George Lucas ruined my childhood

George Lucas retroactively ruined my childhood.He did it by creating Jar-Jar Binks, by casting the most wooden child actor in the history of Hollywood as the biggest villain in the history of Hollywood, and by relying too much on special effects instead of story.But worst of all, he did it by being boring.And "Star Wars" was never meant to be boring. Not ever.I was going to save this little screed until the May 19 release of the last "Star Wars" movie, "Revenge of the Sith." But the media hype machine has already started the process of making "Episode III" the biggest film event of the year, so I must raise my voice now.And what I have to say is this: the last two movies have been crap. This shouldn't matter, because flicks are flicks, to be enjoyed and then forgotten, but dagnabit, it does matter. If you're a thirtysomething American male, you know it matters, because "Star Wars" probably did more to shape your youthful imagination than anything else - than everything else, combined - in popular culture. I was about 5 years old the first time I saw the original "Star Wars," now titled "A New Hope," in 1977 or 1978. My parents loaded up the family car, took us to a now-defunct drive-in theater in Emporia, where I watched the show over my father's shoulders from the back of a red Ford Maverick, sound piped in over tinny speakers. I seem to recall it was part of a double bill; the second movie had something to do with roller disco.After that, "Star Wars" became the currency of my youth. I was never good at sports, and I liked reading a little too much, but Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the rest gave me something I could talk about with other guys my age.My favorite toy? An X-wing fighter. My parents never could afford The Millennium Falcon. I spent hours in my room with action figures, recreating scenes from the movies and inventing new adventures.I still have my original Chewbacca figure.Then "Episode I" came out in 1999, and it was awful - characters, plot, acting, everything but the climactic lightsaber duel was mindbendingly bad.. I went back a second and third time, just to make sure I hadn't accidentally missed the rollicking fun that fueled the early movies. "Episode II" wasn't much better.And suddenly, it felt like all those childhood hours spent contemplating and expanding upon the "Star Wars" universe were a colossal waste. Which, yes, they probably were anyway - but still, to be confronted with the evidence was painful. Like I said: George Lucas retroactively ruined my childhood.I won't lie: I'm going to go see "Episode III." Maybe even on opening night. But when I go, I'll know I'm going to see a movie, a moneymaking opportunity, but nothing more.The Force, it seems, wasn't ever really with us at all.


Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Is it just that we are older now? Have we lost that innocence of youth? Were the first movies all we imagine they were?

I have to agree with you though Joel. When I heard Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor were in it, I had such hope. I love both actors. How could it be bad? AND as Jedi! I was ecstatic! Then Jar Jar showed,... and my youth screamed and died...... my hopes and dreams destroyed. Thank you Lucas, for making me a broken man....

UKept 17 years, 3 months ago

Let the fanboy lamenting begin...

Not only was Episode I bad, it was really bad. It was terribly, awfully, horribly bad. It was Ralph Wiggum "I'm embarrassed for you" inexcusably crap. The plot was bad, the script was bad, the characters (who were supposed to be good) were bad. It was one gigantic product placement for Lucasfilm marketing, it pandered to every lowest common denominator, and I left the theatre feeling like the Lord had pooped on my face.

I didn't like it.

The second one, while not sucking quite as much, continued to be preachy (the segment about the death sticks), wooden, and didn't know whether to be a romance or a who-dun-nit. Yoda fighting was kinda like sex--for forty five seconds it was the coolest thing ever, but when it was over it's like "Well, now what?". The epic battle wasn't particularly tense because you didn't know A) who was fighting, or B) what about.

I'll see the third one too. Early, and probably a couple of times. Let us just hope that it gets better.

/off to get coffee

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

where are all these Star Wars loving geek girls when I am trying to get dates.... Guess they are all taken already....

back to fantasies of Padme and Leia....

lazz 17 years, 3 months ago

The original Star Wars has been retitled "A New Hope"? Really? When did this happen? Talk about embarrassing. Sounds like the subtitle for a very special episode of 'Blossom"... (sorry, mano'leisure...) yeah, good call, though, joel, that last two Star Wars movies ("No Hope Left" and "Where Hope Goes to Die") did suck the life out of the greatness of the first three. or the first one. Or something.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Everyone has been touched by it. There are a few out there that haven't seen it still, but even those people are hit by pop culture without knowing it.

Yep, Wedge. Told you I was horrible with names ;)

Now was Leia tops? Or Padme? Now that is a geek fight. Well, not as bad as the would Star Wars or Star Trek win that I seem to overhear at the few cons we have around here..... I guess I am not a true geek. I run when I hear that....

alm77 17 years, 3 months ago

Joel, I'm going to have to agree with Mike here. The first movies weren't that great either. Sure, for their time, the special effects were awesome, but the plot was just as lacking as it still is. I think our culture wasn't quite as quick to criticize and we were all so young then, that maybe we just chose to ignore the weaknesses and fill in things with our imagination.

