A long, long time ago…three months to be exact—which, in this day and age and Twitter-ness is ancient history—the newest edition of Star Wars hit the big screen.
It was around that time I made a personal decision, something of an older-man creed: There was no way—in hell, in Albany, New York, in Utero, in Tatooine—that I was going to stand in any line…the one that wrapped around the block six times, the one that was cluttered with tents, sleeping bags, dudes who, well, you know, “thoooose dudes,” and people who dressed up like some random general from the Death Star and refused to break character (and fuck you for not immediately knowing who he is dressed up like).
Mind you, none of that creed meant I wasn’t excited to see the movie—far from it. As a kid—like a lot of kids born in the 1980s—Star Wars was incredible. It was mind-expanding before I even knew what the hell that meant. Besides owning every Star Wars toy ever made (and wishing I had never unwrapped them: $$$$), I wasn’t shy about turning flashlights into lightsabers, the family dog into an Ewok, the family dog into a Tauntaun, the basement into the Death Star…I had Yoda PJs for chrissakes. I was down with it, and flash forward to age 35, I’m still down with it.
Come on! Just watch the first trailer…again:
Goosebumps? Yeah, I know.
The lines and the waiting and all that…stuff, though? Nope.
So I decided to wait. And it was a risk. In 2016, not seeing something Pop Culture-related within the first hour can leave you as spoiled as milk sitting in a sauna. It was tricky, to say the least.
But premier night came and went, the large crowds came and went, the lines and the generals from the Death Star came and went—some of them, of course, returned for a sixth, seventh or even 19th time to see the film.
Punxsutawney Phil came and went, predicting an early spring—which means very little living in Los Angeles. (If he said people would start using their blinkers, then I’d party.)
Valentine’s Day was nice…
Pitchers and catchers reported to their spring-training destinations, and then the rest of the players followed suit.
By the beginning of March, I made it roughly the entire three months without knowing a damn thing about Star Wars. I knew only what the trailers would give me, what “they” wanted me to know/think. I didn’t know about Han Solo and his swan song, though, or any other major plot. (I did read a tweet one day that claimed Jar Jar Binks as the new Sith Lord, and that scarred and scared me. Hocus Pocus and a swizzle of the wand, it wasn’t real—crisis averted.)
Then it was time. The tickets were purchased—though finding a theater rivaled looking for Waldo and his hat—and the night was set: Burbank, Friday night, AMC Theater. May the force be…oh fuck it, you know the feeling!!!!!
I was excited. Not just because I was going to see Star Wars, but because I was going to see Star Wars three months after the release without a drop of Social Media predisposition.
Hey! Here’s a tweet. From me:
And see it…I sure did.
Spoiler Alert!! Here’s my review:
The Theater Had the Atmosphere of 12 People Who Suddenly Realized They Were at the Wrong Funeral
There was a guy, cloaked in a Starbucks apron, walking about, seat to seat, like there were only two left, and both were next to the smelly guy who brought in a cheeseburger. Side note: there were about 80 seats to choose from.
Each person acknowledged the next, sort of half-nodding toward him or her to say, “So, we’re the last of the Mohicans on this Star Wars shit, huh?
The people behind me sounded like they packed a picnic for 20…in 20 separate paper bags… and the food was covered in that red coating you used to get on Candied Apples at the fair. Maybe it was just a 300-pound bag of Jolly Ranchers. I don’t know. The point is, there was a lot of crunching, orally and hand-produced.
The Beginning Gave Me Chills
I don’t care what is written up there; it could be a recipe for avocado chicken with quinoa. It doesn’t matter. For me, when those yellow letters started rolling upward and the song played, a million feelings rushed through me. I was giddy, almost filled with that nervous, stalled deep breath you get when some big moment—or a police officer—is in front of you.
Some of the Cast are HBO Cast Members from Shit You Probably Haven’t Watched
It started with Oscar Isaac, the X-Wing guy. He played a very meaningful role as Nick Wasicsko in Show Me a Hero. It ended with Adam Driver starring as Little Junior Solo turned Bad and So On. He is in the show Girls. And, no matter how hard I tried to see the evil in him, the idea of him “in” Lena Dunham was too prevalent. He should have kept the mask on.
