STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI: The spoiler-free #review

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I begin so many of my reviews this way, but I think it’s important enough that I keep repeating it: I tend to get caught up in my own head when I really like something or when I really hate it, and it’s generally good for me to give myself a few days to think about something before expressing an opinion on it.  This is me three hours out of the theater.  When I write the spoiler review, which I’ll try to get done Sunday but could be any time after today, my opinions may be somewhat different.   Most of y’all know this about me.  The rest of you: FYI.

(And, for the record, The Force Awakens has only sunk in my estimation since seeing it, and Rogue One may be my favorite Star Wars movie.)

This is, of course, the spoiler-free version.  I will spoil every last plot point in the next review.

Here are the three worst things about The Last Jedi:

  • Rian Johnson is not directing Episode Nine;
  • There is not a trailer for the Han Solo movie before it;
  • About five seconds of dodgy CGI involving Leia, but not the kind of dodgy Leia CGI from the end of Rogue One.  Different dodgy CGI.

I walked out of TFA generally pleased with it but with a list of what at the time I thought were minor complaints.  I am, right now, hard pressed to come up with a single substantive whine about TLJ other than the aforementioned five seconds of dodgy CGI.  I struggled very hard to avoid using the word “perfect” in the car on the way home, and then failed and did it anyway.

I fucking loved this movie.  Loved every fucking second of it.  Loved things about it that at the moment I cannot explain why I loved, since some of the things I loved about this movie were things I hated about TFA.

I want Mark Hamill– Mark fucking Hamill— nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.  One of the things I will still praise unto death from TFA is the quality of the performances.  Mark’s performance in this movie makes them all look like amateurs.  He’s amazing.

Every last moment of TFA was telegraphed and expected.  The movie was more or less a point-by-point remake of A New Hope.  This movie took me by surprise on at least half a dozen different occasions.  Not a damn thing went like I thought it was going to.  That line from Luke in the trailer, where he says “This is not going to go the way you think”?  He’s talking to the audience.  I have, right now, no idea where Episode IX is going to go.  None.

So, yeah.  Right now: absolutely goddamned brilliant, and you should be running-not-walking to theaters to see this movie.  I hope I still feel the same way in a couple of days.

(Oh, one more thing: not one second of useless, stupid fanservice, unlike a solid 20% of TFA and several of the worst moments of R1.  Which may be my favorite thing about the movie.)

(One more thing– a very minor spoiler: neither Greg Grunberg nor his stupid Greg Grunberg face appear in this movie!  Which is wonderful!)

Internet blackout

I’ve been trying as best I can to stay away from the computer for the last couple of days on account of a Star War happening in the very near future, a Star War that I would prefer to go into knowing nothing about.  You may recall my review of The Force Awakens; yes, you can expect a similarly exhaustive post about Last Jedi once I’ve had a chance to digest it.

In the meantime, appreciate this fucking tour de force from Black Thought, who is an insane magical marvel of lyricism and breath control. This man apparently takes in oxygen through his skin:

In which I contain multitudes

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I have always been very ambivalent about Santa Claus.  Hell, as a non-Christian I’m ambivalent enough about Christmas, so the idea that I’m compounding celebrating a holiday that’s supposed to be about the birth of a divine being who I don’t believe in with lying to my kid about a white dude who drops presents down the chimney just hasn’t ever sat well with me.  I don’t like lying to my son– and yes, I think telling your kids about Santa is lying to them, unless you also want to explain why Santa seems to like wealthy white kids more than everybody else.  But I’m not so opposed to the idea of Santa Claus that I’m stomping on it, so to speak.  The position my wife and I have evolved over the years is that we simply don’t talk about Santa.  My mom can tell the boy whatever she likes; he can absorb whatever messages about Santa he wants from the wider culture.  Hell, I’ll even read A Visit from St. Nicholas to him on Christmas Eve if he wants, like my parents used to do with me.  I let him read Captain Underpants and don’t make a big stink about him not being real; why should Santa be any different?  My policy has simply been to neither confirm nor deny, and I don’t write “from Santa” on presents that we bought him– the “from” tag on all his presents is just left blank.  He hasn’t seemed to notice that Santa seems to think he lives at his Grandma’s house.  And we’ve never done the “go to the mall and sit on Santa’s lap” thing either.  Which, honestly, as I’m typing this, I gotta admit I regret just a little bit.

So last week he told my wife that one of the kids in his class was telling everyone that Santa wasn’t real.  My wife, caught by surprise, fell back on our usual “What do you think?” shtick and eventually he dropped it, or so we thought.  This morning, as we were getting in the car to go to school, he ambushed me with the same question, and seemed frustrated that I reacted the same way.  He is 6, and in kindergarten, just so you can properly contextualize this if you’d like.

And then he said something that really caught me by surprise, which was that he thought that this other kid was “ruining Christmas” and “taking all the fun out of everything” by telling the other kids that Santa wasn’t real.  I pushed back on this as gently as I could– if Santa wasn’t real, does that mean that the tree and the lights and the presents and the cookies and the family stuff weren’t fun anymore?  Surely the fat white guy isn’t the most important part, right?  He didn’t answer, but I could see him thinking about it.

And then my reaction surprised me, because I found myself more than a little bit pissed at this kid, and by extension this kid’s parents.  I think the family in question is at least nominally Muslim, as I’m pretty sure they’re ethnically Pakistani, but at any rate they’re from that area (the boy may or may not have been born here; I’m certain the parents weren’t) and while in general they’ve struck me as more or less secular people they’re definitely from an area where Christianity isn’t the majority religion.  So, okay, your kid got raised with no Santa.  You told him the truth.  Cool.  But maybe you go ahead and make sure your kid knows that showing everyone else the light isn’t so much the way to go?  My son is friends with this kid, and he’s visibly upset with him for, again, “ruining Christmas.”  And if my son decides that the boy is right about that, then I’m going to have a talk with him about not screwing the shit up for the other kids.

And I gotta admit, I’m thisclose to dropping an email to either my kid’s teacher or this other family (our school makes sure everyone has everyone else’s emails) and in the most polite way I can manage to phrase it suggesting that they tell this other kid to knock it off.

That’s probably in utter contradiction to everything in the first couple of paragraphs.  Do I care?  I dunno.  I care enough that I wrote this to try and hash it out in my head, and I probably need to be talked out of contacting any of the other adults involved– which, again, I promise I’d do politely.

“Eventually ruining Christmas for him was my job, dammit” is not the most persuasive line of argument, after all.

Blech.  Parenting is stupid.

STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I’m a writer and an editor.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’ve written several books you might be interested in, ranging from short story collections to near-future science fiction to fantasy space opera to nonfiction, all available as ebooks or in print from Amazon.  Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

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