Friday, January 22, 2016

Star Wars Put Me to Sleep

Good thing the Globe gave me an alarm clock.

I finally broke down and saw it, but not in 3D. The local cinema offered it for $5 one night last week (surprise), and my review will follow later in this piece. I did nod off for a few seconds a couple of times in the middle before the laser fire jolted me awake.

But first, some coming attractions:

"The Plot of Star Wars Frighteningly Resembles Modern Day America

By Dan Sanchez
December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters this week, continuing the cinematic saga of an interplanetary civilization’s struggles with galactic war and tyranny. It will be watched by millions whose own civilization is beset by global warfare driven by a planetary empire on the verge of descending into a militarized police state. So now would be a good time to review the lessons to be found in the first two Star Wars trilogies concerning the road to universal serfdom and how to keep off it.

The story of how the Galactic Empire arose is told in the prequels trilogy. The whole process is orchestrated from within the Galactic Republic by Palpatine, a seemingly benign politician who is secretly Darth Sidious, grand master of the Sith, a power hungry order of mystic warriors wielding the dark side of the Force. The Sith are a dark reflection of the Jedi Knights, who use the Force to protect life and in service to the Republic.

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Sidious is the “phantom menace” who, aided by his apprentice Darth Maul, covertly manipulates the galaxy’s republican government to progressively increase his own power, steadily advancing toward a total Sith coup. Just as with real life democracies, the Galactic Republic masks the machinations of the true wielders of power with the facade of “representative government” and drapes their seizures of still greater power with the sanctifying mantle of “popular sovereignty.” The Sith can be seen as an analogy for the deep state.

Sidious’s implement of choice for accumulating power is war. His modus operandi is as follows. He first manufactures an interplanetary conflict and crisis, manipulating one side as Palpatine and commanding the other side as Sidious. He then engineers enhancements of his own power over the Republic, justifying them as regrettably necessary for decisively dealing with that crisis.

In Episode 1, as Darth Sidious, he commands the Trade Federation to blockade and occupy the planet of Naboo. Then as Senator Palpatine, he convinces Naboo’s elected queen Padme Amidala to call for a vote of no confidence against the Republic’s Chancellor after he and the Galactic Senate fail to come to the aid of her people. This paves the way for Palpatine’s own election to the Chancellorship.

In Episode 2, as Darth Sidious, he organizes a secessionist movement and directs the separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems to build a massive droid army. Meanwhile, he also oversees the spawning of a vast army of clone troopers, bio-engineered for docility.

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The Republic had been hesitant to raise an army to confront the secessionists. But after news breaks of the Confederacy’s droid build-up, the Senate grants Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers, enabling him to enlist and deploy the clone troopers as the Grand Army of the Republic. Palpatine assures the Senators:
It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy! I love the Republic! Once this crisis has abated, I will lay down the powers you have given me.
In Episode 3, the fielding of the clone and droid armies has engulfed the galaxy in all-out war between the Confederacy and the Republic, with the Jedi leading the clone troopers into battle. This presents the opportunity for Sidious to issue Order 66, which activates the clones’ bio-programmed “Protocol 66,” under which they turn on and kill their Jedi commanders. (I will cover Anakin Skywalker’s role in all this later in the essay.)

Finally, unhampered by the Jedi, wreathed with emergency powers, and backed by a perfectly obedient standing army, Palpatine declares himself Emperor with the following address to the Senate:
In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society.
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All the steps in the Dark Lord’s rise to total power were enabled by the crises of wars that he himself engineered. The overriding theme of the first trilogy is that the star wars engendered galactic tyranny. This is a perfectly realistic narrative motif, because it is merely an interstellar extrapolation of Randolph Bourne’s insight that war is the health of the State. The emergency-propelled rise of the Sith also fits with Robert Higgs’s broader insight that crisis is the health of Leviathan.

Indeed, throughout history, rulers, regimes, and power cliques (just like Sidious and the Sith) have dragged their countries into wars in order to acquire, shore up, and enhance their power. This power play almost always works, because war activates in indoctrinated adherents of a State what Randolph Bourne called the “herd mind”: a sort of statist Protocol 66.

Terrorized by the menaces of war, and aroused by its prizes, State citizens react like a spooked herd or a ravenous pack. They become as docile as sheep or dogs (or Sith-bred clones) to their shepherds and masters in government, swarming to their feet and granting them sweeping emergency authority, just as the war-spooked Galactic Senate repeatedly empowered Palpatine. They yield their liberties, even to the point of renouncing their individuality (like how the imperial troopers were all clones of a single man). Under the exigencies of war, the people, as Bourne put it:
…proceed to allow them­selves to be regimented, coerced, de­ranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction to­ward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come with­in the range of the Government’s disapprobation. The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an au­gust presence, through the imaginations of men.
As Higgs detailed, the expansions of state size and power that occur during a war or other emergency are generally scaled back after the crisis passes, but never all the way down to the pre-crisis level. Thus, the power of the state ratchets up with every war.

This is why governments pursue war, and why war eventually leads to tyranny, and ultimately to totalitarianism.

Empires are so enamored with the empowering effects of war, that they will often try to maximize the clash by, like Palpatine, deliberately provoking (or fabricating) attacks, arming future enemies, and aiding both sides in a conflict. Especially egregious in this regard has been the US empire.

The casus belli of the Mexican-American War (the Thornton Affair), the Spanish-American War (the USS Maine), World War I (the Lusitania and the Zimmerman telegram), World War II (Pearl Harbor), and the Vietnam War (Gulf of Tonkin) all involved engineered conflicts, deliberate provocation and baiting, deception, or outright fabrication on the part of the US.

The US armed the Soviets against the Nazis in the Second World War, then armed international jihadis against the Soviets in the Cold War, and is now devastating the Greater Middle East under the pretext of fighting international jihadis in the Terror War.


The US sold weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for use in invading Iran, while secretly selling arms to Iran at the same time.

To provoke a crisis which led to the first war on Iraq, the US green-lit Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait over an oil rights dispute, just as Sidious greenlit the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo over a trade taxation dispute.

After having sold WMDs to Saddam, the US invaded Iraq again years later over then non-existent WMDs, as well as non-existent ties to the international jihadi movement that the US first built up.

And now the US is arming the new Iraq government to fight the jihadis of ISIS, while also arming the jihadis fighting alongside ISIS in Syria.

And Washington has used every single war and crisis it has concocted to expand its global empire and justify the accumulation of greater power over its domestic subjects. Are you getting the picture yet? We are ruled by a power clique just as diabolical and ruthless as the Sith.

What especially accelerated Palpatine’s accumulation of autocratic power was general frustration over the fractious Galactic Senate’s inability to come to decisive agreement over how to deal with the Sith-generated crises. This was most fully expressed in an intimate interlude between Padme Amidala and the young Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker (who later becomes the evil Darth Vader), following a romantic romp through the countryside.
ANAKIN: I don’t think the system works.
PADME: How would you have it work?
ANAKIN: We need a system where the politicians sit down and discuss the problems, agree what’s in the best interests of all the people, and then do it.
PADME: That is exactly what we do. The trouble is that people don’t always agree. In fact, they hardly ever do.
ANAKIN: Then they should be made to.
PADME: By whom? Who’s going to make them? (…)
ANAKIN: Someone wise.
PADME: That sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.
ANAKIN: Well, if it works…
Padme then decides that Anakin is teasing her, and, sitting in a meadow with the future Fuhrer, laughs it off. “You’re so bad!” she playfully chides him, as if to say, “Oh, Adolph…!”

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As F.A. Hayek explained in The Road to Serfdom, such an impulse toward dictatorship among those “impatient with the impotence of democracy,” as he put it, occurs frequently. He argued that it is a function of citizens giving their republics too expansive a mandate for addressing the ills of society through central planning. As Hayek put it:
…agreement that planning is necessary, together with the inability of democratic assemblies to produce a plan, will evoke stronger and stronger demands that the government or some single individual should be given powers to act on their own responsibility. The belief is becoming more and more widespread that, if things are to get done, the responsible authorities must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure.
For example, Hayek argued that Weimar Germany’s embrace of planning paved the way for the rise of Adolph Hitler:
In Germany, even before Hitler came into power, the movement had already progressed much further. It is important to remember that for some time before 1933 Germany had reached a stage in which it had, in effect, had to be governed dictatorially. Nobody could then doubt that for the time being democracy had broken down… Hitler did not have to destroy democracy; he merely took advantage of the decay of democracy and at the critical moment obtained the support of many to whom, though they detested Hitler, he yet seemed the only man strong enough to get things done.
When dictators come to power, it is generally because many in the public are clamoring for it, yearning for an Alexander who will cut the Gordian knot of parliamentary discord, and who will use unchecked power to finally deliver all the good things that they believe can only flow from the State. As Padme remarked upon Palpatine’s declaration of the Empire, “So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause.”


All this is very disquieting when we reflect on our present political state of affairs. We ourselves are mired in war, crisis, and insecurity. Great swaths of the country are demanding more planning (whether escalation of the war on ISIS or a larger welfare state at home), and expressing frustration over the republic’s inability to decisively deliver on those demands. Moreover, every one of the leading Presidential candidates is a potential strongman.

