Random Thoughts About Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (after multiple viewings)

I am catching up on movies I missed from last year but I’ve done this thing where when I buy a ticket for a movie I haven’t seen, I buy a ticket for Rogue One on the same day. I saw Passengers and I also saw Rogue One. I saw Arrival and I also saw Rogue One. I saw La La Land the other day (that review is upcoming) but I also saw Rogue One on the same day.

SPOILER ALERT

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story L to R: (Felicity Jones) & (Diego Luna) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

“Spoiler Alert. I repeat Spoiler Alert. All pilots please report to your fighters. This is not a drill. I repeat. Spoiler Alert.”

I love this movie. And after four times Rogue One is just as good, if not better than the first time. So I have thrown some random thoughts into a folder after each viewing and I’m going to post them here. (I did the same for Force Awakens after repeated viewings)

Cassian Andor and K2

“Cassian? Your accent?” What planet did you say you were from again?” “I didn’t.”

So these are random. And they’re weird. And… I’ll just show them to you.

SPOILER ALERT

Chopper!!!!

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Choppers Cameo before boarding the Ghost and going off to fight at Scarif.

And The Ghost.

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You can see the Ghost off to the left. I wonder if General Syndulla still commands her.

Star Wars Rebels Easter Eggs Rock!!!

But I never see them. I have never seen them while watching the movie. I have seen the pics people post showing them but I have yet to see them in the movie. My favorite is still when you hear, “General Syndulla, please report to the briefing room.” Hera makes it to general!!! That’s so cool.

the-ghost-is-in-the-center

The back of the Ghost-center left down toward the bottom.

Mind, Soul and Body Couplets:

Bodhi and K2 (mental) Both the droid and the pilot were once with the Empire and suffer from mind invasions that cause them mental problems

Jyn and Cassian (physical) Both the rebel assassin and the (just plain) rebel have lost family and friends at a young age and seek revenge by violent, physical means.

Baze and Chirrut (spiritual) Both the Guardians of The Whills, Keepers of the Kyber crystals The monk and the Mercenary, are servants of an ancient religion but constantly check their faith as the empire seeks to destroy it.

trooper-with-a-trooper-dolly

“She really should have kept this in the original packaging. This is a collector’s item. Not a toy!”

The Stormtrooper dolly that Jyn Erso has when she’s a kid is some really fucked up imagery as the troopers come to take her father away. She called it “Stormie.” Throughout the movie she uses the term Stormtrooper as an insult.

carrie-fisher-in-rogue-one

The real one is on the left. I know. It’s hard to tell.

CGI gripes need to shut the hell up. It’s great animation. You can tell the difference between it and a real person. Good for you. I’m sorry we can’t create life on a computer yet. Chill out. It’s fake. Everyone knows it’s fake.

a-new-hope

Scarif was the first victory for the Rebel Alliance.

The Title: A New Hope now actually means something (and it’s not about Luke).

The plot of Rogue One is the first two paragraphs of the Episode IV A New Hope crawl.

And Luke’s squadron in Empire and Return is named after the Rogue One (since most of his Red Squadron get blown up at the first Death Star) Rogue Squadron is their designation on Hoth and Endor. Since there is no Rogue designation before Bodhi makes it up on the spot. I guess they honored them by taking the name.

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Alan Tudyk is always flying the ship. He’s a leaf on the wind.

Now we know why Vader is so mad at the start of Star Wars. Captain Antilles lies to his face. Also Leia lies to him without missing a beat, knowing that he knows she’s lying. And he’s having none of it making those opening scenes even better.

rogue-one-darth-vader

“Lord Vader. You really should learn to hold your bong hits, sir. THIS is amateur hour.”

Vader sleeps in a vat of some fluid making me think that every second he is out of that stuff he is in pain. Darth Vader is in constant pain. His personal base is on the planet where he lost his limbs, Mustafar. That guy is fucked-up in so many ways.

“These are some REALLY random thoughts.”

Here’s a Random Thought:

Since they’re bringing Saw Gerrera back to Star Wars: Rebels (he was actually in Clone Wars not Rebels), I wonder if he’ll have little Jyn in tow (he didn’t). That would have been so cool and just a little heartbreaking. Maybe next time.

donnie-yen-in-rogue-one

“Perhaps they’ll bring us back.” “Don’t count on it old man.”

