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The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In Men In Black

It's a pretty good time to be a "Men in Black" fan. The 1997 mega-hit film turned 25 this year and got a solo 4K SteelBook release in July, the same month as its debut. This means now is an ideal opportunity to revisit the movie and watch your favorite scenes in stunning ultra-high definition.

Before you race off to buy the new edition, you may be interested to know that the film has even more pause-worthy moments than you might remember. Not only does pausing at just the right times let you fully take in the special effects and funny moments, but it also can reveal details in "Men in Black" that you might have missed or forgotten. Did you know that Agent J (Will Smith) was born in two different states? Or that some pretty famous politicians and filmmakers are aliens in the MIB world? Get ready to smash "pause" like it's the red button of an LTD, as we fill you in on the most pause-worthy moments in "Men in Black."

Mikey gets a heads-up

Unsurprisingly, the pause-worthy moments begin early in "Men in Black" — namely with the film's first alien, Mikey. An alien ex-convict posing as a Mexican immigrant crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Mikey manages to hide his blue skin, flippers, and other alien features pretty convincingly under a large coat and robot head. It's not enough to fool longtime Men in Black operative Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), however, who quickly rips right through the disguise with a simple pocket knife.

There are plenty of times you'll want to hit the pause button while Mikey's on-screen, including when he enters "attack mode." Yet there's something particularly special about the moment where Mikey is still holding his fake human head on a stick. The fact that the animatronic head continues to be active even with the disguise off is just the right amount of authentic and unsettling, especially when its eyes look right at Mikey. It's a great reminder of how effective practical effects can be, which "Men in Black" uses aplenty. 

Jack Jeebs' weapons stash

After Detective James Darrell Edwards III's first alien encounter (to his knowledge, anyway), K takes him to Jack Jeebs' (Tony Shalhoub) pawn shop to identify a gun the alien was carrying. Jeebs plays coy at first, but after his head's zapped off by K, the regenerating alien drops the act, revealing dozens of alien weapons and devices he's hiding on the other side of his walls and counters.

While only one weapon is important to the scene, viewers should definitely pause at a couple of parts to admire the many alien objects in Jeebs' possession. They're all crafted with such keen detail that they're more than worth a passing glance. If anything, trying to figure out what these devices actually do is a great way to stir the imagination. While you're at it, definitely pause while Jeebs is regenerating to get a better look at what his head looks like as it's growing back.

K grinning during J's exam

Agent K isn't often one to crack a smile or be overtly jovial. "Men in Black: The Series" even hammers home the point, having Agent J uncover an alien posing as K when the imposter laughs because it's something K isn't prone to do (at least not genuinely).

The first "Men in Black" movie, however, does have one key moment where K's straight-laced demeanor actually vanishes. When Agent J — then still Detective Edwards — pokes fun at Jake Jensen's (Kent Faulcon) overzealousness to take the MIB entry exam, K can't help but crack a grin, both at Edwards' jokes and everyone else's nonplussed reaction to them. The scene takes on a whole different connotation when one factors in the end of "Men in Black 3," where it's revealed Agent K met and comforted a young James shortly after J's father was killed. Instead of K grinning at the humor of a police detective he's only known a few days, he's admiring how quick-witted the child he met years ago has become.

The first encounter photograph

After Detective Edwards concludes "a series of simple tests," Agent K takes him aside and starts explaining the history of the Men in Black. As they talk, K also shows Edwards several pictures of MIB's first meeting with aliens on March 2, 1961. If you pause on the photo of a young Kevin Brown (a.k.a. Agent K) handing an alien a bouquet, you'll get a nice look at who else was him, as well as what weapons MIB agents were carrying at the time.

Another good reason to pause at that particular picture is to examine a major continuity difference between the "Men in Black" movie and its spin-off cartoon, "Men in Black: The Series." In the movie, there are seven Men in Black agents with Brown during the encounter, along with an astronomer. The cartoon, however, deviates by having only four agents accompany K, along with a photographer who takes all the pictures in the first place. Another person later joins them, namely Edmund Clark Moffat, after his attempts to stop the MIB from meeting aliens by going back into the past fails.

The celebrity alien computer screen

Ever wonder where George Lucas got the idea for "Star Wars"? Or how Steven Spielberg manages to make movies like "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" so convincing? In the Men in Black universe, the answer is simple: They're just two of many aliens living on Earth. Pause on the monitor screen in front of MIB's tentacled alien employees Biblup and Bob and you'll learn the two have got plenty of company, including famed actors, performers, and politicians. Oh, and even "Men in Black" director Barry Sonnenfeld's infant daughter Chloe can be seen on the top right (via Collider).  

Naturally, none of these celebrities are aliens in real life (at least not to our knowledge). It would explain all kinds of things about them, however, like why Newt Gingrich wants people living on the moon, or how Dionne Warwick's music always manages to sound just out of this world. Could forecaster Al Roker's spot-on forecasting be the result of alien weather powers, like the ones Laura Vasquez has in "Men in Black II"? Perhaps one day, we'll know for sure... assuming the Men in Black don't neuralyze us afterward.

