star what’s

when are they making another grease?

It is time for me to make a confession.

I’m not a Star Wars fanatic.  I don’t even care.  It’s not as bad as some, I mean, I was walking down the hall at work (remember I work in computers) and I heard a woman say, “What’s this movie coming out that everyone’s talking about?  ‘The Phantom?’”  I mean, I don’t live under a rock.

But I haven’t even seen all of the holy trinity.

I saw Star Wars in a drive-in movie theatre when I was a wee lass.  I don’t remember it.  I don’t remember if I liked it, I don’t remember any of it.  And then I never saw any of the others.

Until I was nineteen, and my boyfriend at the time thought it was a travesty that I didn’t remember Star Wars.  He sat me down and I watched it.  Then the re-release of The Empire Strikes Back came out, so I saw that film for the first time in a movie theatre.  I still haven’t seen Return of the Jedi.  I have, however, seen Spaceballs about nineteen times.

I have been called Un-American.  I have been told I had a terrible childhood devoid of all possible happiness.  I’ve been told that I should at least, as a human, take it upon myself to see these films.

And so, with the Phantom Menace hype, I’ve been sort of outside looking in. We had a Phantom Menace sketch a few months ago that I had to direct.  I didn’t know what any of the jokes were, so I had to ask everyone else if it was funny.  We get Star Wars references in our improv shows all the time.  I’m dreading next week, when I know they will be everywhere.  I realize the hypocrisy of having the Chasing Amy graphic on my page when I do not share Kevin Smith’s love of the Lucas films.

I don’t even know what Billy Dee Williams’ name is in the film.  Or is he in more than one? I don’t know.  Is he Darth Moll?  What’s all this Tarkin/ Grand Moll stuff?  I don’t know.  I don’t know any of it.  I know Frank Oz was Yoda.  I know Carrie Fisher was Leia, and thanks to a “Friends” episode, I know she wore something skimpy as a hostage in the Jedi film.  I know most of my references from other people, just as I knew all of the words to The Breakfast Club before I saw it when I was eighteen.  My parents wouldn’t let me watch it as a kid, so I didn’t get to see it for myself until I rented it.

The omission of that film from my childhood, I believe, has been the greater travesty.

There’s a huge deal going on about the amount of people in the computer industry that are going to take a sick day next week to go and see this film.  Some companies have declared it a holiday.

I think that since I didn’t see it when it first came out, I never really appreciated the film for what it was.  I also think that by the time I saw Empire I had heard “I am your father” sixteen thousand times from other people.  The thrill was gone.  It was like reading a history book.  I knew it was important before, but I had a hard time finding the energy to get myself excited.

I remember C-3PO.  That’s all I remember about seeing the film as a kid.  I remember wanting a C-3PO for a pet.  Now I have two Tamagotchis.

So, for those of you who haven’t been reading Squishy because you’ve been sitting in front of a Cinemark for the past six days for tickets– welcome back, and congratulations.  I hope the film meets all of your expectations.

I do remember the last time I bought into film hype.  Batman Returns.  I worked at a movie theatre at the time, and we helped carry the can in to the projectionist’s booth and watched him build the film, telling him to “pleeeeeease be careful.”  We stayed and helped the managers do inventory.  We cleaned that place top to bottom.  At four in the morning they were finally ready to roll the film.  We grabbed the huge bag of leftover popcorn and dragged it to center aisle in the best screening room we had.  We were giddy.  We were tired.  But dammit, we were seeing Danny DeVito as a penguin.  We wanted to meow at Michelle.

We ended up throwing popcorn at the screen and cursing out the guy who had convinced us all that this film was going to change our lives.  I laughed so hard at the tiny penguins running around trying to be menacing that people thought someone told me a good joke and wanted me to share with the others.  It was worse than the time a  month before when we all stayed at work until five in the morning to watch The Firm.  My friend Liat had feverishly read the book two days before the screening so she would have read it before she saw it.  She was screaming at the screen, “Why did I bother reading this book?  You aren’t doing the GODDAM BOOK!  I HAVEN’T SLEPT IN THREE DAYS FOR THIS?”  And the music in the Firm sounds like it was done by the Addams Family composer.  Listen next time you watch the film.  You can do the double snaps when Tom is running around with his briefcase.

Not that I’m comparing this film to The Firm or Batman Returns.  I understand this is much more important.  I understand why it is the best selling movie of all time (I still consider it to be.  If ticket prices weren’t so damn high these days, Titanic would never have broken that record).  I understand that this event is bigger than I can imagine.

I just want to know why.

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