Some say there’s no romance in Rogue One. Personally I think they just fail to mention Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbu. The Guardians of the Whills. Maybe it was just a bromance, but I choose to believe that it was more than that. There was no kissing because they were at war and it would have been inappropriate.

I told you these were random.

jyn-erso

Here we see Jyn Erso, lost on her way to the final cut of the movie. She never makes it.

Every time I hear about alternate cuts and re-shoots it fills me with pain. I don’t want to see them. I don’t want to know about them. The past is the past. The movie is perfect.

“May The Force Of Others Be With You”

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When we meet Jyn, first she’s in prison, angry with her sleeping cellmate. Then she is trying to beat up the people who are rescuing her on Wonabi (Obi-Wan anagram).

When we meet Cassian he is shooting a colleague in the back without hesitation.

Neither of these broken people can trust anyone because both lost their families to the Empire when they were very young.

So Cassian just follows orders and Jyn just follows no one.

star-wars-rogue-one-jyn-erso

“I’m not tragic. I’m just drawn that way.”

The monk and the mercenary, The Guardians of the Whills, dedicated their lives to protecting the Jedi temples but when Jedha is destroyed their missions are over and all that is left is the echoes of a dying religion. This too is heartbreaking.

death-star-destoys-the-holy-city

“In space no one can here you scream and then suddenly silent.”

The film-makers take pains to tell us that all the Rogue One volunteers have checkered pasts and have done bad things in the name of the rebellion. Assassins, Smugglers, etc. We get it. Their deaths are a form of redemption. It’s still fucked up.

“This some random shit. WHO SENT YOU? Have you come to kill me?”

Saw Gerrera is a lot like Darth Vader. Limbs missing. Can’t breathe without help. Angry at the galaxy. Except Vader has the resources of the Empire and Saw lives in the remnants of a rundown Jedi Temple. Vader has the top of the line replacement legs. Saw has some makeshift legs he threw together from spare parts. Vader has a state of the art breathing apparatus. Saw has a breathing tube affixed to a gas mask that doesn’t always work.

Darth Vader should be more thankful for what he’s got, if you ask me.

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They really should have started synchronized dancing here.

Jyn has some heroic tendencies. She saves the little girl on Jedha.

Cassian has some heroic tendencies but only when it comes to saving Jyn.

obi-wan-mountain

Obi Wan Mountain

The statues on Jedha must have looked amazing. Tall Jedi with light sabers drawn guarding the holy city. (Like the Buddhas of old that were destroyed by jealous Muslims or ignorant Christians). The large statue above looks like Obi Wan Kenobi but you can see it was blasted to hell (probably by Vader).

I wasn’t angry at the Empire before I came to Jedha!

“Are you IP Man? Can I have your autograph? My kids are never gonna believe that I got my ass kicked by IP Man. This is so freakin’ cool.”

If Rogue One Characters Were Star Wars Characters:

Jyn would be Leia. Angry and self-righteous.

Cassian would be Han. Doing awful things for a noble cause.

K2 would be 3PO. Smartest guy in the room but no one’s listening.

Bodhi would be R2. Always plugging into strange computer consoles, flying ships and sending secret messages.

Chirrut would be Luke. Untrained but wants to believe in the ways of the force.

And Baze would be Chewbacca. Blowing shit up with his big ass guns.

jedha-city

“Jedha, the holy city. And you blew it up. Damn you all to hell.” – Charlton Heston

The main bad guy in Rogue One, Orson Krennic, is just plain evil. He loves the destruction of Jedha (a little too much). He jokes with Galen about his dead wife’s last words. Smiles when Vader nearly kills him, I’m guessing out of respect for how evil the guy is. He’s just an awful person.

I would have preferred an ending where Jyn stomps on his face until she’s certain he’s dead. But sure, the irony of getting killed by your own creation… blah blah blah.

krennic

“Is this evil enough? Or should there be more sinister lighting?”

