The Statue of Liberty and The Last Jedi
The thing I cannot wrap my mind around with men like Roy Moore and his ilk is their statements about loving our country but apparently not the majority of the people in it - in his case if you are a homosexual, a woman (especially one who wants to control her reproductive rights) and, apparently, a person who doesn’t want to be enslaved. I know I’m not the first person to bring this up, and will no doubt not be the last, but it says right there on the side of the Statue of Liberty who she lifts her lamp up to guide through the Golden Door. At no point does it specify the color of the skin, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, or religious beliefs of the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.
When John Boyega first appeared in the first teaser for Force Awakens, the internet trolls came out of the woodwork decrying the fact that a black actor was a stormtrooper, which is so comically stupid that I don’t even want to point out that at no point in the Star Wars movies have we been led to believe they were any specific race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, sex or gender since the Clone Wars. (I hope you’ve enjoyed this useless nerd-tutorial. If you want to hear about the references to the comic book Dark Empire hidden in Last Jedi, attend my free workshop starting spring 2018.)
So having seen Last Jedi now, I want to reiterate my position about the casting choices of the three Star Wars movies we’ve had: it has been the strength of the films. In the case of the new trilogy, Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley – they are all talented, charismatic and capable actors. People need to have heroes who they can imagine themselves looking through the eyes of in order to suspend disbelief. Diversity not only in art but in society as a whole makes us better. If you don’t believe me, take a look at your dinner plate and let me know all the ingredients that your ancestors exclusively discovered.
To be clear: I did not like Last Jedi. Among other things, I thought the script was a poor version of the Battlestar Galactica episode “33” only with wooden dialogue and/or over-the-top goofiness thrown in. I vehemently disagreed with the choices made for Luke’s motivation to be a hermit. I believed the movie wasted screen time on unnecessary subplots and abruptly resolved intriguing mysteries in a terribly unsatisfying way. And I took solace in the discrepancy between the critical and audience scores indicated on Rottentomatoes because they made me think I was not the only life-long fan to see that the film was like a variety show of Star Wars scenes that felt woven together at the last minute.
Of course, because we live in a nightmarish dystopia in which everything seems to be tainted by Nazis (or people who think they have some good ideas), I’ve come to read that the “Alt-right” has apparently been active in tanking the audience score as some protest against the fact that women make up the bulk of the heroes in the new film. So now I feel the perfunctory need to lay down the classic Seinfeld line, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” when I get a couple of cocktails in me and rants about Last Jedi.
So here’s what I’m going to do from now on: I’m going to give an impassioned speech about Rogue One, which I believe to not only be a fantastic Star Wars movie but also one of the best sci-fi action films of all time. Here goes…
You: “Hey, Dan, did you like the new Star Wars movie?”
Me: “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND IT HAD DONNIE YEN IN IT WRECKING FOOLS WITH A STICK AND DIEGO LUNA STRAIGHT UP WENT FULL ‘HAN SHOT FIRST’ ON SOME POOR SPY PATSY AND THEN ALAN TUDYK WAS A BADASS FUNNY ROBOT AND ALSO NAZ FROM THE NIGHT OF SAVES THE DAY AND THE BAD GUY FROM CASINO ROYALE TOTALLY DID THE DEATH STAR VENT WEAKNESS ON PURPOSE!! I give it an 11/10.”
Also, go see Shape of Water. I never thought I could love a movie about romancing the Swamp Thing so much but I did. Guillermo Del Toro is a national treasure. And if Michael Shannon doesn't get to play a NON-CG Sith lord at some point I'm moving to Mars.