A Belated Star Wars Post

I had almost forgotten I was seeing a Star Wars movie. Somewhere between picking my soda flavor (Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper) and tearing my ticket, I blacked out. But when those two words burst on screen accompanied by musical splendor, I jumped and laughed out loud. My brother laughed too. We were giddy because we were watching a Star Wars film. It was really happening.

And for two hours I was far, far away, wrapped up in a galaxy that still feels right at home. I loved almost every moment. (You know the exact moment that I didn’t love.)

After the film was over I was so anxious to text my friends; there were so many details to discuss – so many questions to sort out. Who is the heck is Rey? How long did it take Mark Hamill to memorize his lines?

I mean, let’s talk casting. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren? Hello, my confusing friend. Adam Driver just has a nice face. I don’t mean that he’s good looking–though I’m oddly attracted. I just mean he looks like a nice person. When we watch this nice face do awful things; it makes the entire movie interesting. This is supposed to be the face for hipsters everywhere! Surely, he really is handing over his lightsaber. Let it go, Ben. Ben! Let it GO! BEN NO BEN I HATE YOU WHYYYYY.

(Also, let’s talk about how Han and Leia named him Ben. I’d like to believe there were a lot of family moments where they all sat around and told little Ben about Obi Wan. And if that wasn’t the case, maybe it should have been. I don’t want to blame Leia and Han for Ben’s choices, but what wasn’t this boy getting at home?)

One of my friends didn’t feel the same about Kylo Ren. He made a good point though: Kylo Ren was introduced as someone with whom the Force was extremely strong. However, as we saw the movie progress, it seemed like Kylo was much more akin to a youngling than Ben Kenobi.

Kylo Ren’s abilities crumble before him; any guy who can stop a laser without looking should be able to emerge from a lightsaber battle with a complete novice–looking at you, Finn–unscathed. Just saying. Also, his lightsaber was totally homemade. (I want to see that DIY blog post.) I understood my friend’s point about Kylo, and I had a similar problem–not with Kylo Ren, but with Rey.

Rey. What a badass, right? I mean, wow. I’d love to see Rey and Furiosa team up at some point—not sure how to make that crossover happen outside of my personal fanfiction. (Working title: “Three Arms Kick Ass”)

The problem I had with Rey is that she knew absolutely nothing about the Force, and yet, she was pretty darn good at using it the last 45 minutes. So… a day after finding out the Force is real, she’s able to use Jedi mind tricks?

True story: it took me a year to find the switch on my vacuum that made the suction go from the hose to the bottom of the vacuum. I used it FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR thinking it was an awful machine. So I guess I found it a little unbelievable that Rey could pick all of this up so quickly. It wasn’t my understanding that we could all tap into the Force whenever we felt like it without training. Rey had no training, but could yield the power of the force; Kylo Ren had loads of training, and he still couldn’t overcome a complete novice.

And then it hit me: This is a classic case of knowledge versus understanding. Ohhh Star Wars, you philosophical dog, you. (Why aren’t there dogs in space?)

Kylo Ren has all the knowledge of the force he needs, and yet, he doesn’t get it. He looks for answers from the broken mask of his grandfather, not the Force. Rey is leagues below Kylo in terms of training and knowledge, and yet, she understands the Force. Did you see her with her eyes calmly closed in that final lightsaber battle? If that’s not understanding I don’t know the exact coordinates of Jakku!

So why does Rey get it while Ben’s so lost? Rey’s been living on her junkyard planet for entire life, right? So what did she have to have? Hope.

Rey lives off of hope; she gets hope because she’s had to tap into it every day just to keep on going. Kylo Ren does everything in his power to shut hope out. I don’t think it’s about talent or amount of Force in their veins. Kylo Ren and Rey probably have the same amount of midichlorians, but Rey leans into hope and that makes her understand the light side of the Force.

So even if you’re like me and horribly depressed about a certain part of The Force Awakens, have “a new hope.” (I had to.) Understand/feel/have faith in the Force, even if you don’t know it. Yoda’s voice: For a path to the Jedi this makes.

when the movie is better

It almost NEVER happens, but sometimes the movie is better than the book.  No, I’m not talking about Harry Potter, you crazy people.  Seriously, people who say the Harry Potter movies were better than the books have not read the series.

Anyway, here’s an article. Nay! An exposé in Lydia Mag where I uncover the five exceptions to the film adaptation norm.  It’s shocking! It’s hard-hitting! It’s journalism! It’s… not that big of a deal.

http://www.lydiamag.com/2013/10/five-movie-adaptations-that-are-better.html#more

(My deepest apologies to Dad for my turkey soup comment. It remains one of my favorite dad dishes.)

for the love of movies

Have I mentioned that I love movies?  Oh, I did.  Oh, you can tell.  Oh, I can’t seem to have a single thought without relating it to a movie you “just have to see.”  Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t think my love of movies is going anywhere fast.

I’ve always wanted to be a part of making movies, part of the “dream factory.”  In Indiana, this dream felt like a faraway calling, a quest that I would never be quite ready for.  In California (more specifically, in Malibu), the dream makers are everywhere; although they just say they’re in the “industry.”  I like dream makers more; it’s very Inception; you just have to see Inception.  (Told you. It’s a tick.)  The industry folk are quite literally my neighbors (yes, even in the “prefabricated homes” park), and there are moments that are so very surreal, it’s surprising I haven’t fainted. For instance, I drove by Dustin Hoffman walking on a beach street. I waved at him, and he waved at me; I cried for the next ten minutes and wrote several drafts of a fan letter explaining what that wave meant to me (don’t worry, I didn’t send it).

 

Another one of these surreal gems happened this weekend.  Rob, Jill, Rachel, and I (and I smell a fantastic friend group here), went to see Gravity at the GRAUMANN’S CHINESE THEATER. As in, where Star Wars first premiered.  As in, had to step over Julie Andrews’s handprints to get inside.  As in, I could have danced with a Spiderman impersonator on the way out; okay, that one isn’t super cool.

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Inside, there was a display case of George Clooney’s astronaut costume for the movie we were about to see!  If movies are dreams, this place is where sleeping happens, man.  (I feel like I could do better with that analogy.) I found my way to ladies’ restroom, and I thought, “I’m home.”  It’s like the calling to be a part of the dream world is still there, but now, it’s not quite as far away.  It’s like I’m Pocahontas and everything is “just around the riverbend.”

 

Although, that’s not quite what I mean because I already have so many of my dreams.  Dustin Hoffman is just a person, everybody (mostly talking to myself: “Stop crying.”).  The Chinese Theater is just a building.  And movies, as much as I love them, are just movies.  It’s how these people, places, and artworks invade ourselves that really matters; that’s what gets me excited about movies.  It’s who I am and how I treat people that defines the level of success in my life.  I love movies, but I love goodness more.  I think the two of them can be friends, like Lethal Weapon (Mel is movies, Danny is goodness).  You just have to see that movie.

Afterthought: here are some other movies you just have to see, especially, if you need a good cry: http://www.lydiamag.com/2013/10/let-it-out-cryfest-feature-list.html#more