Admiral Raddus (Or as I call him Admiral Bad-ass) wanted to fight so badly during that Alliance conference that as soon as he hears about Rogue One’s attack on Scarif he takes the fleet in and starts shooting up shit. He also doesn’t make it out, I guess, after Vader disables his command ship. Another hero of Scarif.

Pour a little out for Raddus: Hero of Scarif.

admiral-raddus-is-the-true-hero-of-rogue-one

“Call up a Hammerhead Corvette.” (one of the ones that the Ghost crew stole in Star Wars Rebels “A Princess of Lothal”) Rebel Easter Eggs!!!

And finally, the way the end of Rogue One blends seamlessly into A New Hope is still the best thing about the year 2016. Even if Arrival is actually a better movie than Rogue One (it is). That last scene is still the best thing I saw all year.

Until next time,

May the force of others be with you.

-Mel

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Some Quick Thoughts on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (w/ Spoilers Aplenty)

This post contains spoilers.

But then again so does yours.

Once again I’m spoiling the shit out of this movie so GET LOST

SPOILER ALERT

I’m totally serious.

SPOILER ALERT

Warnings over. Let’s get right to it.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)Rogue One Poster.jpg

Directed by Gareth Edwards

Written by Chris WeitzTony GilroyJohn Knoll & Gary Whitta  Based on Characters Created by George Lucas

Starring Felicity JonesDiego LunaBen MendelsohnDonnie YenMads MikkelsenAlan TudykRiz AhmedJiang Wen & Forest Whitaker

Everybody dies.

Everybody.

Rogue One is sensational by the way. Rogue One is fantastic. Not for the faint of heart. But they go out of their way to make all of the characters dynamic yet not classically heroic. Even as Jyn is giving her big speech to try to save her father’s legacy and make sure he didn’t die for nothing. You can’t help but think that this is all her fault anyway. If she had grabbed the hologram that her father risked his life to make and sneak out of the facility, that the pilot had lost his mind for, that an entire holy city was destroyed to prevent getting out. If she had just grabbed the damn thing perhaps her little band of rejects would have been an all out assault before they even had a chance to close the gate. But I get it. She’s not a hero. Just a survivor.

star-wars-rogue-one-squad

Oh but what about that band of misfit rebels. Love it. Love them all.

In order of how much I love them:

The blind monk. The true believer. Chirrut Imwe is strong in the force but untrained. So completely untrained that he has to constantly remind himself that he is one with the force during times of self-doubt. He senses Jyn’s Khyber crystal necklace (OMG I didn’t know the Death Star was just a giant lightsaber). And he doesn’t know why he sees things before they happen without eyes since he was never taught to believe in his own abilities. A homeless man in the holy city. Oh yeah. I loved him.

Chirrut.jpg

The rescued Imperial droid who can only tell the truth. I loved him. The scene where K-2SO is trying to lie to the Troopers but can only repeat their questions back to them AS questions is brilliant. The best written character in the movie. Hands down. Beautiful heroic death. When he died I still had hope that some of them might survive. In fact it wasn’t until the next main character dies that I realized they were all going down. I almost lost it in the theater right there.

K-2SO.jpg

The pilot. Yeah I know, Bodhi (what’s his last name again?). But he represents redemption. Galen Erso had no idea that his old friend Saw had lost his damned mind when he sent the pilot to him. Had no idea he was going to get tortured by a paranoid soldier who had fought way way way too many battles. What did Rook say? I brought the message. I’m the pilot. He just wanted to do the right thing, build up some merit, clear some bad karma, but it all went to shit. And yeah he finally gets an important message through right before he gets blowed up. He gets his redemption. But then he dies. And the crowded opening night theater went deathly silent.

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“Oh my god. They’re all going to die.” we all mouthed in unison. Yeah that’s when I knew nobody was getting out. All that was left was for them to die well. And they did.

So we got a broken droid, a homeless monk and an enemy pilot that had lost his mind with guilt. And then the fighter. The monks friend, Baze Malbus. The non-believer. Who finds his faith at the end avenging the death of his old friend. Just all kinds of bad-ass, mercenary. Pour some beer out for these four. Heroes all.

