Kate Beaton sums up how it is with my parents on such matters.
That scene in TOTAL RECALL where Arnold Schwarzenegger jams the extractor device up his nose, and slowly, painfully removes that huge metal tracker? You know, this one?
As someone who has been plagued with sinus issues most of my life, and, for all intents and purposes, haven’t been able to breathe out of my left nostril in years — I’ve always empathized with that scene, wishing upon a star, Cthulhu, whatever, that I could do what Arnold did. Pull some big-ass metal ball from my nose and fix my breathing problems forever…
Caught a showing of THE FORCE AWAKENS tonight, which marks my second time seeing it. I enjoyed it in a slightly different manner this time, in that I was able to pay attention to more of the details, instead of being happily 100% absorbed in the tale unfolding on the screen.
John Scalzi has a good review that encapsulates a lot of my feelings — especially going in the first time, when I was still slightly terrified that it still turn out to be a clusterfuck of a film like the prequel trilogy.
I do disagree with Scalzi’s assertion that THE FORCE AWAKENS is just a good film, and not a great one. J.J. Abrams and the writers did a fantastic job at capturing the feel of the original trilogy. The reintroduction of Han, Leia, and Luke was done in a natural way, which acknowledged that time had passed and people had changed, but in believable and interesting way. They weren’t just shoehorned in to introduce the new cast. Speaking of the new cast: they were phenomenal, especially Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey. She’s very much in the Luke Skywalker tradition, except less whiny and a lot more independent (at the beginning of the film, she is a scavenger on a desert planet who lives by herself, and who beats the shit out of people who try to take her things). The villain of the piece, Kylo Ren, definitely hearkens back to Darth Vader, in both a figurative and literal way, without simply being Vader 2.0. I’ll be curious to see where both his and Rey’s characters go in later installments. (Side note: the Emo Kylo Ren Twitter account is damned amusing (but spoiler-y).)
I won’t go into the plot, but I’ve read some complaints that it is too similar to A NEW HOPE. It’s a takeon the Hero’s Journey, like the original was, with some similar locations. (For more Hero’s Journeys, see also: THE MATRIX, THE HUNGER GAMES, and Moses.) While they do share some parallel themes, it’s not like THE FORCE AWAKENS is a shot-for-shot remake of the original.
If I have one quibble with the story, it’s that I’m a little unclear on the political make-up of the galaxy in this new era. There is a new Republic, and also a Resistance movement, both of whom seem to be fighting against the First Order (AKA the new Empire). It seems a little needlessly convoluted, but it’s not enough to bother me. Honestly, I’m just happy that people didn’t spend half the film having politicians debate and moralize like they did in the prequels.
What makes THE FORCE AWAKENS great, I think, is that, aside from being an exciting and well-made movie, it’s captured the public’s imagination in a way that hasn’t happened, really, since A NEW HOPE came out nearly forty years. People are seeing it multiple times, blathering about it, like me, to each other constantly, and a shit-ton of merchandise is being sold everywhere. It’s Star Wars fever again, which I was as surprised to learn as anyone that I am not immune to. I thought that ship had sailed years ago, after a terrible trilogy of films and an ever-increasing shitty bunch of books.
That’s probably the highest compliment I can pay THE FORCE AWAKENS. It made me love Star Wars again.
1 In my head it is and always will be just STAR WARS, not A NEW HOPE. But when talking about the numerous movies, that can get a little confusing. So A NEW HOPE it is, albeit reluctantly.
I hope your journey since last Christmas has been strange and wonderful, and may the next leg be just as good, if not better.
So KRAMPUS was an odd movie. It was directed by Michael Dougherty, the same fellow who made TRICK ‘R TREAT, which I only saw a couple of months ago for the first time. It was weird, funny, had some genuinely entertaining plot twists, and overall was quite good, so my hope was that KRAMPUS would be in a similar vein. Going in, the PG-13 rating put me off a little, since clearly horror movies should always by rated R, as God intended. The plot was a little bit CHRISTMAS VACATION, with a dash of HOME ALONE and GREMLINS thrown in, and of didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Around the end of the first act, which was mostly establishing “this extended family is so nutty and dysfunctional!,” the tone made a sharp one-eighty when the family began getting picked off one-by-one. On the positive side, the casting was spot-on, and the monsters, which were creepy takes on traditional Christmas tropes, looked great. The movie also had a lot of funny scenes, which shouldn’t have surprised me because TRICK ‘R TREAT also did. The ending, though, felt forced, made no sense, and can eat a dick.
KRAMPUS wasn’t bad by any means, and had several clever moments, but it felt like the filmmakers weren’t sure who their target audience was or what tone to strike, and as a result the film suffered for it. In the end, though, I’m not mad I saw it.
After the movie: dinner at Salar, a somewhat swank Peruvian restaurant, followed by a drink at Century bar, and then back to my place to get a little drunk and watch GINGER SNAPS, another horror classic.
Today is the first day of Winter, but with highs around 60 and lows around 50, it feels more like Spring. The leaves on the ground are the only physical evidence that it is not. I went to the gym, then ran a few errands, in shorts and a hoodie. By the time I was driving home, I had shed the hoodie and turned the car’s AC to low. If only the rest of Winter would take its cue from today.
This is my first day of a six-day holiday. When I do return to work next week, it will likely be uneventful for the remainder of the year. A friend is in town, and presently we will be seeing KRAMPUS, and then who knows what.
It’s a pretty good start to Winter. Happy belated Solstice.