Category Archives: The List

The Court Jester: Part I

Note from the Future: I wrote this two nights ago, and I was planning on finishing this tonight, but … shit happens.  Enjoy Part I of The Court Jester below.

So, this will be the most literal interpretation of Insomniac Theatre to date.

See, for the past couple of months, I’ve been closing pretty much every shift at my store.  Normally, I’m all for sleeping in as much as possible.  However, what’s happened is that my sleep cycle has been thrown all out of whack.  I can’t remember the last night that I was asleep before 4 a.m.  Frankly, I’m a little surprised that more people haven’t died lately, what with all the sunrises I’ve seen.

(I can’t even remember where it started, but I know I was a freshman at FPC – it was probably the fire drill with the dryer fire, and I was super pissed because I was sleeping and the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night due to another freshman doing his laundry on the other side of the dorm at two in the morning.  I do not think this was the fire drill where I stupidly got out and evacuated with the rest of the normal people while my two best friends decided to continue to play Mario Kart.  But anyway, Sarah saw me getting frustrated and stabbity, and somehow the idea was born that if Alaina watched the sun come up, someone was going to die.  Hence, the shock at the lack of death lately.)

The other reason I’m returning to Insomniac Theatre is because I’ve also gotten addicted to NBC’s Hannibal.  YOU GUYS.  IT IS THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION RIGHT NOW.  There is violence, and psychological drama, and Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, and I keep expecting Daniel Craig to show up and also I’ll never be able to watch the warehouse-naked-Daniel-Craig-chair scene the same way ever again and I’m okay with that, but also, it’s gory and there are things I can’t believe I am seeing on the National Broadcasting Channel and not Home Box Office, and did I mention Gina Torres guest-starred and also Eddie Izzard played a homicidal maniac, and there is food that is also people, and guys?  GUYS?  NO SERIOUSLY COME BACK IT’S AMAZING

So thanks, tonight’s episode of Hannibal, because now I have an image of a dead guy with his TONGUE jutting out from his THROAT embedded in my mind.  As in, the killer REMOVED THE TONGUE and ATTACHED it TO HIS THROAT.  THAT IS NOT WHERE A TONGUE BELONGS.

So let’s watch something with a little more humor, shall we?


Ah, The Court Jester.  Number 86 on my List of Movies.  This title was given to me by Sarah and also Allen.  I am not sure which of them saw it first, but they will mention it at least once every New Year’s Eve.  This year, when I was sitting in the corner just concentrating on getting my body to keep breathing air in and out and not expelling massive amounts of vodka upon exhale (Thing I Learned This Year #1: Hangovers do actually get worse the older you get.  This is not an urban legend.  Thing I Learned This Year #2: I’m old.)  (When your only New Year’s Resolution is to not get shitfaced at the next New Year’s Eve party, then you might actually have a problem.), Allen and Sarah were singing along to apparently the first song in the musical.  Luckily for me, I was too drunk at the time to mention that I had not seen the movie, thus sparing me both mental and physical anguish.  Y’know, in addition to the hell I was in already.

Seriously, kids: if you’re going to drink five Pear Weevils (Pear Vodka + Cranberry Juice, named after my nickname because reasons) in less than two hours with no food, you will get hungover.

So then one fateful night, The Court Jester appeared on TCM.  And I taped it, after having a conversation on Twitter with Allen and Sarah that went approximately like this*:

*I actually tried to find the tweets, but it was so long ago my phone won’t scroll back that far.

Me: Hey, The Court Jester’s on.  That’s a thing I should watch, right?
Allen: Yes.
Me: Angela Lansbury and the mom from Mary Poppins is in this?!  Why didn’t I know this?!
Sarah: Other people’s kids.  YES.
Me: Hey, don’t get mad at me.  All I knew was that this was an amazing movie; your tweets never included a cast list.

Anyway, I started to watch it back in January, but because back then I had a more normal sleep schedule, I … fell asleep halfway through.  But I saved it, and said I’d watch it later and blog it proper.

And, well … after tonight’s Hannibal, I kind of need to watch something that isn’t so … murderey.  (Cue Emily yelling at me to finish watching Arrested Development Season 4 already.)

Without further ado … The Court Jester.

Ooh!  Even Robert Osborne believes that The Court Jester is the best movie Danny Kaye ever made.  That’s … a fairly good endorsement.  I mean, Robert Osborne pretty much loves every movie TCM shows ever, so maybe grain of salt?

Basil Rathbone?  Sherlock Holmes is in this?  I’d probably be a bit more … I dunno, excited, but the only Sherlocks I’ve seen are Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and the mouse from The Great Mouse Detective.  PS, if you haven’t seen BBC’s Sherlock, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR IT’S ALSO FANTASTIC AND NOT NEARLY AS GORY AS HANNIBAL

We open on Danny Kaye in a classic Harlequin costume, singing about how Life Could Not Better Be.  I know from conversations and tweets that this song that plays over the credits supposedly tells the entire plot of the movie.  This was back before spoiler alerts, I guess.

HERMINE’S MIDGETS?  There is something called Hermine’s Midgets?!!?  Oh my god — you guys, I am making ALL THE SPEW JOKES in the WORLD right now.  Like, do we know they’re Hermine’s because she made them hats?  Were they so affronted by her gall to free them that they stole the ‘o’ out of her name?  DOES DOBBY SURVIVE

Also, there is something called the American Legion Zouaves from Jackson, Michigan.  I do not know what those are, but hope to recognize them when I see them?

Well, I don’t know about detailing the plot, so much.  The process of writing and casting a movie, maybe.  But at least I know we’ve got a happy ending, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

“This is the story of how the destiny of a nation was changed by a birthmark.”  Really?  Was the birthmark the entirety of the Magna Carta?

We meet Roderick the Tyrant, who became king by murdering the entirety of the royal family.  I feel that there’s probably a Red Wedding/Game of Thrones joke that I could make here, but I’m sadly unfamiliar with that source material to make sure it comes off effectively, so I’ll just let that stand on its own and move on.  Anyway, he’s coming home, probably after a big crusade or something.  One of his guards gets killed by the Black Fox, who is a copyright-free edition of Robin Hood.  The Black Fox is also supposedly caring for the only infant to escape Roderick’s massacre, the aforementioned infant with the ass-mark.  I like this retelling of the Anastasia myth!

