Monday, June 21, 2004

May the Farce Be With You!

Recently, I had the misfortune of suffering through the Lord of the Rings trilogy which endlessly played on for what seemed like a billion hours. Nobody forced me, it was a complete sadomasochistic act on my part in some bizarre subconscious effort to inflict due penitence on my psyche for some unknown sins that I’ve undoubtedly commited. I knew from the onstart that I wasn’t going to enjoy it, much less be able to stay awake, and yet I rented it anyway. I believe that I fell victim to the mighty media hype and vast advertising juggernaught that accompanied it’s release as easily as an 8 year old child being brainwashed into bugging their parents into buying another bag of “Double Stuff” Oreo cookie’s after seeing the television advert about a zillion times in succession while watching Sesame Street.

In a nutshell ~ it sucked. It was more confusing than the Matrix trilogy and more boring than the Jim J. Bullock Biography. I’d rather have spent the time more productively by giving my grandmother a cist bath. My poor brain almost collapsed in on itself like a neutron star after trying to simply keep up with the stories plotline and keep track of all the different kingdoms and characters which was ultimately like trying to memorize the Croatian telephone book. But I have fallen for and suffered through this very kind of predicament before. And it is my oppinion that the only kind of person that could possibly enjoy these kinds of fantastical voyage style movies would be the kind of uber-geek that would spend any significant amount of time debating whether Captain Picard could ever manage to defeat Captain Kirk in a wrestling match pitted inside a ring filled with creamed corn and wacking off to centerfold pictures of Seven-of-Nine. Inevitably, someone who doesn't get laid much.

I have been living life through rose tinted glasses and have been turning a blind eye to these latest impending commercial phenomenons that seem to be always poised over us, ready to strike with all the explosive fury and unpleasantness of a gargantuan 3 billion year old Brontosaurus pussy fart. I can’t deny their existence any further, and I have since begun to brace myself for any inevitable unwelcomefuture intrusions into my ordinarily quiet and humble life. As a matter of fact, any further resistance at this juncture in time against the latest Sci-fi cinema release would be pointless and futile, as it is the intention of the mighty Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and co. to have it permanently ingrained into the very DNA makeup of each and every one of us, so that it becomes our civic duty as members of the human race and as occupiers of the planet Earth, to automatocally view whatever latest cinematic installment of sci-fi or fantasy series they next release, no fewer than 3 dozen times! Thereby regaining the mass influx of capital to pay back for the equally expensive brainwashing marketing campaign it took to generate this amount of foolish expenditure in the first place. “’Do’, or ‘Do Not’. There is no ‘Try’”, my ass!

It should have became all too clear one afternoon last year while strolling through the mall, when I was by chance humored to witness the poor helpless lady councilors at the booth for the “Women’s Crisis Center” being pinned down like Lt. Col. Custer’s troops at the Battle of Little Big Horn, surrounded by the crazed tribes of ‘Super Geeks’, all decked out in their full Star Wars official battle regalia at the “Young Jedi’s of Niagara” booth next to them in celebration of the latest “Phantom Menace” release. You have not lived until you have seen a host of ‘wookies’, ‘droids’ and ‘storm troopers’, all excitedly buzzing about the benefits and superior craftsmanship of one plastic lightsaber over another type of plastic lightsaber. Even more surreal than the fact that the young Jedi’s were obviously quite proud of their decoratively braided Jedi mullets (and you can call it whatever you like, but it’s STILL a mullet!), was the spooky realization that I haven’t seen so many pairs of desert boots in the same place since the great Hall & Oates ‘Man-Eater Tour’ of 1983!

Now don’t get me wrong, when the original Star Wars epic hit the cinemas back in 1977, I too was caught up in the incredible mass media hoopla that accompanied this latest Hollywood summer blockbuster. Hell, I was too young to understand “Roots” back then, and I hadn’t known any other Elvis but “Fat Elvis”. Nor was I a particular fan of Debbie Boone’s Billboard classic ‘You Light Up My Life”. So yeah, compared to what else was prevalent in that day and age, Star Wars had the full impact of a gaseous Bantha burp after an evening’s feast of ‘Spicy Jawa’. From then on, that year was dedicated to the collecting of every Star Wars collectable imaginable; from the actual scaled ‘Millennium Falcon’, ‘X-Wing’ and ‘Tye Fighter’ spaceships, to every ‘Swivel Arm Battle Grip’ action figurine that came down the pipe. Which to my parent’s dismay, never seemed to end with the constant and steady influx of available characters, critters, and “Some Assembly Required” playsets, that would require the equivalent of a Masters degree in Engineering to piece together correctly. You could even say I was even a wee bit fanatical; much in the same sense that I am fanatical about my vintage 70’s stag films now. But then, as happened with most kids my age, I turned 6 years of age and outgrew my Star Wars fascination with fantasy; albeit, my fascination for combat toys didn’t end there, it just gravitated from a galaxy far far away to a little closer to home, in the form of G.I. Joe. What can I say?

And fortunately, that’s where my fascination with the whole initial Star Wars Trilogy and its massive assortment of aliens and interplanetary warriors ended. Now, the whole Star Wars phenomenon simply amazes, amuses, and disturbs me much like the recent Lord of the Rings phenomenon. I think it was my inability as an aging child to sufficiently suspend my disbelief in watching Ewoks that closer resembled pairs of fuzzy novelty slippers, or the fact that Han Solo could really understand what the hell Chewie was barking and groaning about all the time. In fact, now that I think about it, the whole cast of characters from the Star Wars episodes would read like an evenings roll call at a Bangkok brothel. And for the Lord of the Rings, how concentrated can you be over hobbits when to my mind the only creditable theatrical rolls suited for “little people” would be to dress up in ridiculous clown outfits and dance and sing for the sake of comic relief. Everytime a scene played out on the screen in front of my eyes involving Frodo, I found myself hoping for him to strip down into a striped jumpsuit and begin singing Oompa-Loompa ditties.

For some, the Star Wars series offered an escape from earth as we know it, and a chance to loose themselves to the possibility of an all-powerful and governing “Force” in nature (or at least something that would be best served today in any big city with bright lights in the desert), or of course, in the burned image of Carrie Fisher in skimpy dancing girl threads while chained to her master and captor (a vision that most boys of my generation will have etched somewhere in their deepest and most depraved of primal fantasies). Or as in the Lord of the Rings, to excitedly cheer on the forces of good against the forces of evil as represented by the legions of Orc soldiers that are on par in ugliness as any String Cheese Incident audience that I have ever witnessed at one of their concerts. But for me, it was just a movie that happened to spark my interest at the time, and unfortunately I grew up and developed other interests in cowboys, gangsters, and low budget underground snuff films.

Now, that’s not to suggest that I don’t understand the reiterated interest with the newest released epic ‘Star Wars: Episode II ~ Attack of the Clones’, but I’m just not sure I understand the devoted fanaticism of it’s fans. Even “Parrotheads” laugh at their own absurdity when they go to Jimmy Buffet concerts, but have you ever seen how worked up a Sci-fi Nerd will get if you were to actually challenge his drug-addled crackpot theories on the evolutional development of the Hoth ‘Taun-Taun’ for domestic purpose? He is liable to beat you within an inch of your life with his authenticated to scale, plastic Tuskan Raider ‘Gaffe Stick’. I don’t think I understand what would make a grown adult suddenly forget the good and wholesome mores that he was brought up on, and suddenly adopt and dedicate his life to the philosophical preaching’s of a pint-sized green puppet in burlap that kinda resembled Mahatma Ghandi, had he stayed out in the desert any longer. It’s FICTION, you dumbass! I mean I dig the groovy hi-tech graphics and complete surround sound as much as the next guy; but lets face it, it’s still fucking muppets being played out over a computer generated backdrop! It’s not Shakespeare, for Christ sakes!

For all the expectations and rumoring buzz that was been bestowed upon the latest episode in the on-going Star Wars story, as with the Lord of the Rings, I would expect to see more than just the usual scanty storyline of ‘boy meets master, master teaches boy, boy carves up master with futuristic weapon of destruction’. I will need to see more than that to sustain and validate my interest, and make me not regret spending the equivalent of a week’s grocery bill on a movie ticket in the endI want to see THEATRE! You can use the puppets still if you like, but lets have them performing show tunes in a chorus line for our amusement, rather than plotting interplanetary conquests. Lets give them credible storylines, and have them act out Vaudeville-style performances with REAL merit and artistic sustenance! Think of the possibilities!! Jar Jar Binks and Queen Amidala portray forbidden lovers in the romantic and heart-warming ‘Gungan Fever’, or how about Salacious B. Crumb as the tough veteran cop and R2-D2 as the maverick renegade, as they team together to bring down the world of crime on Tatooine in the explosive new thriller, ‘Lethal Props’! Maybe Jabba the Hut, Yoda, and Greedo unite and star together in the futuristic remake of the old classic Marx Bros film “Animal Crackers”? How about ‘Troopers’, a weekly reality based television show devoted to following around Imperial Storm Troopers on their assigned Imperial duties and planetary rounds, busting drunken cantina toss outs for disturbing the peace, and arresting teenage Jawa hookers and strung out Wookie junkies in the alleyways of Mos Eisley?

And just think of the possibilities in regards to Princess Leia and that dancing slave girl slave outfit now that you’re old enough to REALLY flex those kinky fantasy thoughts!!


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