I have a four year old who LOVES Star Wars, for him, there is nothing better. He has tons of action figures and knows more characters than me or his father. He would never talk about plot weaknesses or lack of depth for the characters. He loves to fight with light sabers and quote lines from any of the movies. Yes, I understand some of that has to do with his age, but my point is maybe it had something to do with our age too.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and have you all heard. There is going to be a TV series done to help ruin the rest of what we hold dear....

Lucas spoke about the new television show. It's live action, takes place between 3 and 4, is going to be 100 Episodes at an hour each altogether, and the first season will be directed by Lucas. So that's that. Oh, and the Clone Wars cartoon will be an ongoing series.

I hear parts of it may be like "Young Indiana Jones". Kevin Smith has been rumoured to be another person directing them....

Greg Yother 17 years, 3 months ago

I've had this conversation several times; great post Joel. We are about the same age, and had pretty much indentical experiences with the films (including the now defunct drive-in and the intense yearning for the toy Falcon).

Hmmm...I'm really having a hard time deciding if the first films were bad too. It's completely impossible for me to decide because they did indeed have a staggering influence on my childhood imagination. You really hit the nail on the head with that statement Joel. Were they as bad as episode I and II? Mark Hamil gave a pretty pitiful performance, agreed? I've actually seen him play a video-cut-scene character in some crappy space-based VIDEO GAME!! How humiliating that must have been. The Ewoks approached the Jar Jar annoyance factor; that was definitely for me a sign that the end was coming. Can't decide; I'm just too biased.

Conclusion (Yoda's voice): "Difficult to see."

Todd 17 years, 3 months ago

When Pukus remade the originals it was a sign of crappy things to come. Gredo shoots first was a slap in the face that still stings.

hodgie 17 years, 3 months ago

I agree with alm77 and Mike. I loved those movies as a child and still do to this day because I loved them so much then. I even like episodes 1 and 2. They're not as great, but I knew that they weren't going to be masterpieces. Lucas just isn't that great of a director. The casting was awesome, but the acting was crap. Why? They were directed to act that way. Jar Jar was annoying, but so is C3P0. The movies have always been corny and there have always been mistakes. Remember at the end of the first movie when Luke screams "Carrie" instead of Leia? I think everyone needs to relax and enjoy the ride. Yes, they could have been better, but what did you expect?

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Unless I'm misreading the pseudonyms here: All guys in this discussion so far. Not a surprise, I guess.

Will: "Lord pooped on my face"? That's it. I'm about to retire from writing. I'll never be able to craft such an analogy.

Alm: I agree that the original movies had their weaknesses -- Mark Hamill's acting, for one, Lucas-written dialogue for another ("You can write this crap, George, but you sure can't say it," Harrison Ford reportedly told Lucas) -- BUT: I think they still hold up as a good, fun time. "Empire Strikes Back" had the potential to be the dull, pretentious mess that the most recent two movies have been -- Luke and a muppet discussing spirituality? Really? -- except that Lucas turned directing chores over to a good director.

But you're right. You can never be a child again.

Mike Austin: I don't know how to feel about the TV series.

THX -- yes, you're a bigger "Star Wars" geek than the rest of us. Has anybody parlayed a 30-year career of cameo appearances based on a couple of movies better than Mark Hamill has?

Todd: Agreed.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 17 years, 3 months ago

I don't think it's an age thing at all. I had never seen any of the original Star Wars movies until they were re-released in theaters in, what, '97? And they were still magic the first time, even at 19 instead of 7. Not so the two "new" ones. I've seen the originals once apiece, and the stories are still very clear, very vibrant in my head. The two new ones? I remember wanting to stab Jar-Jar, and thinking that the pod races went on way too long. That's it. I couldn't tell you the plots to save my life.

leslie 17 years, 3 months ago

Han Solo kick-started my heterosexuality, even (man, was he hot in the Empire Strikes Back). But ruined your childhood? Really?

I've been watching the movies again with my son, and I'll second that they were always lousy. Darth Vader walks as if he has a perpetual neck-ache. Yoda sounds like Kermit the Frog. Luke couldn't be a more anemic hero. But the new movies can't take away how my heart fluttered when Han so easily did away with Greedo, that first rush I felt when Han made his move on Leia, or how my heart broke when he was frozen in that brick thing. I've loved scoundrels ever since.

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Ah, good, the women arrive.

Leslie: What's the use of blogging if you can't be a little hyperbolic?