Roderick is pissed that his lackeys may have missed a baby.  Hey, at least his minions haven’t been searching cradles for sixteen years like some other evil tyrants I know.  He’s looking for allies to help fight the rabble.  His minions suggest he ally himself with Griswold.  Y’know, I’m no court intrigue, but I’m not sure I’d invite Clark Griswold to the party, Rod.  I mean, he’s kind of an … oh, there’s another dude named Griswold.  Okay; carry on.  This whole moment sounds like a funnier, less nude version of Game of Thrones.  I assume.  Because, again, I’ve never read or watched those.

It gets really Thrones-ey when Roderick decides to offer Griswold his daughter, Gwendolyn, in exchange for an alliance.  However, Gwendolyn is the awesome Angela Lansbury, and she refuses, because she — like all princesses who don’t actually want power — wants to marry for love.  Dad thinks the witch, Griselda, has poisoned his daughter’s mind, and orders her burned at the stake (as you do with witches).  Angela Lansbury threatens suicide by falling should the witch actually burn.  Just as Roderick’s trying to decide what to threaten next, a spy for the king comes barreling in and confirms that the Royal Infant lives, because he’s spying on the Black Fox, and he’s seen the Royal Birthmark: a Purple Pimpernel.  On the baby’s bottom.  Ooookay.  Apparently a Scarlet Pimpernel was copyrighted, and also, gross as a birthmark.

As Roderick’s team goes to horse and to the woods, we see The Black Fox laughing maniacally at a wanted poster of himself, as heroes do.  We also hear music, so we know a song’s coming up.  The song is appropriately titled “Outfox the Fox,” and the song is full of wordplay and rhymes and MIDGETS HOLY SHIT MIDGETS YES

Uh, anyway.  Great song, shows that the Fox uses doubles as his way of escaping the Sheriff of Rottingham (as one does), and then the real Black Fox shows up as Danny Kaye is standing on a pyramid of midgets (as one does).  Apparently Danny Kaye’s name is Hawkins, and he’s a mere circus performer with a penchant for wearing other people’s clothes.  Hawkins wants to fight, but his official job title is Troupe Entertainer, and I guess that position is needed in every rebel army?  Except in space, of course; I can’t really see Chewie as Entertainer.  3PO, maybe, but also, unbeknownst to 3PO.  And isn’t that the funniest option?

The captain of the Black Fox is a girl, played by Glynis Johns, which proves that all that suffragette work paid off.  Glass ceiling?  What glass ceiling?  There’s no glass ceiling in medieval Britain!

Anyway, another of the Fox’s army warns them that Roderick knows about the infant.  It’s up to Captain Jean to hide the infant, and she needs Hawkins’s acting abilities to make the whole thing work.  They get a big cart of wine, and I want to go to there.  They hide the infant in an empty cask, and right as rain, they get stopped by the King’s Men.  There’s a lot of back and forth and postulating to throw the King’s Men off their trail, and they manage to get away.  There’s a thunderclap, and Captain Jean tells them that they’ll spend the night in the Woodman’s Cottage.  Oh yes, the only Woodman in Britain; his cottage.

As Captain Jean sets up the cottage for the night, Danny Kaye sings the Pimpernel Prince a lullaby, and it’s all very sweet.  I should mention here while there’s a lull, that I know my writing sometimes comes off as sarcastic, but that’s not the case here; I’m enjoying this movie.  Honest.

The Woodman’s Cottage has a very convenient leak, causing Hawkins and Capt. Jean to sleep together on the same small pallet of hay.  Their pillow talk consists of Capt. Jean telling Hawkins about her father, who taught her how to fight injustice, wage war, handle weapons, and as Hawkins is kissing her, she realizes her father may have wanted her to be a boy.  So, Captain Jean is Robin Scherbatsky’s long-lost sister?

Anyway, she doesn’t want to get involved with Hawkins until Roderick the Tyrant has been overthrown and the infant is on the throne.  Uh, dudes?  Maybe don’t put a baby on a throne?  It’s too high, for one; he could fall off and break his crown.  Maybe that’s where that comes from, though?  But also, decision-making isn’t really a baby’s strong suit.  But they don’t have this discussion; instead, they discuss a secret plan to overthrow the tyrant because there’s a passage from the forest to the castle, but the passage is locked from the inside, so they need someone in the king’s court to get into the king’s chambers and steal the key to unlock the passage so they can storm the castle.

ENTER: the Jester.

No, seriously, Jackamole the Court Jester comes into the Woodman’s Cottage looking for shelter.  Wait, I feel that I should correct this spelling before I get made fun of.  Oh, wow, I was waaaay wrong.  *ahem*  Giacomo the Court Jester gets beaned upside the head by Capt. Jean when he announces he’s on the way to the King’s Court, and no, no one has ever met him before, why do you ask?  Thanks to Hawkins’s established need to wear other people’s clothes, he dresses up as the Court Jester and is off to the palace, while Capt. Jean takes the Pimpernel Prince to the Abbey.

Meanwhile, back at the Palace, Roderick is PISSED that the baby is still alive.  Can I be the voice of reason here for just a second?  I mean, I realize that it would make for a shorter movie, but what if Roddy just adopted the baby and decided to not tell it that it was prince?  Because guess what?  BABIES CAN’T BE KINGS, GUYS.  You could rule until you died, and then made little Pimply your next in line, and then everybody wins!  Right?  (Don’t correct me if I’m wrong, I just don’t like the idea of a guy wanting to kill a baby.)

Anyway, there’s a funny moment where Gwendolyn is playing her harp and Roderick wants her to shut up, so he tells her to ‘stop picking at that thing.’  Heh heh heh, also, that’s what she said.  Roderick is putting plans for the tournament in motion: Jackamole the Jester will be entertainer (SORRY, SARAH & ALLEN, but you have to admit it’s kinda funny, right?), Griswold will marry Gwendolyn and bring her to a castle far, far up north, there will be wenches, and fighting, and food, and other things, and as Roderick goes to bed, Ravenhurst hangs back and mentions that Jackamole is also a skillful assassin.  Oh shit, that wasn’t on the resume Jackamole kept in his pockets.