J's passport and birth certificate

Did you know that J's middle name was originally "Darrel" with one "l"? Or that he was born on October 19, 1969? You will if you pause a few times on the scene where K wipes all of J's identifying documents from record. You'll learn all kinds of things about J in that scene (including his social security number), but the most pause-worthy docs of note are J's U.S. passport and birth certificate. 

Overall, the details between the two are pretty consistent. J's passport, however, claims he's from the state of Indiana, while his birth certificate claims he's a New York native. Which is it? You'd have to ask J, though he's probably not going to clear the matter up with non-MIB personnel at this point. For what it's worth, "Men in Black: The Series" does seem to side with the New York camp, as episodes like "The Circus Parade Syndrome" suggests he's at least lived there since childhood. Since the show takes place in a different universe, however, it's hard to say whether the same holds true for the films.

J gets the Noisy Cricket

There are many impressive gizmos, gadgets, and zappers all over the "Men in Black" movie, most of which we don't know the names of. A notable exception, of course, is the Noisy Cricket, the gun whose fame is as big as its recoil. While J later swaps the weapon for arms that are a little easier to handle, the Noisy Cricket's debut will forever hold a special place in MIB movie history.

It's probably not surprising, therefore, to hear that J receiving the diminutive Cricket is worthy of a pause. Not only is it an iconic (not to mention hilarious) moment, but the look on J's face is absolutely priceless. It's a great example of how Will Smith, who even then was no stranger to comedic acting ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," anyone?), can convey pretty much everything J is feeling right then with a single facial expression.

The inside of Gentle Rosenberg's head

One of the most memorable moments of "Men in Black" is when Agent J accidentally opens Gentle Rosenberg's (Mike Nussbaum) head, revealing a tiny Arquilian inside. The surprise alone makes the scene worth a watch, but it's got plenty of things going for it, as it reveals an important element of the plot (namely Orion's belt) and is a moving send-off for the mortally wounded alien.

Pause right when Rosenberg's head has fully opened, however, and you'll even find more things to admire. The level of detail placed into the Arquilian's tiny cockpit is nothing short of incredible. Aside from the screens allowing the alien to view what's going on outside the head, there are lights to keep the cockpit's interior illuminated, as well as multiple levers that likely control the Gentle Rosenberg robot's movements. The screens, by the way, could be used as actual little TV monitors in real life, which film roboticist Mark Setrakian humorously tells the Verge he certainly made use of.

Frank the Pug's locksmith stand

If "Men in Black's" most dramatic alien reveal is Gentle Rosenberg's tiny pilot, then the funniest has got to be Frank the Pug. K and J meet with the alien who barks like a dog (and disguises himself as one, too) at Frank's locksmith stand. While J mistakes Frank's seemingly-human companion for the alien, Frank quickly clears up that misconception through the mere act of talking. He then gets quite the interrogation from K, during which the faux pug reveals the reason why the Bug has it in for the Arquilians. 

You should definitely take your time in savoring Frank's hilarious scene. However, hit the pause button during a close-up shot of Frank's locksmith stand and you'll find a few fun Easter eggs. The bottom shelf on the left, for example, has got a coffee mug with Frank's face — essentially a pug on a mug. There also seems to be some sort of alien product beside it, which doesn't seem too subtle for somebody who's trying to hide that he's alien. If no one's raised an eyebrow yet, however, who are we to judge?

The Bug's way-gross mandible shot

When a giant alien bug tries using a normal-sized human for a costume, it's probably not going to be a perfect fit. The Bug learns this the hard way when he kills a cantankerous farmer named Edgar (Vincent D'Onofrio) and wears his skin as a way to blend in among humans. Aside from how awkwardly Edgar's skin looks on him, the Bug's trigger temper and lack of human social graces often make him stick out like a sore thumb. Even so, however, he manages to avoid Agent J and K's clutches for much of the movie.

There are plenty of gross-out "Edgarbug" moments, most famously when the Bug pulls back Edgar's skin. The one scene that might just "out-gross" it, however, is when Edgarbug shows off his insect mandibles to Dr. Laurel Weaver shortly after taking her hostage. Apparently done purely with practical effects, the two insect appendages sticking out of a human mouth probably isn't a sight for more delicate constitutions. Yet if you like gross-out prosthetics in your movies, this is the perfect place to pause and admire the care taken into making those mandibles look convincing.

The Bug up-close

CGI was still very much in its early stages when "Men in Black" was released in 1997. As a result, it's definitely understandable to assume that the movie's computer graphics may not quite be up to par with how they'd look today. That said, however, the film's most overt CGI creation, the Bug, still looks pretty good by modern standards. Cleverly, the film crew didn't make the bug entirely from CGI: Its stomach, which K blasts his way out of, is completely practical, for instance. Furthermore, the Bug's facial features were given a deliberately exaggerated design to better convey its emotions, meaning it wasn't necessary for him to resemble an actual insect from Earth perfectly.

It was a pricey addition to the film — a $4.5 million one, as Den of Geek observes — but well worth it. Pause whenever you get a frontal shot of the Bug to admire it in all its detailed glory.