The Pitfalls of Anal Sex
Normally, I'd be writing about something that tickled my fancy in the movie business, or perhaps some kind of eruditic insight into something Jaquandor might have written, but I stumbled upon a great little anecdote that made me laugh today. I highly endorse perusing the story of TuckerMax, Asshole's unfortunate adventure in buttfuckery. An inspired and foreboding post, indeed.


Missing Childhood
Jaquandor fails to list even three things he misses about his childhood. Although I wasn't 'tagged' to repeat this theme, his notes set me to thinking about just what did I miss about my childhood in Allegany, NY? (Aside to Google: It's St. Bonaventure, not Bobaventure!)

Top of the list may seem quite odd considering the publishing format, but I miss not having the internet and cable TV. That's right, I remember fondly the days when we didn't have the information superhighway and 100 channels at our disposal. This is not to say that I would ever give up my high-speed connection or want to go back to the world of 1982 -- the benefits of the internet are amazing. For instance, I have never ever liked to shop. I went clothes-shopping maybe once a year if I really really needed something. Online shopping is a wonderous gift.

However, cable and the internet can be a time-consuming distraction. A black hole of wasted energy that sucks inspiration and entices slacking. To be honest, I miss having less instant entertainment at the ready. Which bring me to the second thing I miss, compliments of Allegany Central School (which no longer exists, natch), is study halls. I used to have at least 2 a day, sometimes four. No distractions, no talking, no video games, just your books and some paper. I hardly ever brought home work from school thanks to these concentrated time-periods, but that's not really why I miss them. I miss them because they were dedicated time, during the day, that I used to write stories and scripts. The majority of my writing growing up was done during these periods. No distractions. Nowadays, when I get home from working, it's tough to set aside time, especially when my mind is tired. Although I have enough flexibility (and power!) to set aside some time at work, this damn internet gets in the way. If someone shoots an email to me, sometimes it requires immediate responses. I'll get distracted by, heavens, work! Distraction-free time during the day is definitely up there.

I'm only going to name one more, and that's my grandfather's house. That was another great place to play. When I visited the house a few years back for my cousin's wedding, the feelings of nostagia were powerful. His place was way up in the woods, and you could literally get lost in the surrounding forest. We used to spend hours playing up there. One one giant tree we had attached a rope that we used to swing out over a hill and plant cushions from couches in the house to soften the 15 foot drop. Good times.


Favorite moments... from Clones and Sith
Completing the task I started this week, here are my final two spectacular logs of memorable moments from Star Wars. Enjoy your Father's Day weekend!

Attack of the Clones moments
  • "Well who can blame them. But he is here." I'm just picking one line of the 'interrogation' conversation (Obi-Wan's derisive comment about the Geonosian's distrust of bounty hunters) between the captive Obi-Wan and Count Dooku, but I think the whole scene is masterful from start-to-finish. Entering with feigned bluster, Dooku soon drops the bomb of the truth on Obi-Wan, and like all the Jedi, he refuses to believe it. Using the memory of Qui-Gon, Dooku then asks for Obi-Wan's help in 'destroying the Sith'. Dooku's motives will forever be the stuff of the expanded universe novels (by-the-by, Labyrinth of Evil wonderfully develops the background of both Dooku and Grievous prior to Episode III).
  • "I won't be long." Padme and Anakin's embrace outside the Lar's home is a beautiful shot, and poignant because he's about to taste his first bit of the dark side. I have a picture of the scene on my wall.
  • The look of evil. Shortly thereafter, as Anakin's mother passes away in peace, Anakin feels anything but that. Hayden got his first chance to convey what Vader looks like when he feels rage, and he nails it.
  • "Always a pleasure to meet a Jedi." Another great conversational scene (all the critics of dialogue can eat me, btw), this time not between two Jedi but two men measuring each other up and not giving an inch. Jango's threat to Obi-Wan that his clones will "do their job well. I'll guarantee that" is wonderfully subtle.
  • "I love democracy." McDiarmid delivers this line with such humility as he is being appointed supreme-executive powers by the Senate. The sheer gall of this man to deliver probably the most bold-faced lie in the entire series makes me reflexively snort every time I see it. Probably the same way Palpatine is internalizing his own amusement.
  • "You want to go home and rethink your life." A popular moment for sure, Obi-Wan's casual influence of one of Corsucant's denizens is hilarious. He does it so quickly that you get the sense this is certainly not the first time he's done this. I know he has other things on his mind at the moment, but it's amusing to think that anytime he is confronted with someone he doesn't approve of, he does a mind-trick on them, not out of malice or control, but for his own amusement and maybe to help a bit where he can. A perfect taste of his sense of humor.
  • "If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist!" Librarian Jocasta Nu's hauty declaration regarding Obi-Wan's search for Kamino is an great representation of how confident, how blind, and how prime the Jedi are ready for a fall.