Oh, man!  They actually spelled it on the side of Giacomo’s carriage.  Dangit!  Ruined my joke.  Anyway, Capt. Jean is brought to the palace in the King’s raid for wenches.  GiHawkimo is escorted to the palace by the King’s Guard, where it is revealed that Roderick also enlisted Giacomo’s assassination skills for Ravenhurst et. al.  Meanwhile, Gwendolyn’s threatening suicide again, and honey, here’s a pamphlet; I think you need a better life helper than Griselda.  Anyway, speaking of Griselda, she’s showing Gwendolyn the countenance of fair Giacomo, and tells her that he will be her lover.  Oh, jeebus.

GiHawkimo enters the court whistling the secret code for “I Am a Member of the Black Fox’s Army, Come Help Me” when the blacksmith or whatever who is actually the secret spy for the Black Fox whistles back.  Except GiHawkimo is too busy looking around at other things, and just as the blacksmith or whatever whistles back, Ravenhurst comes out of the palace, so GiHawkimo thinks he is the Whistler, and gives the signal of “yes, we shall soon do nefarious deeds,” which, GiHawkimo thinks he’s talking about getting the key, whereas Ravenhurst thinks he’s talking about killing the king, and dear Lord, that’s a lot of mistaken identities going on.

THEN King Roderick comes in, and there’s the famous tongue twister about the Duchess and the Doge and the Duke in the Italian Court, and what did they all do with their daggers and dirks and … d’other things.  Don’t ask me to retype it, because I think I may have to turn this into a Court Jester, Parte Dos.  Aside from Danny Kaye’s masterful tongue (uhhhhh… sorry.), all I take away from this is that King Roderick LOVES him some wenches (uhhhhh … sorry).

Apparently, “Jester” in Ye Olde English was code for “Pimp.”  Well, if the cape fits … It is now GiHawkimo’s job to find the King his wench.  That resume of unknown talents is getting longer and longer, eh, Hawkins?

GiHawkimo is making sure he has his song memorized when the blacksmith or whatever sneaks in through the balcony.  He tries to tell GiHawkimo that he is the friend of the Fox, not Ravenhurst, but GiHawkimo doesn’t believe him.  The blacksmith or whatever is also the Ostler, and I’m still not sure what an ostler is, and apparently, neither does Microsoft Word.  But you recognize Chewbacca as a real word, MSOffice?  Really?  I know ostlers were real things at one point!  *shakes head*

And then Griselda shows up, and she hypnotizes GiHawkimo to do whatever she says when she snaps her fingers.  She can also literally snap him out of the trance.  (I am 90% sure I used literally correct in that sentence.  As much as you’d like to, please don’t correct me, as it is nearly 4 in the morning, and advancing ever closer to my new normal bedtime.)

Griselda orders GiHawkimo to go and make love to the Princess.  Uh … does that work?  Just … hypnotize a guy and snap your fingers?  *picks up legal pad*  Is there a class I can take to make that happen, or does that go against the whole ‘informed consent’ aspect?

(Oh god, I just realized my mother sometimes reads this stuff.  Just keep reading, Mom!  Nothing to see here in this little paragraph except evidence of my insomnia!  *snaps fingers*  You will not remember this paragraph when next we speak.)

GiHawkimo is heading out the door full bore, off to bore the princess.  As in … oh, you guys probably know what I’m talking about.  Never mind.

And now, I’m going to take a break until Sunday night, and because I’m a nice person, I’ll leave us with the Ostler’s FML face as he realizes just what he’s gotten himself into.

"The fate of Britain rests in this guy's hands?  We're *screwed.*"

You’re welcome.


Posted by on June 8, 2013 in The Court Jester


The Shawshank Redemption: The Alaina Version (+ Theories)

Not sure how many people know this, but …. I can be kinda psychic sometimes.  I regularly check out Robin’s Zodiac Zone, making sure that I’m wearing the appropriate color for the day.  I have a deck of tarot cards and I will … contact?  Interpret?  Oh shit, I had something for this.  I use my tarot cards semi-regularly for advice, and I have been known to go to actual tarot card readers when I feel that I need a second opinion on something.  I find meaning in many different things.  (Let NO ONE start me on the whole Eddie Vedder / “Better Man” thing…)

What I’m trying to say is that I am no stranger to signs.  And when I feel that the Universe is trying to tell me something that I don’t want to hear, I can … at times, overreact.

Like Community, beloved Show of My Heart (now that I’m having serious issues with The Vampire Diaries — issues that belong on a whole ‘nother blog, full of capslock, vitriol, and feminist issues that never happened before with TVD).  Last week, Community homaged — I’m sorry, “paid homage” — to The Shawshank Redemption.  I’ve decided to take that as a sign that I should just fucking rip that asshole Band-Aid off once and for all and move on.

So go ahead, Universe: Read me the signs!  Tell me my FORTUNE! You’re so useful, sitting there with all of your books!  You’re really a lot of help!  So I quit!  I resign, I’m fired; I’ll just get this over with, okay?  Because I am twenty-nine years old, Giles; I don’t wanna deal with Shawshank anymore!

Because I’m done!  I think I’ve said that I have seen 2/3 of the movie on AMC two summers ago, so I know the plot.  Hell, I knew the plot before I watched it two years ago: Tim Robbins (ANDY DUFRESNE, YES I KNOW) is arrested for killing his wife and her lover and thrown into Shawshank Prison in good ol’ Thomaston, Maine (because guys, it was written by Stephen King, and everything takes place in Maine).  It is left up to the viewer* to decide whether Andy’s guilty or not.  While there, he befriends Morgan Freeman.  Andy finds a place for himself in prison, but never stops dreaming of the outside world.  Meanwhile — and this is the part I’ve seen, so I can attest to its veracity, AMC-editing be-damned — there is this whole ideological debate/showing thing (look, I’m fighting a cold, and my head’s all messed up.  I’m sorry I’m not speaking English good over here.) about how Red and other prisoners have become so institutionalized, that when parole comes along and they’re free, the outside world is too scary and they contemplate either going back to prison or suicide.  Anyway — in the midst of this, Andy manages to escape Shawshank and runs away, never to be found again.  Except he leaves Red a postcard or a clue or something I WASN’T REALLY PAYING ATTENTION giving him a treasure map to follow so they can live out the rest of their lives together on the Pacific Coast in this little unpronounceable town in Mexico.

*Because I’ve seen the last two-thirds, guys, not the first third.  I’m assuming it’s left up to the viewer to decide Andy’s innocence?  Or maybe he protests his innocence even though he’s guilty as fuck?  I dunno – I’ve got about forty minutes I’ve missed.

