Saddened to learn about the death of Morgan Vogel. She made a lot of cool, crazy, outsidery stuff in the early 2000s under the pseudonym TACO THE WONDER DOG that was formative to me: Crunchy Savior, YOU ARE A CHEF!!!!!! (THE MOVIE), True Meaning of Life, SONG FOR THE STUPID RAVER SHITHEAD WHO LIVES UNDERNEATH ME AND ALWAYS PLAYS HIS SHITTY MUSIC REALLY LOUD AND MAKES MY FLOOR VIBRATE AND AT ONE POINT HE LEFT HIS ROOM BUT LEFT THE STEREO ON AND IT SKIPPED AND I HAD TO LISTEN TO IT FOR FOUR FUCKING HOURS. Then she seemingly vanished for about ten years, and resurfaced with some great YouTube videos. There was one about the death of Christopher Hitchens with the immortal phrase “What greater gift could I ask for, for solstice?” There was another amazing one about Google Glass. Then she seemingly disappeared again. She did a lot more stuff that I’m only just now learning about from people’s remembrances of her. RIP.
Comedy writers in the 90’s just couldn’t resist making Oppenheimer jokes with slushee machine operators apparently
STAR WARS OPINIONS (PLEASE DON’T READ)
Back in fall I rewatched all the Star Warses in anticipation of the new one, then I waited until February to see it, then I waited until now to post my thoughts. This is the order I rewatched them in, “Machete Order” with some modifications.
- Star Wars – It’s cool yet somewhat concerning how this scrappy looking little film just became this ur-text for pop culture for the next 40+ years. Last time I saw part of this on TV it was slightly annoying how every single line is like a famous quote now or inspired some later thing, but I didn’t feel that too much this time. The trench run is an amazing sequence.
- Rogue One – The whole time I kept thinking about how I should’ve watched this one first! Fuck!
- The Empire Strikes Back – I think this is sort of the ideal movie sequel?
- The Phantom Menace – Had not watched this since seeing it in the theater in 1999. It’s fine I guess? It’s not a good movie but I find it sorta fascinating. I also recently rewatched the Armin Tamzarian episode of The Simpsons, another widely-loathed piece of pop culture from that era and thought it was actually pretty good (I like the interpretation that it’s written like an episode of a sitcom where a character has to be hastily written out of the show because the actor didn’t renew their contract or whatever). With both things it’s like, I know the complaints, I made a few of them myself, I probably agree with a lot of them, but I’m so tired of it now, I don’t care anymore, time to move on. I appreciate that George Lucas made this movie that is aesthetically unlike everything the franchise had been up to that point, which I don’t think anyone can ever do again because not only do blockbuster auteurs not exist anymore but everything has to be so reverential now. Laughed a lot at the way he writes children (“uh, they say ‘Yippee!’ a lot, right?”).
- Attack of the Clones – When this came out I liked it so much I saw it in the theaters twice. The second time there was this middle aged guy who shouted “Yeah let’s go Yoda!!!” during the lightsaber fight. Upon rewatch I find it kinda boring although I think Hayden Christensen does a good job portraying “creepy boyfriend emitting red flags”
- Revenge of the Sith – Used to think this was the best of the prequels simply because stuff happens, now I’m not sure. It’s funny that Luke and Rey are presented with the equivalent of Adam Lanza’s AK-47 and it’s treated as this big reverential thing.
- Return of the Jedi – It’s weird that the trio of the new movies don’t actually all meet until the end of the second one but it’s less weird when you remember that Luke is separated from Han and Leia for much of the original trilogy and Obi-Wan is basically off on his own adventures during the prequels. It goes without saying but it’s so bizarre and goofy that Lucas decided to stick a bunch of badly-aged CGI into his old movies including a new dance number in this one. My headcanon is that Jabba’s sail barge is the Star Wars universe equivalent of Epstein’s jet plane.
- Solo – I liked the trailers for this but the movie is pretty disposable. Maybe it was too soon for a rewatch. What’s with this galaxy’s obsession with last names?
- The Force Awakens – I like the new characters, it’s a fun movie even if it’s derivative. Not sure how I’d feel now that I know how their stories end. Something I noticed is that the Lucas films have no flashbacks, in this one they get around this informal “rule” by encasing it in a force vision, and then in the next two they’re like “ah, it’s fine”
- The Last Jedi – Lots of humor, great visuals, fun characters, poignant at times. I liked that it did away with the Who Is Snoke (why can’t it just be some guy) and Who Are Rey’s Parents mysteries (ed. note I wrote part this a year ago). Seeing Leia use the force for the first time (onscreen at least) to save herself from the vacuum of space is a beautiful moment and seeing it mocked and memed by “uhhh, science much???” guys is annoying. I like the interpretation I read somewhere that the sequel trilogy is basically about millennials trying to find their way in the face of resurgent fascism after baby boomers and institutions failed them. My main gripe is that the “uh oh our space ship is out of gas!” plot kinda feels like something out of a filler episode of Rebels
- Rise of Skywalker – Boy who would’ve thought answering the “mysteries” would be unsatisfying. The dialogue was atrocious, everything with Carrie Fisher is so grotesque, the running gag of Finn’s message to Rey never gets paid off, and you can’t end on the twin suns when the last movie already did it, that’s illegal! I’ll give it this: “The dead speak!” is a wonderful way to start the crawl. I like when Star Wars gets pulpy, like the newsreel-type narrator in Clone Wars. Here’s hoping this won’t be the last movie I ever see in a theater