I was out to dinner last week with a friend and I can’t remember how it came up, but he mentioned that he didn’t like “Star Wars.”
Now, there actually wasn’t that needle-scratching-the-record sound effect and then awkward silence, but it would have been wholly appropriate if there had been.
How do you not like “Star Wars?”
Now, since this individual is a businessman and has to make a living, I will not divulge his identity to save him from the vicious backlash he would receive were his radical views made public. I am also saving the poor backs of letter carriers from having to schlep heavy sacks of hate mail (some of it written in Ewokese).
As it happens, I have experienced this odd phenomenon before. Daily Republic columnist Brad Stanhope wrote a piece in 2011 where he asserted that “Star Wars” was . . . (gasp!) . . . overrated.
I Googled Brad’s column for reference, but all that came up was my clever rebuttal column that ran a week later. In it, I recalled how Jabba the Hutt dressed Brad up in Princess Leia’s slave girl costume – neck chain and all.
Since I couldn’t find the digital copy of Brad’s column, I looked for the analog one. I have found over the years that Stanhope’s columns work best for lining my birdcage (not Brandy Stanhope, Brad’s dog that fills in for him periodically, she’s great). I searched for Brad’s column in the birdcage, but three years worth of emu droppings made it an impossible task.
I can only think of one other person who doesn’t like “Star Wars.” When I found out, it broke my heart. I was a huge fan of the band Queen until they released the album “Jazz” in late 1978. It featured the song “Bicycle Race,” where lead singer Freddie Mercury sang: “‘Jaws’ was never my scene and I don’t like ‘Star Wars.’ ” I then had a record-burning party rivaling the ones that took place when John Lennon said The Beatles were bigger than Jesus.
Look, I am well aware that my love of “Star Wars” is partly because I have slathered delicious heaping globs of sweet buttery nostalgia on top of my memories of when the original movie came out in 1977 when I was 13. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome.
That word – awesome – is tossed around a lot, but in this case, it is accurate. When I saw a preview of the film on TV, I was truly struck with awe. I remember standing in a line that snaked around the block at the old Fairfield Cinema I theater downtown. I remember not even wanting to blink during the movie for fear of missing something.
At the dinner where I uncovered my friend’s misguided disdain for director George Lucas’ classic films, I asked him why. He started talking about the “Star Wars” Prequels – Episodes I through III. Cue that needle-scratching-the-record sound effect again.
While I have learned to like those movies, they pale in comparison to the original three – “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
When “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” was about to be released in 1999, I was beyond excited. My excitement was ratcheted up to near-frenzy when a friend gave me tickets to see an advance screening. Charlie Bucket could not have been happier when he found Willy Wonka’s last Golden Ticket.
At the theater, I and the rest of the audience cheered and applauded with joyous abandon when the familiar opening sequence began featuring the 20th Century Fox Fanfare and John Williams’ majestic, explosive theme. I was near tears with glee.
Then the actual movie started.
One great thing about that movie is that it gave me a great euphemism to use when road raging instead of actual profanity. “Hey, Jar Jar Binks you, too, buddy!”
By the third movie, I warmed up to the Prequels, but still don’t understand why R2D2 had super powers in the third movie that he didn’t seem to have in the fourth. And please, Mr./Mrs. Star Wars Geekier Than Me, don’t bother explaining it.
Although . . . I could use some pointers on how to force-choke future naysayers. . .
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.