Trump preens as a “tough guy” and his ardent followers want him “make America great again,” with a strong, authoritarian hand. Trump, echoing Palpatine’s promise of a “safe and secure society”, foretells that:
…security is going to rule. […] And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.
Then there is Marco Rubio, a loyal apprentice of the neocon Sith who parrots his masters in everything from his phraseology (“New American Century,” “Clash of Civilizations,” etc.) to his dedication to an ever-expanding Empire and ever-proliferating wars.

And Ted Cruz would have loved to command his own Death Star, judging from his expressed enthusiasm for civilian casualties and dropping nukes.

On the Democratic side, there is the Machiavellian Hillary Clinton who is almost as imperialistic and warlike as Rubio. Clinton is also eager to disarm the American public, which would place us in completely prostrate serfdom under the government’s stormtroopers in the military and militarized police departments.

Then there is the avowed advocate of all-around economic planning, Bernie Sanders.

In America we have the blessed freedom to select our flavor of dictator. We can choose where we want the coming totalitarianism to begin before spreading everywhere else: total war, a total police state, or total economic planning. “I love democracy! I love the Republic!”

The Jedi suspect that Anakin is the prophesied “chosen one” who will restore balance to the Force. Yet his turn to the dark side is also anticipated. When Anakin is brought before Yoda as a child, the Jedi Master senses much fear in the boy: specifically fear of losing his mother.

“What has that got to do with anything?” Anakin objects. “Everything!” Yoda answers, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”


This echoes the 12th century Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes), who wrote:
Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate, and hate leads to violence. This is the equation.
Years later, after Anakin does turn, becoming Darth Vader, Yoda warns his son Luke Skywalker not to follow in Vader’s footsteps:
Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did [Darth Vader].
Yoda later clarifies that:
A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.
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Yoda’s references to “aggression” and “attack,” as opposed to “defense” invite a libertarian interpretation of what the dark side of the Force is. Indeed a fundamental libertarian concept is the “Non-Aggression Principle” (NAP). According to the NAP, violence is unjust (crosses over to the dark side) when it is aggression: that is, violence initiated against another. Violence, as Yoda would say, is only justified in defense against aggression (which, according to libertarians, includes violence to reclaim stolen property or restitution).

What about the “path to the dark side” that Yoda spelled out? It is difficult to believe that anger and fear never serve a good function.

However, if instead of “anger,” we stress Yoda’s and Ibn Rushd’s reference to “hate,” it makes more sense. We can define “hate” as anger that is so overwhelming that it leads one to commit aggression against the target of that anger, as well as to indiscriminately attack those lumped in with that target.

Similarly, we might substitute “terror” for “fear,” defining “terror” as fear that is so overwhelming that it drives one into hate, and thus into aggression.

Terror is the path to the dark side. Terror leads to hate. Hate leads to aggression. Aggression leads to suffering.

Especially with these refinements, we can see Yoda’s warning about Anakin being vindicated throughout the prequels trilogy. The terror Anakin feels over losing his mother, which Yoda identifies in Episode 1, emerges again in Episode 2, as he begins having dreams about her suffering.

Later, after his mother is killed by Tusken Raiders, the terrorized Anakin slips into hateful indiscriminate vengeance: into aggression, the dark side. As he later confesses to Padme, he massacres the entire camp of “Sand People”, including even innocent children and babies.

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With this massacre, Anakin starts down the “dark path,” and from then on it “dominates his destiny.” He takes another step down that path at the beginning of Episode 3, when he again yields to hate and executes a surrendered prisoner under the prodding of Palpatine.

He also begins having premonitions of his beloved Padme suffering. And so terror of losing his mother is replaced by terror of losing his wife. This leads to his final turn, after Palpatine offers to teach Anakin how to use the dark side of the Force to stave off Padme’s death. After helping Palpatine kill a Jedi Knight, Anakin swears himself to the Sith, taking on the name Darth Vader. When his new master activates Protocol 66, Vader participates in that Night of Long Knives, even massacring young children in a Jedi temple school.

Nonetheless, his terror of losing Padme ensures that he does lose her. Thinking she had turned against him, he lashes out using the Force and wounds her. Despondent over her husband’s dark turn, she soon after dies giving birth to Luke and his sister Leia. As Yoda warned, the path to the Dark Side only leads to suffering.

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Anakin then takes his station beside the new Emperor in the “benevolent” ironfisted dictatorship that he had dreamed of years ago.

Throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke faces challenges similar to those of his father. In Episode 5, Yoda has misgivings about Luke as well, complaining that his new apprentice is too impatient and impetuous. But Luke assures Yoda, “I’m not afraid,” marking out the fundamental difference between himself and his father: freedom from terror.

Yoda is dubious, especially when Luke, like his father, begins having his own premonitions about people close to him suffering: in his case, Leia and Han Solo. Terrified of losing his friends, Luke insists on breaking off his training with Yoda to go help them. Yoda worries that this is Luke’s own start down the same dark path that his father followed.

And Luke indeed is faced with temptations to join the Dark Side, especially after learning he is Vader’s son, and upon his father’s invitation to help him rule the galaxy. But Luke rejects the offer, choosing to jump to his own possible death instead.

Far from turning to the dark side, Luke is determined to turn his father away from it. To this end, he allows himself to be captured by the Empire in Episode 6. This leads to a duel with his father, during which Vader terrorizes Luke by threatening to turn Leia to the dark side. This drives the young Jedi into hate, causing him to temporarily lose control, and to grievously injure and incapacitate Vader.

The Emperor is also present, and urges Luke to complete his turn to the dark side by striking his helpless father down:
“Good! Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father’s place at my side!”
But Luke catches and calms himself, breaks the spell of terror and hate, casts his lightsaber away, and refuses to commit aggression against his father, a defeated opponent. He says:
Never. I’ll never turn to the Dark Side. You have failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
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Enraged by failure, the Emperor tries to kill Luke. Seeing his son about to be slain by his master, Anakin finally turns back against the dark side and against the Sith. In defense of his boy, he incurs mortal injury by hurling the Dark Lord into the Death Star’s reactor.

As Anakin lay dying, his son pleads with him, “No, you’re coming with me. I won’t leave you here. I’ve got to save you!”

His father answers, “You already have, Luke.”

The libertarian spin on the path to the dark side has many lessons for our country.

As a result of decades of foreign wars and intervention, on 9/11, we were struck by terrorists and allowed ourselves to be stricken with terror. This terror drove us into irrational, broad-brush hatred toward Muslims in general. That hatred provided cover for a war of aggression in Iraq which has resulted in over a million dead, followed by over a decade of wreaking havoc throughout the Muslim world, which has left over four million dead. Having suffered the massacre of our innocents, like Anakin after the murder of his mother, we ourselves allowed for the massacre of innocents, and in far greater numbers.

Shortly after 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney said on television, “We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.” And, stricken with terror and indulging in hate, America did embrace the dark side, accepting torture, indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, assassination, perpetual illegal wars, and mass civilian casualties.

Terror led to hate, hate led to aggression, and aggression has led to suffering, not only for the the direct victims of the wars, but for Westerners at home, as we find ourselves afflicted by blowback in the form of a refugee crisis and terrorist attacks.

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This blowback has, in turn, provoked a fresh bout of Islamophobic terror and hate, driving calls for still more aggression in the form of more foreign militancy as well as domestic oppression against Muslims. This too will only lead to suffering, both in the form of further blowback,and in the form of an oppressive militarized garrison state that will not stop at persecuting only Muslims. As Yoda warned: “If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…”

But it need not dominate our destiny literally forever. As difficult as it may be, we can always choose to turn away from the dark side.

It will help if we recognize that our giving in to the dark side is precisely what the terrorists want. They are, like the Sith, striving to terrorize us into hatred and aggression. They want us to sink ourselves into military quagmires, where we can be “bled to bankruptcy,” as Osama bin Laden put it. They also want our indiscriminate violence to radicalize Muslims in order to boost their recruitment.

Also like the Sith, the terrorists want to breed antagonism. As ISIS proclaimed in its own official magazine, the strategy of its terrorism is to polarize the whole world into two warring camps (Islamists and Crusaders) locked in a black-and-white clash of civilizations, with no “gray zone” in between. “If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy,” said Anakin after he turned, echoing a sentiment expressed by President Bush, and explicitly seconded by Osama bin Laden. “Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” responded Anakin’s former master Obi Wan.

We must also realize that the ultimate source of most of our terror and suffering is our own government. As discussed above, the Sith-like State accumulates power by making enemy menaces (terror), cultivating nationalistic furor (hatred), and instigating foreign wars (aggression).

Indeed the very essence of the State is regularized aggression, which it terrorizes the populace into accepting as the only possible way of providing security. And the modern democratic State wins loyalty and revenue by stimulating mutual hatred and fear among its citizens, and then brokering the mutual aggression that results.

The dark side is the health of the State. But it is the sickness of civilization.

Luke Skywalker’s heroic victory was that he resisted terror, renounced hate, and rejected aggression. Inspired by his son’s example, Anakin finally turned back from the Dark Side, and so was redeemed.

If we would but be similarly inspired, then America could be redeemed as well. And we would finally step off the dark path to global suffering and universal serfdom.

