Entries in Star Wars (20)
This is it! This is my thesis, man!
Two icons together at la---
...That's not a good look, fellas.
A Note Before We Begin: No, I'm not saying that Boba Fett is a clone of Darth Maul or that Darth Maul comes back and puts on a bucket and a jetpack and reinvents himself. Unclench those nerdy buttocks, fanboys - I'm talking in metaphors and larger pictures here.
As a kid in the 80s, my favorite Star Wars movie was Return of the Jedi. I know, I know. What can I say? It had the most number of weird creatures and monsters and I was always into that. However, 2 of my favorite scenes in the Holy Trilogy came from Empire Strikes Back. The first was the weird, quick-cut Luke in the Wampa cave scenes - again, it was the most like a monster movie and I love me some horror. The second was the gathering of the bounty hunters when Darth Vader is instructing them to bring him Han and the rest. I thought each were so different, unique and interesting. There's lizard guy with the tiny hands (Bossk). Some robots, a bug and a guy with a headwound (IG88, 4LOM, Zuckuss and Dengarr, respectively)! But the one that held my attention was Boba Fett.
He just looked so cool - he was masked like Darth Vader, had a jetpack, plus he got the job done. And did Vader say something about disintegration? Then there's that scene where he's standing with Vader waiting for Leia and Han to take a seat for the most awkward dinner ever. From the moment he showed up in that Imperial Destroyer to when he got slurped down by Jabba's pet giant vagina dentata, Boba Fett left a real impression on me.
And I wasn't the only one.
I didn't know about Fett's exploits in the animated part of the holiday special - this was pre-Internet when Lucas had the ability to purge such things from most of the collective minds of society. I didn't know about any of the comic book adventures or anything else. All I knew was that he looked cool, seemed like a badass and was gone before I knew anymore about him. Fett was an abject lesson in leaving the audience wanting more.
The amount of time in which he features in Star Wars movies is in direct opposite proportion to his staying power figure - Fett is often referenced in everything from Family Guy to Newsradio to even his very own (quite catchy) rap song. Fett left an impression on me and many others in my generation that lasted throughout the years. From humble beginnings in a vanished cartoon segment of suppressed holiday special, Fett endures. For some reason, Fett had his hooks in me and many other nerds and we wanted more.
Of course, when you look at his character now and over analyze the films (as we nerds are wont to do), it's a bit easier to see why Fett was so popular. What are Fett's selling points?
Fisticuffs is when you tell me who would win in a knockdown, dragout, physical fight to the death between two people or groups.
The sci-fi nerd will is torn asunder! Who will win in this eternal struggle twixt utopian retrofuture and futuristic ancient history? Remember - it's the fanbases that are at war, not any of the characters from the properties.
Harrison Ford is still the man. Even though we're 2 weeks away from Cowboys & Aliens, I'm willing to say that he maintains his status as The Man even after that movie. Why? Because if it's good, that'll add to his mystique. And if it's terrible, it'll be another example of Ford's natural ability to be bulletproof. He's been in so many bad movies, but that doesn't stop the fact that we all really like him.
Hell, think of his good movies and you'll see they're made up of a small stable of mannerisms, tics, cliches and delivery.
And yet...we still love him.
We can't STOP loving him.
Here are 9 videos that both defy and define our love for the man the Japanese call "Shouty Punchy Family Lover."
9) Harrison Ford is Undead and/or the Highlander
8) Harrison Must Really Love His Son
"The Tender Vigilante...does not have...insurance..."
A Mosquito. My Libido?
This may surprise you - but I'm a bit of a nerd. Furthermore, I'm a bit of a comic book nerd. I'll give you some time to make peace with this startling new information. I went to see X-Men: First Class this weekend and overall found it OK - some good performances, some terrible ones, and a young beast that looked like the Smurf version of Teen Wolf (Smurf Wolf!).
And while I could be the pedantic geek that pecks at each element of the movie that dramatically departed from the source material - I'm not going to do that. As long as the movie is good - and the spirit of the comic book is honored - then I don't care how "faithful" an adaptation the movie. Because no matter what the movies, TV shows, or even newer books do - they won't necessarily change the original books that I loved so much. That doesn't mean I don't have kneejerk fanboy reactions to things in these movies or even just regular nerd reactions - of course I do (why does Emma Frost's clothes turn to diamonds when she turns to a diamond? it...it doesn't make any sense). But it means that as long as everything makes sense in the context of the world it's presenting and doesn't betray any of the fundamental aspects of the franchise just for cheap plot device, I'm pretty much OK with these changes. Organic webshooters? Different - but that certainly makes more sense than a teenage technology genius that does nothing else with his scientific gift, so I'll allow it.
