Sarah has blessedly given me permission to take a break from watching bad movies for a while. In addition, the Roommate and I are going to stop playing Netflix Roulette. The last time we played (after the atrocity that was Two Girls, a Guy, and an Abortion Hotel Room), we landed on something called Across the Moon, a movie starring Christina Applegate and some other person, plus Peter Berg. We ended up breaking the rules of Netflix Roulette to go out and buy a copy of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead instead, but I’m going to save the plot summary, because I have a feeling I’m going to come back to it after I watch a few “good” movies. When you see the plot summary, you’ll understand why I wrote down the name of the movie for later.
I wish I could say this is my actual watch of The Empire Strikes Back, but honestly, I wanted to write down my version of events because I think after I watch the movie, I’ll be both amused and horrified. And while it may not be the next next thing I watch, I can say it will be at least within the next five. (I have ten movies stored on Jeremy the TiVo at this moment. I’m watching The Big Sleep right now, but since I’ve already seen that one and this is a rewatch, I technically don’t have to review it. Short and sweet: I liked it, I sought it out to watch it again, but the book is better.)
And so, I’m typing up this prewatch edition while listening to Bogey and Bacall bicker about what to do with Bacall’s younger sister and what, exactly happened to Rusty Regan.
I fully admit that I have not seen all of The Empire Strikes Back; I am missing not only key scenes, but entire thirds of the plot. There are holes in my interpretation of the plot big enough for an AT-AT walker to stroll through. It won’t be pretty, and I’m sure I’m going to make some of my dear friends’ heads explode. For that, I’m sorry. But hey, if you find yourself laughing sadly, at least you’re laughing?
Once more: these versions of the plot? I don’t look anything up on Wikipedia, or imdb. beforehand. These are the thoughts that come directly from my mind, and again, feel free to either laugh or cry; I don’t care.
I assume the plot picks up after the end of A New Hope. I also assume that the team of Luke, Leia and Han have split up in order to best attack the Empire. Leia is running the show from some planet, while Luke and Han are hanging around on THE REBEL BASE IS ON HOTH I just remembered! Maybe they’re all on Hoth, and Luke and Han are working on maneuvers or something. There are AT-AT walkers, those big tall things that look like camels without humps but made of metal.
And then there’s a battle, with TIE-fighters blowing shit up and stuff, and somehow Luke and Han get separated from the rest of the army and have to sleep inside the belly of a dead Taunton in order to stay alive.
At some point, I think Luke ends up in Dagobah (I spelled that right, didn’t I? I checked my Star Wars Monopoly board) and starts his Jedi training with Yoda. Is it after his spaceship crashes? I seem to remember him being fished out of a swamp. I hope this isn’t Return of the Jedi I’m misremembering. Anyway, I believe it is in this movie that Yoda instructs young Master Skywalker: “Do or Do Not. There is no Try.”
Oh shit, here comes some geek baggage I forgot about. HERE’S THE THING. I have never seen that scene. I may have heard sound clips of the line, or hey, maybe (in complete contradictory fashion), I have seen that scene online or in other media, or WHATEVER. I KNOW HOW THE LINE GOES, and it goes “Do or Do Not; there is no Try.”
Dear Former District Manager at my Former Place of Employment: THE LINE ISN’T “DO; THERE IS NO TRY.” IF YOU’RE GOING TO QUOTE YODA, QUOTE HIM CORRECTLY YOU MUST. Knowing geek lines backwards and forwards, regardless of actually having seen said scenes, is something that is bred in geeks. We wear our knowledge of pop culture and transcendent lines of dialogue like badges of honor. Some of us have more Star Wars badges; some of us wear the Whedon badges with pride. If you get the quote wrong, you will be outed as a pretend nerd from here to eternity.
Another thing about geeks: geeks never forget. Hence, me still being offended by something that happened more than six months ago.