Baze.gif

But the other two, him and her, completely unlikable characters. Cassian is introduced preventing his contact from running away, from escaping the Empire and then killing him in cold blood when he realizes that he’s going to be caught BECAUSE OF HIM. Not a nice guy. Shoots an ally just to make sure his bomb goes off in the right place. Total asshole. Just a few battles away from becoming Saw’s crazy ass.

rogue-one

And Jyn Erso. A bad-ass like the rest of them but in it purely for personal reasons if she’s in it at all. Never thinking about the big picture. Never thinking about anyone but herself. She just wants to redeem her father. Make it so her parents didn’t die for nothing. She’s got a lot of anger and she just wants to let it out. She was raised by Saw Gerrera. So what did we expect? Not the hero.

jyn-erso-and-k-2so

So what I think I’m saying is, it wasn’t sad that the two main characters die. The other four were sad. Those two were expendable even as they were the most strategically important in the bunch. The other four… the galaxy will feel their loss greatly.

Okay so that’s over. They’re all dead. Everyone in the movie is dead. But they completed their mission. The movie’s over right? NOOOooooooo. The movie has one last scene. And it is the best scene in it. Possibly one of the best final scenes in movie history.

rogue-one-storm-troopers

For starters, the story of Rogue One redeems several big plot holes in the original Star Wars. The joke was, “Why would you make a doomsday weapon and then give it a horrible Achilles heel like one good shot will blow the whole damn thing to hell?” well now we know. And again Disney saves Lucas and his bad writing. And Darth Vader. He says cool shit and makes people fear him and his force choke but he never gets to kick ass (except in the cartoon). And now that’s over. He takes on a whole squad of rebels and tears through them like paper. And it’s fantastic because even though you know the plans make it out. (We all saw Star Wars). Vader is so imposing, it’s like damn, these kids have no chance. (Again, George, not how you originally envisioned it) It was so freaking good.

And by the way. THIS IS WHAT A STAR WARS PREQUEL LOOKS LIKE, GEORGE.

Jedha the Holy City.jpeg

So you see the sacrifice of the Rogue One squad and you see how over-powered these guys are against Vader and against the Death Star and against the Empire and when they finally get the plans to Leia, after Vader kills everybody who touches it, I just started crying like a little bitch. That was fucking amazing. And you know the princess doesn’t get away (again we all saw Star Wars) but that was amazing.

That was fucking amazing.

death-star-destoys-the-holy-city

I saw it on opening night so the theater was full of movie fans not a lot of Star Wars fans. And I loved the way the movie separates the kinda fans from the die-hard fans. Several times in the movie there were just three people laughing, me and two other people, and we were laughing hard, and nobody knew why. (Like now we see why Cornelius was in such a bad mood. Why does everyone keep bumping into me? Is it my face?)

star-wars-rogue-one-jyn-erso

Needless to say, I’m going to go see it again in the theater and I’m going to own it on Blu-ray. So, a friend of mine said something on Facebook before I went out. He said Rogue One was the best Star Wars movie after Empire. I know… what? But he’s fucking right. In fact it might be better than Empire. It’s more adult than Empire. Not as crowd-pleasing but it has an ending, like I said, probably the best ending of any movie I’ve ever seen. Empire doesn’t even have an ending.

Damn, the movie was good.

And those are my thoughts.

I’m done.

kicking-empire-ass

– Mel

To All My Friends (Who’ve Wondered Where I’ve Been)

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Too much anger. Didn’t really want to get it on you. I have a tendency to spew hate when I’m angry. I hate it when the bad guys win… I’ve been experiencing a what-the-fuck few weeks. The American election was hacked and I’m surrounded on all sides by people waiting for their chance to say “I told you so.”

“I told you so.” Among the bodies of the dead.

“I told you so.” Brought to you by the makers of Pepsi and Xanax.

“I told you so.” Translated from the original Russian. (actually, little known fact, it was in German before it was in Russian)

I’ve reached a point in my life where more people are younger than me than older. I’m surrounded on all sides by the children of the damned. Social media misfits more concerned with likes and dislikes. Trolls without bridges. History books unopened. But mouths that will not stay shut.

chinese-farmer

I haven’t been around much lately because I know me. The thoughts racing through my head should not be shared with anyone. My doctor doesn’t want to know. My lawyer doesn’t want to know. The fake twitter accounts of Russian trolls, who successfully influence the tired liberals into hopelessness and fits of screaming, don’t want to know.