May liberty, justice, and peace be with you. And enjoy Episode 7.

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Also see: Star Wars & False Flag Terrorism

The above blog post and video link adds to my feeling regarding why the two trilogies are never shown since Disney got a hold of them. They cut too close to what is happening now, and besides I've already gotten my revenge -- and apparently so has he (interesting speech anyway, or you can read the book regarding the epiphany). 

Time to get in line with the Globe:

"Fan first in line to nab spot for latest ‘Star Wars’ film" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  December 17, 2015

Kyle Babbitt, 25, who arrived at 7 a.m., had purchased four tickets to the 10 p.m. screening months ago, said the quest to get the tickets was “one of the more stressful moments of his life.”

I avoided such a thing by waiting three-and-a-half weeks.

Due to the high demand, websites where fans could purchase movie stubs kept crashing. Babbitt said he had two computers, a tablet, and two smartphones running at the same time when trying to order tickets.

With his passes to see the movie finally secured, his next move was to ensure that he and his friends had the best spot in the house.

Anticipating long lines Thursday, Babbitt packed a bag full of snacks, two magazines and two novels about Star Wars, a pair of lawn chairs, and a smoothie, and set up his post in front of the theater.

There was no line when I went.

Why go through so much effort just to see a movie, one might ask?

Or one might not.

“I feel like there’s so much. I’m really into sci-fi, and this is one of the best and most expansive stories that space operas have to offer,” he said.

As he stood by the theater’s glass doors, Babbitt quickly made what he called a “Star Wars friend.”

A second fan, John Lobo, arrived just after noon. He was the second person in line.

Like Babbitt, Lobo, 22, had purchased tickets far in advance. He said he drove from Marion, about an hour from Boston, to make sure the entire Star Wars experience was perfect....

I've stopped expecting perfection in an imperfect world just as I've stopped expecting to see any semblance of reality in the paper.


What bothers me regarding all the pre$$ focus and coverage for part VII is they dissed the first film back (IV) in 1977. Now they have a special section with all sorts of stuff!

Did you see who else was waiting in line?

Fallon’s health is all the talk
Around town: Meghan Trainor and David Ortiz
Randolph man accused of fraud in ‘Kung Fu Panda’ suit case
Robert Kraft has Ricki Lander by his side in Miami
Partying at HBO’s Golden Globes after-party were Pats owner Robert Kraft and actress-model Ricki Lander

She back on the horse?

Let's find our seats, shall we?

"The global rollout of ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ was already breaking records abroad and in presales ahead of its Thursday evening debut in the United States. The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday the film debuted with $14.1 million from its first screenings Wednesday in 12 international markets. The largest was France, where the film earned $5.2 million (AP)."

Oh, the Globe did a marathon recap as well:

"18-hour ‘Star Wars’ marathon a daunting but enjoyable task" by Dugan Arnett Globe Staff  December 18, 2015

Better than blogging would be, yes.

Over the course of 18 hours, they would take in seven films’ worth of “Star Wars,” a cinematic marathon that kicked off at 3:30 a.m. and wouldn’t conclude until well after 9 p.m. Thursday, following a screening of the series’ newest and much-anticipated installment, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Without question, this was a dedicated bunch. In order to be here, they’d skipped work, skipped finals -- all to watch a series of films that, in most cases, they’d already seen many times over.

“I came out of the womb with a light saber,” said Joe Goduti, 31, explaining what had brought him to a movie theater in Revere in the middle of the night.

But even for a fan base known for its extreme passion, seven “Star Wars” films back to back represented a rather daunting task. Their advice on making it through? Some combination of Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, and beef jerky.

Here’s how it went...

3:31 a.m.: The marathon begins with “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”

6:00 a.m.: “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” starts.

8:12 a.m.: “Episode II” draws to a close, and the crowd makes its way into the lobby, where the kind employees at Showcase Cinemas have set up an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($15 per person). Moviegoers wolf down breakfast, sip coffee. Overall, they seem to be going strong.

9:20 a.m.: Next up, “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Once again Anakin and Obi-Wan are out there fighting people with light sabers. Fighting people with light sabers is, of course, a very large part of the “Star Wars” films. Oh, and Anakin’s going to be a dad.

9:57 a.m.: As “Episode III” winds down, it begins to become apparent that Anakin Skywalker might not be such a great guy, after all.

10:01 a.m.: Actually, he might be pretty terrible.

10:05 a.m.: Yep. It’s official. Not a great human being.

They didn't like his acting, either. 

The way I see it, while not excusing him at all, was he was manipulated on all sides with the "good guy/bad guy" delineations being muddled. Poor kid. Realized to late he f***ed up.

I actually read the book -- all of the Star Wars books, in fact, except for the most recent movie -- and it definitely added to the enjoyment of the film. Was not a shallow, near-verbatim screenplay. 

11:10 a.m.: The crowd files out for a break. Many people, not as keen on the more recent “Star Wars” films, seem to welcome the upcoming shift to the earlier ones. On-deck is “Episode IV: A New Hope.”

Do you know what the first line if dialogue is in that movie? 

I do (answer below).

2:02 p.m.: “The Empire Strikes Back” begins. In the eyes of some in attendance, this is the best of the “Star Wars” bunch. It doesn’t disappoint. Among the highlights: Princess Leia kisses her brother, there’s a bunch of snow, Darth Vader does his whole “I’m your father” bit, and at the end, the audience will give a considerable round of applause.

4:20 p.m. “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” begins.

4:46 p.m.: The auditorium is a mess. By this point in the day, the live-in moviegoers have really done a number on it. Popcorn litters the floor, and large room has taken on a noticeable stench.

“It’s like a middle school boys locker room in there,” is how Rob McKeown would later describe it.

It’s been a long day.

6:36 p.m.: “Episode VI” ends. One movie to go. The homestretch.

6:45 p.m.: The final break of the evening. With just a couple hours and one movie left to go, patrons file out into the hallway, wandering toward the concession stand or forming lines to the bathroom. Some do not look great.

“It’s been grueling,” admits Rob Viens, a 37-year-old from Portsmouth, N.H. “You wouldn’t think that sitting down [all day] would be too bad, but when you do it for 15 hours straight....”

Ah, the blogging days of yore. 

Never again, sorry.

Underlying it all, though, is a growing anticipation. In 15 minutes, the new “Star Wars” film will begin, and the excitement in the lobby is palpable. Some speak of second winds. Others make predictions about what might transpire in the J.J. Abrams-directed movie.

Most seem determined to power through.

“I’m running on Red Bull fumes and Swedish Fish,” said Eric Cyphers, 39, in the minutes before the evening’s final film. “[But] this is Heartbreak Hill right here -- you’ve got to make it over the hump.”

And with that, he headed back into a crowded auditorium, intent on finishing what he’d started....

I will finish with my review as to not spoil things for you.


Hey, lights are starting to dim!

"The Critics’ Choice Awards have added ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ as an 11th best-picture nominee. After announcing their nominees last week, the group’s board of directors reconvened to add J.J. Abrams’s acclaimed ‘‘Star Wars’’ sequel to their best picture category. Its members hadn’t been able to see ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ before sending in their ballots."

"A Montana man is charged with threatening to shoot a boy for sharing information about a subplot of the new ‘‘Star Wars’’ movie during an online conversation. Arthur Charles Roy of Helena was charged with felony assault with a weapon Monday during an appearance in Lewis and Clark County Justice Court. He remains jailed with his bail set at $10,000. Roy, 18, became angry Thursday when he learned details about ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ from a Facebook friend, prosecutors said. Roy sent the friend a picture of himself with a gun and threatened to come to the victim’s school to shoot him, court records said." 

He hasn't learned anything from the films, or did he just willing throw in with the dark side?

"A Montana man is charged with threatening to shoot a youth for sharing information about a subplot of the new ‘‘Star Wars’’ movie during an online conversation. Arthur Charles Roy, 18, of Helena became angry Thursday when he learned details about ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’’ from a Facebook friend, prosecutors said. Roy reportedly said the gun was a Colt 1911 with a ‘‘hair trigger.’’ Helena’s alternative high school was locked down Friday morning after students said they were afraid Roy might follow through with his threat. Police arrested Roy on Friday afternoon. He declined to answer questions on the advice of his attorney, court records said. Roy’s mother asked why her son was being arrested since it was only a BB gun in the photo, charging documents said."

That's entertainment!!

I'm glad I didn't give anything away yet.

"‘Star Wars’ named Associated Press Entertainer of the Year" by Derrick J. Lang Associated Press  December 25, 2015

LOS ANGELES — ‘‘Star Wars’’ isn’t just strong. It’s unstoppable.

The revival of the nearly 40-year-old space saga has already dominated the box office and toy shelves. Now, it’s also been selected as The Associated Press Entertainer of the Year and is amassing support for Academy Awards consideration.

The sci-fi series bested Adele, Taylor Swift, and Amy Schumer as the top vote getter.

She's not funny anymore, and neither is this:

"The ‘‘Star Wars’’ version of Monopoly will add a game piece based on the female character Rey after an 8-year-old girl wrote to game maker Hasbro complaining about the omission and telling them: ‘‘Girls matter.’’ The tragedy of modern parenting: It’s a lot harder now to impose culture by force. Parents today are wimps." 