    Revenge of the Sith moments
  • The Last ReflectionI think you ask your average fan his/her favorite moment, and most of them will include the word 'lightsaber'. On reflection after seeing it a second time, the choice for my favorite moment became clear. The hauntingly brilliant John Williams track ('Padme's Ruminations') compliments the most halting and beautifully restrained scene in the film. Wraught with symbolism, the two lovers, separated by a great distance, contemplate each other and the future in the backdrop of a blood-red sunset. Although I've only seen the film twice, this moment made my eyes well up both times. You know this is the precipice and Anakin is stepping off. An instant classic.
  • "I hear a new apprentice, you have." Right before Yoda conversationally mentions to Sidious that he is aware of his recruit, Yoda casuals flips his hand and the force deals with the Emperor's guards. A moment designed to briefly alleviate the seriousness of the situation, it works every time.
  • "I can overthrow him, and together you and I can rule the galaxy." The whole conversation between Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan on Mustafar is wonderful, but this line is the one that resonates to the original trilogy. It answers the question of whether Vader was tempting Luke on Bespin to get him to turn to the dark side, or did he really want his to help him defeat the Emperor. Anakin love and desires have become twisted by the dark side. Twisted, and in his mind, still noble.
  • "Time to abandon ship!" This is a Grievous line he says, almost giddily, after he escapes from the bridge of his own ship. We haven't seen a villain in the series who so clearly relishes his adversarial relationship with the Jedi. I think that most of his lines will work its way into my standard lexicon eventually, but the two that stick in mind right now are from the opening battle. Another, right before he punctures the bridge parasteel glass he taunts, "You lose, General Kenobi!" His unabashedly playful attitude showed through the voice-effects to heighten what could have been just another stock henchman.
  • "Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep."Palpatine speaking of his former master, McDiarmid delivers the veiled background as a Sith apprentice with fondness and style, most notably when he remarks with a humored wistfullness of his ruthless nature that he killed his master in his sleep. For all the stigma that Lucas can't write dialogue, this is (again) one of the instances where both brilliant script and performance melded to produce an insightful portrait of a man who is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
  • "Good, Anakin, good. Kill him. Kill him now." How quickly and unnervingly Palpatine goes from encouraging teacher to casual murderer. So shockingly that even Dooku is speechless at the betrayal; Palpatine nearly smiles at Dooku. Anakin hesitates but the temptation is too strong.
  • "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?"The effect is chilling when Palpatine suddenly drops all pretense of civility and humility when confronted by the Jedi in his chambers. When he reveals his deadly skills by cutting through three of them in seconds, it is positively scary. I remember watching the trailer over and over for that moment when he leaps over his desk and crouches, animal-like, taking both us and the Jedi aback. It is the very definition of a 'money shot'.
  • 6.15.2005

    Favorite moments... from Jedi and Menace
    To make amends for missing a blog yesterday, and in keeping with my prediction, I present a two-for-one extravaganza of opinions!