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Getting real close. I actually skimmed a bit of the original today. I still see why I like it. It is a fairy tale set in space. I like most of the chracters, it is funny, it is sad, it has lots of shooting. Everything is black and white. (heh heh) You know the badguys, you know the good. It isn't the best acted, or the best special effects. But it has a lot of charm and character... it is what it was to me. The beginning of a lifetime of geekiness.... ;)

That and HG Wells...

Leah1980 17 years, 3 months ago

To respond to Hodgie: WHAT DID I EXPECT?
I expected something magical, heart stopping, make you twitch in your seat fantastic. Instead, I was force fed a dump truck full of manure (pun intended). I took my little cousin Charlie to see Episode I, as his father had taken me to see Jedi. I bought tickets online for the midnight show, convinced my aunt and uncle to let Charlie miss school the next day, and then we waited in line for 2 hours so we could get perfect seats. WHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY, George, why? With the exception of the performances by Ewan MacGregor and Liam Neeson, and their fight scene with Darth Maul, the movie was representative of everything that is wrong with Hollywood films. Star Wars was a film nobody wanted at first -- Lucas went to every major studio before Fox finally picked it up, after once having turned Lucas away. Episode I and especially Episode II were like pre-packaged, processed, Kraft cheese.
1) what happened to using puppets and models? there was a weight and texture to the original star wars because the creatures were real, and the actors brought them to life. Computer animation can be blended with "old school" models to create a better effect. Purely computer generated images make Episode I and II look newer that the originals, and frankly, no look as real. 2) there was no chemistry among the cast. Natalie Portman is wonderful, and beautiful, and I realize the fantasy of many men (oddly since Beautiful Girls) -- and it is not her fault she had no chemistry with the brick wall posing as the future Darth Vader. 3) Lucas is an egotistical ass who did not realize the most important thing: he cannot write. He should have hired proper screenwriters. Why was Empire the best? Because Lucas did no write it. 4)Kids growing up now love the new star wars because it is just like every other mundane, stock movie marketed for their tastes. And the rest of us suffer the consequences.

The original Star Wars is special because there was nothing else like it. It was not a perfect movie, by any means, but it stirred something in our generation.

Nikki May 17 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they were too busy with other things. Or, too geeky for people to like. We've all seen the sitcoms where the geeky girl is just the "friend" and when they grow up, she's hot and turns down the previous friend.

liz 17 years, 3 months ago

Yoda's voice was done by Frank Oz, who also did the voice of Grover, Bert, Fozzie Bear, and Miss Piggy, so the Muppet association is not unfounded, (although I believe Jim Henson did Kermit).

I expereinced Star Wars as the little sister of a Star Wars geek. My favorite figure to play with was "baby Jawa" who I fashioned to be depressed and anti-social. I also woke up in the middle of the night one Christmas Eve and swore there was a Jawa sitting in my doorway - scared the bejezus out of me.

Anyhow, I would love to hear from the parents of Star Wars geeks to see if they thought the movies were any good at the time. It could be that they were convincing and inspiring in that particualr time.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

I know my parents loved them at the time. My father drug us all over the state to good theatres to watch them. He made sure that when we were in Omaha that we stopped in to see Empire on a wrap around screen (high tech stuff at the time). My mother and father loved the heroes, the villains. Mother was in love with Han, dad stalked around the house quoting Vader. It was a whole family experience for us, our excitement reflected off of each other and built more and more. I can't say too many movies brought us together as a family as much as the trilogy did. Even to this day my father loves the orginals, he can't figure out what to say about the prequels....

Greg Yother 17 years, 3 months ago

I remember when I first learned that my pure as the driven snow Princess Leia was a strung-out smack junky in real life. I was crushed.

chrisgladfelter 17 years, 3 months ago

For all of you whose faith in the original trilogy's fun is waivering, you have to watch the 1978 "Star Wars Holiday Special." It aired only once, and Lucas is so embarrased by it that he wishes he could smash every copy with a sledgehammer.

The show's story revolves around Chewbacca's family as they prepare for the wookie holiday Life Day. Art Carney, Harvey Korman, Jefferson Airplane, and Bea Arthur guest star. And Carrie Fisher sings at the end.

May the Force Be With You!

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

This is, by my count, post No. 98. I feel great anticipation.

Mike's right about the "fairy tale in space." When I watch the movies -- "A New Hope" and "Empire" especially -- I see they were made by people who love movies, with references to Flash Gordon, Gone with the Wind, Kurosawa movies and Wizard of Oz, off the top of my head.

I think the problem is, after the first two movies, everybody started telling George Lucas he was a genius -- and he believed them. He began to believe any bit of crap he pooped out was good by virtue of him producing it, rather than it being good on its own merits. It's a dangerous temptation for any artist, and Lucus succumbed to the dark side, big time.