Time for truce, and I want to know who remembers things when they were four?

It's become torture reading this stuff.

Others up for the honor included streaming services, Jon Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, and the Kardashians. Voters were asked to consider who had the most influence on entertainment and culture in 2015.

‘‘In a year full of sequels, reboots, and returns, none have recaptured the zeitgeist like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’’’ wrote Nick Dutro of The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, Ohio.

The initial impact of a ‘‘Star Wars’’ resurgence first began reverberating across the pop-culture landscape in 2012 when Disney acquired Lucasfilm for more than $4 billion, plotting a pair of movie spin-offs and a new trilogy merging veterans Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) with newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Spoiler alerts regarding these characters below.

In the year leading up to the December release of ‘‘The Force Awakens,’’ Disney and Lucasfilm unleashed a barrage of ‘‘Star Wars’’ merchandise, comic books, and video games that fueled anticipation for the film.

As did the ma$$ media promotion.

When the movie opened in theaters, ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ lit up screens — and fans’ eyeballs — brighter than a lightsaber. With an astronomical $248 million debut at the box office last weekend, the newest ‘‘Star Wars’’ entry trampled over the record for biggest debut in North America, set earlier in the year by ‘‘Jurassic World.’’

‘‘The Force Awakens’’ also has won over most critics.

Which is why I was lukewarm on it (hint, hint).

‘‘The ‘Star Wars’ franchise is holding an IOU that it could cash in this year,’’ said Tom O’Neil, editor-in-chief of Gold Derby, a site that handicaps Hollywood awards and other events. ‘‘The Oscars owe major love to the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. It’s one of the most successful and beloved franchises in Hollywood history. It’s criminal that Oscar voters have never historically taken sci-fi seriously.’’

Oscar has other problems right now.

While previous ‘‘Star Wars’’ films garnered 22 nominations and seven wins at the Academy Awards, only the original ‘‘Star Wars’’ earned a best picture nod. It lost to ‘‘Annie Hall’’ in 1978.

About $ays it all about the Academy.

‘‘Star Wars’’ joins the list of previous AP Entertainer of the Year winners who in recent years have mostly included female performers, including Adele, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey, and Betty White. The animated Disney juggernaut ‘‘Frozen’’ captured the prize in 2014, and Stephen Colbert was honored in 2007.

His act has gotten old (I never watch), and I also never wonder what music gets President Barack Obama in the Christmas mood.


The mu$ic is starting!

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ becomes fastest movie to $1 billion" by Sandy Cohen Associated Press  December 28, 2015

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ has reached $1 billion at the box office, approaching the milestone with record-setting hyperspeed.

The Walt Disney Co. said “The Force Awakens’’ crossed the billion-dollar mark Sunday, accomplishing the feat in just 12 days. The previous movie to reach $1 billion the fastest was Universal’s ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ which did it in 13 days in June. ‘‘Jurassic World’’ also had the benefit of record grosses in China. ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ doesn’t open in the world’s second-largest movie market until Jan. 9.

J.J. Abrams’s installment of ‘‘Star Wars’’ also posted the biggest Christmas Day box office in history with $49.3 million and the best second-weekend earnings with $153.5 million.

‘‘The Force Awakens’’ has been setting records since its debut Dec. 17. It brought in a galactic $238 million in North America over its opening weekend, besting previous record-setter ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ and set international opening-weekend records in Australia, New Zealand, and throughout Europe. It scored the biggest worldwide debut with $529 million. It also topped $100 million in IMAX screenings in 10 days, another global record.

‘‘You almost have to rewrite all the record books for this movie,’’ box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak said. ‘‘It’s absolutely mind-blowing that ‘Star Wars’ could get to a billion dollars in 12 days and it hasn’t even opened in China, the second biggest movie market in the world.’’

The power of ‘‘Star Wars’’ meant the rest of the week’s releases were competing for second place. That prize went to the comedy ‘‘Daddy’s Home,’’ which opened with $38.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. David O. Russell’s new drama starring Jennifer Lawrence, ‘‘Joy,’’ debuted in third place with $17.5 million.

A flurry of new films also opened in the top 10 this weekend. ‘‘Concussion,’’ the Will Smith-NFL drama, took in $11 million, good for sixth place, followed by the financial-crisis saga ‘‘The Big Short,’’ which collected $10.5 million.

Remind me to get to "Concussion" later, and the  ‘Big Short’ is in line for Best Director. 

That looks like a film I may eat up later after the party. Looks like $omething you can really $ink your teeth into.

The remake of ‘‘Point Break’’ opened with $10.2 million. And Quentin Tarantino’s ‘‘The Hateful Eight,’’ debuted in 10th place with $4.5 million.

I would like to make a Hateful Point here regarding the Eight:

Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is basically another way of inciting the Goyim to kill each other

Yes, I heard the term "Nazi bitches" come out of Sam Jackson's mouth during an ad.

Unfortunately, that's not the kind of revenge movie I care to see.

Time to Break.

A juggernaut like ‘‘Star Wars’’ empowers the entire industry, Dergarabedian said.

Ron Howard's ‘‘In the Heart of the Sea’’ was never seen again as the coming storm at the box office is being kept quiet (I'm foreshadowing there, readers).


For some reason I feel the need to make $ure I have my ticket:

"The latest Star Wars movie broke the $1 billion mark before fans in China could see it, but producers anticipate ‘‘The Force Awakens’’ will play ‘‘very very well’’ in the world’s second-biggest film market. The film opens in China on Jan. 9. Director J.J. Abrams watched the Chinese premiere in Shanghai with a Chinese audience Sunday night. He told a news conference Monday that he was thrilled to see people ‘‘laughing and cheering in exactly the same places that we’ve seen other audiences.’’ He added, ‘‘It’s a testament to the power of cinema, that it does not matter where you’re from, you can get caught up in a story.’’ Abrams said. ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ took 12 days to earn $1 billion worldwide, becoming the fastest movie to achieve such a feat. The previous movie to reach $1 billion fastest was ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ which did it in 13 days in June — and which had the benefit of record grosses in China. The Chinese market has become increasingly important for Hollywood as revenues from movie theaters stagnate at home. Some movies have incorporated Chinese characters or stories to try to appeal to the Chinese movie-going audience." 

Beware of hubris, J.J.! Hubris leads to hate! 

So how does the slowing China economy effect this, and whatever happened to that resilient AmeriKan recovery, 'eh?

"It’s been a record-breaking, $11 billion year at the movies. Box-office tracker Rentrak said Tuesday that the industry has already reached the benchmark and is expected to end the year with an unprecedented $11.1 billion in ticket sales in the United States and Canada. The previous record of $10.9 billion was set in 2013 (AP)."

That's not counting China? 

I'm having a hard time following the plot; keeps going from here to there.

"It takes more than ‘‘Star Wars’’ to make an $11 billion year for Hollywood. Disney and J.J. Abrams pushed 2015 over that mark days before its conclusion, but many factors helped make the year the biggest of all time — including social media and better theatrical experiences. Last year saw the streaming service Netflix enter feature film territory with ‘‘Beasts of No Nation’’ and ‘‘The Ridiculous 6,’’ both of which played in theaters and online simultaneously. Attendance at the movies was up about 4 percent for the year, according to Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president of domestic distribution. It didn’t hurt that 2015 started off with significant momentum from ‘‘American Sniper,’’ had the ‘‘Jurassic World’’ juggernaut in the summer, and ended on the high note of ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’’ (AP)."


Netflix moves closer to global vision with major expansion
Netflix chief says 2016 will bring an emphasis on family shows
Netflix says it will offer more family programming
Netflix shares fall on slowing US growth

Yeah, I should have stayed home.

I suppose all the mixed me$$ages are nothing more than fun and games, huh? 

Then they won't be needing the $58 million, will they?

"‘Star Wars’ box office surpasses ‘Titanic,’ ‘Jurassic World’" by Lindsey Bahr Associated Press  January 04, 2016

‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ marched confidently into the new year, raking in an additional $88.3 million over the New Year’s weekend and topping the box office for a third week, according to studio estimates Sunday.

In addition to setting a new high mark in New Year’s box office history, the film blew past the domestic grosses of both ‘‘Jurassic World’’ ($652.3 million) and ‘‘Titanic’’ ($658.7 million) to become the second-highest earner of all time with $740.3 million in just 19 days of release.

The top domestic film is ‘‘Avatar’’ with a $760.5 million lifetime domestic gross, but ‘‘Star Wars’’ is barreling in to surpass it soon. For context, it took ‘‘Avatar’’ 72 days to reach $700 million. ‘‘Star Wars’’ did that in 16 days.

That's big box office, so I still can't figure why the Globe hates Avatar.

While ‘‘Star Wars’’ might not give up its throne any time soon, films like ‘‘Daddy’s Home’’ and ‘‘Sisters’’ have proven to be incredibly strong performers.

Wait a couple more weeks.

‘‘Daddy’s Home,’’ the comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, came in second with an estimated $29 million, bringing its total to $93.7 million in just two weeks. The film fell only 25 percent from its first weekend in theaters. 

