Roger Ebert some years ago did a series of reviews of movies he had seen before, but decided to revisit given their general stature or importance to him. He called this series “Great Movies.”
On some subconscious level, I think this was the general area I was trying to slap this particular baseball (my podcast) into … find that sweet spot of the films that matter to people and try to get a solid double out of it. There’s no minimum requirement here in terms of Oscar nods or what have you, but I did want to find the films that people care about … and while doing this, I leave open the possibility that this could well morph into something else. My Ichiro-like metaphor is meant to be “doubly” apt in this way … the sweet spot is subject to change, and therefore so am I.
That said, “Star Wars” is in many ways the perfect fit for The Pursuit of Crappiness, a culturally relevant collection of films with wide critical and public acceptance. Moreover, there’s a lot to digest in these movies and several different directions a conversation can go.
To celebrate the blu ray and digital release of “The Force Awakens,” the seventh film in the series (eighth if you include the somewhat maligned “Clone Wars” animated feature), I got together a bigger group than normal to discuss the film (and eat delicious goodies put together by my wife, Cait). For this episode, I was joined by Twitter personality Alfredo Narvaez, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune reporter Michelle Hunter, and Dash Rip Rock drummer Kyle Melancon — three big fans of the new film and of “Star Wars” in general.
For my own part, I love the movie.
(This is no surprise to anyone who knows me.)
My philosophy has always been that more “Star Wars” is a good thing, that these movies are better than 99% of the stuff already out there, and regardless of how I rank and compare the individual installments of the series amongst themselves, they are all deserving of love and respect. Now, I vacillated on “The Force Awakens” quite a bit as to just how much I should like it, and it’s certainly a flawed film. But my eventual ranking of it No. 5 as opposed to something higher is, in my mind anyway, still a tremendous compliment. I love these movies; that this movie should be considered better than “Attack of the Clones,” for instance, is still a big deal. (I say this with no irony — regardless of one’s regard for the prequels, there was no guarantee the new movie would exceed them.)
This is important for me to state upfront, as my guests, all of whom are as big “Star Wars” fans as anyone, do NOT hold the prequels in such high esteem, so the discussion veers into inevitable comparisons and personal stories that relate to disappointment and reinvigoration. And for the record, I love this. I love that this movie is bringing old fans back into the fold, introducing new fans to the saga, and generally serving as a balm for the fan base.
As I put it at one point, it’s a tremendous time to be a “Star Wars” fan.
Please note: Our kids can be noisy. We must all deal.
Please also note: Big spoilers start at 24:15.
Please also note: Couple of swear words this episode.
1:35 — Our personal connections to “Star Wars”
7:45 — “Force Awakens” joy
16:46 — Does it fit into the saga?
24:15 — Kylo Ren and the bridge (spoilers)
34:46 — A more diverse “Star War”
45:44 — Nostalgia and humor
53:00 — Changing the canon/Ranking ’em
1:04:46 — “Rogue One” trailer reaction
Here are some links of interest: