Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Well, here we are. Star Wars is 30.
I've been thinking of writing this for about six months and here I am at a loss for words. Sure, Star Wars changed the way movies are made and sold. It certainly changed the special FX industry. It launched the careers of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamil. (Only Ford became a superstar, but Hamill became the Joker. And that's not nothing.) It re-defined film music for decades.
It put us back to having happy endings. I went through a late 60's early 70's movie kick a few years back. The French Connection, Get Carter, Planet of the Apes, to name a few. Not a solid resolved upbeat ending among the lot of 'em. Some GREAT movies, but not your "leaving the theater laughing and dancing" kind of fare. And then Mr. Lucas made it so that was about all we DID get for the next twenty years or more.
Ah, George. He gave us Star Wars. Then he gave us Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then he went crazy. He wanted to make THX-1138 and American Graffiti for the rest of his life. Then he became Mr. Blockbuster. I'd REALLY like to introduce Lucas '76 to Lucas '98 and watch a no-holds-barred death-match. Betcha '76 Lucas would shoot first.
On a personal note, Star Wars taught me the words "mercenary", "suicide", "millennium", and "parsec". (DISTANCE. Parsecs are DISTANCE.)
You talk to any male (and quite a few females) of about (*sigh*) 40 or so and say Star Wars. We all know it. We all lived it. Maybe we don't all know that the unit number of the trash compactor is 3263827, but it was SO pervasive. "Use the Force, Luke" is right up there with "We're not in Kansas anymore" and better known than "We need a bigger boat." (WAY better known than "Keyser Soze!")
I went to a Star Wars marathon (well, it was three movies over three nights) when I was 26. Star Wars was 18. It was the last time I saw the original movies on the big screen. (Ahhhhh.) I sat next to a kid of about 15. He asked me what it was like in 1977. Did we know how cool it was? I told him that he had no idea. There was nothing to compare it to. Jurassic Park? Batman? The Simpsons? Flashes in the pan. In 1977 Star Wars was EVERYWHERE. (A few years later I could ALMOST compare it to Titanic. ALMOST.) Magazines. ALL Magazines. On the radio. On TV. Eventually in the toy stores. And THEN some. And it didn't go away. For YEARS it stayed ever-present. I'd say it fizzled a bit about the time Raiders came out in '81. It quietly went (comparatively) dormant in 1983 after Jedi. But from 1977 to 1981 - boy howdy.
I didn't want to see Star Wars. True story. We wanted to see Orca. (I still have never seen Orca. Maybe I'll rent it this week.) I'd seen Artoo and Threepio on the cover of People and everywhere else. An older friend tried to describe it to me. She talked about how this princess (What? A princess in space? Space doesn't have princesses. Princesses are in fairy tales) and they're gonna blow up her planet unless she tells them stuff and then she does but they blow it up anyway. No sir, wasn't impressed. But my folks made me go. Honest. And we saw it at NIGHT. So there.
And the world changed. Admittedly it doesn't take much for the world to change when you're eight. But it did. And thirty years later, one great movie, two ok movies (I like Phantom Menace better than Jedi) and two celluloid excrements later, here we are. I know who Flash Gordon is now. I've seen Metropolis. I've seen Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant. I've seen The Dam Busters. I even know that the throne room march is a rather uncomfortable homage to a Nazi propaganda film. I know all of the stuff that Lucas begged, borrowed, and stole from. And of course we've seen George NOT learn such fundamental lessons such as "When you set up a romantic plot line between two characters in the first two movies, don't make two of them RELATED in a third!" "I guess you don't know everything about women", indeed.
It's thirty years later. And I still love Star Wars.
p.s. The Rescuers turned thirty earlier this week...
at 7:50 AM
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Well, we're not even to all of the great summer movies of THIS summer, and I'm already getting jazzed about one NEXT summer. Think of it as insurance in case we hate Pirates III. (Pirates II gets better every time I see it.)
First off, the campaign season is starting a little early in Gotham City. Some of you have no idea what this means. Let's just say that it's so sad that so many attorney's are so (wait for it) Two Faced. I remember back in 1989 when they were ramping up for the Burton Batman movie there were "Harvey Dent for D.A." buttons. Not that anything good came of that. Grrrr.
Second, the mayor of GC will be played by Nestor Carbonell. Last seen (well, unless you watch Lost I guess) as Batmanuel. Who was based on Die Fledermaus. Who was a spoof of... well... BATMAN!
(The Tick was created by Ben Edlund, who was also a writer on Firefly! Firefly hasn't been mentioned on this blog in too long.) And he wrote and directed the funniest episode of Angel ever.
Oh, and for what it's worth (how much did you pay for this?) I'm rooting for Blake.
at 6:35 PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Boy, I really just love this song. "I'm not a monster, Tom. Well, technically I am."
I discovered this as part of my new favorite podcast (that hasn't been updated nearly enough in the last months). Warning: Some language. (Well, lots of language, that's what we talk with. I mean THAT language. You know.) It's about an Evil Efficiency Expert, that is an expert on making Evil more efficient. Don't tell the good guy your plans before trying to kill him, don't spend 87 million dollars on an orbital space laser / jacuzzi so you can rob a bank for 2 million, etc. And our anti-heroes sad realization that villains just aren't very bright. It's a hoot.
at 7:10 AM
Monday, May 07, 2007
It just gets worse and worse. Robocop is getting a TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY DVD. ROBOCOP. The good news is that The Princess Bride should be getting some shinies later this year. What else turns twenty this year? Superman 4, Lost Boys, Innerspace, Jaws 4 (heh), I'm sure I'm missing something huge from that year.
The number of classics that turn twenty-five this year is alarming. 1982 was a VERY good year. Tron, E.T., Star Trek II, Poltergeist, and Blade Runner all came out within WEEKS of each other.
at 6:58 PM
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Nope - No Spidey 3 review. They were sold out for the show we could make it to this weekend. We'll see it next weekend.
OTOH, have you seen the nine minutes of Pixar's (and BRAD BIRD'S!)Ratatouille? (There was an HD version, but it appears to be gone. Sorry.) "He's RUINING the SOUP!" Yeah, this is my #1 movie this summer. (Pirates is #2.)
at 8:02 AM