SO.  I apparently know a lot about Shawshank, huh?  Why is it such a big deal for me to watch it?  Because APPARENTLY, to some of my friends (AND MY FATHER, WHAT THE HECK?), watching the last two-thirds does not count as “watching it.”  Also, I’d like to test a theory.

‘Cuz here’s the thing: I have friends of both genders who have seen Shawshank or at least, parts of Shawshank.  And I am seeing a clear divide when I ask the following questions:

1) Are you the type of individual that tends to watch movies over and over again?
2) Have you seen The Shawshank Redemption?
3) Did you like The Shawshank Redemption?4) Did you like The Shawshank Redemption enough to warrant watching it until the end every time you find it on television?

Obviously, if you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, the survey ended.  But — again, informally — my findings were that men answered ‘yes’ to all four questions, whereas women that had seen Shawshank and liked it, didn’t like it enough to watch it to the end every damn time they find it on TV.

So my main question – because I have seen the end! – is, will seeing the whole entire movie unedited for television and language and situations change my perception of Shawshank?  Because right now, I am okay with saying that it is a good movie, and I can see how some people might find it better than good, but I DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. how it has pervaded our culture so that not only Community pays homage to it, but Jon Stewart and Liam Fucking Neeson can wax rhapsodic during an interview on The Daily Show.

I just don’t get it.  I hope to get it?  But I’m not sure I will.  I’m seriously wondering if there’s something on the Y chromosome that makes it better …


Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

I came up with a brilliant plan the other night.  It involved finally watching another movie this Friday as someone’s birthday present (long story, will explain it later), but in order to do that I felt that I really needed to get Return of the Jedi out of the way, because this is getting ridiculous.  I mean, seriously – I’ve moved this Netflix disc.  MOVED IT.  FROM ONE APARTMENT TO ANOTHER.  And paid for it six times.  WHAT THE FUCK, PATTERSON.

Anyway.  In order to get my Brilliant PlanTM out of the way, I am going to attempt to watch Return of the Jedi tonight.  Now, there’s going to be an added layer of difficulty regarding this: the last time I watched a movie on DVD, I was at the Old Apartment (sorry for the earworm), and the Old Apartment had a DVD player and a remote.  In my New Apartment, I have a TV/DVD combination TV, and … the remote doesn’t really work.  I mean, it’ll select things on the menu, and I can turn the volume up and down, and when I’m using the cable and Jeremy the TiVo, Episode IV: A New Hope, everything’s hunky-dory.  But pausing the DVD and / or returning to the menu?  Cannot be done.  I can only pause by getting up and pausing it from the button on the TV itself.  And as for returning to the menu whilst in the middle of an episode or movie?  My TV says ‘Fuck that shit,’ which is how I watched the beginning of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang four times when it started using subtitles randomly and I couldn’t shut them off.

So … expect a lot of cussing.  I may have to name the TV (because so far, the TV is nameless.  Only the TiVo’s have been named in the past).

Oh right.  The bikini.  Almost forgot about that.

Before I hit play, I believe that when we last left our Intrepid Heroes, they were either dis-handed, starting up a rock band with the robots as backup, or frozen in carbonite.  Darth Vader was playing with his dolls in victorious glee, and Leia was on her way to join the white slave trade.  Does that sound right?

I was just going to ask a stupid question about what was Chewbacca doing in all of this, when I realized: duh.  He plays drums for Lando and the Droids.  Because if Lando Calrissian = Dr. Teeth, C-3P0 must = Scooter, R2D2 = Floyd, and Chewbacca = Animal.

Holy shit that is a thing that has to happen RIGHT NOW.

[play is pressed.]  I am already hating that I can’t pause.


Jesus, that music’s loud.


Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tattoine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the cluthes of the vile gnagster Jabba the Hutt..

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful tha the first draeaded Death satar.


We see the same big battleship scene from the first Star Wars, only this time a couple of ships get shat out of it.  They’re flying out to Death Star II, and there’s this line of Storm Troopers sitting at a console, and I can’t help it — I yell out, “Look at all those Assholes!”

The guy who announces that Lord Vader’s shell — shell?  What?  — has arrived looks like a young Matt Damon.  Just me?

Lord Vader is apparently all out of lollipops, because he’s whooping that Commander’s ass all over the Death Star II.  Apparently the progress with the new Death Star is not proceeding as fast as Palpatine would like.

It’s the Droids!  Lando abandoned them?  But — that is my most favorite fantasy! C-3PO fucking knocks on this big ass-door, hoping to speak with Jabba the Hutt.  R2-D2 strolls in, and all I can think of is ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY WALK INTO JABBA’S HUTT.

They run into Jabba’s … lackey?  I’m sorry, I’m totally calling him the Jabba-Wocky.  Anyway, he’s the dude with the icky flesh tail that curls around the neck, and I have no idea who he is, but there’s totally a green pig man that looks like one of Maleficent’s lackeys made flesh, and anyway, they end up in Jabba’s Pleasure Palace, like he’s Hedonism-Bot from Futurama.  R2 plays his in-flight feature of Luke Skywalker offering the Droids to Jabba as collateral in exchange for a negotiation for Captain Solo, who is still a wall hanging out of carbonite.

Jabba’s Slave Leader thinks R2-D2 is a feisty one.  You don’t know the half of it, Slave Leader.  Boba Fett’s upstairs watching one of the slave girls dance.  Oh.  Er, uh, two slave girls dance.  Uh, two slave girls dance, and then one gets incinerated or eaten or something.  And then Chewbacca comes in, and Jabba wants C-3PO is asked to translate the bounty for Chewie, and the guy who somehow managed to capture Chewbacca (What is that guy, Jonathan from Buffy?  He’s like, three feet tall!  How’d he overpower Chewie?), anyway, he wants to get more money out of Jabba through the powers of persuasion found only in a thermal detonator, but he somehow capitulates.  And Lando’s hiding in plain sight, watching everything!  LANDO!  YOU NEED TO GET THE BAND BACK TOGETHER!

OH WAIT I REMEMBER – the little guy who ‘overpowered’ Chewie is actually Leia in disguise, right?  Isn’t that how that worked?  Because we never see the dude’s face, and they’re wicked short.  And he unfreezes Han!  And I was totally right, it was totally Leia!  And THAT’S how she becomes the slave!  One of my questions finally answered!