But the part of my nerd brain that doesn't allow for such mutations in tradition is the filmgoer side. It's that side that had a real problem with X-Men: First Class, not the comic book nerd that secretly yearns for Speedball to have his own movie. The problem with X-Men: First Class, just like Singer's Superman Returns, is that it tries to serve two masters but ends up just making a mess. These films are positioned as their own entities - "reboots" to reignite interest in the property and for a new group/generation of people to enjoy. Rather than creating something wholly new and fresh using the same sandbox of characters but with a new direction/interpretation, Singer and his writers shoehorn their reboots into the established continuity of previous films - making the movies a complete mess and trying to understand the continuity becomes a sissyphean act of desperation. If you are going to reboot a franchise, having the story take place in the past/as a prequel, then you do not have to fit in with pre-established continuity. In fact - it would be better if you don't.
Rob Dean examines the overlooked, unappreciated or unfairly maligned movies. Sometimes these films haven't been seen by anyone, and sometimes they've been seen by everyone - who loathed them. This is Missing Reels.
The dilemma of the critic has always been that if he knows enough to speak with authority, he knows too much to speak with detachment.
- Raymond Chandler
You, the critic, the professional appreciator, putting something new into the world.
- High Fidelity
It would be easy to say that the one thing all great art has in common is that it is built on passion. In fact, I just said it. But, while I believe that's true, it sounds too facile, too simplistic. More over, it sounds like the problem with bad art is a lack of passion - when that's usually not the case. I would propose all great works of art are passionate projects of the artist but not all passionate projects of the artist are great works of art. Passion drives artists to realize their visions in their chosen medium - it's what makes them resolute despite the very real possibility that what they are working on is shit and that no one will even notice it let alone like it. Such cockeyed determination can be a good thing when the artist transcends convention and presents something new, something rewarding. Or it can be a bad thing when the artists are so insulated by sycophants and slavish devotion to their visions that they end up ignoring the reality of just how much their creation sucks.
Another hallmark of artists that has its share of positives and negatives is a deep knowledge and history of the art form within which they are working. Even if the artist's intent is to do something never seen before and completely revolutionize his medium - he has to know what has been seen before in order to be certain of his originality. Most successful artists have an extensive knowledge of everything that preceded them - it's how they're able to build on the shoulders of these giants, to make a name for themselves while acknowledging the history that led to this moment. It seems this has never been more evident than in film, first with the Film Brats (De Palma, Scorsese, Spielberg, Coppola) of the 70s who were raised on Hollywood and sought to invert expectations and then continuing on the tradition through to Tarantino, Takashi Miike and the Dogme 95 movement of the 90s and early 2000s. The idea of the critic, that person with an encyclopedic knowledge of something, becoming the artist - taking knowledge and turning it into action - is a long standing tradition with various degrees of success. Sometimes homages, mash-ups and revisions end up elevating the original works referenced while creating a unique entry that stands along side those classics. Sometimes they are nothing more than rip-offs built on a checklist of references and winks, missing the intangible soul and spark of originality that inspired the critic turned artist.
When these two aspects of artists collide to form the synthesis of the passionate critic as artist, it can be a thrilling thing to behold. For the most part, criticism offers the enticing proposition of safety - critics are reflecting on other people exposing their thoughts, not risking something wholly their own. So for a critic to shrug off the security of the peanut gallery and boldly hold themselves up for criticism by their former peers, it's a courageous feat that can be as awesome as it is painful. Feeding Frenzy (2010), comes from Red Letter Media, a group of people who became well known for their criticism but who displayed a level of passion that makes it easy to be charmed by the end result.
[with additional reporting by Rob Dean]
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. A chance to recognize and reflect the sacrifices made by our very brave men and women in uniform. Theirs is an honorable death, giving up literally everything for what they believe is Right and worth dying for, ensuring freedom for countless numbers of people for generations.
Unfortunately - there's not a lot that's funny about that. So we went the other way with it - pleased to enjoy this list of the top ten ignoble deaths by characters in Film and TV. These are deaths that are completely devoid of anything approaching honor, class or - in some cases - logic.