Carmenilla 17 years, 3 months ago

Let us all chant: "Nerds, nerds, nerds!"

The first 2 Star Wars movies were thrilling when they came out and no kid (age 6-12) was gonna dis Mark Hamill's acting 'cause we didn't know any better. They were just good enough to hit our age bracket and make an impact. They still do with kids today.

But when "Return of the Jedi" came out, even at my young age, I sensed that the jig might be up. You can't have goddamn Ewoks after the Endor speeder chase scene. LAME!!! It was waaaay to sickeningly feel good as it wrapped up. I hated that song they (those cursed Ewoks) sang at the end. Yub nub, my ass!

The more recent ones followed down that cheese-greased hill. My 8 yr old agrees with my husband and I on that point. Even she thinks Jar-Jar is retardo (sorry for the word but it fits). All I'm saying is, Lucas is a hack that capitalized on our youth. But he had moments in some of those movies that were undeniable. And its not like Fantasy/Sci Fi movies are ever really that good. C'mon, "2001:A Space Odyssey" and .....what else? The bar is not exactly set very high.

But I love the first 2 no matter what.....Classic memories of the Glenwood and the Drive-in in Topeka. What being a kid is all about.

darkangel 17 years, 3 months ago

You're right. I've been known to tell people that the problem with the new Star Wars was that George got too famous. There were no people around him brave enough to tell the famous director that his screenplay needed editing desperately. That, in itself, would have improved the movies quite a bit. A shorter, tighter story line would have at least gotten rid of the feeling that as an audience we were jumping all over the place never actually sticking to the story supposedly being told. Talk about wandering off on tangents.

leslie 17 years, 3 months ago

Chew on this: A friend once made the observation that before Star Wars, Hollywood movies could be much more experimental. Once Star Wars hit, every production company starting gearing their efforts toward blockbusters, and it all went in the toilet. So, did Lucas actually ruin film? I'm not a film buff, but I thought it was an interesting opinion.

lazz 17 years, 3 months ago

Jaws-Star Wars-Raiders of the Lost Ark were, I think, the megahits that seemed to point the studios toward the blockbuster mentality. Quinno could probably chime in with informed history on the topic.

Overlooked in the history of the blockbuster was The Towering Inferno, biilled as "The Movie That Cost $13 million to Make!" And worth every penny.

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Mike: If you're attending conventions where people have Trek vs. Wars arguments, you might be a geek.

I think I should become the Jeff Foxworthy of geekiness.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

And all that pseudo mystery of things going on. He seemed to try and make an elaborate movie, but failed horribly when he still made it childish. Jar Jar back to back with blockades and political scheming? He tried to make a kid movie with adult themes. He failed. I agree that I think he got too big for himself. He should have brought others in to make sure the story was done well, not that it was just "Lucas Masturbation".... Well, that was uncalled for on the 100th post.

Woohoo!! 100!

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

i like what misty had to say, the original stories are clear in my head and the new ones are blurs of digital vomit. and jim henson did voice kermit. thats why he doesnt sound the same any more.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

I was only at ComicCon as an observer. I had to wear the guise of a geek to infiltrate the bastion of Geekdom to purchase my bootleg asian cinema ;)

Shelby 17 years, 3 months ago

Whoever recommended "Clone Wars": I saw it last night and it was waaayyyyy stupid.

Terry Bush 17 years, 3 months ago

the OLD lady finally chimes in.

I took my young son to see each and every one of the 1st three (and we NEVER went to movies - couldn't afford it) and he had ALL the toys I could afford (and many hand-me-down ones from cousins!). I wonder how many (if any)of those Star Wars toys he still has....

Those movies never were about GOOD film techniques, story lines, or acting. It was an event and a story line that was new & different. Good still defeated bad, in the end, but it got very complicated too (just like life) - what with the heroes being scoundrels or related to the chief villain. Science fiction films used to be a whole lot scarcer. Star Wars changed that (as I recall).

The next two movies were a huge disappointment to me. But perhaps because I no longer got to share it with and see it through the eyes of a young son. The costumes were great, but the acting and plot were almost painful to experience.

Perhaps the Star Wars movies are like a lot of things in life; Best experienced when we're young and have less baggage and most appreciated in hindsight? Sequels (in movie, books, or life) are so often a disappointment. Perhaps the lesson learned is this: Once (if) you finally do something perfectly right, it might be a good idea to move onto doing other things.... ?? Nah, if that were the case, few parents would have a 2nd offspring...! LOL.

Shelby 17 years, 3 months ago

I am a film snob. I dislike most popular movies and lean toward artsy ones by the likes of Herzog, Sayles, etc. That said...