For one misguided instant I considered self-immolation as a form of protest. Nothing else, it seems, can penetrate the walls of the corporate pay-to-play media and so-called social media’s cavernous, echo-amplifying, bottomless pits of ego and frustration. Setting myself on fire in front of some monument to our fallen democracy seemed like a good idea at the time… for like, literally, a second. For like one scary second.

So I’ve been away.

And I apologize. I figure there’s like 25 or 30 people who read my blog. And I love you guys. And I’m going to post some good stuff. Life goes on no matter how dire. I know my friend Alex misses my movie reviews. New shows, some of the best stuff I’ve seen on TV, came and went. Anybody watch Atlanta? That was amazing. Donald Glover is knocking it out of the park on the daily. Speaking of which, my list of the best albums from this year includes more genres than you can shake your rump at. Who knew I’d like Trap Music. OMG I like Trap Music.

Music, Movies, TV, the third chapter of my novel… but politics, fucking politics, pissed me off to such an extent that I couldn’t write but scream. I couldn’t think but scream. I could not talk because all the screaming made me lose my voice.

So I went away. Started meditating again. Got back to temple. Working out. Stopped doing the few remaining vices I’d allowed myself over the past decade. Pizza, Beer, Porn, Masturbation. It’s about time I stopped living like a 13 year boy without adult supervision. I’m gonna be 50 next year. And the US president is going to be Donald J. Tr… I can’t even say it.

The pounds flew off since I stopped eating garbage. It’s amazing how much more money I have in my budget since I stopped drinking. And the energy. The sexual energy. The mental energy. The spiritual energy… it’s through the roof. And now being channeled into less selfish endeavors.

thats-great-maybe

Doing yoga everyday. Getting to the temple at least three times a week. Working on my compassion and my mindfulness and my body. I will require these things to make it through the next few weeks. Let alone the next few years of protests and civil (and uncivil) disobedience. Gotta build my stamina for all the marching and demonstrating. Because, as you know, Donald J. Tr… I still can’t say it.

I’ll never be able to say it.

What is the true nature of reality? We see things as we want them or don’t want them to be. Sometimes a fantasy. And sometimes as our worst fears realized. We label situations and phenomena as good or bad. As helpful or unhelpful. As progress and advancement or… as the… the nightmarish, back-sliding, hateful, racist hell-scape that I can’t seem to wake up from. Somebody please wake me up.

WAKE ME UP!!!

I meditate to find love for the seemingly unlovable. I meditate to find focus amidst the din of unchecked voices (un-fact-checked and un-verified). I meditate to find the me that can help and not just criticize. That can pull his weight and not just pull his dick. That can be a calm in the storm and not just more destruction and distraction.

Because it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to violently overthrow the US government. And I don’t say that lightly. People are going to die. People are going to die because they’ve lost their healthcare and can’t afford their treatments. Because they’ve lost their government jobs as the agencies that protect us, from emotionless and compassion-less corporations, are shuttered one after another. People are going to die because they’ve lost their minds after too many deployments in some foreign distraction called another war. People are going to die.

thats-awful-maybe

And we can’t just sit around waiting for a miracle. Like that one time that one guy resigned from being pope because he realized he was too evil and stuff to be pope so he let the cool guy be pope. We can’t wait for that. We can’t wait for lightning to strike his ostentatiously disgusting jet plane as it floats on a cloud of ego or one of his fucking hotels to collapse under the weight of his hubris. We can’t wait for that. And we can’t sit around watching our neighbors die from treatable diseases or complications from dangerous pregnancies or malnutrition. Fucking malnutrition in the 21st century.

So yeah. We need to violently overthrow the US government… but with love. Out of compassion for our fellow human beings these people have to go… on both sides. I will not be governed by hate. And also I will not be governed by hate. So that really no one has to die for idiotic and preventable reasons.

We’ve been hacked. Our election. Our government. Hacked.

And respectfully, the only course of action, after you’ve been hacked, after they infiltrated your system, installed their malware, their trojans, their porn, the only course of action is to unplug the damn computer, and reinstall the operating system.