Meanwhile, Han is recovering from the hibernation sickness, and he’s blind, and all I can think of is Rochester from Jane Eyre?  Luckily, he gets thrown into the same cell as Chewie, so those hetero life partners are together.

Luke walks into Jabba’s palace, and THERE’S the bikini.  Anyway, Luke wants Han and His Friends (dudes, Lando and the Droids is a WAY better name), and he’s studiously ignoring his crush just sitting there in a bit of twisted metal and half a curtain.  Jabba tosses him into the pit, which apparently holds a giant, big, drooly sand crab type thing, and Luke does the ol’ Stick a Toothpick In The Crab’s Mouth So It Can’t Eat Him trick.

Doesn’t work.  In that the toothpick gets broken like a … well, like a toothpick.  But then Luke throws a rock at the garage door opener and it closes right down onto the Sand Crab’s head, killing it.  Huzzah!  And so much for using the Force, eh, Luke?  In the confusion, Lando runs away.  LANDO?!

Team!Jabba boards a pleasure cruise out to the Pits of Despair in the middle of Tatooine.  Anyway, there’s this big fight scene where R2 totally had Luke’s lightsaber in a pocket the entire time, so he goes about slicing the entire mini-boat’s crew while Leia chokes the shit out of Jabba the Hutt.  Big fight, yada yada, and then Luke jungle-vine-swings he and Leia onto the mini-boat while the big boat blows up, and he tells Lando, “Don’t forget the droids.”

No, Lando — never forget the Droids.

[Seriously, this is my new favorite head-canon.  J.J. Abrams, I am *begging* you: I don’t care what other plots you bring up, but PLEASE: make Lando a lead guitarist with R2 and 3PO playing backup.]

Luke and R2-D2 head to the Dagobah system, to visit Yoda!  Who is totally Zoot, by the way.  Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine lands on Death Star II — or, wherever Lord Vader happens to be.  Vader wants to find Skywalker, but Palpatine tells Vader to hold his horses, because Skywalker’s going to show up anyway, and then they’ll turn him to the Dark Side.  Because apparently Palpatine’s cookies are the best cookies?

YODA!  Still feisty.  I love that Muppet.  The only way for Luke to become a Jedi is to confront Darth Vader.  Luke wants to know if Darth Vader is his father, and Yoda very cutely tries to ignore the question.  But Luke’s having none of it, and finally Yoda confesses.  And there’s a lot of mumbling and have I mentioned my remote sucks ass so I can’t rewind to figure out what Yoda’s saying, but it doesn’t matter in the end because YOU GUYS — YODA DIES?!  NO ONE TOLD ME YODA DIES!!  LANDO NEEDS HIS SAX PLAYER!!

And then Luke has a vision of Obi-Wan Kenobi who explains the myth of Anakin.  And can I just take a moment and say that I can TOTALLY see a resemblance between Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor?  Seriously!  That is crazy.  And one of the only good things to come out of the prequel trilogy.  Obi-Wan also points Luke in the direction of Leia being his sister.

Han, Leia, and Lando and the Droids are discussing the plan to drop down onto Endor and dismantle the shield that is protecting the Death Star II.  Han lets Lando pilot the Millennium Falcon, and he’s totally heartbroken.  Oh man.  I guess I forgot or never realized that the primary ‘ship in Star Wars is Han/Millennium Falcon?  Much like how on Firefly it’s Mal/Serenity?

OO!  That’s eerily prescient!  Because I have disc one of Firefly as my second Netflix disc!  I am like, totally awesome up in here!

“Fly casual”?  Dear Lord, Han Solo is the best.  The team manages to get past the Death Star II and lands on Endor.  And here’s where we find out how much Alaina falls under the Ewok Line Theory.

They try and sneak up on a couple of Storm Troopers, but Han has extremely large feet and tips them off.  So now Leia and Luke overtake some Hover-Jet-Skis (like Jet-Skis, but on air) and how come Disney World never made a ride out of that?  This whole thing is like the chariot race from Ben-Hur meets Marty McFly.

Luke meets up with Han and the gang, and Han almost blows a gasket when he learns that Leia’s missing.  Leia wakes up and tries to make nice with an Ewok.  And … yeah, it’s pretty cute.  Guess I’m 29!  There’s tons of whistling going on while Leia is explaining the intricacies of a hat, and I totally expect to hear the Mockingjay noise from The Hunger Games.  Rue!  But instead she gets captured by Storm Troopers.  Wait, strike that — not captured at all, because Ewoks are awesome!

Sidebar: I am ecstatic and extremely impressed that I have not needed to pause this movie.  Not once.

Vader tells Palpatine that he knows his son is on Endor.  Palpatine swirls around in his Voice judging chair and tells Vader that Luke will come to him, and then Vader can bring Luke to Palpatine.  Looks like you’ve got everything all figured out there, Great Wrinkly.

Meanwhile, back on Endor, Han is super worried because there’s no trace of Leia.  And then Chewie finds the decoy Ewok which puts them in a net trap, at which point R2 chainsaws them out, they fall, and then they get captured by Ewoks.

… Who worship C-3PO?  Oh jeebus, that won’t end well, will it?

Baby Ewok!  And also, they’re going to eat Han Solo.  Ha ha.

Oh my God, 3PO’s such an ass.  How did he get so far without realizing when to shut up and do what Luke says?  Jesus H., dude!

Also, with her hair down, Leia looks the spitting image of a woodland princess.  I don’t like it.  She needs to be more kickass.

That night, 3PO gets the audience caught up with The Story Thus Far, only this time, it’s in Ewok.  Luke sneaks out of the group hug atmosphere, and Leia follows him.  After some jibberish about the Force, Luke tells Leia that he’s going to go up against Vader, and oh yeah, she’s his sister.  They share what appears to be a sibling-esque kiss and then Luke runs off to find Vader, just as Han comes out and rears his jealous but wonderfully-tousled head.

Luke walks right into Vader’s clutches, and he is determined to find the ‘good’ in what used to be Anakin Skywalker.  And there’s a very funny moment where Darth Vader literally shakes his fist at Luke when he tells him to never speak Anakin’s name.

Oh no … it’s 2:45 a.m., and I’m falling asleep, and there are still 40 minutes remaining.  Oh shit.

THERE IT IS — THE ADMIRAL ACKBAR “IT’S A TRAP”!  Totally just woke up for that.  The Emperor makes Luke watch the reaming of General Calrissian, and keeps taunting Luke into turning to the dark side.