...I thoroughly enjoy the first two prequels.

I agree that the dialogue is--whew!--bad. The chemistry between most of the characters doesn't match the original trilogy, either. BUT.....I love the stories.

I really love them. I guess I allow myself this one nerdy indulgance to counterbalance my unadulterated film snobbery.

Overall, most facets of them are disappointing but I'm the type of guy that doesn't mind admitting he'll sit around for an afternoon and watch such schlock as Battlestar Galactica reruns (the old ones with Dirk Benedict).

But if there IS indeed a Star Wars TV series, I might have to abandon my "aesthetically sophisticated" guise.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Yes, it definately had it's good points and bad. The big stomper in the Mace scene was over the top. Gennedy just went a little far, and the stories were mostly not needed.

alm77 17 years, 3 months ago

ladylaw brings up a good point talking about the intrinsic moral value of Star Wars. I would say that is the one saving grace of the whole series. It is so easy for me to talk to my kids about making choices when I have the likes of Anakin Skywalker and Lando Calrissian to illustrate my point. I always tell my children there aren't good people and bad people; there are just people who make good choices or bad choices. Star Wars is a great example of that.

hodgie 17 years, 3 months ago

For the record, Joel, I am also a girl. An aside, Sunday night on Robot Chicken, there were TWO references to the movie Midnight Madness. Team FAGABEEFE rules!

Anyways, I just love the movies and I'm pleased that they made sequels to continue the stories, even though they were bad. I love loads of bad movies and I know that all of you do, too. Like I said before, the first movies were not cinematic masterpieces, but I loved them. I didn't expect Lucas to really do any better, even though technology had changed so much since the first film was ever released. Look at the video games that came out from Lucas Arts. They were never that good. It's sort of like the Stephen King problem. His novels are great, for the most part, and his movies were awesome, until he got into the business of movie making himself. Remember the tv remake of The Shining? Lucas should stick to the idea of the story, not direct, not even really write the script. Have any of you read any of the novels associated with the movies? Like the Han Solo trilogy by A.C. Crispin? Even those are better than Lucas's writing.

Darth_Vader 17 years, 3 months ago

If you want to see what Star Wars SHOULD be like, watch the Clone Wars cartoons.

Carmenilla 17 years, 3 months ago

I always thought of the original Star Wars as a Western. Imagine Luke saying some of his lines on Tatooine (sp?-not as a big of a nerd as I thought) in a John Wayne voice. It works...

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

I guess Joel just assumed all people in a Star Wars discusison other than our normal resident geeks are men....

Bad Joel,.. Bad Joel!!

I have found quite a few women that actually like the tales. Star Wars is really a new spin on the old. More like a fairy tale.

Terry Bush 17 years, 3 months ago

I am a HUGE science fiction fan, and will go to see that genre of movie before almost anything no, such films are not just for "the guys" (although I admit to having felt a tad gender isolated when checking out science fiction books from libraries). I don't consider it geeky to like such fiction. I think it shows a propensity towards thinking (or at least listening) outside of boxes...

As for morality tales, even porn can be used for such lessons, but you have to be more creative to do so! LOL.

And Darth Vader - welcome to blog land. Shall we expect to hear more from you, or is this a one time visit? And if you join in the fray, are you liberal or conservative!? LOL.....

chrisgladfelter 17 years, 3 months ago

I just went to Wal-Mart and bought Darth Tater.

Shelby 17 years, 3 months ago

Well, even though Kevin Smith is a complete idiot who makes horrible movies, here's his review of Star Wars III:

Carmenilla 17 years, 3 months ago

Wal-Mart has those? How much was it and were there many left?

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Hodgie: My apologies to you, as well. I'm giving up my blind guesses at gender, entirely.

There's only one woman I know who is likely to be on Team Fagabeefe AND to have read the Han Solo trilogy. You're a special woman...

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Leslie: Lucas didn't ruin film -- it was the studio heads who thought they'd hit on a magical formula for profit-making who did that. And when they were proven right -- if it's big, loud, fast and noisy, people will love it! -- there was no reason to keep making those smaller, director-driven movies of the 1970s. Could "Dog Day Afternoon" get made today?

alm: My apologies. I'm sure you're a wonderful woman.

KsjKC 17 years, 3 months ago

Okay, so sequels co-opt our lives---Let's face it, the magic of the very first three Star Wars movies can be measured by the same stick that made things seem so much bigger when we were small...

(anyone remember how huge the bathrooms seemed in grade school? and then gone back to that school? we all feel like mammoths by comparison...)

