I have a confession. A happy one: yesterday marked the first time I'd watched the movie Aliens from start to finish. I know. It was the strangest thing. I'd gone my entire adult life (and most of my childhood) presuming I'd seen it simply because I could remember and understand so many references from it. Nearly every line spoken by the Marines was familiar — and often lines I unknowingly reference myself. I've always wanted to nuke things from orbit — but now I'm sure why. I caught it on Netflix.com using the new Starz play library, which isn't anything near DVD quality, but was good enough. I remembered lots of scenes, which means that I probably saw bits of it here and there over the years. (The final battle against the queen? I'm positive I've watched it.) But within a couple of seconds of the credits I knew I hadn't watched the whole thing through, especially when Paul Reiser's Carter Burke walked on screen. The next couple of hours were one solid block of disarming familiarity, a movie so essential to geekdom that I'd been able to build a convincing model of it in relief just from the impression it made on so many other things I've enjoyed. So of course I wanted to buy some sneakers. Reebok actually issued the "Alien Stomper" shoes that Ripley wears throughout the film, although I haven't been able to confirm that they actually did a red-and-white colorway like hers. Surely they did, but they were released in 1987 and specifics are spare. [Update: Yup, there was a red version. Zappos teasingly hosts an image of it, but returns no results for the shoes in their database.] There was at least one reissue, a surprisingly awesome Freddy Krueger edition with screaming burned flesh on the soles. (Three pair on eBay for $80 each. Go get 'em, dreamers!) I was also quite taken with Ripley's jumpsuit, which appears to have some sort of intricate lacing around the lower back, a subtle feminine touch on a utilitarian design that complements such a "tough, competent and...maternal" character. If you happen to know if it was a custom costume or something that was used by a real military I'd be curious to hear about it. Anyway, what a treat. I got a lifetime of presuming I was versed in a classic but got to savor it twenty years after all my friends. How often does that happen? If only they'd made a sequel to Star Wars.