Showing 11 - 20 of 23 posts found matching keyword: star wars

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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The Force is strong in this one

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What is this "Star Wars" I keep hearing about?

I see advertisements for "Star Wars" batteries from Duracell, "Star Wars" jewelry from Kay, "Star Wars" makeup from Covergirl, and "Star Wars" telephone coverage from Verizon. What the hell is "Star Wars" telephone coverage?

Could all this "Star Wars" nonsense happen to have anything to do with a movie coming out in December? A movie so greatly anticipated that it had shattered ticket pre-sales a month before its release date? A movie franchise so valuable that Disney paid four billion-with-a-"b" dollars for the rights to make more? Does the public really have no saturation point for this film franchise?

Hey, I was a kid once, and I liked Star Wars. I really wanted Star Wars toys so I could re-enact my favorite scenes. I don't recall ever wanting "Star Wars" Campbell's Soup or "Star Wars" Coffee Mate or "Star Wars" Trojans that glow in the dark like a stubby little lightsaber.

I'm left wondering if there is anything that Disney won't license the "Star Wars" name to? I looked. Pepsi, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Jelly Belly, Duck Tape. Guitars, underwear, furniture, waffle irons. About the only thing I couldn't find were official Star Wars-licensed condoms (although some clever marketers are exploiting this oversight).I guess Disney has to withhold something for the inevitable sequels.

Thank the maker.

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The first rule of writing is show, don't tell. So although I occasionally talk about coding here on my site, today I'll show you some. (And thus his last 2 remaining readers are motivated to delete from their bookmarks.)

I've been working long hours lately, and the following sample was written at 4 AM after 12 hours of continuous coding while trying to beat a deadline. This snippet takes a character string, looks at the last number of the string to determine if it is odd, and then loads the number into a list.

  1. List<> _dutyroster = new List<>();
  2. string _stormtrooper = "TK421";
  3. string _lastNo = _stormtrooper.Substring ( _stormtrooper.Length-1 );
  4. int _id = int.Parse ( _lastNo );
  5. if( _id % 2 != 0 ) {
  6.  int _unlucky = ( _id == 1 ) ? 1 : 3;
  7.  _dutyroster.Add ( _unlucky );
  8. }

It seemed to work well enough.

At the grocery store the following day, somewhere between the cereal and the soda, I remembered this function. In the bright light of day, it seemed wasteful to bother with the ternary operator if I was just going to select the same number as the odd number I had just evaluated. So I replaced it.

  1. if( _id % 2 != 0 ) {
  2.  int _unlucky = _id;
  3.  _dutyroster.Add ( _unlucky );
  4. }

That broke everything.

Turns out, sometimes when you can't remember why you were writing code at 4 in the morning, you might ought to trust that you knew what you were doing.

What I knew in the dark but didn't remember later that day was that my "_stormtrooper" reference number could end in any digit. The ternary operator, seen below,

  • ( _stupidIs == _stupidDoes ) ? true : false;

existed to provide a necessary, restrictive default in the case that what I was looking for wasn't present.

The takeaway from today's lesson is that I write better code at 4 AM than 4 PM. So next time you think it's weird that I sleep all day and work all night, remember TK421. No matter what time the clock says, sometimes you're just better off if you don't leave your post.

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I hate Diane Sawyer. She's smug and condescending as she delivers the bullet points that ABC News thinks will scare you the most.

Last night, she told me to be afraid of North Korea, rumored to be on the verge of testing another nuclear weapon delivery vehicle. Diane, I stopped worrying about the possibility of global thermonuclear war when Ronald Reagan's policies won the Cold War in 1989.

She followed her first scare with the news that dangerously cold temperatures were, like Sherman, marching south to the sea. Last week, the flu was the unstoppable killer, this week it's frostbite. I don't know about most people, Diane, but I can't worry about more than 1 impending environmental threat at a time, so just tell me if I should buy a flu shot or a blanket. I can't afford both.

Desperate, she sounded the alarm that there is a national shortage of chicken wings available for Super Bowl snacking this year. Diane, I may have been the only one, but I was paying attention last summer when you told me that a killer drought in America's Breadbasket was resulting in record low corn production and we should all expect to starve in coming months. Now you want me to worry about whether Pizza Hut® Wing Streets can stay in business?

I thought that Diane had thrown her worst at me and began to relax. Sensing my weakness, she pounced. In her most chipper voice, she delivered the "good" news: "It was announced today that the creator of Lost, J.J. Abrams, will direct the next Star Wars movie."

In case you didn't know, J.J. Abrams also is in charge of the Star Trek films that have reinvented a classic, beloved, thoughtful science-fiction franchise as a drunken action orgy fit for the idiocracy of the 21st century. I dislike J.J. Abrams more than I hate Diane Sawyer, and that's saying something.

Congratulations, Diane! You win this round.

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According to the Associated Press, Darth Vader has robbed a New York bank. In addition to bank surveilance footage, several witnesses report seeing Vader, over 6 feet tall, fleeing on foot across a parking lot after the crime. It cannot be a coincidence that David Prowse, the actor inside the Vader costume in all of the classic movies, was earlier this month permanently banned from all official Lucasfilm events, apparently for being too vocal about believing that he has been denied his due residuals from Return of the Jedi. It would seem that the Empire really does strike back.

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The internet was "born" 40 years ago yesterday with it's first connection between nerds in California colleges. Credited with making the graphic world wide web profitable, banner ads celebrated their 15th anniversary on Tuesday. And of course tomorrow is Halloween. Keeping all of that in mind, I present to you a complete convergence:

Two great tastes that taste great together. (In this context, that comes across a little gay.)

Image and caption stolen borrowed from Bobby "Fatboy" Roberts, courtesy his article "5 Reasons It Sucks Being a Joss Whedon Fan" at

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Found item: this ticket stub is 10 years old this week.

It's from the midnight debut of Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 24 at I-85 (built on the location of the old I-85 Drive-In). Ah, to be young and have faith in George Lucas again.

Appropriately enough, I re-discovered this ticket stub in my copy of Preacher: Ancient History. It's going back so that I can find it again in 10 more years.

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To be continued...