Advertisements

Category Archives: Star Wars

Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: American Graffiti


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Funny how powerful nostalgia can be, even when it’s not for something that’s directly your own. In the case of George Lucas’ 1973 film American Graffiti, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the characters themselves are pretty darned sentimental to begin with. Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard) are recent high school graduates on their last night at home before they’re supposed to fly away to college and the film as a whole serves as an inspection of transitions personally and societally. Set in 1962, this is a movie full of people who have not yet heard of The Beatles and are still playing out the routines and styles that had been established in the late 1950s. Enough so, that if you ask a bunch of people who haven’t seen the movie for a while, they probably think it’s set earlier than it is. Let’s investigate the unique sentimentality and nostalgia of a movie that was actually pretty revolutionary for its time.
Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Readers Rank the Star Wars Movies


Last week, in celebration of National Star Wars Day, I ranked the Star Wars franchise from worst to first.  As much as I might like to, I don’t get the final say on this or much of anything else.  So I asked you guys to share your rankings.  For the most part, we agreed more than we disagreed.  People generally picked the original movies as their favorites and since George Lucas apparently doesn’t read the blog (yet) no one selected one of the prequels as their favorite movie in the series.  It’s time to see how readers ranked the Star Wars movies.

Read the rest of this entry

Worst to First: Ranking the Star Wars Movies


Happy Star Wars Day, everyone!  To celebrate May 4th (“May the Fourth be with you”, get it?) I’m going to rank all eight of the live-action theatrical Star Wars films from Worst to First.  As usual, you’re invited to play along.  Reader rankings will be shared in a follow-up post.  I have a bad feeling about this, but let’s get to ranking.

Read the rest of this entry

15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Take My Breath Away”


Today’s example of a great Oscar-winning song comes from the era when cross-promotional use of songs from popular artists was perhaps at its peak in the movie/music business. Just take a look at the nominees and winners of the Oscar for Best Original Song starting in 1977 and stretching until the Disney renaissance took hold in 1989. What you’ve got here are songs meant to market the movie and at the same time maybe piggy back on a successful film for added exposure. Sure, this still happens every now and then (last year’s Bond song seems to fit this description), but the sheer dependability of top chart success for so many of the songs throughout my childhood and into my first year of college points to shifts in how the songs have been voted on.

Just about as successful as any song to ever win the award was the recording of the Giorgio Moroder tune “Take My Breath Away” by pop band Berlin for the Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun.
Read the rest of this entry

Starlog Archives: Artists of the Empire


These days, you can’t turn around without having Star Wars thrust in your face.  Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, we can all settle in for a steady stream of new Star Wars material until even the most ardent fan decides they have had enough.  But that wasn’t always the case.  After the completion of the original trilogy, Star Wars slowly slipped into near irrelevance.  In the nineties, the franchise slowly started to come back to life.

Following the success of Timothy Zahn’s novels, Shadows of the Empire was a multimedia project that included all the products one would associate with a new Star Wars movie except the actual film.  There was a video game, novels, comic books, toy lines and trading cards.  The Topps trading cards series featured art by acclaimed painters, Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.  In the Novemeber 1996 issue of Starlog magazine, the brothers discussed their role in the Star Wars event.

Read the rest of this entry

Starlog Archives: Is Star Wars Fandom Dead?


starwars-star-wars-1977-and-the-westgate-theater-rest-in-peace-jpeg-30058

Earlier this week, We looked at an interview with Sigourney Weaver from the August 1996 issue of Starlog magazine.  The cover prominently featured a picture of Weaver as Ellen Ripley from that summer’s sequel, Aliens.  But what caught readers’ eye was a blurb that seems unthinkable twenty years later.  Starlog magazine, a haven for sci fi geeks of the eighties, asked the question “Is Star Wars fandom dead?”

Twenty years later when a steady stream of new movies and merchandise are flooding the market, such a question seems absurd.  But a few years after Return of the Jedi was released, the franchise went dormant for a few years.  Here is a reminder of those dark days.

Read the rest of this entry

Starlog Archives: Disney’s Star Tours


Today’s Disney fans are waiting in anticipation for news on the upcoming Star Wars projects opening in Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  In 1987, Starlog Magazine published a two-part article covering the first Star Wars attraction, Star Tours.  Star tours opened that year in Anaheim and made its Orlando debut two years later.  In 2011, both simulator attractions were upgraded with 3-D and multiple scenes that are shown randomly.  Here’s a look at the first time Star Wars came to Disney.

Read the rest of this entry

How The Force Awakens Invalidates the Original Trilogy


Star Wars - Kylo Ren

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently breaking box office records.  For the most part, the movie has been embraced by fans and critics alike.  The most common complaint about the new movie is that it borrows heavily from the original films.  These similarities create another issue for the new movie.  It’s easy to feel like the events of the first three films didn’t really matter.

**Spoiler Warning: Plot points for The Force Awakens follow

Read the rest of this entry

Star Wars Heroes and Villains Bracket Game Winner!


Darth Vader

The Star Wars bracket game was set up to be heroes vs. villains.  In the end, the victory went to the Dark Side.  Darth Vader beat out his own daughter to win the title of Ultimate Star Wars Character.  He’s definitely one of the most iconic villains in movie history.

That brings this iteration of the bracket game to a close.  It will be back next year.  I will probably run two bracket games in January just as I did this year.  2015 started off with bracket games covering the movies of 1985 and 1995.  That set the tone for a lot of the articles that came out all year long.  I’m looking to do essentially the same thing with the years 1986 and 1996.

As always, thanks to everyone who played along with the Star Wars bracket game.  Things are going to be a bit hectic for the next few weeks.  Updates over the holidays will likely be a bit less frequent.  But rest assured Le Blog will be back in full force in the new year.  If I don’t see you before then, best wishes!

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoilers


The Force Awakens

I already posted my spoiler-free review of the latest Star Wars.  Now it’s time to discuss the movie in detail.  If you have already seen the movie or you don’t mind massive spoilers, read on.  If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens, come back when you have.  We’ll wait for you.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Han and Chewie - Star Wars Force Awakens

The long wait is finally over.  Star Wars Episode VII is open and the good news is that J.J. Abrams’ revival is better than George Lucas’ prequels.  The Force Awakens is similar to Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise.  The story is sloppy, but the action is fast-paced and the movie is fun enough that audiences probably won’t mind its short-comings.  I will keep my review spoiler-free so feel free to read on even if you have yet to see the movie.

Read the rest of this entry

Star Wars Heroes and Villains Bracket Game: Darth Vader Vs. Princess Leia


Vader Leia

There is a little movie coming out later this month.  You may have heard of it.  I think it’s called Star Wars.  At Le Blog, it’s important that we support obscure indie movies like this one.  As part of our build up to the Dec 18th release of The Force Awakens, we’re going to have a bracket game.  All of your favorite Star Wars heroes and villains from the original trilogy (and one or two from the prequels) face off to determine who is your favorite character from the series.

Read the rest of this entry

Star Wars Heroes and Villains Bracket Game: Darth Vader Vs. Jabba the Hutt


Vader Hutt

There is a little movie coming out later this month.  You may have heard of it.  I think it’s called Star Wars.  At Le Blog, it’s important that we support obscure indie movies like this one.  As part of our build up to the Dec 18th release of The Force Awakens, we’re going to have a bracket game.  All of your favorite Star Wars heroes and villains from the original trilogy (and one or two from the prequels) face off to determine who is your favorite character from the series.

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: