Category: Arts & Entertainment

Star Wars: It’s for kids.

It’s December 10th in the Year of our Lord 2019. In ten days the last of the new Star Wars movies comes out in theaters. Between its upcoming release and The Mandalorian birthing a deluge of Baby Yoda posts social media is overrun with Star Wars conversations so I wanted to remind everyone that no matter what, the new Star Wars will be disappointing. Why? Because Star Wars is, and always was, for children, and as an adult it will never live up to your imagined expectations, because … say it with me, Star Wars is for children.

What made the original Star Wars great is also what keeps it from replicating that magic. There is nowhere to go with a property that is aimed at children.

Unlike a lot of science fiction fans Star Wars was never my favorite. I saw all the movies on VHS growing up, went to Disneyland and rode Star Tours, played all of those awesome SNES games, and even owned the TIE simulator PC game. I went to the theaters excited about Phantom Menace, came out disappointed, and moved on, that was the last SW I bothered with. I was never a hardcore fan. I never had action figures, lunchboxes, lightsabers, or any intense emotional connection to the franchise. I enjoyed it as a kid and always looked back fondly on the movies, but I never obsessed over it.

The other night my wife decided to give The Mandalorian a try. She’s the movie and television fan in our family, I usually sit around and read while she watches Netflix or Prime shows unless it’s something that really interests me. But, The Mandalorian caught my attention and we ended up watching all of the available episodes. It’s a fun, awkwardly paced, light science fiction adventure show. Most of all, it’s a kid show put out by Disney, a company whose primary market is children.

When we finished the last available episode we decided to watch Episode IV: A New Hope. I can’t remember the last time I took the time to watch it and my wife barely remembered the plot. Luckily Disney+ has all of the Star Wars movies. Unluckily it only has the edited versions with the garish CGI additions. But, nonetheless we started watching it and I was excited. I even decided to re-watch the whole series, maybe all of it, and try to write about them.

Sadly, like a lot of things from the past, I should have let this movie live fondly in my memories. It’s a good movie, if you ignore the CGI vandalism Lucas vomited onto his own work, but it’s a movie made for 12-year old boys and I’m a 36-year old father. The acting, the plot, it’s rather cringe.  In my mind’s eye I remember Vader and the Empire being menacing. On screen the acting is stilted and the whole thing comes off campy. Luke is dweeby, Han is campy, and Fisher is a poor actress. I got sleepy and sadly gave up a bit after they left on the Millennium Falcon and never had the urge to continue.

The detailed Star Wars sci-fi epic that I imagined doesn’t exist anywhere but in my memories.  But that’s ok. Star Wars was a kid’s movie, it’s a great kid’s movie, and will always be a great kid’s movie. I outgrew it not the other way around and I believe a lot of the anger, disappointment, and failed expectations of the new material comes from adults that have forgotten how campy, cheesy, and childish the original movies are.

Back in 1999 when The Phantom Menace came out I was in High School. I remember all of the hype, significantly heavy and impressive in an era before social media. Anyone else remember the Star Wars pogs at Taco Bell? Either way, we went to the theater as a family, and of course, like most people I was disappointed in it. It was childish, stupid, filled with dumb CGI characters like Jar Jar and those dumb droids. It felt like a kids movie and my snobby high school self was into serious stuff like punk rock and Tolstoy. My brother, who is 10 years younger than me absolutely loved it. Why? Because it was a movie made for him. Even the main character, Anakin, was his age. Because Star Wars is for kids.

So, if you go watch the new Star Wars in theaters, or bother with The Mandalorian, take a minute to remember that it’s not for you. It’s for children.

I Put the Book Down

I’m on vacation. A much needed vacation. Much needed for my wife who bared the brunt of the unpacking, decorating, and taking care of the baby, while I was in Malaysia.

Yesterday she went hiking with her friend, so me and the baby had the day to ourselves. I decided a trip to B&N followed by In’N’Out would keep us entertained. It doesn’t take much to keep her entertained.

I like B&N. I like all of the big corporate bookstores. I like them more than small, dirty, dusty, hipster bookstores filled with snobby douche bags who often have poor taste. It was after all a hipster chick employee that gushingly recommended The Name of the Wind, the shittiest fantasy novel I’ve ever forced myself to finish.

I like getting coffee, walking around a large clean store, looking at things, picking up books, thumbing through coffee table art and gardening magazines, buying cookbooks. It’s all pleasantly middle class.