    Return of the Jedi moments
  • The Return of the Jedi. That moment when Luke catches his new lightsaber on the barge and watches the green blade ignite. I get tingles. One of my favorite scenes from Jedi, and supported by a thrilling Williams track (a staple of my iPod). Watching Luke finally show his Jedi licks still gives me goose bumps. Luke's confrontation with Boba Fett was the cherry on the scene (I'm certain that just about every Empire fan sat up straight in their chairs when he flew down to Luke's skipper), and we got our first shot of a Jedi blocking blaster bolts. Good stuff.
  • "My favorite kind of scum: fearless and inventive." Leia's ruse as a bounty hunter creates a great tense moment when she pulls out a thermal detonator in Jabba's court. Jabba, amused, merely continues negotiating the contract on Chewbacca.
  • "Well, how could they be jamming us if they don't know... if we're coming." Lando's split-second realization that the Empire is about to spring their trap sets up the thundering horns of both Williams' accompaniment and the hundreds of TIE fighters plowing into the fighter group. The shit is on.
  • "You want this... don't you?" After goading Luke with news of his friends' plight, the Emperor casually fingers the lightsaber on his chair's arm and asks him what he already knows. McDiarmid delivers the line with such delicacy, and then slowly turns up the intensity when goading him strike him down. Only slightly overshadowed is a favorite line later on, "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!" That one ups the ante on the conflict considerably.
  • "You already have, Luke. You were right about me. Tell your sister...you were right." I can't resist putting in the last words of Anakin Skywalker. Still a touching scene to this day, as we hear the faint strains of the Imperial march die with him.
  • "That name no longer has any meaning for me." Vader responds in passionate denial, the first time we have really seen any kind of human doubt or feeling in the man in black. It was as jarring to me then as it was at the end of Sith when he asks for Padme. Luke pleads with him that it is the "name of his true self" and he's only forgotten. For just a moment, when Luke turns away, Vader is speechless, contemplating his words. Perhaps the very first time, he's wondering if maybe he can break free, make amends. Good drama.

    The Phantom Menace moments
  • Obi-Wan's anxiousness before Maul. After his mentor has been cut down by the horned Sith, Obi-Wan snarls with obvious anger. But the key for me is right before the energy barrier opens up: Obi-Wan hops with adrenaline-pumped readiness, like a prize-fighter itching to get it on. That little maneuver always inflects me with similar angst. The shit is about to hit the fan, and when Obi-Wan charges in, I'm on the edge of my seat.
  • "What's that got to do with anything?" When the Jedi council notes to young Anakin's that his thoughts dwell on his mother, we get our first taste of the rebellious, headstrong nature of the Chosen One. His tone is almost condescending to the council, an attitude which we see develop in later movies. It's a moment that the Jedi correctly foreshadow leading to trouble.
  • "You overdid it." A very subtle line, easily missed, regarding Qui-Gon's force-aided attempt to calm Jar Jar when they are traveling through the planet core. Qui-Gon reaches forward, touches Jar Jar's shoulder and says 'relax'; the Gungan promptly faints and Obi-Wan comments on his master's lack of touch. I get a kick out of that line.
  • "Master--destroyers!" The entire opening scene of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan slicing through droids is a thrilling way to start a series, but the first appearance of the 'Droidekas' is what gives it edge. Unfolding, shields up, and blasting away with twin cannons, these droids give the heretofore unstoppable Jedi pause.
  • "We'll handle this." When the Theed hanger doors open to reveal a hooded figure in black, the audience reacts just as the Naboo do (Naboo do? Like Voodoo?) -- whoa! Qui-Gon says the line and no one is going to argue. Rightly shown in just about every trailer. But, really, my favorite part (before they get it on) is the artful martial-arts twist Maul does with his twin-bladed lightsaber before turning it on.
  • "Are you an angel?" The first thing that Anakin says to Padme is cute, revealing, and ironic because it will be his 'angel' that leads him to his own personal hell. Perfect choice of words.
  • "He is mired down by... baseless accusations of corruption..." In Senator Palpatine's first in-person conversation with the Queen, he uses truth, lies, and false dilemma to direct her where he wants to go. Wonderfully acted by McDiarmid, the first impression is everything we expect from the only true villain of the series: slippery, deceptive, and subtle.
  • 6.13.2005

    Favorite moments... from The Empire Strikes Back
    In an admittedly rare display of following up, as promised, I'm posting my scintillating remembrances from the premier film of the series. Don't get all mushy on me...

