Showing 1 - 10 of 20 posts found matching keyword: star wars

I've had several conversations in the past month on topics that clearly indicated the person I was speaking to hadn't read my blog in a long time, if ever. That was both surprising and somewhat discouraging.

When I created this blog, I certainly never expected to make money off it, but I did expect my friends and family to drop in every once in a while. I mean, when your family calls you to connect their new ISP router, the least they could do is use their new Internet connection to ping my site, Dad.

(Historical note 1: this blog predates Facebook by three years and has never stolen anyone's data or threatened American sovereignty. Historical note 2: I've still not made any money off of this website. Non-crime doesn't pay.)

So let me take this opportunity to thank you personally, reader of this post, for spending a few moments of your day at Wriphe.com. I'm grateful of your patronage, and I promise to try not to waste your time.

In fact, let me immediately repay your investment with a delightful meme I found on Reddit:

There is no try

Ha, ha. See, I told you this site could be worth your time. (Unlike the 20 minutes I just spent on Reddit. What a rabbit hole that is.)

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The streaming entertainment service from the Conglomerate That Walt Built is now publicly available. I will definitely not be subscribing, as I have confirmed that the service will not include two of my favorite men, Condorman and I-Man.

As a public service announcement to all the young viewers out there who will be watching, let me say:

Han shot first.

Enjoy your revisionist history, kids.

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I should be sleeping. Instead, I'm reviewing movies!

146. (1585.) Steel Magnolias (1989)
If Julia Roberts is really from Georgia, why does her accent sound the least convincing of all the actors? This movie is little more than mundane relationship melodrama performed by a stellar cast who (mostly) do no wrong. If that's your thing.... then this.

And remember: you can't have a movie about life in the South without Coke!

Drink Coke! (Steel Magnolias)

147. (1586.) Framed for Murder: A Fixer Upper Mystery (2017)
Singer/songwriter/poet/actress Jewel makes a less-than-convincing handywoman/detective, but I doubt anyone watching a Hallmark mystery movie is overly concerned with realism.

149. (1588.) Class (1983)
Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Cliff Roberson, John Cusack, Alan Ruck, and the delectable Jacqueline Bisset all star in a very lackluster coming-of-age sex comedy more ntable for the appearance of the stars themselves than anything they do to elevate the material they are working with.

And remember: you can't have a movie about sleeping with your roommate's mother without Coke!

Drink Coke! (Class)

150. (1589.) Empire of Dreams (2004)
This is a documentary on the making of the first four Star Wars movies. Friend Keith mentioned it in passing a few weeks back, and I'd never seen it. So I watched it over the course of two days. Lots of good behind-the-scenes Star Wars tidbits, but it suffers from an excessively obsequious tone. You don't have to sell us so hard, guys; everyone has already seen Star Wars.

151. (1590.) Bathing Beauty (1944)
Something of a bait and switch, as Ester Williams isn't really the focus of this musical comedy, Red Skelton is. The disappointment was hard to get over.

152. (1591.) Plastic Galaxy (2014)
Amazon noticed that I watched one documentary about Star Wars and suggested that I watch another. Plastic Galaxy covers the history of the Kenner Star Wars action figures. Talking to the collectors themselves tended to bore me, but those were spaced between great historical anecdotes and creator interviews. (Disclaimer: I know exactly where my 1981 Millennium Falcon is.)

153. (1592.) Lovelace (2013)
Amanda Seyfried stars as the first household name in hardcore pornography, Linda Lovelace. Is this (often dull) movie an accurate depiction of her life? How horrible. Now try watching Deep Throat knowing that the star was being tortured off screen. Boner killer!

And remember: you can't have Deep Throat without Coke!

Drink Coke! (Deep Throat)
Image blurred to protect the innocent

More to come.

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Watching Star Wars the other day, two things struck me. The first was how big a liar C-3P0 is!

From the beginning, he knows who Princess Leia is, then he denies as much to Luke when the boy finds the hologram in R2-D2. Later, he lies to a Death Star officer so as to escape capture.

Now, my revelation might not seem such a big deal to you. "So a diplomatic robot lies to people. So what?" I'm glad you asked. Once it's established that Threepio is deceitful, it calls into question all of Threepio's statements that aren't otherwise verified. In other words, everything we think we know about Artoo might be false as well.

The little robot communicates almost exclusively through beeps and whistles. The audience has to trust the "human/cyborg relations" expert to interpret those noises for us. If we can't trust Threepio, how can we be sure that it was Artoo's idea to run away from Uncle Owen's garage? Maybe the "accidental" reveal of Leia's hologram was no accident. Maybe he *hasn't* found the Princess on the Death Star.

Or, of course, this could all be related to the second thing that struck me: the script kind of sucks.

But boy, it looks great!

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I made this poster as a first draft for a client's event. The final product focused less on the Star Wars and more on the car show, but I still like this one. So I'm sharing.

Or do what I do and stay at home

Enjoy your Star Wars Day.