ANYWAY. Somehow Lando Calrissian gets involved — I believe he’s a former friend of Han, and Han doesn’t want anything to do with him, and also, he’s working for the Empire? It’s in this movie that Leia calls Han a scruffy nerf herder, and also, Chewie was there.
Meanwhile, Boba Fett is a bounty hunter put on Han’s trail by Jabba the Hut, the portly icky person mentioned by Greedo in A New Hope. Han, the wonderful smuggler, apparently dumped some precious cargo and Jabba demands satisfaction. So there’s this whole thing where Boba is working for Darth Vader in order to a) capture Han to collect his bounty, and also b) to help cripple the Rebel Alliance.
In the end (Yeah, I’m missing things; congratulations, you got me, I’VE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE), Han gets frozen in carbonite after the following heartfelt exchange:
Leia: I love you.
Han: I know.
Luke is fighting Darth Vader in the new Death Star or something, and they’re on the balcony, and then Darth has this awesome move which causes Luke to fall off the balcony and grab onto the support pole or whatever, and Darth Vader asks him what Obi Wan Kenobi told him about his father, and Luke says that Vader killed his father, at which point Darth intones the fateful line, “No, Luke; I am your father.” But I think the line isn’t actually “Luke, I am your father” but some other maneuvering of the words. And then Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s hand and runs away to fight again another day.
And speaking of running away to fight another day, Luke reconnoiters with Leia and C-3P0 and R2-D2 and now Lando Calrissian is on their side, and Luke’s getting a new robotic arm put on and he tells Leia that he’s her brother and she’s his sister and they both remember the romantic kiss they shared before they realized they were siblings and agree to never talk about that again, and they vow to band together to rescue Han and cripple the Empire once and for all.
In pop culture news, I know that The Empire Strikes Back set the tone for trilogies to come. It is now standard operating procedure that the second movie in a trilogy is going to be the darkest. Look at the statistics: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Okay, Indy may not be as defeated as the Rebel Alliance at the end of Empire, but I think we can all agree that it was the worst movie in the series (until Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came along, and frankly, I choose to believe that that doesn’t exist).
Back to the Future, Part II. Talk about the darkest timeline. Marty and the Doc go into the future to save Marty’s future family, only Marty finds a sports almanac that he wants to bring back to 1985. Old Biff overhears and then steals the time machine to go back to 1955 Biff to set him up for life with that same almanac. When Marty and Doc return to 1985, it’s not the same 1985; it’s a dark timeline where Biff runs everything and — it’s like a less violent version of the town that the Hobo With a Shotgun was from. (Resolved: The Drake is 1985-B Biff Tannen, but with more bloodlust. DISCUSS.) And then, once Marty has managed to go back to 1955 and fix both timelines, Doc disappears, leaving him stranded in 1955.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest! It ends with Jack Sparrow being swallowed by the Kraaken, and the team (THE REBEL ALLIANCE) all sad at the fact that he’s gone, and then Barbossa comes out of FUCKING NOWHERE and says he has a way to win the fight against … the dude who ruins Norrington. That dude. I want to call him Evil!Coulson, but I know that’s not right. Oh shit, what’s his name?
HOLY SHIT I’M TOTALLY GOING TO WRITE AN ESSAY WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER ABOUT HOW THE PIRATES MOVIES IS JUST STAR WARS ON THE HIGH SEAS because the more I think about it, the more it makes sense!
There was something else I was going to talk about here, but I’ll be damned if I can remember it now. Somehow I was going to loop in a discussion about Don Draper and Joan Harris into some form of comparison with Han Solo and Leia, but apparently, the thread of that conversation has been lost over the past two weeks, so … if there was going to be an amazing insight about that, I apologize, for it is lost forever.
So there’s that. At some point in the near future, I’ll watch what is supposedly one of the top ten movies of all time, according to a number of lists I’ve read on the subject. But I also have nearly a dozen old movies I’ve taped off of TCM to watch, and if the looks I’ve been given by my Roommate over the past couple of days are any indication, I may have to go through a couple of rounds of Insomniac Theatre before I can watch the greatest sequel ever.