That's the magic--and the trick--of the first three movies. The dialogue is goofy on paper---Mark Hamill is obviously struggling with the last gasp of adolescence--Carrie Fisher is affecting this strange little attempt at a British accent and what about that really tubby pilot in the battle sequence? he reminds ME of Tom Bosley--the Dad on Happy Days...

BUT---they still work because we want to be kids again and revel in the innocence of the excitement and--when Return of the Jedi came out--to get all prurient over Carrie Fisher ....RRRrrooowww--even 22 years later---We want the be kids again--

Because when we watch the newest movies as adults--there is no screen of innocence over our eyes to keep us from seeing they suck in 17 langauges...

cvillehawk 17 years, 3 months ago

I'm suing you for identity theft - I could have written this myself, word for word.

The part that makes me the most sick is the so obviously crass, money-grubbing marketing research that fueled this trilogy. I can just see Lucas in front of a focus group of 7-year-olds with a satisfied grin under his beard. "Well, Jar-Jar tests well with the kiddies. Who cares if the parents hate it - I've got their money either way... Bwhah hah hah... bwah hah hah.... bwahh hah hah haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"


Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

And I must interject here. Robot Chicken rocks! Seeing all those old figs brings back memories....


Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Bah,. I will disagree with that statement. I love Clerks, and actually the rest of them.

But he is a huge star wars fanboy...

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Tubby pilot's name is "Porkins." If you were a REAL "Star Wars" fan you'd know that. And he had, flat out, the best death of any of those pilots ... just pure screamining.

But I excuse your lapse because of the excellent turn of phrase, "to get all prurient."

chrisgladfelter 17 years, 3 months ago

You can get Darth Tater (the Mr Potato Head of the Sith) at Wal-Mart for about $8. I think there are about 4 or 5 remaining...

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

OH and major spoilers in that Kevin Smith interview.....

KsjKC 17 years, 3 months ago

Porkins? his name was really Porkins? That wasn't a stream of consciousness/Freudian Slip/I-don't-know-she's-my-sister-but-maybe-I-do-and-I-still-want-to-have-sex-with-her Mark Hamill screaming "Carrie" after the big battle script faux pas? His name was really Porkins? So did he scream or just squeal really loud??

devil_fingers 17 years, 3 months ago

Joel, et. al.:

I imagine this is too late in the week for anyone to read it, but nevertheless:

The worst part about the crappy "prequels" is that, while the original movies were certainly better, after the "new" movies bombed so badly, something about them revealed all the limitations (the predictable plots, the wooden acting, etc.) of the originals. The embarrassing revisionism of the "special editions" only exacerbated the situation.

Oh, and I bet the other movie at the double feature was "Xanadu," Joel.

David Ryan 17 years, 3 months ago

Wasn't it Jaws that became the template for the "blockbuster"? That seems right for some reason.

I had the pleasure of having a little brother 5 years younger than me upon whose still-believing face I could watch the effects of SW's II and III (in the original ordination); and though I was old enough to think the movies hokey, it was wonderful seeing his entrallment with the stories.

I think he and his best friend from down the block saw the third one something like 100 times -- just at one theatre.

lazz 17 years, 3 months ago

has any blog topic yet hit 100 posts? perhaps in the spirit of star wars, this will be the first SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER BLOG! now everyone will follow the formula ... thanks joel.

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

His name was Porkins, no kidding. Here's his grand moment, according to the "quotes" section of

Red Six: I got a problem here.
Biggs: Eject!
Red Six: I can hold it.
Biggs: Pull up!
Red Six: No, I'm all right... ahhh!
[Porkin's fighter explodes in a ball of fire]

He didn't squeal -- nice joke, btw -- it was more like a guy trying to sound like he was a monster roaring, only with an X-wing fighter exploding around him.

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

sooner or later, if adult swim is not careful, all of their shows are going to end up being three minutes long. Robot Chicken is only 12.

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

oops, just went right off the path there, didn't i?

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Yes, but the Robot Chicken skit Con Wars where Leonard Nimoy gets into an arguement with the geeks and starts blasting away.

It is all kinds of geekdom in one little skit.

KsjKC 17 years, 3 months ago

Biggs AND Porkins? If the shallow commercialism and terrible writing of the new movies wasn't enough to color my view of the franchise, the porno-sonic names of the characters in the first movie might be enough to do it for me...

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

I guess it was called "The Cons of War" after looking it up....

Spock shoots Darth Maul... priceless...

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Lot of jokes to make right now that, as an employee of The World Company, I'm not going to make publicly. But they're dirty names for "Star Wars" characters.

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

oh yeah, i forgot about that. you know, i remember laughing a lot during the show, but once its over im hard pressed to remember anything specific about it. it makes me feel bad.