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"I haven't been very good about updating the 'work' section of this site lately (so much of what I've done in the recent past is app coding, which doesn't show off very well)" is what I wrote in 2013 as introduction to a post promoting the first postcard design I'd made to promote a local Halloween event.

Well, I've still got that job.

Zombie Day, Saturday, October 13, 2018

As you can see, zombies are taking a bit of a back seat to super heroes these days. As well they should.

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Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way.

167. (1226.) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

I asked Dad what he wanted to do for his birthday yesterday, and to my horror he said "I want to see Star Wars." So I took him to see it. (A child's job is never done.) Dad may not be, but I'm getting too old for this shit.

The original Star Wars wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but neither was it insulting. By comparison, The Last Jedi begs its audience to forget everything it knows about science and society, physics and psychology. I guess that's why it's marketed as a kid's movie — a kid's movie supersaturated with graphic violence, copious death, and a PG-13 rating. Say, if you're going to remake Empire Strikes Back, can you at least keep it under 2.5 hours, please? Sorry, but I can't suspend my disbelief long enough for this level of stupidity anymore.

Ugh. Every time I think about it, I find something new to irritate me. Unjustifiably incompetent Hux. Edsel bumper Phasma. Smug cartoon Snoke. Topless emo Kylo Ren. Horny Rey. Pointless Finn. Stalker Rose. Traitorous mass murderer Po. Atmosphere in space. Gravity-assisted bombers. Belated use of indefensible hyperspace missiles. Not enough Threepio! Aargh!

Was it all bad? No. Mark Hamill steals every scene he's in as Mirror Universe Luke Skywalker. Dead Yoda is the best Yoda. And I particularly enjoyed Benicio Del Toro's parting "maybe." But then how did Del Toro's DJ know the crucial piece of information that led there? Damn it! It's impossible to even praise this movie without tripping into another of its innumerable flaws.

There were parts where I think I could see where director Rian Johnson wanted to take the movie's theme of loss and transcendence. These themes would sit much better in the third act of a trilogy than the second, so why here and now? How much of a role did Disney's executives play in distorting that vision to keep its golden goose laying? I don't know. At this point, I don't care.

The worst of it is that I'm afraid this isn't the last Star Wars film I'll have to see. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to me being in the theater for whatever dreck Disney cranks out next Christmas. Let the past die, Dad!

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In 1977, my father took me to see Star Wars after he had already seen it once. He loved it and wanted me to love it too. I don't remember anything about that experience. I was only 2. However, we did have a VCR — it was huge with faux wood paneling — and I would watch the movie over and over and over again in the years following. We also recorded and rewatched the infamous Holiday Special.

In 1981, my father took me to see Empire Strikes Back in a theater after it had been playing a few weeks. I can't tell you exactly where. All I remember was that it had red walls in the lobby. Though at the time I was disappointed by the cliffhanger ending, I wasn't disappointed enough not to love all the cool new toys. Not long afterwards, my brother accidentally decapitated my original black-vested Han Solo figure, and my parents replaced him with a Han in Hoth gear. What a downgrade. (I retaliated by running over Trey's sensorscope R2-D2 with my bicycle.)

In 1983, my friend Greg Owens saw Return of the Jedi before I did. He complained the movie had too many purple-lipped talking dogs in it. Their catchphrase, Greg said, was "Eat your momma." When I finally saw it (again with my family, again theater unknown though probably in Stone Mountain, GA), his review was borne out. By Christmas, I had all the available Ewok action figures and a Wicket doll.

In 1999, I saw The Phantom Menace at the new Hollywood 24 theater in Atlanta with friends. The movie was fine enough — in fact I think I continue to like it more than many — but I was disappointed by how many people I spoke to seemed to love it for what they put into it, not what it was. Darth Maul, like Boba Fett before him, particularly irked me. Fans decided he was cool because he looked cool. Their love was for a thing they had created in their heads, not a character that had appeared on screen. This realization that fans loved the franchise not for what it was but for what they wanted it to be was the beginning of the end of my love affair with Star Wars. I have a hard time associating with people who worship style over substance.

In 2002, I watched Attack of the Clones at the United Artists Scottsdale Pavilions theater in Arizona with my brother. We both agreed the movie was terrible. Bad acting, worse writing. Between the forced romance and that CGI Artoo video game sequence, this film is almost unwatchable. I distinctly remember saying that the only reason anyone should pay money to see such a thing was to get out of the desert sun.

In 2005, I have no memory of watching Revenge of the Sith. My friend Keith has told me he remembers my laughter at the final reveal of Darth Vader, so I assume I watched it in Atlanta, presumably back at the Hollywood 24. It was awful. How could any so-called fans of the older Star Wars films still love this franchise after old Ben Kenobi was revealed as the kind of man who turned his back on his friends and his responsibilities, "master" Yoda was an isolationist failure, or Vader himself was a tantrum-throwing idiot? Weren't these supposed to be kids movies? Yuck! If this was the Star Wars Universe, I wanted no more part of it.

