Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Monday, September 18, 2023
We were going through the worst economic decade of my lifetime. Some people might look at the events that followed 2008 as being the worst, but the American economy was much more robust in 2008 and able to eventually rebound. However, the 1970s were just one piece of bad news after another. The country felt like it was in a giant malaise.
Then came Star Wars in 1977, which to my 17-year-old mind felt like a godsend. It was a metaphor for a hopeful battle against all the evils that plagued us.
Star Wars became an important part of my life, and it influenced my career toward computers and video game development. To this day, Star Wars feels like a part of my personality.
At my more advanced age of 63, I notice how violent Star Wars is. This didn't seem like much of an issue in 1977 when the characters were fighting Space Nazis, because the 1970s felt like an existential struggle against the forces of evil. For example, Star Wars calls light sabers an elegant weapon, but how elegant is cutting people in half or cutting their heads off? It would be like calling a battle axe an elegant weapon.
All this makes me wonder how relevant Star Wars is to our current time? The 20th century was by far the most violent in history, which made mechanized murder on a mass scale feel more normal. I think that there was less regard for the individual, which is something we take to extreme levels today.
I feel far less threatened by outside forces today than I did after 9-11, or in the 60s, the 70s, and the 80s.
We can still fantasize about a struggle for survival between good and evil, but good and evil in the modern world are less distinct from one another.
This makes me think that Star Wars has to change to remain relevant. The original movie gave us 1970s characters in a futuristic setting. The recent series Andor did a great job of giving us modern characters in the same setting and feels more relevant to the time we live in.
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Friday, September 1, 2023
All of the OT's successes originated from George Lucas. Did you know that the first cut of 'The Empire Strikes Back' was a disaster? Here's what a now deleted article from ScreenRant says, titled '15 Things You Never Knew About The Empire Strikes Back'. Fact #7 was that, you guessed it, "The First Cut Was A Disaster, Requiring Heavy Reshoots". The article then goes on to say "With shooting way behind schedule and costs running out of control on The Empire Strikes Back , George Lucas started to panic. With his entire personal fortune invested in production on Empire , the failure of the movie would mean persona and professional ruin. Shooting wrapped, and Lucas breathed a sigh of relief". That's good, you might say. However, the article continues with: "Then came the disastrous rough cut, which left Marcia Lucas in tears. Lucas exploded, furious with Gary Kurtz and Irvin Kershner at having spent his personal fortune to make a bad movie. Lucas tried reediting the movie himself to no avail. He then decided to film extensive reshoots, reworking the Han/Leia love subplot. That raised the cost of the picture even more, as Lucas had to divert funds from construction of Skywalker Ranch to keep the movie shooting. He also had to approach Fox for a loan, which production executive Alan Ladd, Jr. helped him secure. Ladd would later quit Fox over the loan, when Empire became a runaway hit
Friday, August 25, 2023
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Ashoka Tano is a much loved character from the animated Star Wars The Clone Wars series. A more mature version of the character appeared on the animated Star Wars Rebels series, as well as the live action The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett series.
The live action Ashoka series starring Rosario Dawson premieres tonight on Disney+.
Friday, August 18, 2023
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, available for streaming on Disney+, is the best of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Unfortunately, it is the last since James Gunn has given an emphatic "No!" to any more sequels. These movies are entertaining enough that I don't see why they can't continue indefinitely, and I really want to see more of these characters. (Never say never again.)
The film is a bit limited by being a live-action comic book dominated by action scenes, but it has the most character development, centering around the life and backstory of Rocket Racoon. We get his origin story, along with the villainous character who created him. Some movies are only as good as their villain, which isn't entirely true here. Rocket was created by "The Great Geneticist", who has a god complex and considers Rocket to be his property. As far as villains go, "The Great Geneticist" feels rather routine.
Near the end of the movie, all the characters having gone through an ordeal, embrace each other. It would have been poignant and brilliant if the movie had ended at this moment. Some fans might have felt shortchanged and complained. Instead, the film gives us several more minutes designed to make us feel happy, but the actual ending is pretty fluffy and insubstantial.