I went away.

But I’m back.

I’m going to see Rogue One tomorrow. So I’ll let you guys know how I like it. I’m going to post all my reviews and stuff over the holiday season. There’s a lot. You know I didn’t even realize it was the holidays. This is usually my least favorite time of year (except for the Doctor Who special). Because I’m alone and everything about this time is geared toward family and friends and stuff. But ever since I’ve rediscovered my faith, going to temple and Dharma classes and meditation, I don’t feel so alone.

I feel great actually. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. The healthiest I’ve been mentally, spiritually and physically. The best.

And to think, I owe it all to the rigged, hacked, fraudulent and fucked up election of Donald J. Tr… you know what, I still can’t say it.

You guys thank him for me.

See ya tomorrow after Rogue One (unless I’m too hyped to post anything but OMG OMG OMG OMG then I’ll post on Saturday after Dharma class)

Now watch this 2 minute video.

– Mel

Star Wars Rebels Season Three Trailer

I love the recent Star Wars animated shows. The Clone Wars got better each season and Rebels picked up where that one left off. These are some really good Star wars stories.

Here’s the new season three trailer for Rebels.

It looks really good. I don’t know a lot about the Expanded Universe. I pretty much stuck to the movies, the video games, the comics and a few novels. Most of that has been thrown out but they kept the animated shows.

But a lot of EU fans are excited about the way they have dropped in characters from the books into the main story.

That’s cool. I don’t even know who Thrawn is. He looks bad-ass though.

I’m going to re-watch the first two seasons before Rogue One opens.

  • Mel

Rogue One (A Star Wars Story) Trailer

Well this looks marvelous.

I mean just gorgeous.

If I could bottle how it looks, and just live there, I would.

Although it has the feel of a well-made TV movie.

But damn it looks good.

Star Wars prequel in full effect. This here is the true Star Wars prequel not those other things (that shall remain nameless). I actually watched them again after watching The Force Awakens 5 or 6 more times and they are AWFUL. I never noticed some of the plot holes and suddenly the performances from the well-known actors were even worse than I remembered. Rogue One is what a Star Wars prequel should look like. Those other three pieces of crap no longer exist for me. I will never watch them again. They don’t add to the story in the slightest. And in fact they create many plot holes and inconsistencies with the original trilogy.

I apologize. Every time a new Star Wars thing drops, I get angry about how bad the prequels were. One day this wars gonna end.

Rogue One

Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen… great cast.

Rogue One looks amazing. It’s got that classic Star Wars look with that Star Wars Rebels action and some cool characters. Thank you Disney. A Star Wars movie every year is just what the doctor ordered. Freaking awesome.

“Many Bothans died to bring us this trailer.”

  • Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: The Martian

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

The Martian (20th Century Fox)

The Martian Poster

Directed by Ridley Scott

Written by Drew Goddard  Based on The Martian by Andy Weir

Starring Matt DamonJessica ChastainKristen WiigJeff DanielsMichael PeñaKate MaraSean BeanSebastian StanAksel Hennie & Chiwetel Ejiofor

One of the best films of the year. Ridley Scott is a master in his craft. Matt Damon is a master in his craft. Drew Goddard writes a terrific script. They have made a sensational piece of entertainment. The Martian is so funny. It truly is a comedy. Some people were confused about the category but make no mistake, The Martian is an amazing survival adventure comedy and it is one of the best and funniest films of the year.

Perfect in every way.

Verdict: SPARED

Matt Damon is The Martian

“That’s it for me. You can’t get any better than perfect.”

Matt Damon plays a botanist who is accidentally stranded on mars, a planet months of travel time away from Earth. When his crew believes he has died during a freak sand storm, Matt Damon must become the ultimate scientific survivalist. He has to find a way to stay alive without food on a completely inhospitable planet. He has to find a way to stay alive until NASA can rescue him or at least send him some snacks.

The Martian Crew

“It’s just so sad.” “Aw c’mon. It’s a soccer ball with a face drawn on it.”

This is a fantastic story. But it’s the humor of Matt Damon’s castaway that really makes it so enjoyable. He spends most of the movie talking into a recording. Updating his progress for the benefit of whomever will find his body. It’s basically months and months of gallows humor that make up the bulk of the movie. And it is so funny. This is a comedy.