That Stormtrooper Just Bled
This is probably a good time mention that Finn did a really solid job. He added a little comedy without looking like he was trying to add a little comedy. However, that failed in comparison to his buddy who left the blood smear on his helmet. It was red blood, too. Not some glow-in-the-dark shit for Arnold Schwarzenegger to scrape off of a leaf. This was real, yo!
Rey was Flying the Millennium Falcon
Watch the trailer again. Seems different, right?
Speaking of Rey
That actress is wonderful. Sure, I see Keira Knightley like you saw Keira Knightley. But she’s really good and, as a Skywalker, I’m excited to see what happens for her down the road. And I’m also intrigued to see the sexual tension unfold between her and Chewbacca. Yes, that’s right. Wookies need to pull ass just like the rest of God’s creatures.
BB-8 Should Have as Many Spin-Offs as the Studio Can Spit Out
R2D2 didn’t have WALL-E to pave the way for franchises based on things that don’t speak. That rolly-polly ball quickly became the Jennifer Hudson of this film, and deserves some solo time—and I don’t mean Han…woot!
The California Raisin, with the big eyes and glasses, voiced by Lupita Nyong’o. She spoke, I listened.
Least Favorite Character
That… guy, the one at the beginning, talking to Wasicsko, the old dude, was he Obi Wan’s stand-in, and he needed a third voucher to become SAG? Who the hell was that? Why was he there? Did I miss something from the first six? What type of shit is this?
Um…Supreme Leader was sort-almost-maybe-a-little-directly stolen from the amazing 1981 film Time Bandits, starring Sean Connery and a few midgets. In that film, like this Star Wars film, Supreme Being (the same as leader) was first just a projected image, and then turned out to be a British bloke in a suit. Can’t wait to see what Star Wars’ Supreme Leader really looks like. Wait, yes I can.
Here, watch this:
It’s good. Leia and Han got busy, had a child, it was Adam Driver from Girls. Luke trains him to use the force and, like his crazy-ass pappy, he goes dark. Then he kills his dad, forcing Luke to go into hiding…in Scotland (or Kauai?), paving the way to yet another Indiana Jones movie.
Speaking of Han…and Chewy
They got old. So did Carrie Fisher. But this was expected with Carrie and Harrison Ford. Wookies, on the other hand, shouldn’t really show their age. Yet, he did. Besides complaining about the cold—a super old person thing to bitch about—Chewy was panting a bunch while climbing the ladder at the end while placing charges (or bombs) all over that never-ending precipice of a station. It looked like he needed a giant paper bag to put over his hairy mouth. Breathe, Chewy. You’re not going to miss that Seinfeld rerun. Your buddy Han is dead. Are you next? Viagra overdose? Yes, that’s right…
The Everything Before We See Luke
It was wonderful. Like most things with this much history—and with the amount of NutraSweet-professional opinions out there— it was probably difficult to get the film completely right. J.J. Abrams deserves the applause for the effort. With each old element, he mixed in something new; keeping most of us in a flux between our childhood and the present ain’t easy to do. By the time we got to that island—post slicing of the face of Adam Driver from Girls—I could feel the stiffness and fatigue in my cheeks (re: my face) from the constant smiling (the type Chevy Chase ranted about removing in Christmas Vacation). I could also feel the stiffness in my cheeks (re: my ass) because I’m a bigger fellow and don’t fit too well in theater seating. But that is for another blah-blog.
Luke Skywalker is back. He looks like Brad Pitt in between films and he is hiding on an island that doesn’t seem to have shelter. Honestly, I didn’t know the force was THAT strong. He is standing on a fucking hill and no one could find him…what is he—a seat? Get the Dark Side some Starbucks aprons.
Still, it was good. Not great. He went Tom Cruise and did a long pause: it kind of looked like Luke was about to fart, and then he saw Rey and was like, “Oh darn it; I guess I’ll have to hold this one now that there is a lady present.” But do you blame him? Long pauses are fun and, more important, it leaves a lot of questions, ones that probably won’t be answered until I’m 96.
But, hey, you know me; I don’t mind the wait.