There are a couple of scenes in the credits which promise the return of "Star-Lord", which means the Chris Pratt character will turn up someday in a different Marvel movie.
This film is a fun ride, so I only hope that eventually, we will get a sequel.
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Friday, August 11, 2023
Thursday, August 10, 2023
1 minute ago
I am a die-hard Star Wars fan who is critical of Disney Star Wars but not nearly as hostile in my criticism. I have found almost all of Disney Star Wars entertaining, despite a few flaws, large and small.
I am disappointed with The Rise of Crapwalker, which is a barely entertaining movie. It is logically flawed and ruins Darth Vader's sacrifice by bringing back Palpatine. The sequel trilogy as a whole is a bit of a letdown.
However, I will swear to my dying breath that The Last Jedi is an entertaining movie because I found it entertaining. It is not the story I would have told, but if they did everything I expected then it would be a pretty boring movie. It has some brief cringe-worthy dialog, but if you can ignore that then the movie has a really good story. It was also an opportunity that J.J. Abrams squandered to take Star Wars in a new direction, where you didn't have to be a Skywalker to use the force.
I enjoyed the Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett series. I realize that they are not perfect, but my expectations for TV shows are lower than major movies. I feel like the Star Wars audience wants to nitpick these shows to death because they are not perfect, but they still have entertaining stories.
The movie Solo didn't do much for me. All the characters are unlikeable, which makes it hard to enjoy.
I really like Rogue One and Andor. I absolutely love The Mandalorian. Season 2 is astonishingly good, but unfortunately, season 3 is barely passable.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Friday, July 28, 2023
All excellent points.
I will swear to my dying breath that The Last Jedi was entertaining because I found it entertaining every time I watched it. Despite the flaws, I think that there is a pretty good story there.
I also found The Rise of Crapwalker entertaining, but it seemed illogical and it ruined the cannon. I had high expectations and was let down. Therefore, if you don't like The Last Jedi for the same reasons, I understand, but I don't agree.
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Saturday, July 22, 2023
Sunday, July 16, 2023
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Saturday, July 8, 2023
Star Wars isn't dead, but there could be more very dark times for it in the near future... - YouTube
I don't think that there is a category of people who are afraid to criticize Star Wars. If anything, the vast majority of fans go to the opposite extreme. I feel like Star Wars fans are too nitpicky and will reject an entire movie because it is not what they personally wanted.
Most of Disney Star Wars has been pretty entertaining despite a few flaws. I am one of the few who loved The Last Jedi. I know that there is some cringe-worthy dialogue, but most of it is brief. I wasn't put off because of Luke, because it is not my story to tell, and Lucasfilm can tell whatever story they want. Despite the problems, all of which I think are minor, the story is still very good.
Likewise, I think that Kenobi is a good show. The production quality falls short of Andor, but this is Star Wars on TV. I have lower expectations for television programs, and regardless of whatever flaws it has logically, it is entertaining. People would not make the same complaints about an animated series, so I hold Kenobi to the standard of the TV shows that came before it, and not the movies.
For me, The Rise of Crapwalker was a bridge too far with the entire Palpatine plot. Bringing Palpatine back diminishes the ending of Return of the Jedi because it makes Vader's sacrifice much less meaningful. I have to admit that the movie is entertaining, but the film is a logical dumpster fire.
I had hoped that The Rise of Skywalker would finish the series in a good way and to some extent redeem The Last Jedi by continuing its story logically, but instead, the movie showed that Lucasfilm had no grand plan in the making of these movies.
Many people have praised Solo, but I found none of the characters likable, so the movie didn't work for me. It is barely passable as entertainment. I will probably watch it again, but it feels like an average space movie and I expect more from a Star Wars film.
Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Saturday, June 17, 2023
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Friday, June 9, 2023
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Friday, May 19, 2023
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Nope is a science fiction horror film. It is available on Amazon Prime.
A brother and sister struggle to run a Hollywood horse-training farm after the death of their father (Keith David from Cloud Atlas.) Meanwhile, their neighbor (Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead) is running a nearby Western and UFO themed mini amusement park tourist trap. They all begin to suspect that something alien and dangerous is moving around in the clouds. The story plays out like a science fiction version of Jaws.