It's usually 50%, and then half of that the week after, and so on, for as long as a film lasts.

Even more formidable is the mere 11 percent drop from the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy ‘‘Sisters,’’ which brought in $12.6 million in its third weekend for a fourth-place spot. The film has earned $61.7 million so far.

‘‘When you look at the holding power of ‘Daddy’s Home’ and ‘Sisters,’ it shows that those films are for many people the antidote to ‘Star Wars,’ ’’ said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for box office tracker Rentrak. ‘‘The diversity of the slate that the studios created by not retreating from ‘Star Wars’ is helping.’’

Why would you need an antidote for Star Wars, and we will get to Hollywood diversity a bit later.

Quentin Tarantino’s bloody western ‘‘The Hateful Eight,’’ meanwhile, took third with $16.2 million in its first weekend in wide release after a strong limited debut. The three-hour epic, which cost a reported $44 million to produce, has made $29.6 million to date — just shy of what ‘‘Django Unchained’’ made in its first weekend.

‘‘There is still a big audience out there for auteur-driven cinema,’’ Dergarabedian said. ‘‘Tarantino, no matter what, is an interesting filmmaker. Film fans want to see what he’s up to. It’s not as big as some of his other films, but it’s still doing well as it expands.’’

I must not be a fan because I think his movies suck.

‘‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’’ took fifth place with $11.8 million, dropping only 10 percent from last weekend.

The year is off to a strong start overall, up 24.5 percent from last year. This New Year’s weekend could even set a record if it tops the $220 million total of 2009-10, when both ‘‘Avatar’’ and ‘‘Sherlock Holmes’’ were in theaters.

Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures are released Monday.


Hey, it's the land of make believe. 

They claimed to have had an awful last year until thi$ twi$t at the end.

"‘Star Wars’ tops ‘Revenant’ at the box office" by Ryan Nakashima Associated Press  January 11, 2016

‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ stayed on top of the North American box office for the fourth straight weekend, beating out Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘‘The Revenant,’’ and becoming the third-largest grossing movie in the world ever.

The film now has in its sights No. 2 ‘‘Titanic,’’ with its $2.2 billion box office haul in 1997-98, and No. 1 ‘‘Avatar,’’ from 2009-10 at $2.8 billion.

‘‘The Revenant,’’ a gritty R-rated movie directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu about an 1820s frontiersman who gets mauled by a bear, blasted through expectations of about $25 million in its first weekend of wide release with a $38 million haul, following limited showings in New York and Los Angeles in December.

Judging from what the sports guys said on the radio that saw it, the film is confusing and brutally perverse.

Already buzzing for Oscars in categories like best director and best actor, 20th Century Fox’s domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson said ‘‘The Revenant’’ surprisingly brought in mainstream audiences despite its at-times graphic material.

‘‘It’s very graphic, it’s very real,’’ Aronson said. ‘‘You watch this and you’re going to feel cold.’’ 

If I want that I will just go outside.

Having the film open wide well after ‘‘Star Wars’’ was released gave it room to breathe, he said. ‘‘Now I think there’s a specialness to this film that might have been lost earlier.’’

Unlike Ron Howard's Moby Dick.

‘‘The Forest’’ came in fourth. Focus president of distribution Jim Orr said the horror film topped expectations. It put ‘‘Game of Thrones’’ star Natalie Dormer in a forest at the base of Mount Fuji renowned for suicides. The film found a younger audience skewing female that is typical of most horror films, but saw a bump Saturday from Friday, which is unusual and which Orr credited to good word of mouth.

‘‘Hopefully that will help it leg out better than the genre normally does,’’ he said....


This will horrify you:

"Amid outrage over a lack of diversity among Oscar nominees, “Ride Along 2,” aimed squarely at black and Hispanic moviegoers, arrived to a robust $34 million in weekend ticket sales. Meanwhile, ticket sales for Michael Bay’s politically divisive “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” were on the soft side. Starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, Universal Pictures’ “Ride Along 2” ended the monthlong run of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as the No. 1 film in North America. In its second week of wide release, 20th Century Fox’s “The Revenant” — receiving a boost from its 12 Oscar nominations — collected $29.5 million in second place, for a new total of $87.7 million, according to Rentrak. Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was third, with an estimated $25.1 million, for a five-week domestic total of $851 million. Paramount’s “13 Hours” debuted in fourth place with $16 million."

And the Oscar goes to....

"‘The Revenant’ garners 12 Oscar nominations; ‘Spotlight’ gets six" by Ty Burr Globe Staff  January 15, 2016

When nominations for the 88th annual Academy Awards were announced Thursday morning, “Spotlight,” the acclaimed drama about The Boston Globe’s reporting of the Catholic Church clergy abuse scandal, was nominated for best picture, but it was “The Revenant,” director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s grueling and expansive historical epic, that garnered the most nominations.

I predicted that here.

‘Spotlight’ shines at Critics’ Choice Awards
‘Spotlight’ star Michael Keaton honored in France
‘Spotlight’ actor Ruffalo will attend Oscars

You can see the foreshadowing, can't you?

Also near the front of the nominations pack — to the surprise of some — was the pedal-to-the-metal action film “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

That does surprise me, what with Mel being part of the legend.

The full list of best picture nominees consists of “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Room,” and “Spotlight.” The ceremonies will be broadcast on Feb. 28.

Best actor nominations went to DiCaprio, Matt Damon for “The Martian,” Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo, “ Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs,” and Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl.” The general consensus is that nothing short of a raging grizzly bear will keep DiCaprio from collecting a trophy. Maybe not even that.

As for his next film: 

"Fresh off his Golden Globe win, “The Revenant” star Leonardo DiCaprio was honored Tuesday for his work against the climate crisis at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he ripped into Big Oil. ‘‘We simply cannot allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries to determine the future of humanity,’’ said DiCaprio, who joined rapper and entrepreneur, Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, and Chinese actress Yao Chen as laureates of WEF’s culturally oriented ‘‘Crystal Awards.’’ 

Well, we know which cla$$ to which he belongs.

Matt Damon, ‘Black Mass,’ ‘Spotlight’ recognized in Palm Springs

So how much tax loot did it cost to rescue Matt Damon

Whatever it was, it was worth it (and I haven't even seen the movie yet).

As for snubs, there were more than a few. No best actor nomination for Johnny Depp in “Black Mass,” for those keeping score in Boston.

I was not, but now that you mention it....

Why did the achingly poignant lesbian love story “Carol” rack up six nods -- including Blanchett for best actress and Rooney Mara for supporting actress — but get inexplicably shut out of the best picture and director categories? Is it Hollywood homophobia that kept Academy voters from recognizing the movie’s craft, or is it the New Math of the best picture nominating procedures? What does director Todd Haynes have to do to get arrested in this town, anyway?

Homophobia is the least of their problems, if there even is any. 

As for the new math, Schumer may make you laugh about it.

He wasn’t the only overlooked filmmaker. Many expected a nomination for Ridley Scott to match the seven that his movie, the much-loved “The Martian,” had elsewhere. Does the film industry take him for granted? Or were voters more intent on welcoming a newcomer like Lenny Abrahamson of “Room” into the tent?

I'm starting to wonder if other chosen concerns have something to do with it.

It’s hard to see the omission of Aaron Sorkin’s script for “Steve Jobs” in the adapted screenplay category as anything other than a dis, a possible spanking for an admired talent who some feel may have gotten too big for his britches. Similarly, Quentin Tarantino — never one of sobersided Hollywood’s favorite sons — saw “The Hateful Eight” roundly ignored in almost all the major categories.

Maybe it is just a bad movie.

Also, this just in: The Oscars still like white people. A lot.


Twenty acting nominees and not a person of color among them, despite notable performances by Michael B. Jordan of “Creed” (supporting actor Sylvester Stallone scored a nod), Idris Elba of “Beasts of No Nation,” and Will Smith, who delivered some of the finest acting of his career in “Concussion,” a movie that was completely ignored by the Academy. At least the glorious mess that is the original screenplay category saw fit to include “Straight Outta Compton.”

And, yes, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the year’s biggest movie — and now all-time domestic box office champ — scored a measly five nominations, four in technical categories and one for John Williams’s indestructible score. Just remember: The Oscars are never about which movies make you feel good. They’re about which movies make Hollywood look good.

And the ma$$ media, thus the Spotlight.


Other award winners:

"A television director with credits on ‘‘Law & Order’’ and other shows has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in New York. Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore says Jason ‘‘Jace’’ Alexander, 51, pleaded guilty Tuesday to promoting a sexual performance by a child and possessing an obscene performance by a child. He could face up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced May 3 (AP)." 

It's an open secret, but it would make Hollywood look bad so....

"Grand Central Publishing said Tuesday that it plans a spring 2017 publication for a memoir by Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender activist, reality star, and former Olympic athlete. The untitled book will be co-written by ‘‘Friday Night Lights’’ author Buzz Bissinger, who wrote a Vanity Fair cover story about Jenner, who is 66 (AP)."

What's perverse there is not the sexual identity confusion, it's the dismissal of murder charges.

Must be because he's, 'er, she's white.

"Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith lead Oscars boycott" by Cara Buckley New York Times  January 19, 2016

The outcry over the nomination of 20 white actors, and no black ones, for the coming Academy Awards gained momentum Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — as director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced that they wouldn’t be attending the ceremony Feb. 28.

In an Instagram post, Lee, who accepted an honorary Oscar in November and received no nominations for his latest film, “Chiraq,” asked how it was possible that there were no nominations of black actors for the second year running. After announcing that neither he nor his wife would attend the awards, Lee wrote, “Dr. King said, ‘There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it’s right.’”

That makes me angry.

Saying he was tired of being asked for his opinion about all-white or majority-white Oscar races year after year, Lee also urged the media to “ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot.”

Over the weekend, Pinkett Smith wondered on social media whether any blacks or members of other minorities should attend the Oscars.

“Should people of color refrain from participating all together?” Pinkett Smith wrote on her Facebook account Saturday. “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.”

In a video posted Monday, she said she would not be attending the event or watching it. Her husband, Will Smith, was a contender for a best actor nomination for his lead role in “Concussion” but did not make the final list of five nominees.

“We can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgment or respect of any group,” Pinkett Smith said.

Pinkett Smith stopped short of suggesting that the comedian Chris Rock back out of hosting the show.

“I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year than you, my friend, and good luck,” she said.

It might be worth watching just for Rock.


"Oscar’s race problem is everyone’s problem" by Ty Burr Globe Staff  January 21, 2016

How is it mine? 

No one has ever asked me who should be nominated. 

What's with the Globe and the collective guilt being foisted upon "us"?

Will Smith, a two-time Oscar nominee who some thought might earn another nod for “Concussion,” told “Good Morning America” coanchor Robin Roberts on Thursday, “The nominations reflect the Academy. The Academy reflects the industry [Hollywood] and then the industry reflects America.”

That's insulting, although there is truth to it when you consider a certain chosen group.

Let’s recap and then play with some numbers. On Monday, Spike Lee took to Instagram with a heavily capitalized screed in which he announced he would not be attending the 88th Academy Awards due to the ongoing lack of diversity in the nominations. As Lee put it, “How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White?”

Good question.

Neither used the word “boycott” — and Lee specifically reemphasized he wasn’t calling for one in a “Good Morning America” appearance on Wednesday — but that didn’t stop the Rev. Al Sharpton from doing so.

Yes, boycott is a bad word to be used when it concerns Jews, and as for Big Al!

The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, created last year by managing editor April Reign, spread again across social media, and actors David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Don Cheadle joined in. Even Chris Rock, the host of the upcoming ceremonies, cracked on Twitter that Oscars are “the white BET awards.” On Tuesday, the Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is black, released a statement in which she said, “I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion” and promised that “the Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.”

That makeup, as became embarrassingly public in a Los Angeles Times article in 2012, is heavily weighted toward the white (94 percent), male (77 percent), and old (86 percent are 50 or older). About 2 percent of Oscar voters are black, and less than 2 percent are Hispanic — or were in 2012, before Isaacs (who became president in 2013) mounted a recruitment drive to alleviate the egregious odds.

What is the religious ethnicity of the voters?

Since the acting branch, which makes up the largest slice of the Academy pie, nominates performance awards, perhaps the two-year drought simply reflects what voters see in the mirror, but that hardly begins to address the diversity problem in most American movies.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.... 

As Lee noted in his “GMA” appearance Wednesday, “It goes further than the Academy Awards. It has to go back to the gatekeepers. . . . We’re not in the room. The executives, when they have these green-light meetings quarterly where they look at the scripts.”

Is that why there is such garbage spewing forth from Hollywood these days?

Do the films that come out of Hollywood accurately reflect their audiences? On the most superficial statistical level, perhaps. According to a 2015 Annenberg study of the top 100 box office films in each year from 2007 to 2014, white characters make up 73 percent of speaking roles while blacks make up 12.5 percent. That would seem to roughly correspond with the 2014 US census, with European Americans constituting 73 percent of the total population and African-Americans making up 12.6 percent. (The gender split seems far more uneven, with 30 percent of roles in movies going to the women who, last time anyone checked, make up half of humanity.)

But those numbers only reflect speaking roles, not who’s in the lead versus who gets a supporting part at best and a few lines of dialogue at worst. The American film industry is, as it has ever been, about profit. These days, the top money-makers are franchise action films whose audiences skew male and — a few token characters aside — white. And with Hollywood turning its eyes increasingly toward foreign markets, where explosions and shootouts play better than dialogue and drama, the movies that do get made are looking increasingly and conventionally macho.

While certain black stars, mostly male, are reliable mass audience draws — Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Hart among them — and other performers (Cheadle, Oyelowo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Samuel L. Jackson, Idris Elba, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jennifer Hudson, Lupita Nyong’o) have been able to mix critical acclaim with a range of box office and awards success, there’s no doubt that Oscar, as a whole, disproportionately scants actors of color. Based on a rough tally, 3 percent of acting nominees in Academy history have been black. Since the start of the 21st century, the percentage has risen to 9 percent, which is some progress. But when you get two years in a row of nominees who don’t begin to reflect the varied breadth of American life — not just black but Hispanic, Asian, and so on — that’s just depressing.

The underlying issue is what kinds of movies and performances are considered awards-worthy, and who sets the conversation.

Who controls Hollywood?

Will Smith does some of the finest, most nuanced acting of his career in “Concussion.” Is his absence from the best actor race because the movie’s solid without being very exciting? Because Smith doesn’t carry the pop clout he used to — or, conversely, because he’s still deemed too “commercial” and not enough of an artiste? Or because the movie’s not about race (much) and therefore isn’t worth attention from the pundits and the Academy? Because it just happens to star an African-American actor giving a really, really good performance?

Or because the Academy didn't want to dis the NFL?

Again, this isn’t even factoring in the movies that never get made, the stories that don’t get told, the actors who never get cast. The sorry state of diversity in Hollywood is on everyone — producers, studio heads, marketers, journalists. Everyone except the audience. Until moviegoers are able to see all the endless possibilities they could see, they get a pass.

The point I made at the start of this chapter.

If that makes you feel like boycotting the Oscar telecast on Feb. 28, go right ahead.

I always do!


Don't feel bad, because....


Posted on 27th December 2015 by Administrator

The irony of the phrase “may the odds be ever in your favor” is not lost on the readers of the Hunger Games trilogy of novels or the film adaption. Despite the grimness of the story, over 65 million copies of the books have been sold. The total box office take so far has exceeded $1.4 billion for the four movies. The dystopian series tackles real issues like severe poverty, starvation, torture, oppression, betrayal and the brutality of war. It doesn’t fit into the standard film making success recipe of feel good fluff, politically correct storylines and happy endings. Each film in the series gets progressively darker, with the final episode permeating doom and gloom. The books and the movies capture the deepening crisis mood engulfing the world today. And they realistically portray the world as a place where there are no good guys in positions of power. The ruling class, in all cases, is driven by a voracious appetite for supremacy, wealth, and control.

An Ambiguous, Confusing, Dangerous World

The world is a morally ambiguous place where those in power and those seeking power utilize the influence of media propaganda and PR campaigns built around “heroes” and “icons” to psychologically control the masses, while enriching themselves and their crony capitalist sponsors. Endless war against the latest “bad guys” further enriches the arms dealers and their political lackeys who joyfully use faux patriotism and nationalistic fervor to insist upon more boots on the ground, drones in the air, bombs dropped, and missiles launched.

War is good for business and keeps the masses distracted, while the Wall Street financiers harvest the wealth of the citizens. The division of the country into 12 districts, sending their bounty to the capital of Panem at the point of a gun, while they are allocated a pittance to survive, is no different than our corporate fascist government as they extract hundreds of billions in taxes, fees, levies, tolls, and fines from the productive class, while regulating, enforcing, mandating, and authorizing the plebs to death.

We live in a confusing world of anxiety, hate, greed, deceit and immorality, where governments throughout the world are nothing but rotting cesspools of psychotic despots desperately clinging to power while using any means necessary to keep the masses sedated and docile. Good people, with noble intentions, still exist in this decadent world, but they do not seek power or have any say in the governance of this world. The oppressed are hopelessly enslaved in debt, kept submissive by welfare transfers from the corrupt state, dumbed down by the state education system, amused by technological gadgets and vacuous entertainment, and kept in perpetual fear of seen and unseen enemies. We are told who to hate, who to fear, who to love, and who to believe by a nameless faceless state run by people we didn’t elect, constituting the invisible government.

The world is a dangerous place, made more dangerous by a willfully ignorant populace who mindlessly go about their day to day existence without thinking, questioning, or considering the possibility their leaders are corrupt lying thieves. We are told Putin, Assad, China, Iran and ISIS are the bad guys. Previously we had been told Hussein, Gadaffi, Bin Laden, Mubarak, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were the bad guys. It is true that none of these men or organizations are good.

It is also true that no one in leadership positions in Washington DC, on Wall Street, in corporate America, or in the mainstream media are good. The entire world is under the control of deceitful, cunning, egomaniacal, corruptible, psychopaths who will stop at nothing to fulfill their personal agendas. They are human beings who have allowed their dark sides to dominate their actions. There are no good guys, just varying degrees of evil imposed upon the masses by erratic unpredictable people with wildly differing levels of intelligence, patriotism and judgement.