Donald Glover in The Martian

“Why are there so many comedy actors in this movie but drama boy has the best lines?” I DON’T KNOW. WHY DON’T YOU WRITE A RAP ABOUT IT.

The cast is wall to wall my favorite people. Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels (from Newsroom), Donald Glover (Childish Gambino), Mackensie Davis (from Halt & Catch Fire), Kristin Wiig. The cast is amazing. And they all bring the proper balance of seriousness and comedy to make this dire situation entertaining.

Matt Damon in The Martian

“Chips… Hash Browns… Fries… Mashed… Baked… um Crisps. Don’t forget about crisps.”

This is one of Ridley Scott’s best films and this is a man who has directed a ton of the best movies in movie history. This is the guy who directed Blade Runner for god sake. Back up the awards truck. This movie is going to win a bunch of awards.

The Martian Mission Control

“Oh my god. Did he just jinx us?” “Yes. I think he did.” “That bastard!”

Honestly, if this weren’t the year we got a new (and truly incredible) Star Wars film. And if this weren’t the year we got a new (and fucking incredible) Mad Max film. If not for the fact that those two movies are two of the best movies… ever. This would be the year of The Martian. Fantastic in every way. There isn’t a thing wrong with this movie. Every performance on point. Every beat perfect. Every laugh hysterical. I am in awe. I’m in awe of the bad timing. And the bad marketing. But mostly the timing.

Matt Damon as The Martian

WHATCHA DOIN’ MATT? “I’m counting the days to the Oscars” WHY? “Because if this movie doesn’t win anything, I’m gonna kick your ass for jinxing us.”

Ridley Scott is, once again, my favorite living film-maker. And he proves his versatility with this science (…fiction we’re not on Mars yet) comedy adventure. And it is the third most entertaining film I have seen this year. But in any other year it would be the first.

The Martian is a fantastic.

– Mel

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Thoughts (after a 2nd & 3rd viewing)

Spoilers!!

If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, I hope you’re feeling better soon, but this post is full of spoilers. This is sort of a follow up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoilers and other Galactic Funk  I’ve seen it three times now and I would like to share some random thoughts. Very random.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Walt Disney Studios)

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens poster

These are just notes. They are not in chronological order.

First I found this pretty cool:

When Rey tries to use the blaster for the first time and makes that cute mean shooting face but nothing comes out because she has the safety on, she looks down at the blaster. And then the stormtrooper shoots at her. And Rey dodges the blaster bolt without even looking up. It’s very cool.

Rey and Han from The Force Awakens

Another cool Force related no look move:

When Han Solo enters Maz Kanata’s bar she knows he’s there without turning to look. She has her back to the door but she senses his presence. She may not have been born with the Force but after a thousand years she’s picked up a few things.

Like when Maz tells Rey how to feel the force by closing her eyes and calming her mind, Rey remembers her advice when Kylo Ren tells her she needs a teacher (and that it should be him), But Rey remembers that she already has a teacher and tries what Maz showed her.

By the way, Maz Kanata is awesome. “Where’s my boyfriend? I like that wookie.”

Knights of Ren

Here’s an easy prediction:

I think the Knights of Ren are actually the students of Luke. And Kylo Ren, Luke’s best student, turned some to the Dark Side and killed the others. We should see them a lot in the next movie.

Instead of prequels, I hope this time around Star Wars finally uses flashbacks. I’d like to see some flashbacks to stories from Rey’s past and Kylo Ren’s past.

BB-8 Rollin'

“They see me rollin’. They hatin.” Suck it Neil Degrasse Tyson

Droid stuff:

It’s BB-8 who wakes up R2D2 when he arrives with the rest of the map to Luke. He bangs on R2 with his head. It just takes R2 a while to boot up after being in low power mode for so long. And I don’t care what Dr. Tyson says I think BB-8 is heavy enough not to skid on the sand. He’s very heavy even though he looks light as a soccer ball.

