Theater - Film

The Little Apple

A multi-hyphenated artist in New York shares lessons learned while turning pro.

Star Wars Marathon

 
It only took 23 hours!

It only took 23 hours!

 

This weekend my husband Sean, me, and our friends got ALL the food and watched the Star Wars movies in order of the story timeline (except Rogue One, which we were going to reenact with interpretive dance but ended up so disillusioned by the prequels that Meg just read the plot off Wikipedia). 

I could write a whole book on all the discoveries we made experiencing Star Wars in this manner. What was the greatest is that we stopped whenever we had questions about the plot and politics, and at least one of us was able to illuminate. I wish I had done this years ago, since a lot of the intricacies have remained murky to me since childhood. But not anymore - officially a Star Wars expert!

Here are the rankings of best to worst, according to each of us...

Tyrone

Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back
Episode 4 - A New Hope
Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi
Episode 7 - The Force Awakens
Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith
Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones

Meg

Episode 7 - The Force Awakens
Episode 4 - A New Hope
Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back
Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi
Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones
Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith

Ariel

Episode 4 - A New Hope
Episode 7 - The Force Awakens
Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back
Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi
Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones
Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith
Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace

Sean

Episode 4 - A New Hope
Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back (tie)
Episode 7 - The Force Awakens (tie)
Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi
Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones
Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith
Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace


If I were to break these rankings down into themes I would say that Meg's is FEMINISM, Tyrone's is CHILDHOOD LIFELONG FAN, Sean's is WRITING QUALITY, and mine is ATTENTION SPAN. Meg was drawn to the newest film because of Rey as the main character, and the overall diversity of the cast. Tyrone just can't get over his love of the original movies, and Empire holds top listing because of the iconic (spoiler alert) father storyline. Sean is a writer, and is most captured by the moves that were well constructed. I come at it from a guttural standpoint: what movies grabbed my attention, and got me out of my head?


 
 

I'll break my ranking down for you one at a time:

1. Episode 4: A New Hope. Maybe I loved it so much this time because we had just slogged through the overall failure of the prequels (the story of Anakin Skywalker that had the potential to be an exquisite tragedy, but instead, was sacrificed for CGI that has become laughably antiquated). Maybe I also loved it because I was keyed into the late Carrie Fisher's performance, and in this she was glorious. I think I also loved it because of Rogue One - because now the previously complex story had a context. Whatever - this is an excellent introduction to this new trilogy, the story of Luke and Leia Skywalker. It was fun, sexy, and the flight to destroy the deathstar still has me clutching my popcorn. 

2. Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Duh. Rey and Fin, the heroes of a new world. I thought this would be #1, but...not quite. I have a feeling that either Episode 8 or 9 will oust Episode 4, but Episode 7, though brills, still has a tentative introductory feel, whereas Episode 4 jumped in with no hesitation. And that's what it has to be: these are new characters, there is new filming technology, and we need to get back into the tone and rhythm that was born in the original trilogy, but lost in the prequels. Though the death of Han is a tragedy, we haven't had enough time yet to ramp up to an EPIC tradge, or a reveal that tops even the parentage of Luke.

3. Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back. This film has it all: classic sexy banter and kisses between Han and Leia, a more mature Luke, Yoda and the deeper dive into The Force, the first glimpse of the Emperor, and of course, the first battle between Luke and Darth Vader, and the great reveal of their relationship. I think if I had watched the movie when it first came out, and had no idea Vader was Luke's father, this would be my favorite, but now that knowledge is in our cultural lore. Without the surprise the movie is good, but not mind-blowing. 

4. Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. Definitely the least good of the original 3. For a conclusion to a trilogy, I wanted a celebratory, jubilant, climactic feel - but instead I got cute teddy bears! Watching this in order, post Episode 1, I realized the ewocks were a portent of what was to come with the horrific Jar Jar Binks. Also, the battle between Luke and The Emperor/Vader seemed strangely spaced out among the event of the teddy bear battle - the Luke scene probably took 5 minutes in total. This was another foreshadowing of poor directing and bad instincts in the prequels. 

5. Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. Out of the 3 prequels, this one held my attention the most. I guess there was a lot going on, plus the ship chase through Coruscant right at the beginning was pretty neat. The Jedi fight in the gladiator ring was dope, and so was seeing the origin of storm troopers. Mostly though, I rank this highest because I like the idea of what this movie COULD have been. It could have been a beautiful love story between two spiritual equals - but instead it was a creepy/borderline abusive manipulation of a woman. For Anakin, it could have showed a slow descent, a slow sinking and surrender into fear. Instead, he was directed to be a douche from the beginning - giving Padme no rational or even physical reason to care about him. If I, or maybe, anyone? else had directed this film, it could have been great. 

6. Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith. God, this was mostly terrible. Lucas spent all this time building his "love" story of Anakin and Padme, then abandons it to focus on cringy CGI General Grievous, and leaves Padme in the apartment crying all day and brushing her hair, talking about how she wants to decorate the nursery. She has gone from a queen, to a senator, to an abused wife. Again, this COULD have been a tragedy. We could have witnessed a struggle, and her own surrender to her fate. Instead, she is relegated to subplot without explanation, and all she talks about is Anakin. She didn't have the will to live because Anakin killed Jedi kids, and choked her? The real Padme would have said 'fuck you Anakin', and taken her kids the fuck out of there. Why did Lucas have her die? Anakin was already Vader at that point, and in Jedi, Leia talks about remembering her mother. Wouldn't it have been more interesting if she had snuck off with Leia, having to leave one child, making a terrible choice, and living with her agony. Lucas - bad storytelling. 

7. Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. You know, overall I actually like this movie. It was the same tone as the original 3. It's funny, Ewan MacGregor is hot, Liam Neeson is hot, Padme is a fucking badASS feminist queen who pulls tricks over on Jedi's. However, I have 3 words for you. JAR JAR BINKS.

 
 

Comment and tell me your thoughts! These are just the highlights - I could go on and on. And like I said, I have a feeling the best is yet to come...