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Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens Breaks My Heart

I feel the conflict within you.” – Luke Skywalker

Spoilers for The Force Awakens to follow.

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The Star Wars saga is nothing if not the persistent struggle between the Light and Dark, good and evil, right and wrong. These are notions we can all relate to, which we all know is part of why Star Wars is such a phenomenon. But watching The Force Awakens, I was confronted with a new conflict: my needs/wants as a fan and my rejection of fan ownership.

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It Follows: A Nightmare Caught on Film

If you haven’t seen It Follows, there are spoilers here. I highly recommend avoiding this post until you have a chance to watch and unpack this movie. Not even because I’m spoiling it for you, but because I want you to spout your theories and your reads. Let’s dig into this shit.

It Follows is the modern horror movie that finally understands that over-explanation is, in fact, the removal of horror.

That writer/director David Robert Mitchell rejects any notion of explanation is why It Follows is as compelling as it is. In this interview with Yahoo! he has a lot of interesting things to say, but his quote “something from a nightmare can’t be explained” sums up his movie perfectly.

It Follows is a horror movie with something to say, but ultimately it’s up to the viewer to unpack what that might be. It could be read as an allegory for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, a celebration of monogamy, an exploration of true love, a condemnation of casual sex, the terrible effects of a non-present parent, the nature of death, facing the consequences of our choices, or… it could just be a nightmare caught on film. And there are no rules for a nightmare.

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Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer: Unreasonable Over-analyzation and Wild Theories

I’m perfectly aware there’s more than a few “breaking down the Episode VII teaser” pieces floating around on the Internet today. But Star Wars is the one thing I can’t resist picking apart and dissecting. And since for years I basically thought I’d never be able to do that again, I’m writing this more for myself than anyone. Because I’m so damn excited.

But if you’re reading, thanks for enduring another purely speculative and mostly uninformed orgasm of happy thoughts that only Star Wars can muster inside of me.

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

A couple of things: my thoughts are based on only what I see in the trailer itself or rumblings of unconfirmed rumors. I don’t have any inside scoops. I know as much as anyone else reading the rumor reports. I always take those rumors with a grain of salt (particularly ones that just sound absolutely ridiculous, of which there are plenty) and you should too. But who knows? I imagine there are bits and pieces of things that are accurate… from a certain point of view. And remember: Expanded Universe continuity is out the window and will not be adhered to, so anything is possible (and Boba Fett is deaaaaad).

In any case, while this is all theoretical and me just spit-balling… let’s go ahead and put a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING right here just in case anyone reads this and it turns out I was totally right.

Oh, and if you haven’t watched it yet, well duh:

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(Don’t) Go, Go Godzilla

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge Godzilla fan. I like and appreciate the character, his fandom, and his history, but my love of it all really begins and ends with the profound and penetrating Gojira; everything else is little more than a late-night cinematic curiosity for me. That being said, I was really excited for Gareth Edwards’ new American-ized version, meant to pick up the slack left by Roland Emmerich in 1998’s Godzilla (which had a kick ass soundtrack, to be fair).

Unfortunately, as I sat in the movie theater last night, about 30 minutes in, I got that uncomfortable lump in my stomach. You know the one. The one that makes your insides turn over as you realize you’re really not enjoying yourself. I don’t usually write stuff about movies I don’t like, but the fact that I have no real stakes in the franchise itself and I was still really excited for the movie and yet loathed it has really struck me for some reason. Godzilla is not only a terrible Godzilla movie, it’s a poorly scripted and visually derivative action blockbuster by any standard. I didn’t like Pacific Rim either, but at least that movie had some unique visual flair.

From this point on, there are full spoilers to be had. You’ve been warned!

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“Beautiful Things Don’t Ask for Attention” — Some Thoughts on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Full disclosure: I haven’t read James Thurber’s 1939 short story by the same title nor have I seen the 1947 movie. While I plan on doing both eventually, this is all about Ben Stiller’s version. I loved it and think it’s something everyone — particularly those of us that are hunkered down at our desks behind computers all day — should go and see. There are spoilers for the whole movie in here, just so you know.

The premise is something we can all relate to, I think, especially those more interested in the world(s) inside of our heads than the real one outside of our window. Walter Mitty processes negatives for the soon-to-be-defunct Life Magazine, assisting world famous photojournalist Sean O’Connell in his documentation of Earth without ever actually leaving the confines of his dank little office. When Sean’s negative for what is going to be the magazine’s final cover is lost, Walter breaks free of his stifling, droning life and tries to hunt it down in Greenland, Iceland, and Afghanistan, following Sean’s trail and encountering a number of characters and adventures along the way.

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Some Thoughts on The Rocketeer

On IGN Assemble! and IGN Comics in general we talk a lot about the greatness of The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens and everything that IDW has done with the character since the artist’s sad passing. The basic appeal of the story, to me, is that it’s inherently accessible. There is no continuity to restrict him. Every single story is contained within itself; all you need to know is “a pilot has a jet pack.” Not only that, but he’s a love letter to the Golden Age pulp heroes in such an effective manner that it’s so easy to forget he was only created in 1982.

What I’m saying is: if you’ve never read Dave Stevens’ original Rocketeer stuff, do so.

The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens

The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens

But I got to thinking about The Rocketeer movie for various reasons today — I fell into a YouTube vortex and ultimately somehow landed on The Rocketeer score which then snowballed into planning a tweet-a-thon of the movie tonight at 7 PM PST (join in, hashtag #TheRockAWho). The Rocketeer was pretty much panned when it was released in theaters in 1991, directed by Joe Johnston (also the director behind the similarly under appreciated superhero period masterpiece Captain America: The First Avenger).

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Marty! You Made It!

Marking out for Star Wars, Batman, or Doctor Who is fairly commonplace. Knowing which issue Green Lantern Ch’p made his first appearance (Green Lantern Vol. 2 #148) is, in the realm of nerd, standard. However, since I was a kid one other sci-fi franchise has stood out to me in a way that was hard to articulate until I got older. Back to the Future ages with grace; along with your maturity as a film goer, the comedy, themes, and characters of the series grow proportionately. With confidence I can say that the Back to the Future films are the most enjoyable, flawless filmic entities on the planet Earth.

That said, just as Ghostbusters has begun to see a renaissance in die-hard fandom, so too has BTTF. In conjunction with the Blu-ray release of the trilogy (awesome), Universal re-released the original film in limited locations back in October, and now Telltale has their upcoming downloadable adventure game, which is really what spawned this post. I’m as excited as the next BTTF fan that can recite every line of every film, but after seeing the trailer that was released earlier this week, I’m a tad worried as well.

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