Day 332: Twenty Two

Carrie, Mark, and Harrison.

Carrie, Mark, and Harrison.

Twenty two.

That’s the number of times I saw the original Star Wars in a movie theater.

Somehow I convinced my parents to let me go every time the opportunity presented itself. Whether it was with my cousins or classmates, I was not going to miss out on seeing the movie set in a galaxy far, far away.

I saw it at the Pasadena Academy, a huge palace of a theater that now houses a multiplex. I saw it at the General Cinema in the mall, where my brothers and I always giggled at the opening music. I saw it at the drive-in.

I even saw an early bootleg copy on my uncle’s Betamax.

With The Force Awakens less than a month away, I’m curious to see how many times I end up seeing it. The last movie I saw twice in a theater was Avatar, thanks to the game-changing 3-D effects.

My wife and I have had our tickets for opening night for months (thanks to our local comic book store, which is hosting an early private screening) and I’m assuming that we’ll take our niece and nephew when they visit for the holidays. So that’s at least two times I’ll be in the theater. Of course, I’ll have to see it in IMAX, so that’s a third viewing.

But I don’t think I have the desire to see any movie 22 times in a theater. I’ll probably stop after the IMAX version. Of course, that won’t stop me from watching it at home several times after the Blu-Ray release … as long as J.J. Abrams doesn’t pull a George Lucas by adding a bunch of unnecessary CGI to everything.

In fact, can we start a petition for the Blu-Ray release to have FEWER lens flares? I’ve seen one in the trailers so far, but I’m sure there will be plenty more.

Note: This entry was inspired by this excellent article. If you lived through childhood during the 70s and 80s, you’ll appreciate it. 

Day 291: The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Wasn’t I just talking about Star Wars?

As much as I’ve tried to contain my excitement about The Force Awakens, I find myself not doing a good job of it. I watched and live tweeted the original film for the umpteenth time. I finished reading the famous Thrawn trilogy.  I started playing the tabletop miniatures game.

And thanks to my local comic book store, I bought my tickets to an early screening of Episode VII.

Two months ago.

I’ve stopped trying to play it cool, so I was fired up to see the new poster for The Force Awakens today, even if I was disappointed in two things:

  1. No Luke. Is he doing an Obi-Wan-like sacrifice? Or is he already gone and only appearing in flashbacks?
  2. A new Death Star. Or what looks like one.

I don’t mind No. 1 at all. The nostalgia of the original cast is great, as is all of the practical and non-CGI effects, but the story needs to move forward as it pays tribute to its past.

It’s the new-ish Death Star that bothers me. Perhaps it’s a small part of a larger weapon or ship or I don’t know what. I know J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, et al, were smart enough not to rehash a tired gimmick, right? I guess it’s a minor quibble. Give me Death Star 3.0 over Jar Jar Binks 2.0 (or 1.0) any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

On a positive note, Kylo Ren continues to look cool and menacing and … well, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  I said the same things about Darth Maul and we all know how that turned out.

Day 253: New Year, New Teams

Kashyyyk Wookies

Kashyyyk Wookies

For the first time in years, I have more than one fantasy football team. That’s twice the amount of players to follow and stress over. Twice the heartache during the season. Twice the payouts at the end of the year (hopefully).

In honor of Episode VII opening in December, I named my teams the Kashyyyk Wookies and the Tusken Raiders, respectively. I hope the Force is strong in all of my players’ knees and they bring me another championship trophy or two.

Both of my leagues were auction drafts, with slight differences in scoring, waiver wire pickups, etc. The Wookies are in a redraft league and the Raiders are part of a keeper league.

Here are the players I’ll be rooting for and/or cursing this year:

Kashyyyk Wookies:

QB Andrew Luck

RB Adrian Peterson

RB Duke Johnson

WR DeSean Jackson

WR Julian Edelman

TE Dwayne Allen

WR/RB/TE Keenan Allen

Bench: Sammy Watkins, Todd Gurley, Carson Palmer, Charles Sims, Ty Montgomery

Note: I haven’t paid over $1 for a K or DEF in years and have been streaming both positions before it was called streaming. Thus, I’ve left them off my list. 

Tusken Raiders:

QB Drew Brees

RB Mark Ingram

RB Matt Forte

WR Jeremy Maclin

WR Vincent Jackson

TE Rob Gronkowski

WR/TE Keenan Allen

WR/RB John Brown

Bench: LeGarrette Blount, Ryan Mathews, Jordan Cameron, Brian Quick, Pierre Garcon, Carson Palmer, Marvin Jones, Ka’Deem Carey, and Knile Davis.

Day 247: Force Friday

Force Friday


I’m enjoying the cold weather this morning on #ForceFriday, the hashtag day created by Disney to shove new Star Wars merchandise down the public’s throats.

I shouldn’t be so cynical. I’ve been trying not to get too excited about Episode VII. Thanks to social media, though, the hype has been even more insane than when the first prequel was released in 1999.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been trying to temper my expectations; the let-down of the prequels punched a hole in the franchise’s invulnerability. Fans learned that George Lucas was not infallible and neither was everything associated with the Star Wars universe. While we could laugh about Mark Hamill’s whining in the original, we couldn’t forgive Hayden Christensen for his portrayal of Anakin (and we were shocked to see Natalie Portman be so flat-out bad).

For the record, I did enjoy Episode III, despite the horrendous acting and dumb moments like this (although it did inspire this piece of Internet brilliance).

So, I’ll pass on the Star Wars merch for now. I’ll continue to ignore every Star Wars-related news online. I’ll keep my wallet closed until December 18th, 2015.

And I expect my bank account to be empty on December 19th, 2015.

Day 191: Anti-Prequel Approach

Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Episode 7: The Force Awakens

I’m trying not to get too excited about Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I refuse to click on all of the news, gossip, and photo links. I avoid fan arguments dissecting every little detail from the two official teasers. I don’t Google anything related to Episode VII.

But then this happens.

What an AWESOME clip. It’s exactly what all of us diehards want; what I call the anti-prequel approach to making the film. As much as George Lucas and his team advanced CGI special effects during Episodes I-III, those films lacked the heart of the original trilogy. The attention to special effects took precedence over the writing and direction. How else to explain Natalie Portman’s worst acting to date?

Sure, perhaps J.J. Abrams is going overboard with the back-to-basics approach to special effects and forgetting all about the script and his actors. But I doubt it. He seems to be genuinely excited about his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the fans are clearly behind him as he tries to give them a film worthy of the Star Wars legend.

Of course, the fans have also promised to rename him Jar Jar Abrams if he screws this up. I can’t wait until December.