    The Empire Strikes Back moments
  • "No, I am your father." And the father of all shockers. According to Hamill, the original script had a fake line of dialogue (something like "No, Obi-Wan killed your father."), but right before he was to do the reaction to Prowse's reading, director Irvin Kirshner took him aside and began, "Now, what I'm about to tell you only George, I, and now you know. And you can't repeat it to anyone." Then he laid down the penultimate 20th century shocker, a line destined to join "Play it again, Sam" as one of the most misquoted lines in cinematic history. (Most people incorrectly quote it as "Luke, I am your father.")
    Not content with rocking his son's world, Vader immediately proposes they join forces to defeat the Emperor, which, because of what Anakin said to Padme at the end of Sith, we know not merely temptation but genuine desire. The desperation and intensity of the walkway fighting leading up to Luke's defeat perfectly builds up to what is, of course, the best moment in the Star Wars saga.
  • "I love you." And he responds, "I know." For the record, completely in character and simultaneously heartfelt. Always the cocky (and insecure) pilot, Han can't do the straightforward thing to confront his feelings. Instead of telling Leia how he feels about her, he spends the entire film taunting her, trying to get her to admit that she has feelings for him. Both too stubborn to let down their insulating layers, it is only at a moment when all appears lost does
    Leia blurt out in honesty. And Han responds in a way that tells it all. He knows she loves him, but he is also subtly revealing that he's been too scared of his own feelings to admit them. At least out loud. And all this from two perfectly placed, improvised words (thank you Harrison Ford!).
  • "I've just made a deal that'll keep the Empire out of here forever..." This is definitely one of my favorite bits from Empire. It is one of the first shocking moments of the film (guess who's coming to dinner? Darth? Nah... Incidentally, what did he have to eat? Some cantaloupe?). As a boy (okay, as a man sometimes too) with my toy gun I used to try to emulate the pose
    Han Solo strikes when he, upon seeing Vader and without fear or hesitation, whips out his blaster and fires a few vain shots at the Lord of the Sith. The first and only time we see what a Sith master does against naked blaster bolts, he casually blocks them with a hand and then telekinetically yanks the weapon from a stunned Solo. Without missing a beat, Vader hautily invites, "We would be honored if you would join us." Wowed by this impressive display of power and control, I had the creeping feeling that this one wasn't going to end on a happy note.
  • "Occasionally, maybe... when you aren't acting like a scoundrel." Otherwise known as the scoundrel moment, a wonderfully written (and performed) exchange that is the first breakthrough between two emotionally-walled people. The dialogue (from memory, natch) is the holy grail to me of how to write conversation that leads to an unexpected embrace:
      Han: Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
      He begins rubbing her hands.
      Leia: Stop that.
      Han: Stop what?
      Leia: Stop that. My hands are dirty.
      Han: My hands are dirty, too. What are you afraid of?
      Leia: Afraid?
      Han: Your hands are trembling.
      Leia: I'm not trembling.
      Han: You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in
      your life.
      Leia: I happen to like nice men.
      Han: I'm a nice man.
      Leia: No you're not, you're...
  • "You want the impossible." Despondent after failing to raise his X-Wing from the swamp, Yoda shows young Luke just what it is to be a Master by delivering the impossible. Needless to say, Williams' backing music is as flawless and inspiring as the resolve displayed by the aged Jedi. Most poignantly, when Luke expresses disbelief at the amazing feat, Yoda, always the teacher, instructs, "That... is why you fail."
  • "You wanted to be around when I made a mistake -- this could be it, sweetheart." Packed with heart-stopping near-collisions, the Millenium Falcon's escape through the floating rocks is timelessly exciting.
  • "They're moving into attack position!" When I first purchased the soundtrack to Empire back in the day, this track wasn't included on the 70 minutes of music. Thankfully, with the CD releases, it was added back in -- it includes one of my favorite brass cues as the Falcon makes its unexpected turn to 'attack' the pursuing Star Destroyer. Just another of the suprises in Empire, and just another of the demonstrated ways that Leia remarks about Han: "You have your moments. Not many of them, but you do have them."
  • 6.12.2005

    Favorite Moments... from A New Hope

    A couple weeks back, I stumbled upon MSN's poll for their 10 Favorite Star Wars Moments. Avoiding spoilers, the 'moments' don't include any from Revenge of the Sith. The results after 90,000 fans chirped in:

    • Hey Luke, who's your daddy? (22%)
    • Yoda vs. Dooku (21%)
    • Luke vs. Vader vs. the Emperor (17%)
    • Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul (14%)
    • Luke destroys the Death Star (8%)
    • Escape from Jabba at the Sarlaac pit (6%)
    • Leia tells Han she loves him (6%)
    • Obi-Wan vs. Jango Fett (3%)
    • The pod race (3%)
    • Lando betrays Han and Leia (1%)