Okay … I tried really, really hard to stay awake, and look, unlike when I watched Phantom Menace, this is not the fault of shoddy writing and directing.  This is a direct result of me being tired, and it being 3 a.m.  I actually saved this post, and then kept watching, expecting to wake up in the … er, later today and find the scene where I was and take over from there, but something funny happened and I wanted to write it down because I know I’d forget.  And now I’m awake again.  I’m going to finish it!

So anyway, Luke is trying really really extra hard to not be overtaken by the Dark Side, and when he’s fighting Vader he kinda somersaults up to the catwalk above him, and he is relentless at calling Vader “Father” in an effort to try and return Anakin to the Good Side, and all I can think in my head is Vader being really pissed at him and going, “Get DOWN from there, you little shit!”

Oh, and also: I paused once.  That’s a pretty damn good record if I do say so my damned self.

Han Solo plays a funny trick on the Assholes at the Shield Station, manages to lure them out and into a trap, and meanwhile, Vader riles Luke up about potentially turning Leia into a Dark Side Magnet that Luke goes apeshit and CUTS OFF VADER’S HAND, WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH YOU AND HANDS, LUCAS?!

Oh hey — Luke Skywalker?  George … Lucas?  There’s no way I’m the first person to get that, right?

The Emperor tries to kill Luke when he won’t join the Dark Side with the power of electricity.  And Vader looks on, comfused.

And what happened then?  Well, in Endor they say, that Lord Vader’s small heart grew three sizes that day.  Because he picks up the Emperor with his one good hand and tosses him off the starship, saving his son.

As the ship goes down, Lucas does his first horrible thing in the series and turns Darth Vader into a scrawny white dude with no hair.  Because he fell into a pit of lava and managed to survive.

As the remnants of the Death Star II explode across the sky, Leia finally tells Han that she is Luke’s sister, meaning all the “I love you’s” and “I know’s” are really and truly for Han.

That night, the Ewoks fulfill their destiny of burning a human, as Luke sends Anakin’s spirit to the sky.  Or something equally poetic.  I dunno.  Tired, you guys.  After Luke’s Funeral for One, there’s a lot of dancing with the annoying Ewok song (sorry, that is annoying.  The Ewoks themselves are kind of cute, but this song … oy).  Luke says goodbye to Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the First Anakin Skywalker, because I’m watching the original version on the bonus disc of the latest special edition that came out, so I don’t have to deal with any stupid-ass hologram of an older Hayden Christianson, because NO ONE should have to see that.


Does this mean I can watch this and not be ironic about it anymore?

Here are my big takeaways from this endeavor:

1)      Dear George Lucas.  These movies were WAY BETTER when you limited yourself to helping out with the script and directing here and there.  Lawrence Kasdan was your friend.  Episodes IV, V, and VI were a frillion times better than I, II, and III, and that’s because you weren’t the one solely responsible for the final product.  Look, dude, you are not the Coen Brothers.  Let other people take — oh, wait, you are.  Cool.

2)      Dear J.J. Abrams.  Don’t lose sight of the endgame halfway through Episode VII, okay?  I have been with you since Alias, and what tends to happen with you is you have a great start to something, but your follow-through has been lacking.  (Because yes, I am still pissed at you for Lauren Reed.  Who isn’t?  NO ONE.  THAT’S WHO.  LAUREN REED WAS AWFUL.)  Keep on track, and maybe Episode VII won’t suck.

3)      I do not have any idea who would win in a fight, Han Solo or Indiana Jones.  Both bring guns to knife fights.  Both have snarky rejoinders.  One has a whip; the other has a Wookiee.  I don’t know; that is way too close to call for me.

4)      Leia, however, would kick Marion Ravenwood’s ass.  And I say that as someone who still wants to be Marion Ravenwood when I grow up.

5)      I think what I need to do at some point is just sit and have a Trilogy Time of my own.  Now that I’ve watched them once (and have crossed them off my list!), I just need to power through all three as one big storytelling endeavor.

So.  That’s done.  Tune in Saturday morning (because I’m not going to get started until at least 10 p.m.) for when I give my friend possibly one of the greatest birthday presents I could ever think to give him: crossing his favorite movie off my list.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Star Wars


Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: The Alaina Version

It strikes me that I’ve had Return of the Jedi out from Netflix for at least since July.  I have paid for this disc enough times to own the Blu-Ray special edition of all six movies.  And yeah, I’ve been busy, but did I really need to watch and blog Marked Woman, a movie that literally no one has teased me about never having seen?

So let’s get back to basics and actually start knocking some titles off of that list of mine.

Oh right.  The bikini.  Almost forgot about that.

Okay.  So, when we last left our intrepid heroes, Leia, Luke, Lando and the Droids (hey, has anyone named a band that?  “Lando and the Droids?”  I CALL DIBS) are flying away from Cloud CIty, defeated (and in Luke’s case, less one hand as well.)  Han Solo has been frozen in Carbonite, after telling Leia that he knows she loves her (which, for those following along, is the Star Wars equivalent of Wesley telling Buttercup “As you wish”).  Darth Vader is temporarily victorious.  And Yoda is still on Dagobah, raising hell because Yoda is the man.

From what pop culture has taught me, Jedi returns and the team is slightly disbanded, but all still working towards the same goal.  Luke has a fancy new mechanical hand, and has returned to Dagobah to continue studying under Yoda, newly determined (and less whiny?) in his quest to become a Jedi.

Leia has slaved herself to Jabba the Hut in an effort to get closer to Han.  I want to think Lando shows up and together they de-carbonite him and escape.  Or possibly kill Jabba in the process.  Either way, that slave bikini inspired so many men’s fantasies, that if I didn’t mention it here I wouldn’t be doing my pop culture gluttonny any favors.

Darth Vader is building another Death Star, and this time, it’s without that pesky tunnel to that hole where the lasers are shot at.  Lesson learned!  Instead, the key to destroying it is located somewhere on Endor, a fun little planet inhabited by Ewoks.

And here’s where I get to the Ewok Line, and my slightl moment of doubt about this movie.