C3P0 mistakenly calls General Organa, Princess when Han first shows up. I think it’s because Han Solo reminds him of those old days.

star-wars-the-force-awakens Daisy Ridley

Back to Rey: (I told you these wouldn’t be in any order)

When Rey is selling parts for portions, she first gets one-quarter portion and seems okay with it. But are they measured by human portions? I’m guessing not. She makes a pretty good meal with it.

When offered sixty portions for BB-8, Rey responds, “The droids not for sale.” I like to think this is more like a slogan than a response. Droids Lives Matter. Droids aren’t second class citizens. The droids aren’t for sale.

My favorite part now is when Rey asks Finn if he’s with the resistance and he thinks and then answers, “Obviously.” and then stands up and says it emphatically, “I’m with the Resistance.” and then whispers it confidentially, “I’m with the Resistance.” That’s my new favorite part. John Boyega is excellent.

Rey and Kylo Ren

Rey and Kylo Ren’s saber fight is pretty spectacular, if you ask me. But it isn’t a “Yoda man” type prequels saber battle with the combatants flying around. And I’m glad it isn’t. The wasted movement is completely un-jedi-like in my opinion. Regardless of how much it makes the audience yell. I prefer a realistic fight with fantasy weapons.

The only good saber battle in the prequels is Darth Maal versus Qui Gong Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi. In fact that’s my favorite saber duel in all the films (sadly it happens in Phantom Menace). The others in the prequels are terribly flashy and with tons of wasted movement. My second fave is Luke vs Vader in Empire on Bespin. The fight between Kylo Ren and Rey is the best one since those two and probably my number three.

Another hope for the next movie. Because Rey uses a staff on Jakku, I hope when she makes her light saber that it’s like Darth Maal’s and has two blades and she wields it like a bo staff. That would make me so happy. That was always my weapon of choice.

Maz Kanata's Bar

Here’s a “no good swindler” thought:

When the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub tell Han Solo that there are no more people in the galaxy that he hasn’t swindled when they’re on The Eravana freighter, it rings true. Han Solo is old and not at all trustworthy. He throws that one guy into the mouth of that Rathtar without hesitation. This is the Han that shot Greedo before Greedo could get a shot off. He’s a bit of a dick, if you ask me. And when he tells Finn that he used to have a bigger crew, I don’t think it’s because the Rathtars ate them. I think it’s because Han was being a dick. (Can’t believe I wanted to be that guy)

The two Han Solo Millennium Falcon maneuvers, the first where he takes off from The Eravana at light speed and the second where he enters Starkiller Base planet’s atmosphere at light speed to avoid the shield, are reminiscent of Star Trek Enterprise maneuvers. Maybe it’s something J.J. got from his time with the franchise.

BB8 and Rey

Here’s something that made me laugh:

When the stormtroopers attack the village on Jakku in the first scene they come off the transports (like so much Normandy beach invasion). And one of the troopers accidentally shoots the guy in front of him in the back. And it’s clearly friendly fire because they put cover in front of him to let you know he’s not being shot from the front. Stormtroopers can’t shoot for shit (except for Finn).

Kylo Ren using the force

Here’s something I shouldn’t admit:

It took me three viewings to realize that Han and Leia named their son after Obi Wan Kenobi. Wow, I’m slow. Ben Solo… nice.

Quick note. I’m serious about this. Adam Driver should be considered for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I kid you not. His performance and it’s nuance and just everything about it, is better every time I see it. Fantastic work, young man.

Rey The Scavenger

Really the entire movie gets better every time I see it. I guess that’ll reach a peak saturation point and it will level off but I’m guessing not any time soon and by that time I’ll probably be able to recite the whole damn movie by heart.

“So who talks first? Do you talk first? Do I talk?”

Rey and Finn from The Force Awakens

Noticed more recognizable bit player:

The girl who plays Chanel #3 on Scream Queens is on the Resistance base and has a line but then I looked her up (her name is Billie Lourd) and it turns out she’s Carrie Fisher’s daughter. Star Wars Nepotism. I love it.

The guy from Heroes who plays the telepathic cop is also a Resistance officer. Don’t know his name.

And Daniel Craig is the stormtrooper who Rey influences with the force (but everybody knows that one by now)

That’s all I got  I’ll probably have more after the tenth time I watch it.

– Mel