    I agree that when Vader reveals Luke's true lineage is the all-time best Star Wars moment, but after that I felt the list was inadequate or just plain wrong. (I don't hold the Yoda v. Dooku battle as one of the best moments even in Attack of the Clones let alone the entire series.) I started to write this blog about my agreements and general disappointment that so many other great moments were left out. After I had listed a few, I put some reasons behind my choices for favorite moments, but it kept growing and growing. I didn't think that 10 moments were enough to come close to encapsulating all the iconic images I've had burned in my head over the years, so I ended up with seven from each film -- a total of 42 classic bits from the entire series that I cherish. As the circle is now complete, I figured it was as good a time as any to share my best impressions from the films that have given me so much joy. And to do it before You-Know-Who got around to it. It also occurred to me to do a reflection on my favorite musical pieces from the film, but I figure that Jaquandor is better qualified to do it. So he had better get to it before I do it in layman's terms. (That, my friends, is some singularly excellent taunting.)

    Lastly, as I mentioned the breadth of what I was writing to Titan, he convinced me to publish this in installments so that he might have something to look forward to in his otherwise dreadfully empty life (also it ended up being about 4000 words, and I know the typical person's attention span). As such, I'll be posting for the next five days with the rest of my keen observations. So, without further ado, here is my list of favorite moments from the first film. (Note: I will be posting them in the correct order in which you would show the films to someone who has never seen them; i.e., IV, V, VI, I, II, III.)

    A New Hope moments
  • "Blast the door, kid!" I'll admit it. Though Lucas is mocked for his repeated use of the word "NO!" to let his characters express their angry disbelief, it works awesomely here. When we see the situation, like Luke, we haven't got any idea how Kenobi is going to get out of this one. The last thing we expect to see is for him to give a sly grin, lower his defenses, and allow himself to be 'cut down' by Vader. Hamill's scream of shock and anguish (and immediately followed by Williams' rising orchestra) feels genuine, and as I watched the scene for probably the 100th time the other day, I was astonished to find my eyes watering just a bit. The moment still has wonderful emotional power with me.
  • "Use the Force, Luke." From the last battle, as the orchestral crescendo reaches a fever pitch, the music suddenly drops down as Obi-Wan fulfills his promise to Vader that "if you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." He can only be referring to this, as the old master's disembodied voice urges, "Let go, Luke. Luke, trust me." Only in death could Obi-Wan coach-up his young pupil in his greatest time of need. Shirking off his computer-guidance system, Luke breathes heavily with the intensity that the audience shares. Or at least me.
  • "I see you've managed to cut off our only escape route." Han retorts, "Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness," and the butting-head romance is on. Thankfully nothing close to a 'meet-cute' scenario you see with nauseating regularity these days. The minute between them meeting and escaping into the garbage chute ('flyboy!') is packed with witty barbs, but of course my favorite is Han's "He's the brains, sweetheart!!"
  • "He's got too much of his father in him." "That's what I'm afraid of." Luke kicks some sand in frustration and climbs a small mound to stare off into the twin suns, the future, the horizon. Yet another iconic image, appropriately referenced at the end of Sith, beautifully complimented by Williams' track. (You know, that guy is going to be pretty good one of these days.)
  • "If they found out who they sold them to then that could lead them back... home!" Racing against fate, Luke is confronted with real loss for the first time. A beautiul shot of his standing helpless before the charred corpses of Owen and Beru. [Aside, note the contrast between Luke's reaction to loss and Anakin's. Anakin exacts revenge and foreshadows his own downfall by darkly promising not to 'fail again. Luke's response is to desire to become a Jedi "like my father". We know that Obi-Wan's look of acknowledgement to this request conceals many emotions.
  • "This little one's not worth the effort. Now let me get you something." The first time we see a Jedi in action, Obi-Wan politely attempts to diffuse the situation and then bursts into action with 'aggressive negotiations'. I love poise of Guinness after he's severed some limbs (the only time we see blood on the floor in the series) -- he holds his lightsaber at the ready and glances around the bar defiantly, looking to meet any stares of any other n'er-do-wells. In both deference to the old man's lethal skills and the cutthroat environment, the bar immediately resumes its business. Classic.
  • "I think I just blasted it." While definitely one of the iconic moments (the swing across the bridge), I look with new eyes now that the prequels are finished. Instead of just a hero and heroine, I see them as brother and sister, working in tandem (Leia works some Stormtroopers with the blaster as Luke prepares the grappling hook) that would have made their parents proud.