In 2015, I watched The Force Awakens at some theater on the north side of Atlanta with reserved seating in recliners that kept my feet from touching the ground. I didn't want to see it, but I'd made the mistake of saying I'd watch it if they found a way to bring Han Solo back. They did. I watched. I found it an insulting exercise in nostalgia. (Hey, guys, let's forget all that prequel nonsense. Remember what you liked about Star Wars? Here it is again!) It's now the highest grossing film of all time.

In 2016, I watched Rogue One at Regal Cinemas 11 in Panama City, Florida. It was my father's birthday present. It was a bad present. The movie was yet another excuse for brand reinforcement, a short story intended to fill gaps in the original Star Wars backstory with stereotypical yet well-costumed characters that would make good action figures.

In 2017, Disney released The Last Jedi. A new one already? As if I wasn't burnt out enough. I hear it's different. I hear this one will change everything I've ever thought about Star Wars. I feel like I've heard that before. Maybe I'll see it one day when it comes on television. Maybe. I'm not in any hurry anymore.

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When did the release of a movie trailer become something that gets hyped for weeks? A trailer isn't a movie, it's a commercial. It's 60 seconds of clips from a movie that are usually better than the movie itself. Is that worth getting excited about?

NBC and Disney seem to think it is. For the first week of the Olympics, they told me to hang on until Thursday, when I'd finally get my first taste of the new Star Wars movie in the form of a new trailer. Now the trailer has been released, and I have to wait only four more months until the film comes out. Hooray?

What's so magical about trailers? The new Marvel movie, Doctor Strange, runs a television ad suggesting I should sprint to the Internet to see the "full" trailer, as though it's too good for television. If it's that great, it will come to me. That's what good movies do; they transcend.

And is all this hype really necessary? Summer blockbusters are grossing half a billion dollars these days. If Louis B. Mayer got wind of that amount in the afterlife, he'd step out of his tomb and start making zombie musicals.

Ask yourself, is your life so terrible that the only thing keeping you going is the prospect of a new movie coming out for Christmas? If so, I suggest you need to see a psychiatrist, not a movie.

(For the record, I wasn't impressed with the Star Wars trailer. Can't they tell a story that doesn't have to do with prequels or sequels? That galaxy far, far away is starting to feel like a really small place. Also, part of the appeal of the Star Wars universe has always looked lived in, but now it looks like a fine layer of dirt has coated the camera lens, too. Ugh. That's what I want when I go to the movies: to watch a solid gray screen for 2 hours. What's wrong with color, Hollywood?)

Now get off my lawn.

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What movies am I describing?

Movie 1: A rebel spy sneaks secret plans into a droid just before the evil jedi storms in and takes the spy captive. The droid escapes and flees into the desert where an orphan with dreams of a bigger world finds it. The orphan enlists the aid of a fossilized former warrior now in hiding from the fighting between good and evil that rages throughout the galaxy. The old warrior leads the orphan to Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber. Stormtroopers attack, forcing the mentor and the other occupants of the Millennium Falcon on an ill-planned rescue attempt of the enemy stronghold. The mentor dies, killed by the evil jedi in a self-sacrificing attempt to make a larger point. The other heroes survive to participate in attacking the enemy's planet-sized, planet-destroying super weapon, an action only possible because of the information they had secreted out from under the enemy's nose. In a daring display of piloting skill, a lone x-wing fighter pilot makes it through the defending trench and blows up the enemy weapon, saving the galaxy.

Movie 2: Stormtroopers attack en masse, and the heroes are separated into the far reaches of space. A talented but untrained child has a dark vision before meeting a jedi and being introduced to the true power of the Force. Before the training can be completed, dire circumstances (and a painful interrogation instigated by the evil dark jedi) force the child to flee. In an attempt to save his family, a father and son engage in a lightsaber duel to the death on a bridge over a bottomless pit. The good guy loses the fight. Failing to stop the evil jedi leaves one hero near death, and another departs with Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon to find her missing loved one.

Movie 3: After Han Solo is rescued from a battle in a smuggler's den, he is reunited with his lover. Their time together is cut short as the evil empire has built yet another giant laser the size of a planet. The few rebels remaining have no choice but to engage in a direct assault (despite Admiral Ackbar's misgivings), but for the plan to work, Solo has to lead a team into the forest to shut down the weapon's protective shielding. The enemy is prepared for the attack, and the dark jedi engages in a lightsaber duel in an attempt to turn the upstart young jedi to the dark side of the force. Once again the light side of the force proves to be the stronger. Meanwhile, a team of pilots fly inside the superweapon and blow it up from the inside, saving the galaxy.

Sound familiar? They're all the same movie.

189. (936.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars worked — and still works — largely because Lucas took pieces of other (generally better) films and adventure stories and put them in a new, sci-fi setting. The Force Awakens fails because the only movies it steals from are all Star Wars. Sadly, the Franchise that Lucas Built has become nothing more than a marketing machine, a blender of nostalgia designed not to entertain or inspire, but to please focus groups and sell action figures to adults.

It's still better than the prequels, but that's a pretty low bar.

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To be continued...

 

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