See, I am a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother.  I have seen every episode at least twice through season 6, and now that season 7 is on Netflix, I’ll breeze through that in about a week.  Star Wars plays a big part in the HIMYM part of pop culture.  After Ted proposes to Stella and he realizes she’s never seen Star Wars, he makes her watch it.  She does, and she claims it’s her new favorite movie, but when Marshall corners her, she says that it’s stupid.  “And everyone could understand the bear?”  “WOOKIEE.”  “They were all like, “That’s a great idea, Bear, let’s do that!'”

The three male characters – Ted, Barney, and Marshall – enjoy “Trilogy Time,” where every three years, they get together to watch the original trilogy.  Barney has a life-size Storm Trooper armor in his living room.  And Barney has created something known as the Ewok Line.

The Ewok Line is May 25, 1977 – the day Star Wars was released in theatres.  Women born before May 25, 1977 were at least nine years old when Return of the Jedi was released, and therefore too old to be charmed by the cuddly Ewoks.  Those born after the Ewok Line loved them, because the Ewoks reminded them of their teddy bears.

Yeah, not the soundest logic, but — it’s How I Met Your Mother.  They’ve been on a downward slide for three years now.

So anyway – the catalyst for the Ewok Line was that Barney’s girlfriend at the time, Nora, hated the Ewoks, but she claimed to be 29.  By Ewok Line Logic, that made Nora 37 instead.  But Nora then reveals that she only saw the Star Wars films for the first time that year, thereby bypassing the Ewok Line Continuum.  Or something like that.

I can only imagine that, if they are annoying, they are less so than Jar-Jar Binks.

ANYWAY.  The team – Luke, Leia, Han, Lando and the Droids (OH THAT IS SO A THING NOW) show up on Endor to protect the Ewoks and eventually not only destroy the second Death Star, but Darth Vader finally takes off his helmet and dies in front of Luke.  They burn him ceremonially and have a good ol’ fashioned funeral where everyone celebrates, and a shooting star goes across the sky or something and the Ewoks dance and Alaina can move on to other things.

I mean, honestly – I should really watch Pulp Fiction.

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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Star Wars


Previews: Pulp Fiction on the big screen?

Hmmm… apparently, Fathom and Quentin Tarantino are releasing Pulp Fiction for one night only in December.

Pulp Fiction is actually the first movie that made it to the list of Movies Alaina’s Never Seen.  Oh, this is actually a funny story —

My former coworker Brian had sent this email to our boss, and the Boss sent it back to the rest of us in the department, saying “Great idea, Brain!”  Now, obviously, that was a typo — similar to that time that my sister accidentally misquoted Homer Simpson: “Quiet, Brian, or I’ll stab you with a Q-Tip!”  But I, being always on the lookout for a funny joke or a way to get a new nickname, immediately wrote back to Brian, “I am TOTALLY calling you ‘Brain’ from now on.  But only if you call me Pinky.”

And it was on.  It was on like Donkey Kong.

Me, being the incorrigible gossip I am, ran down to tell Brad my new nickname.

Me: So Brian’s calling me Pinky now.
Brad: … Why?
Me: Because Eric mistyped his name as ‘Brain,’ and I said I’d call him ‘Brain’ if he called me Pinky.  After Pinky and the Brain.
Brad: [gives a blank stare]
Me: Pinky and the Brain.  You don’t know Pinky and the Brain?
Brad: Alaina, what are you talking about?
Me: Oh my GOD, you’re so old!

That was the first time I ever called Brad ‘old.’  Luckily, he bounced right back.

Brad: Well, you know what I think of when I hear ‘brain.’
Me: No.  No, I don’t.  And I’m not sure I want to know.
Brad: “Check out the big brain on Brad.”
Me: [gives a blank stare]
Brad: “Check out the big brain on Brad.”  From Pulp Fiction.
Me: [shakes head]
Brad: Pulp Fiction.
Brad: You’ve NEVER seen Pulp Fiction?!
Me: … It’s on my list!
Brad: Don’t talk to me for the rest of the day!

It was all downhill from there.  Shawshank RedemptionBigThe Green MileCaddyshackAnimal House.  Nearly every week, Brad asked me about a movie to see if I had seen it.  He brought in articles, spreadsheets, handwritten lists.  I couldn’t even turn the tables on him, because the only movie on my top ten list he hadn’t seen was the obscure Audrey Hepburn-Peter O’Toole comedy How to Steal a Million.  John somehow got in on the act. Pretty soon, news spread throughout the workplace that, for all my pop culture knowledge, actually seeing movies was something I apparently couldn’t be bothered to do.

And so, this blog was born.

And Pulp Fiction was the first to be put on the list, even when it was a list in my head.  That Christmas, Johnny bought me a copy on DVD.  I still haven’t watched it.  I was planning on getting through the Star Wars sextet first, then figuring out where to go.  I was thinking Tommy Boy.  But this might be an opportunity I can’t pass up.

So now, I have some decisions to make.  Do I go see Pulp Fiction, the stupid little movie that, three years ago, in some stupid little way started this stupid little blog, on the big screen, knowing that I can’t bring my laptop and the projectionist won’t pause the movie so I can gather my thoughts?  Do I go see it anyway and then try and write up my notes afterwards, a la my Oscar!Watch?  If I go through it that way, do I then rewatch it when I get home and let my jokes (or commentary) enter the world in that way?

Do I tell Brad?  (Yeah, I’ll most likely do that.  It’s like me and Raiders of the Lost Ark last month – give me a chance to see it on the big screen and I am fucking there.)  Do I offer to have him go with me if I choose to do this?  Uh, no — awkward.  He’s never seen a movie with me.  Even the training videos we used to watch, I’d talk at the screen.  He’d haaaaate me after that.  (My sister has only recently begun to tolerate my snarky comments.  Although, to her credit, she allows them when we go see the stupid Twilight movies.  SHE ALLOWS ME TO DRINK AT THEM.)

Okay, so maybe not as many decisions as I thought.  Although I have to admit, playing a round of Horrify Brad would have hilarious results.  It’s been a while since I’ve made anyone’s … well …

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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Pulp Fiction


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Today is Independence Day: the day when, 236 years ago, our forefathers signed a Declaration of Independence from their evil overlords, the English.  I thought it appropriate and, also, slightly ironic to choose this night as the night I watch the tale of another rebellion.  Sadly, their tale ends (temporarily) in defeat, doled out by the hands of an evil lord.

[Hands — because one gets cut off!  Right?  Guys?]

