Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Ah, Return of the Jedi (1983). The much-debated finale to the original trilogy, where people get mad that the Empire is defeated by a band of teddy bears.
Look, it doesn't bother me. In fact, I like it. The Emperor has "foreseen" how all will unfold. He's moved the pieces into place so that the Alliance will finally be crushed, caught in a Battle of the Bulge scenario as the Rebel Fleet is trapped between the fully-operational Death Star and some portion of the Imperial Fleet. But ol' Darth Sidious here did not account for the forest weirdos he considered so lowly they couldn't play a part in his schemes. And, not only do they show the Rebels a backdoor to the Imperial Base/ Generator - they take out local security in guerrilla warfare. So they were kinda cute mammal things. So what?
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
It seems like Holiday Inn (1942) used to be the Bing Crosby Christmas movie of choice for television, but the past few years, probably because it's in color and because they don't have to cut out any super-racist blackface scenes, White Christmas (1954) has been the Bing Crosby film that AMC has really been pushing.
In my book, White Christmas is the Pepsi to Holiday Inn's Coke - both are fine, but I'll usually start with Coke (well, Coke Zero or Diet Coke) and work my way backward to Pepsi. Again - I don't want to say Holiday Inn isn't hugely problematic by any standard after 1952 or so. It is. But when you cut out that President's Day sequence (shudder) the story just works better. For me, anyway. Plus, I like Fred Astaire a magnitude more than I'll ever like Danny Kaye.
But we don't have Holiday Inn, we have White Christmas.
This is the holy mother of Star Wars movies, and it's always a funny one to watch, because I don't disagree, but it's a movie that doesn't make a lot of sense. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) should be the measuring stick you're using when you start coming at me with plot holes in the new movie, because if you found a few there, this one is like the remains of a tattered sheet hanging on a laundry line after ten years in an Oklahoma back yard.
But I still love it.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Due to the surge and servers blowing up, etc... when the pre-sale began, I didn't buy tickets for opening weekend of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). I was also deeply skeptical of another stab at the movies by a director for whom I have no particular affinity, and who has been involved with some things I thought were downright bad. In October I wrote a bit about trying to remain optimistic, but cautiously so. After all, I'd already had not one but three bad experiences with Star Wars, and this would mean the end of my interest in the franchise.
My original plan was to just wait for the reviews to roll in and then pull the trigger on buying tickets or (shudder) not buying them and waiting for the movie to eventually cross my path, but I was talked into buying tickets for my family. And, good luck finding a day or time before Christmas to get that whole crew in one place. So, we were headed to see the movie on December 27th.
Then the reviews came out, and they averaged toward very, very good Not that I read any (I still haven't), but a 90% Rotten Tomatoes score is usually a good indicator of something. Then word of mouth from trusted sources came back, all spoiler-free, and I was a bit sad I wouldn't see the movie for many days yet. Then my former boss, who has a 7 year-old son who thinks he's Anakin Skywalker, started texting me, assuming I'd seen the movie, and I realized: I am going to get this movie ruined for me by accident. If not the internet (which has done a remarkable job of keeping it's mouth shut. Which... when has that ever happened?), then someone at the comic shop or at work on Monday was going to blow it.
So, I bought two tickets for 8:00 AM today, the only two remaining seats, I think. And after getting up at 6:30 AM and arriving at the theater at 7:30, we sat in our front row seats and waited for the scroll.
I am happy to say, I actually very much enjoyed The Force Awakens.
Before continuing - I am well aware of the Spoilers problem around this movie, so if you want to remain Spoiler-Free, best to just say "okay, Ryan was cool with it" and move on. Because we're just going to talk about the movie after this.
Today marks the birthday of film and television star Audrey Totter, born this day in 1917 in Joliet, Illinois.
The 12th marked the second anniversary of her passing. We remain big fans of Ms. Totter and continue to enjoy her work.