In a previous column, I noted in passing that I fell asleep during Star Wars.
I have this dim (repressed?) memory of getting dragged to see it by a high school boyfriend. (So it must have been during a theatrical re-release — I’m not that old.)
a) Harrison Ford = hot
b) remarking loudly that we shouldn’t be able to hear those rocket ships or whatever they were because, as everyone knows, space is a vacuum and you can’t hear explosions or anything else.
Then I gathered my jacket around my head until the house lights came up.
I figured I was free and clear. Little did I know that, well into the next century, Star Wars detritus would be washing up onto the shores of my life each and every damn day.
I’m talking about stuff like this:
And whateverthehell this is:
Seriously: isn’t there some cancer you could be curing?
If you’re trying to make adults with refined tastes and a real religion hate your favorite movie even more, congratulations, Star Wars fans: mission accomplished.
Star Wars actually sucks. Here’s why.
First of all, I’m not going to employ those pretentious, post-market locutions like “Episode V” or whathaveyou. If you are a grown up, then there are “the three old Star Wars movies” and “the three new Star Wars movies.”
Now: let’s look at all the other people George Lucas got rich ripping off, the way Picasso did with the Africans.
First, Joseph Campbell. This toxic troublemaker earned his academic reputation for his theories on “the hero’s journey.”
That is: Campbell discovered that, in every culture, in all times, societies had myths.
Who went on journeys.
Damn, I wish I’d gone to college.
Campbell also coined the insidious Baby Boomer, New Age bumpersticker motto, “Follow Your Bliss.”
Now, most people know that the sign over Auschwitz read “Work Will Set You Free.”
Fewer people know that the sign over Buchenwald read “To Each His Own.”
What nobody knows yet but me is that when Concentration Camps 2.0 are erected, the signs over their gates will be “Follow Your Bliss.”
(Or, hey, maybe even “Welcome to Comic-Con”…)
Influence #2: Kurosawa. Star Wars is The Hidden Fortress in space. We nuked Japan and stole their movies! (They only deserved the first former.)
Influence #3: Flash Gordon, the boring-beyond-imagining 1930s film serial.
We’re meant to be impressed that Lucas was also inspired by John Ford’s The Searchers (1956). Except that almost every American film made after The Searchers (and not a few foreign ones) was also influenced by The Searchers.
So a human comic book with a stirring soundtrack, bad jokes, and loud zapping noises is one of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.
George Lucas is a plastic toy manufacturer who makes mediocre movies on the side.
Compared to Spielberg, Scorsese, and Coppola, however, Lucas’s film oeuvre is nothing but juvenilia, from American Graffiti to Star Wars to… well, he’s never made anything else.
It’s like his career has the opposite of Progeria.
It’s not just that George Lucas has the kind of face you just want to punch, although that doesn’t help.
(A note to those of you fond of tossing around the glib expression “George Lucas raped my childhood”: unless it also contains the words “stepfather,” “Catholic priest,” or “Jerry Sandusky,”‘ you don’t actually get to use the words “raped” and “my childhood” in a sentence, m’kay? Please get another First World problem.)
When I was still (barely) in contact with what’s left of my family, one of my in-law step-somethings was a fat, hairy loser in his mid-twenties who collected Harley Davidson stuff. One particularly painful Christmas, he was bellowing about all the great Harley junk he’d received, and about all the other Harley stuff he already had or still needed to buy.
My fork hit the plate.
“Has it ever occurred to you,” I asked, “that if you’d saved all the money you spent on this crap, you could OWN a Harley Davidson by now?”
It’s true. He didn’t have a bike of his own. Or a car. Or even a bus pass.
With a few dozen additional I.Q. points, that’s your average Star Wars fan.
If they took all the time and money they’ve wasted obsessing over somebody else’s (boring) vision, they could probably be astronauts or champion fencers or costume designers by now.
(And no, I don’t mean “recreating someone else’s movie in my backyard,” either.)
He shared his brother’s passion for militaria, so since the 1960s, Andrew Mollo has worked as a historical consultant to the movies, with an expertise in military uniforms.
In other words: Andrew Mollo is a guy who has a lot in common with thousands of Star Wars fans, except his job does not require him to wear a name tag.
Successful, mature men do not play computer games, attend “cons,” and get excited about overrated science fiction movies from the 1970s.
Come on, all the conservative boys who’ve read this far:
Do you imagine Victor Davis Hanson is some kind of font of boring zombie lore?
Do you think Mark Steyn wastes his spare time playing World of Warcraft? (Trick question. Mark Steyn doesn’t have any spare time.)
No, these men have careers and families, here on planet earth.
As much as I hate science fiction in general, I have to give Star Trek credit: at least that franchise inspired a few non-loser, hard working, intelligent people to create real world goods:
On the other hand, since 1977, Star Wars has inspired the creation of Happy Meals and other disposable (if not exactly biodegradable) junk.
Good luck using your toy light saber as a defibrillator, guys.
The Space Shuttle may have been a stupid waste of money, but remember: they called it the Enterprise, not the Millennium Falcon.
The Star Wars-related visual smog that pollutes the internet is bad enough.
What’s worse is the linguistic variety.
We need a moratorium on “the Force is strong…” and “not the XYZs you’re looking for.”
Speaking of over-quoted movies — but this time it’s uniquely relevant — you know the Spinal Tap drummer who “choked on someone else’s vomit”?
Well, every time you write the phrase “the Empire strikes back” or “you’re my only hope,” you are vomiting someone else’s vomit.
Look: two good things came out of Star Wars (three if you count Harrison Ford, above):
a) the “Holiday Special” (which isn’t so “special” anymore now that YouTube has made it less legendary), and
b) unarguably one of the five greatest book covers of the last decade.
I’d observe that Star Wars fanatics are “amusing themselves” (and boring us) “to death,” but it’s worse than that.
Over 30 years on, their “death,” alas, is nowhere in sight.