When I was in high school and had a car I used to ditch school a lot. I would wake up in the morning, get dressed, say goodbye to my family, and drive towards school. A few blocks from school I would take a hard right and drive to the beautiful two storied Borders Books. I would get some coffee and spend the day on the second floor reading, sometimes for eight or nine hours straight. My senior year I must have read over one hundred books. I got a F in English.

So yesterday I was thumbing through the Literature section, on the second floor of B&N. My usual bookstore leisurely pace was somewhat hampered by having to entertain an inquisitive ten month old, but it was a good time.

One of the employees came by to meet my baby, young girl, really nice. She brought her a cute fox book and asked me if I was looking for anything in particular. I told her I was looking for short story collections. I just finished Airships and wanted more litfic shorts.

She brought me a book by a writer I haven’t heard of. The cover looked really interesting, I actually noticed it on the shelf myself and meant to take a look at it earlier but got distracted. I thanked her and threw the book on the pile of stuff I was planning on buying.

Because I’ve never heard of the author before I decided to look her up. I immediately made the mistake of searching her name and clicking on the Twitter link that popped up. Every one of her posts were deranged anti Trump nonsense. I put the book back on the shelf.

An author being liberal isn’t shocking, it’s actually about as original as putting ketchup on your hot dog. Completely bland. I read liberal writers, I read conservative ones, dead ones, living ones, and everything in between. But I’m so tired of the hysterical nonsense that I can’t take anyone who continues to rage serious. It’s 2019, Trump has been our president for almost three years. He will be re-elected and will run the country for another four. Grow the fuck up.

The liberal aesthetic has dominated the literary and art world so much that it’s become completely boring. It’s cliche. I want a different viewpoint, a different perspective. I’m sick of the same cliches over and over.

Fargo Season 3 and villany.

Varga

I spent most of the weekend watching the entirety of the third season of Fargo. If you know me, I often go on about how Fargo is the best television around. Excellent show and every season takes the writing up to greater heights.

This season gave us Mr. V. M. Varga, one of the most terrifying villains I’ve ever come across. The writers managed to pull off a depiction of pure unrepentant demonic evil flawlessly, and most importantly without resorting to caricature or gore. Varga is beautifully written satanic evil perfection.

If you are a writer, I recommend watching this season. It’s a stand-alone, so you don’t need to watch season one and two. Watch this for the fantastic writing and expert use of symbolism and Biblical allusion.

Gangs of New York

billthebutchAround 2 am the other night while I was on Juni watch I decided to turn on the Netflix and watch a movie. Japanese Netflix is mediocre, but Gangs of New York is on there. Gangs is one of those movies that was huge with my friends when it came out but for whatever reason, I never got around to watching it.

Meh, it was alright middle of the night entertainment, but overall stupid and incoherent. First of all, I can’t buy DiCaprio as a badass. He’s a great actor and convincing in roles like The Great Gatsby or Wolf of Wall Street, but a badass Irish street brawler.. fuck no. I particularly didn’t understand why anyone would follow him over Bill, dude had a complete lack of charisma. Cameron Diaz’s character was equally stupid and had absolutely no reason for any of her actions.

The movie was incoherent in message because we were supposed to feel for the poor Irish immigrants, but every single one of them is portrayed as thieves, crooks, whores, or corrupt, and only shown living like violent animals. Not only that but I don’t feel much pathos for the good guys when the good guys are shown rioting and lynching blacks because they don’t want to go fight for the Union in the Civil War.

The best part of the movie and the only reason I kept watching was Bill The Butcher. Daniel Day Lewis puts out a fantastic performance and every time he comes on screen I was captivated by one of the manliest mustaches in film history. Excellent character that was wasted on an otherwise shitty movie.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t appreciate movies that much. I can sit for ten hours straight reading a novel cover to cover, but a two-hour movie rarely manages to keep me interested or engaged. Most of all I’ve realized that I don’t enjoy the great movies everyone else hypes up. I keep trying to watch Scorsese, Coppola, Kubrick, and others famous from that 70’s-80’s era and end up feeling underwhelmed.

The one good thing about watching the movie is that now I’m inspired to read some history about 19th century New York and The Five Points.

 

 

Art: Baccante LDS

BUTTO

Baccante LDS by Saturno Butto,  oil on wood

I’m a fan of Butto’s art, a heavy almost neo-classical mix of Christian Mysticism, S&M, and Paganism. Check out his gallery.