One more thing before I hit play: Empire magazine, way back in 2008, said that this was the Third Best Movie of All Time, behind The Godfather as number one, and Raiders of the Lost Ark as number two.  That is pretty steep for me – I LOVE Raiders of the Lost Ark.  So much so, I almost want to make business cards that proclaim me to be an Obtainer of Rare Antiquities.  Because how awesome would that be?

Okay – now I’ll push play.  Right after I pour a gin and tonic.  (What?  It’s the Fourth of July and I don’t like beer.)

Okay, I get why Star Wars began with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …”, but shouldn’t Empire begin “A long time ago {but not as long as the last movie}” yada yada?  No?  Am I being too picky?  Okay, fine, I’ll shut up.

[Wow, my TV is super loud.] 

Episode V
It is a dark time for the Rebellion.  Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Revel forces from their hidden base and purused thema cross the galaxy.

Eveading the dreaded Imperaial starfeleed, awoijfaerawgokjwerg;lkj GIVE UP PATTERSON

Apparently, the Rebel Base is located on Hoth [but where’s the Revel Base?  Can I go to there?], and Darth Vader has sent a shitload of probes into the galaxy to find Luke, in order to punish him for blowing up his Death Star. 

Hey it’s Luke!  And he’s riding — yes, I know it’s a Tauntaun, but can I just play dumb for another thirty seconds and make a Huge Kangaroo joke?

NEVER MIND BETTER JOKES AHEAD so Luke’s talking to his best friend Han on their super-cool wrist communicators, and Luke’s Tauntaun rears its head, and Luke asks it if it smelled something, and I was about to make a “He who smelt it dealt it” joke when LUKE GETS SIDESWIPED BY A FUCKING YETI

Note to self: Tauntauns can smell Yetis, but apparently not hear their approach or warn anyone about the Yeti’s proximity to its rider.  Good to know.  Meanwhile, the Yeti has knocked Luke unconscious and is dragging him away to somewhere.

Han returns to the rebel base and is calling for his other best friend, Chewie.  Han is deserting the rebels because Boba Fett is still looking for him to collect the debt he owes to Jabba the Hut.  As he’s saying his goodbyes, he gets pissed at Leia for not making a bigger scene, and dares her to tell him to stay for her, and not for the rebel alliance.  Hm…

My hmm stems from: that’s not how a typical hero acts towards his woman.  I mean — oh man, I’m not going to explain this right, am I?  Look, guys?  Pardon me while I try and work out some feels over here.  Han Solo is the typical, brutish, strong hero – witty, quick on his feet, battle-weary yet still battle-ready.  Good at his job (best pilot in this ‘verse, at least).  And he’s telling Leia that he knows how she feels and he wants her to admit it.  Why?  Does Han reciprocate the feelings, and wants to know he won’t be rejected first (which, in itself betrays some vulnerability in Han)?  Does he suspect but isn’t sure?  Or, much like Paul Varjak did in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is he trying to show Leia how oblivious she is to the love he has for her?  I — I have seen too many movies, yet not enough, that I am pleasantly surprised at this characterization.

It also makes me wonder what the hell happened to George Lucas in the interim.  Because seriously, ten minutes into this movie and I’m waxing philosophical on it, whereas Phantom Menace had me napping during the Pod race.  Twice.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  I’m sorry, I’m sorry — I’m a horrible person.  Luke’s strapped to the ceiling, and he’s doing his Jedi Mind Trick to grab his lightsabre,, and ALL I CAN SEE IN MY HEAD is Silent Bob, using his own version of the Jedi Mind Trick to get the videotape of Shannon and Trish.  I knew what the Mallrats scene was referencing all these years, but even so — it took me by surprise. 

I really feel the need to watch Mallrats now.

Was that the Yeti’s right hand?  Jeez, George Lucas — or should I call you Freddie Foreshadowing?  But seriously, do you have some mental block when it comes to always wanting to cut peoples’ right arms off?

Okay wow – nothing to snark at, nothing to joke about.  This is totally engrossing me.  So I’m at the part where Han is getting Leia and Chewie and 3P0 out on the Falcon — so yeah, I’ve skipped a lot, but again, not too much to talk about, which is good — but here’s my question: why are the Storm Troopers wearing those cape thingies?  Because you know what they look like?  Klan members.  And that’s not a good look for anyone, even idiots that can’t hit the side of a barn with their blasters.

And then Han goes through the asteroid field and tells C-3P0 to never tell him the odds, and now Luke is crash-landing on Dagobah. 

Yoda’s a little hellraiser, ain’t he?  I kinda like this Yoda.  The Prequel!Yoda was way too stuffy.

I am like Princess Leia in that I, too, need more scoundrels in my life.

Dear Ben Kenobi: I have watched the prequels.  And, granted, I did not see you in your training period.  But when the fuck were you ever reckless?  I mean, sure, you broke with the Jedi to go and rescue Amidala or whatever happened in Attack of the Clones, but — you were the one always reining Ani back from the brink.  You calling yourself reckless is not a good selling point for me.

And look, that’s not a knock to Obi Wan’s character – that’s a knock on George Lucas’s shitty writing.

Holy shit the cave was a sandworm?  [That’s a very stupid sentence I just wrote.]

Okay, COOLEST THING EVER — Luke just fuckin lightsaber’d Darth Vader’s head off in his Dagobah hallucination fight scene, and at the same time in REAL LIFE, a crack of heat lightening (or, now that I hear the thunder, real lightening) shot through the sky.  It was AWESOME and I swear I am NOT MAKING THAT UP.

Now, is this the part where Yoda says that he has done the impossible, and that makes him mighty?  Because that would be awesome.

[Forty minutes of awesomeness later]
I think that says it all.  All the jokes, references — a lot of literature, to be honest — they all make sense now.  I was pleased that I was aware of 90% of the story before actually watching it, which only goes to prove my theory that I don’t actually have to watch any of these movies — that the plots and references are imprinted in my brain, like some cultural brain sludge, and we all know all of this and it’s only when we watch the source material do they resonate. 

Honestly, I kind of wish that I had sent back A New Hope sooner, because that would mean I could watch Return of the Jedi later.  But in a way, it’s good that I have to wait.  For one thing, I’m almost falling asleep while typing these paragraphs, and I never did finish my gin and tonic.

Grade for The Empire Strikes Back: Awesome.

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Star Wars


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Alaina Version

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? 


Leonard, we’re going to be rich.

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.

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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Star Wars