The Power of Propaganda

It’s a tribute to the propagandists who have taken Edward Bernays teachings to another level as they have molded the minds of millions, consciously manipulating the opinions and beliefs of the masses to further their agenda of world domination. Once the Cold War ended, the ruling class sought enemies to keep their military industrial complex and Wall Street financiers enriched and happy. 9/11 was used to further that agenda as war on a tactic (terror) will never end. Perpetual conflict is a chief goal of the establishment. Orwell would be impressed with how our keepers have perfected the We‘ve always been at war with Eastasia” propaganda tool to perpetuate their goals. Both parties continue to promote war and increase the profits of the military industrial complex.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan fourteen years ago to get bin Laden and rid the country of the Taliban. Bin Laden was supposedly killed in 2011, but no documentary evidence has been revealed to substantiate that claim. The Taliban is stronger than ever in Afghanistan after hundreds of billions in expenditures and thousands of lives lost. The occupation continues. The neo-cons convinced the dimwitted Bush to invade Iraq in 2003 because Hussein was a bad guy with weapons of mass destruction. Amusingly, he was our buddy when he was fighting our Iranian enemies and we provided him with the WMD (gas) he used on the Kurds.

After spending $1 trillion, we left Iraq as a festering quagmire of religious zealots with a bombed out infrastructure and a corrupt incompetent puppet running the show on our behalf. Then it was on to leaving Libya in a state of chaos because we overthrew another bad guy. We didn’t like the democratically elected leader of Egypt after we overthrew Mubarak, so we overthrew Morsi and installed another military dictatorship. The propaganda storyline is always about democracy and getting rid of bad guys, not the truth about securing oil resources, weakening the enemies of Israel, and keeping the profits flowing to our “vital” defense industry.

It seems the empire ran into a bit of a snag with their plan to remove the latest “bad guy” in Syria. Another “bad guy” – Vladimir Putin – saw through the American plan to eliminate Assad and have their co-conspirators in Saudi Arabia and Qatar build a gas pipeline to Europe. After overthrowing the democratically elected president (and friend of Russia) of the Ukraine and waging an unsuccessful war against Russian backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine, Europe was left at the mercy of an angry Putin as far as not freezing to death during the upcoming winter.

Putin is a strongman leader of a country with a nuclear arsenal capable of blowing up the earth several times over. He will do what is in the best interest of his country and will not blink when confronted with the likes of corrupt feckless toadies like Obama, Kerry, Hollande, Merkel, and Edrogen. His counter measures and revelations about the true nature of U.S. and Turkish actions in Syria and Iraq have blown the lid off of U.S. plans in the Middle East.

The latest fear mongering propaganda device for the vested interests has been the dreaded ISIS. The captured mainstream corporate media fails to mention the U.S. created, armed and continues to fund ISIS as part of their master plan to overthrow Assad. The U.S. left Iraq in such a state of chaos and lawlessness, fanatical Islamist radicals used the vacuum of power and the billions of dollars’ worth of top notch U.S. military hardware to create a safe space for themselves within Iraq and Syria. The U.S. has been funding and arming the supposed “moderate” Islamic radicals fighting Assad for the last few years, while attempting to use a false flag gas attack to wage all-out war. The U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Turkey created ISIS in order to further their economic and political interests. Lead neo con warmonger, Maniacal McCain, even had a photo op with his ISIS homies.

Once Putin decided to fully support Assad and actually concentrate on destroying ISIS, it became clear the U.S. was turning a blind eye to the billions in illicit oil profits being earned by ISIS refining, transporting and selling oil to Turkey. Putin began to destroy the oil infrastructure of ISIS and immediately saw a passenger plane blown out the sky and a bomber shot down by Turkey. So the organization we created is now the most feared terrorist organization on the planet, but we refuse to cooperate or coordinate its defeat with Assad or Putin because they are “bad guys”.

Turkey financially supports ISIS and is fighting hardest against our allies the Kurds, but we fully support their crazed dictator leader Erdogan. Iran is fighting ISIS, but more than half of Congress and all presidential candidates want to obliterate them on behalf of Israel. Virtually all domestic terrorism has a link to Saudi Arabia, they treat women like cattle, behead anyone not following Islamic law and are pumping oil at a prodigious pace in an effort to destroy the U.S. shale industry, but they are considered a close ally in the Middle East. It is quite clear there are no good guys running the show in this bizarro world of unholy alliances, backstabbing, revenge, and fear mongering.

A Lot of Hope is Dangerous

No one in positions of power can be trusted. Betrayal, violence, money, power and war are the weapons of the state. Loyalty, courage, sacrifice, love and hope are the domain of the people. The state walks a fine line between keeping the masses controlled through entertainment, debt, fear and hope. If the people lose all hope, despair leads to anger as those with nothing to lose take to the streets. President Snow of Panem explains the fine line between control and revolution:

“Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.”

In the Mockingjay portion of the Hunger Games trilogy you are left with the evil President Snow attempting to maintain the status quo, with Panem ruling over the formally subservient districts, while President Coin leads the rebels in attempting to overthrow the rotting immoral government of Snow. Both sides use the power of media propaganda, symbolism, false heroes, and despicable tactics to win. In the standard good guy/bad guy plot used to entertain the American masses, the rebels would be the good guys fighting for a noble cause.

Their symbolic mockingjay leader – Katniss Everdeen – is portrayed as the fearless revolutionary of the people. She is the hope which ignites a revolution and turns despair into a war against the oppressive state and the wealthy vested interests in Panem. The rebels have the moral high ground, but the underlying feeling of distrust is always evident. The good guys might not be so good.

The central question of the final episode was, real or not real? Who can be believed? Are heroes really heroes or are they just created by public relations propaganda specialists? When an icon used to inspire a revolution has served their purpose, will the “good guys” purposefully sacrifice them for the good of the establishment? Can any government be trusted? Can any politician be trusted? Can the media be trusted?

The truth is that no one in a position of power can be trusted. The only people who can be trusted are family and friends. And even they can turn on you with enough monetary incentive. It’s a confusing, brutal world driven by greed, endless military conflict, religious zealotry, and controlled by shadowy unelected men using their ill-gotten wealth to pull the strings on all aspects of society. We are living in a dystopian nightmare where the masses have been induced to love their enslavement.

Katniss undergoes a metamorphosis after seeing her sister blown up while rushing to the aid of victims and later confronting President Snow after the rebels succeeded in overthrowing his regime. President Coin, the leader of the “good guys”, reveals herself to be even more duplicitous and evil than the leader of the “bad guys”. She used the deep-seated characteristic of human compassion to kill Katniss’ sister along with hundreds of children and rescue workers as a tactic to turn the war in her favor. Those in positions of power will use any means necessary to gain or maintain power.

When Coin proposes a last Hunger Games sacrificing the children of the previous regime’s leadership, Katniss realizes Coin is going to just replace Snow as a dictator, perpetuating the despotic policies which created the rebellion in the first place. Katniss rightly decides that killing innocents, and especially children, is never justifiable. Therefore, she decides to kill Coin, while the rioting crowds kill Snow. She sacrifices her status as a national hero in order to give her country a chance to regain its former glory as a republic. The personal sacrifice on behalf of her country is almost unbearable, but ultimately sacrifice, courage, love, strength and hope for a better future are able to sustain her during the dark days.

Turnkey Tyranny

As the former Republic known as America has descended towards the tyranny of a corporate fascist surveillance state, there have been two true patriots who have dedicated their lives to inspiring a revolution in thought and action to help this country regain its former glory based on the U.S. Constitution. One patriot is young and the other patriot old, but their message is the same – we must resist and oppose the ever growing oppressive power of a tyrannical state systematically dismantling the Constitution and stripping the people of liberty and freedom. Their words speak for themselves.

“The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. People won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things… And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse. The NSA will say that… because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.” – Edward Snowden

“The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.” – Ron Paul

Edward Snowden is our modern day Paul Revere, but instead of riding across the countryside warning “the British are coming”, he used the power of modern technology to warn the world “the NSA is watching, listening, and monitoring”. He sacrificed his citizenship, high paying job, freedom, and possibly his life (if the U.S. government had its way) in order to blow the whistle on the blatant destruction and disregard for the Fourth Amendment being perpetrated by the NSA, with the full knowledge and approval of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government.

He knew his revelations would result in his persecution, attempted apprehension and ultimate imprisonment, as the corrupt malevolent establishment and their mass media mouthpieces would brand him a traitor for revealing the truth about the illegal malfeasance being conducted at the highest levels of government. He realized true patriotism is sacrificing your life for something bigger.

“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act. I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.” – Edward Snowden

Snowden’s revelations exposed the U.S. government for what it really is, a corporate fascist organization designed to benefit a chosen few while oppressing the masses through debt, currency debasement, and perpetual war, while implementing Orwellian surveillance measures designed to capture dissenters and critical thinkers. The sustenance of the welfare/warfare state requires a dumbed down, passive, distracted populace who can be manipulated and controlled through propaganda and baubles.

