey alien named Centauri, takes him into space where he has to fight the most evil bad guys in the entire universe. While he is gone, an alien/robot clone of him is living his daily life in the trailer park. So what does this have to do with Catherine Mary? Let me tell you. While Alex is fighting space invaders, his girlfriend uncovers the truth about the clone, goes searching for her man and then at the end... well, I can't tell you because that would ruin it. But let me just say she is one ballsy chick.
Night of the Comet offers more sci-fi fare. Catherine Mary plays Regina Belmont, a twenty-something Angelino. Regina has to work the night of the comet and is one of the few survivors of the Armageddonous event, which turns almost everyone else to dust. She finds her kid sister, and they decide to raid L.A.'s now-empty malls. But as all sci-fiers know, the end of the world is never that easy. While releasing their inner fashonistas, the sisters are ambushed by evil teenage punk zombies created by partial exposure to the comet's death rays. And this is the beginning of the film! Needless to say, between rounding up other survivors and battling corrupt scientists in a secret military compound, Regina Belmont does Ripley proud in this doomsday flick.
If you feel like a dork for secretly wanting to dress up like Sean Young from Dune, Catherine Mary Stewart is another movie heroine for you to emulate. The next time someone brings up Sigourney, please take a moment and shout out Catherine Mary... that's Ms. Stewart if you're nasty.--Tracy McNeil