Shelby 17 years, 3 months ago

Wow, am I the only one here who can stomach them? I know it's not a popular opinion, but I really dig the stories. I love the years-in-planning, elaborate scheme to dismantle the republic...all by one very clever dude. Even though we know what happens and who's behind it, I like seeing it all play out.

Regardless, the dialogue...

"From the moment I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by when I haven't thought of you. And now that I'm with you again... I'm in agony. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you-- I can't breath. I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating... hoping that kiss will not become a scar. You are in my very soul, tormenting me..."

chrisgladfelter 17 years, 3 months ago

For the record, Mark Hamill yells "Hey!" and not "Carrie!" after he blows up the Death Star.

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Well as far as names go.. how about Count Dooku.... Poor Christopher Lee.....

And Biggs was the one that made it through every fighter battle in the three flics. He was a continuing bit part.....

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Geesh, you can't remember the Tooth Fairy skit? Or the Cannon Ball run parody, or Optimus Prime getting Prostate Cancer? Real World with superheroes? But yes, it is over too soon and fades away fast. Luckily I am recording them on the DVR...

And on a Star Wars note, the Empire skit where Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke Skywalker's father. But this time, Vader goes on to tell Luke that Princess Leia is Luke's sister and that Vader built C-3PO when he was a child, leaving Luke shaking his head and uttering "When you want to be serious give me a call as he walks off:..leaving Darth sitting alone.

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Chris: I've watched that scene a lot of times ... and I can't be sure which word it is. Of course, I didn't notice it ever until somebody pointed it out to me...

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

and enough with the making you feel bad stuff... now I am feeling bad.

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Mike: Biggs died in the first one. You're thinking of Wedge.


Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

i'll give you king for star wars, but there are many forms of geekdom, my dear

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

I will, however, let you kiss my geek ring. It looks exactly like the one from "Lord of the Rings."

Josiahtrust 17 years, 3 months ago

Watch the Clone-Wars cartoons, any who love Star Wars. So good.

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

oh goody, did you get it from the ren faire?

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Yes, but I went to the Ren Faire dressed as a Klingon....

OK, that's a lie. But I know that die-hard "Star Trek" fans do it.

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

oh see, i dont think i would do that. you gotta dress up to the sci-fi cons, not the ren faire. but i guess the cons dont come through kc as often as the "klingons" would like.

CheyenneWay 17 years, 3 months ago

Go watch Star Wars Clone Wars. Its 25 short animations leading up to Ep 3 and created by Genndy Tartakovsky. He also created Samuri Jack which is an excellent story as well. You can watch all the episodes at :

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Okay,.. and I stumbled across this. A very entertaining and long read. Kevin Smith, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg on Star Wars. And if you don't know who the three are.. I am revoking your geek membership card....

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Well, if we are going to hit 100, we are going to have to get discussing. I am still a little aprehensive on this last one, even though I keep hearing people like it. We were sitting around today trying to decide if we are going to go to the midnight showing or not.

Even after everything, I still get chills thinking about it.....

chrisgladfelter 17 years, 3 months ago

Did you know...

Mark Hamill was auditioning for the role of Tommy Ross (Sissy Spacek's date for the prom) in the movie "Carrie" while Lucas was looking for someone to play the role of Luke. Brian DePalma awarded the role of Tommy to William Katt, but he told Lucas that he thought Hamill would be a good Luke.

And the role of Princess Leia almost went to Cindy Williams (aka, Shirley from "Laverne and Shirley").

And I'm a big geek.

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

devil_fingers: Actually, what I notice in the original "Star Wars" is the archaic, hippy language.

"Where did you dig up that old fossil?" "I ain't in it for your revolution, man?"


Lazz: We're almost at 90!

Nikki May 17 years, 3 months ago

Darn, I missed out on the begining of this, but still had to say something. As a 30-ish girl, I do have to say, I cab relate to the original entry, except I HAD the millenium falcon. However, I still like the original movies. As a kid, I thought Luke was a dork. Still think that too. Interestingly, there is a whole new generation of children watching these movies. These kids don't think he's real cool either. I mean, there were kids when I was a kid that wanted to be Luke. Lucky for me, I got to be Han. (Midly obsessed with Han to this day).

It's called carbonite, Leslie. Man how I hated Lando. I even was upset getting him as a birthday present one year. (I had a star wars party at mc donalds - how's that for 80's childhood).

I'm the geek at my work. Glad to know I'm not the only one out there. (My kindergarteners had lightsaber battles last Friday with the lightsabers I brought for sharing. My aide said. "Only our class would be doing this.")

Ok, what was my point? I don't think I had one except that yeah, the prequels aren't that great, but the others are still good. And, as far as annoying, we had the ewoks. HATED them.

sleepyeditor 17 years, 3 months ago

I remember a time when my biggest accomplishment was that of having been born on Lucas' birthday.