Thus far, the vested interests have successfully convinced more than half the population that Snowden is a traitor. The power of propaganda in conjunction with a willfully ignorant public is a potent combination. Even though Snowden’s disclosures have not spurred a revolution yet, they have sparked an underlying dissent that has been growing, as trust in government, politicians, bankers, media and corporate leaders wanes.

“I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly buildingI do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.” – Edward Snowden

Snowden worked within the system until his conscience made it unbearable for him to support an immoral, rogue organization bent on trashing the U.S. Constitution at the behest of leaders’ intent on retaining their power, control and wealth through any means necessary. Ron Paul has taken a different, but equally noble path as one of the few patriots who worked within the system, but never became corrupted by the system. He has been a voice in the wilderness for decades, condemning the relentless march towards tyranny that he saw firsthand while in Congress.

The establishment, media and leadership of both political parties have scorned and ridiculed him as ineffective and inconsequential. There was never a piece of legislation with his name on it that passed during his time in Congress. His nickname was Dr. No, as he voted against anything that added to the national debt or took away freedoms or liberties.

This disparagement reveals the fallacy of what constitutes success in Washington D.C., as there are now over 5,000 Federal laws, 180,000 pages of Federal regulations, $18.8 trillion of Federal debt, $200 trillion of unfunded Federal liabilities, and every politician of both parties completely captured by corporate and special interests. There is one ruling party and the appearance of choice is nothing but a farce designed to make the masses think they have a say in the governance of their country.

“We’ve slipped away from a true republicNow we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government, big business and authoritarian rule, and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen. When it comes to any significant differences on foreign policy, economic intervention, the Federal Reserve, a strong executive branch, a welfarism mixed with corporatism, both parties are very much alike.  The major arguments in hotly contested presidential races are mostly for public consumption to convince the people they actually have a choice.” – Ron Paul

The vitriol and bile hoisted upon Snowden and Paul expose the weakness of the ruling class, as truth, honesty, personal courage, and sacrifice for a higher purpose are attributes they cannot subvert or buy off. It’s the words and actions of men like Edward Snowden and Ron Paul that provide hope for critical thinking liberty minded citizens. The ruling class knows a lot of hope is dangerous, so they must undermine the messages of these patriots. Ideas matter. Words matter.

These two men have inspired me and an unknown number of other citizens who still believe in the Constitution and will do everything in our power to provoke a revolution of reason, truth and honesty. The odds will never be in our favor. Carroll Quigley understood the odds were stacked against the American people over 50 years ago. The domination of the world by central bankers representing private interests has never been more evident than it has since the Federal Reserve created 2008 financial crisis and the traitorous actions taken by politicians and central bankers in the last seven years.

“The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank… sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.” – Carroll Quigley

Even though the odds are never in our favor, there is still hope. Not everyone has to make the extreme sacrifice like Edward Snowden or dedicate their life to the message of liberty like Ron Paul in order to contribute to the revolution. There are thousands of small acts which will weaken the establishment. Arm yourself. Stop watching and listening to the mainstream media. Take your money out of Wall Street banks. Grow your own food. Barter with others and starve the beast. Reduce your tax footprint. Buy locally and boycott mega-corporations. Build relationships with neighbors and reduce your dependency on the government.

Don’t be a slave to debt. Live beneath your means and accumulate some physical silver and gold. Don’t vote for candidates selected by the vested interests. Spread the message of liberty and freedom to anyone who will listen. Support the alternative media and send pertinent articles to family, friends and acquaintances. Think critically. Do not trust your government. Prepare for the inevitable collapse of this rotten, fetid, corrupt paradigm. Hope, love, courage, and persistence will ultimately win. The tide is turning. Panem will fall. What replaces the existing social order will be up to us.


That left me hungering for more of the "Hunger Games."

Here come the credits:

"Is it over yet? Star Wars: The Force Awakens - A Movie Review

Separated at birth?

Star Wars Supreme Leader of The First Order - "Snoke"


Lord Jacob Rothschild
a British investment banker and a member of the prominent Rothschild family

Lord Rothschild has warned about the dark cloud on the horizon for the global economy, characterizing the geopolitical situation as the most dangerous since the end of World War II."We are confronted by a geopolitical situation perhaps as dangerous as any we have faced since World War II: chaos and extremism in the Middle East, Russian aggression and expansion, and a weakened Europe threatened by horrendous unemployment, in no small measure caused by a failure to tackle structural reforms in many of the countries which form part of the European Union," wrote Jacob Rothschild, a British investment banker and a member of the prominent Rothschild family, in an annual Strategic Report of RIT Capital Partners plc (RIT).

Yesterday, Christmas Day, we performed our somewhat unusual family holiday ritual...we went to the movies.  This is what we do every Christmas Day while the turkey's get out of the house and have a break from in-your-face family time...which is nice enough but in small doses : ) We must not be the only family with this ritual...because the movie house was packed.  It was the first movie I'd seen all year. We chose the new Star Wars movie..."Star Wars:  The Force Awakens".  Our adult son had already seen it but chose to go again....What a beggar for punishment--I thought!  

Don't worry...there won't be any spoilers in this movie review.  I didn't understand over 50% of the plot (a frenetic series of huge explosions and spaceship chases)...the other 50% being arch-stereotypes...of good/guy bad/guy movies in general...and Star Wars Movies in particular...all duct-taped together by a very poor script.

My son said there were many nuances that I did not get because I don't watch mainstream TV. Apparently one of the arch-villains has an annoying New Yawk accent...reminiscent of another role he played in a HBO series called "Girls".  Not having seen this actor or that series...this "nuance" was lost on me. Instead, I focused on a couple of actors who I hadn't seen in years....Harrison Ford (as Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (as Princess Leia).  I noted that Harrison is still quite physically agile for being 72 and still a fairly good actor for action roles. I thought about that small plane crash he'd been in while shooting the movie. This used up about 15 minutes. Carrie Fisher is, unfortunately, still a horrible actress...but my mind wandered back to her other artistic endeavour as an author of a 70's best seller, "Postcards From the Edge'.  I loved that book (about a young woman going through rehab).  Now, I mused whether she had actually written the book, or whether it had been, like Obama's books..."Ghostwritten".  These thoughts took me through about an hour of several huge explosions and car...I mean spaceship...chases.

Then my mind examined all the racial stereotypes that abound in the movie.  I thought about the choice of a black unknown (to me anyway) actor for the role of "Kim" ..."star trooper" turned good guy "resistance' fighter. This actor, IMO, was a poor choice for the role. Not that they shouldn't have chosen a black actor...but this guy looked out of he'd eaten too many Doritos. He was also a lackluster actor. The female lead ("Rae") was a modicum better in her role as resistance/ace spaceship pilot...She and Kim were supposed to be attracted to one another...I did not buy it. Which led me to.....

The reason why I don't go to movies anymore is...for a movie to be worth seeing, you have to buy into the characters and care for them as people.  Hollywood stopped making those kinds of characters decades ago.  The last two characters I cared for in a movie...were the horse and the wolf in "Dances With Wolves".

Not only did I not care for any of the characters in this latest Star Wars movie...I actually disliked all of them.  I was hoping they would all reach an early then I could leave the theatre. Each explosion and space vehicle chase I hoped would be the last.  In utter boredom...I started to look for Zzzzzionist clues in the scenes and actors.  I saw the requisite Space Bar Room scene...which looked the same as the a not-too-subtle slap at the Arabic culture.  All the gargoyles and monsters looked like how Zionist Israelis must perceive their Arabic neighbours....but no Jabba the Hut.  Sorry...was that a spoiler? The dashing, young, handsome male  jet pilot at the beginning of the movie had a distinct Jewish advertisement for the Israeli air force? The arch evil "Snoke":

To snort cocaine. A combination of the words snort and coke.

You wanna snoke a few lines?

.....looked like a dead ringer for Lord Jacob shown above...but wait...he's evil. It doesn't work. While viewing the arch villain Snoke.... I wondered whether his name was an insider joke directed at Carrie Fisher--and her legendary cocaine habit....Oh, stop it! Finally! The movie was over.....and I escaped into the fresh air of the cool Christmas Evening...albeit with a slight headache from the 3D glasses...which I had absent-mindedly stuffed into my purse. Well...that's it...for another year.


SPOILER ALERT: Just speculating; however, I suspect Snoke is Emperor Palpatine. Vader tossed him into that cavern and we saw some destructive energy is all. Furthermore, I think the Rae character is the daughter of Han and Leia, and will need to fight her brother (the current masked bad guy) at some point.

As for the film itself, I thought it was okay. It did have an Episode IV feel to it with the light plot and actions scenes. The only problem was the repetitive themes in the plot, e.g. the droid with a map and another death star. It ended predictably enough and set the groundwork for the next installment.


Answer to trivia question: "Did you hear that?" C3PO to R2D2. 

Now go see if I'm right.

Meanwhile, it's time for a nap.


"The snowy frontier saga ‘‘The Revenant’’ fared best at a blizzard-ravaged box office with an estimated $16 million in its third week of wide release. ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’’ came in second with $14.3 million. Last week’s top film, the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy ‘‘Ride Along 2,’’ slid to third with $13 million." 

Big Short going to get short shrift, huh? 

And they aren't even black.

Maybe the snoking is making them see nothing but white.