The film makes good use of sound. We hear faint sounds in the distance that might be screaming.
The movie has a huge plot hole because the characters suspect that something in the clouds is killing people, but they don't try to contact the authorities. Instead, they want to film this danger so that they can make money and become famous. Had they contacted the police and successfully made their case, the issue would have escalated up the hierarchy until it eventually provoked a military response.
The movie starts with a truly bizarre scene where a young version of the Steven Yeun character is playing in a '90s sitcom. A trained chimpanzee on the show goes berserk and kills most of the people on the set. This is not far-fetched, since chimpanzees are extremely aggressive and violent. At first, it is hard to understand why this scene is in the movie, but the film later tries to make the point that trained wild animals can still be dangerous, and this just might have something to do with whatever it is in the clouds.
I have often said that cheap science fiction typically will have only one good idea, and those movies stretch their one good idea out for 90 minutes, or in the case of this film, 2 hours. The story is rather clever, but the pace of the film is a bit too slow. Fortunately, unlike most films of this genre, they don't wait till the end of the movie for the big reveal. We get the big reveal halfway through, and the remainder of the film is about the characters responding to it. As such, the film is more exciting than films like The Vast of the Night, The Signal, Monsters, and Annihilation. Even though these movies were entertaining, nobody cares about them anymore because their lack of substance made them forgettable.
Despite the rather slow pace, especially in the first half which spends much time building up the story, Nope made me care about these characters enough to keep me involved.
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
TREKKIE WATCHES Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | FIRST TIME WATCHING | Reaction - YouTube
Friday, April 7, 2023
Sunday, April 2, 2023
Friday, March 31, 2023
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
I actually like Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Brave, and Monsters University. I especially like The Good Dinosaur. Finding Dory is pretty good. Toy Story 4 feels weak to me. Cars 3 is just bad. I enjoyed Coco but the movie did not feel in any way exceptional. Soul is pretty cool. Lightyear is surprisingly good. It is not critically panned. It has a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Monday, March 13, 2023
Saturday, March 11, 2023
I remember seeing this movie in what was likely the late 70s on TV. I just rewatched the first 11 minutes and it is hilarious.
On Fri, Mar 10, 2023 at 1:11 PM al wrote:
> John, this is the movie I told you about tonight, starring Dean Martin. I thought it was a fun movie to watch. It will make you laugh frequently, although I'm not sure I would call it a true comedy.
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Friday, February 3, 2023
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Sunday, January 22, 2023
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Monday, January 16, 2023
The movie throws around a great deal of Spanish lingo such as 'tio', 'abuela', 'casita', and much more. It expects you to guess the meaning of the words, which is not hard because every time one of these words is used you are given a visual clue as to what they are talking about. The film is a very small Spanish lesson, mostly set to music. Even the title, 'Encanto', means spell or enchantment.
Ultimately the movie doesn't work because it feels like a mess without a clear point.
Rating: B-. It is barely passable as entertainment.
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Monday, January 9, 2023
Saturday, January 7, 2023
All Quiet on the Western Front makes no pretense of nobleness nor honor in people trying to kill each other. Soldiers aren't seen as brave men fighting for a worthy cause. These young men, teenagers who are practically boys, are sent charging into their likely destruction. And for what purpose? Mostly patriotism, but the boys on both sides aren't any different than their enemy. They are fighting not for a cause, but because they are told that they must do so.
The movie starts with German youth Paul Bäumer patriotically signing up for military service with some of his classmates. They are told that they will be victorious and march into Paris. However, any notion of glory quickly disappears as soon as they arrive at the front. One of the classmates is killed in the first few minutes.
The best battle scene involves the soldiers being attacked by multiple enemy tanks, which looks like Hell on Earth.
The movie is so realistic that it feels almost like watching a documentary. It doesn't shy away from the horrors of war. Many people likely will be put off by the film. As such, it is more of an experience than it is entertainment. After watching the movie it would be hard to watch other war movies in a positive light.
The film is based on a 1928 German anti-war novel, that would later be banned by the Nazis because it made war look less than glorious. There were previous movie adaptations in 1930 and 1979, both of which were critically acclaimed.