The weeks before Episode I came out were some of the most anticipatory of my life. I waited in line for six hours to buy opening night tickets, basking in the fact that there were nearly 400 other anticipators lining the street with me. By the time I had the tickets in hand, I also had a sunburn as dark as Darth Maul's face, and I was proud of it; that was my Star Wars sunburn.

I was out of country when the second came out, and waited to watch it on DVD. I had to force myself to sit through to the end.

Now I catch occasional glimpses of anticipation for this third episode, and I feel that I've lost something precious as I look stoically forward to the release of this final inevitable piece of crap.

OtherJoel 17 years, 3 months ago

Cindy Williams as Leia? Can't picture it. Although she was in one of my favorite flicks, "The Conversation." She was pretty bad though -- that was totally Hackman's show -- and a movie that would never make it in today's blockbuster-mad market. And anyone from a Garry Marshall series should be banned from acting -- unless they're on "Arrested Development." And I still maintain that Robin Williams was great in "The Fisher King" -- but everything else he's done I could do without. What are we talking about? Oh yeah, Star Wars. Can't say much here that hasn't already been said. Funny how much of a response this movie generates -- kind of a testament to how much cultural significance this movie has (Quinn, time to pull together the Popology research team). I grew up on the first trilogy and yeah - they were great when your a kid, but the magic does fade with time. I still like them for the nostalgia and yeah -- they're pretty bad when you analyze them. But I still like to watch and laugh at the cheesiness of it all. I like Goonies for the same reason.

And Jedi was good for one thing - skimpy Leia outfit. Though the fact that they had to put her on Jabba's nasty lap almost ruins it -- almost...

megiddo 17 years, 3 months ago

"Star Wars" was tainted by "The Empire Strikes Back" and ruined by "Return of the Jedi."

I could go on for a heckuva lot longer, but my reaction to "Phantom Menace" was, 'Man, that was dookie, but at least it wasn't as crappy as "Jedi."'

Now, all in all, I will say "Empire" was a far, far better movie than "A New Hope," (c'mon it's "Star Wars," fuck this "Hope" shit!) but it was a bad direction (IMO) for the Saga to go in, where you have siblings & parents & cliffhanger endings. This shit is reprehensible to me, and it was when I was 12. I thought, 'Well, maybe the 3rd (in those days) one will redeem what's happened here, maybe everything will be sorted out & put to rights.' I was quite disappointed, in much the same way most folks were by "Menace." On that day, in 1983, my soul was raped (for the first, but not the last time).

Terry Bush 17 years, 3 months ago

Kevin Smith should be widely cloned. Any woman who doesn't lust after him is NOT paying attention to what matters most in life!!

Terry Bush 17 years, 3 months ago

I am doing my part to get Joel over 100.... Everyone...write a sentence...then post..etc. etc. etc......

Melissa Lynch 17 years, 3 months ago

im not so sure about lusting after kevin smith. i mean, hes good looking and talented, but i wouldnt LUST after him. plus, isnt he married to joey lauren adams?

Joel 17 years, 3 months ago

Ohmigod: Celine Dion is writing dialogue for George Lucas!

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Well if girls can lust after Kevin maybe I have a chance.. but damn. I don't have his wit or charm....

Kevin does like Sith though, so I am going to have to give it a chance. I don't think he would be whoring himself out to Lucus.... UNless he is doing the TV Star Wars episodes. I know they were in talks.... sigh. Even Kevin sold out.....

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and Pissy Kitty.... geek card revoked and no India Palace free lunch!! Kevin married Jennifer Schwalbach the reporter who interviewed him. Their little girl is named Harley Quinn Smith. Freakin' idiot! Gosh!

hee hee...

darkangel 17 years, 3 months ago

Ok, I feel compelled to add my two cents, for whatever it's worth. Episode I and II were really, really, really bad. I have to agree with Joel. My childhood went out the window with that bath water. And the fact that my little cousin went around for weeks talking like Jar Jar made it even worse! While I may get dragged, kicking and screaming, to the theater by a fanatic friend, I have no actual intention of seeing the third one when it comes out. I will however, wait until it's on video and rent it. I can't help it. I need to see if it's as bad as the other two.

And for the record, I also watched the Star Wars again a few years ago. It wasn't good, but it had something the new ones don't. You were right-they lack originality.

How close are we to 100?

Michael Austin 17 years, 3 months ago

And to think. Jar Jar is the entire cause of all of the stories. The catalyst behind the whole star wars sags. He was the downfall of the old republic. The foundations of all the story is set on him...

Maybe that is the part that makes me cry......

Did he rip that straight from a romance novel with Fabio on the cover?

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