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June 9, 2014 8:22 PM   Subscribe

19 year old blogger Some Wonderful Kind of Noise watches the original Star Wars movies for the first time and writes about it. Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi.

"A little context on me: I was raised by my grandparents in the middle of nowhere. Lovely people, not much use for new technology. We had VHS and a lot of older movies that they enjoyed, but with only the most basic TV channels coming in there was never much temptation for me to sit in front of it for long unless there was a game on. Beyond that, I just filled my time with school, sports, chores and gaming. Takes up all your time. The only films I ever saw that weren't the above were whatever the teachers would put on in school."
posted by Sebmojo (153 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
HAHAHA what the hell is that robot? It looks like a garbage bin with legs.
Apparently there is literally nothing new to be said about these movies..
posted by bleep at 8:31 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Oh wow. Okay, yeah, the obvious new thing sticks out and doesn't look good. It's like a lizard cow thing.

Oh so it's that version.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


A real teenager has heard of Dambusters but is generally unfamiliar with Star Wars? Yes, and if my grandmother had repulsors she'd be a landspeeder.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:36 PM on June 9 [16 favorites]


The speed with which the praise comes for the first movie had me actually tearing up. I felt like I was seeing it again for the first time but somehow it kicked even more ass.
posted by scrowdid at 8:37 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Someone knows what 'chaotic neutral' means and doesn't know that Jedi isn't a person?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:39 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


His delight is so fun to read.
DIFFERENT space jazz! Is there a whole album of this?
Is there? Anybody know?
posted by amtho at 8:43 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I love how much the music, puppetry, and ship design blow his mind. A good reminder of how crazy-out-of-this-world Star Wars was when it first came out, and that George Lucas was once able to genuinely blow our minds.

But seriously, there is nothing in the 'verse like that opening music.
posted by dry white toast at 8:48 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


I can believe not having seen the films but am I supposed to believe he doesn't know Darth Vader or is this all some joke I am missing?
posted by Cosine at 8:57 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


This is a rundown of the blogger's starting point, in which he describes the extent of his very limited knowledge of the Star Wars world.
posted by scrowdid at 8:57 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


"Oh you two know who that is. A WIZARD. SPACE WIZARD I CALLED IT."

This is so much fun to read... Certainly more fun than rewatching episode IV (although not more fun than my first time).

So many fun things here ("random encounter").

wow
posted by el io at 9:06 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Okay on the one hand it feels like they cast a black man just to claim diversity. On the other hand that's as roguish a moustache as I have ever had the fortune to see and his voice is just pure smooth sex. Opinion of a straight male.

Naaailed it...
posted by dry white toast at 9:11 PM on June 9 [12 favorites]


I was 24 before I saw any of the Star Wars Movies. I wish I still haven't
If a person watches them as a child, there's some childhood nostalgia formed. It doesn't work at all with adults, they are already cynical. I've meet a few other people who didn't see it until they were adults as well. Seems Universal. The only real observation to be made here is the maturity level of this 19 year old.

As always, on these matters, I want to hear what George Lucas has to say.
If you say his name three times, he'll show up.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:14 PM on June 9


I like Lando. Man's got a cape he's now the best. That's the rule.

Yay!
posted by Cosine at 9:24 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


"it's just the worst device for moving through forests, seriously. every single one up to now has exploded"
posted by el io at 9:27 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


I can't decide whether to be cynical about or charmed by this. I'd really love to know more about this kid's home. He had enough friends to play D&D with — people who would make Star Wars references no less — but never saw the movie? Couldn't identify Darth Vader on sight? It just seems implausible for someone born in 1995.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:34 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


That was a lot of fun.
posted by calamari kid at 9:35 PM on June 9


The only real observation to be made here is the maturity level of this 19 year old.

Nah.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:41 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Roomie couldn't hook him up with the De-Specialized Editions? POX.
posted by um at 9:41 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I too find it suspect that he recognizes the Dam Busters attack sequence but has never heard the theme from Star Wars, the most iconic movie theme of all time. At least he didn't comment on how the droids are like the comic relief in The Hidden Fortress.
posted by justkevin at 9:41 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


So, his second looks at the Empire Strikes Back (and the other ones) are very much worth reading as well.

I'm about to read his impressions of the Princess Bride (and so glad he has a good guide to help him pick worthy movies).
posted by el io at 9:46 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


He says he grew up with his grandparents and had a bunch of the classic movies on VHS that they liked. Seems legit enough, though there are doubtless aberrant pixels to find in his responses if you look hard enough.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:58 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


This summer I'm going to be showing Star Wars: The Whole Fucking Thing to a 15-year-old girl (a Dr. Who Fanatic, BTW) who's never seen them, and I've been agonizing about how to do it... I have the De-Specialized Editions, and I'm thinking IV, V, VI, then I, II, III, but god, the disappointment.

Knowing what you know now, is it better to see the good ones, then the bad ones, or see them in order, from bad to good, ending with the bad/goodness of the ewok dance party?
posted by Huck500 at 10:01 PM on June 9


Machete order makes sense: 4,5, 2, 3, 6. Skip 1.
posted by Sebmojo at 10:04 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


Or just skip the prequel trilogy altogether. if she wants to watch them on her own, that's her business, but you don't need to be a part of that.
posted by Green Winnebago at 10:15 PM on June 9 [17 favorites]


4,5, a couple episodes of The Clone Wars cartoon, 3, 6. Skip 1 and 2.

2 is the one with the "I don't like sand" pillow talk. Clone Wars is where to go if you want to watch Obi Wan and Anakin actually having a friendship, and to watch Anakin's arrogance and jealousy slowly growing.

You could just watch the original trilogy, but I found that The Clone Wars got me back my childish fondness for Star Wars. Also, it has a lot of female characters! They fight! That shouldn't merit exclamation marks, but in comparison to the movies it's cause for celebration.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:19 PM on June 9


(About Leia's bikini in Jedi): seriously what is with the fetish outfit. geek sex icon?

You might say that.
posted by JHarris at 10:20 PM on June 9


I have still not seen The Matrix; here is what I know:

There are three characters, Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity, and Lawrence Fishburn, and Neo finds out he's just in an artificial reality controlled by Lawrence Fishburn on behalf of ... government being evil for some reason. And so they have fights in the computer and people can fancy-dodge slo-mo bullets and I'm pretty sure Neo escapes the Matrix but there must be more of it somewhere since there are sequels. As far as I know Trinity does nothing but inspire a rash of babies named the same. There are red pills and blue pills reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, and students tell me the movie is one big Plato's Cave metaphor.

So I believe this guy could have gotten this far with so little Star Wars knowledge!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:35 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


27 here, also haven't seen the Matrix, except for tiny clips every 5 years or so.
Just watched the whole of Star Wars, for the very first time this spring. I knew about the main characters, nothing much about backstory except Yoda is wise, Leia was a princess, Han was hot, and Vader was the bad guy who was Luke's dad. That was it.
So yea, I can believe he hadn't see it!
What struck me was how incredibly slow the dialogue and action was in the original 3 Star Wars films... You could actually watch a scene and notice background details. There was ample time for me to take it all in - not like current movies with much faster conversations and break-neck pacing.
I was really surprised by that aspect.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 11:17 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


For a co-worker's 30th birthday party, I set up a projector and screen so he could see Star Wars for the every first time.

I hadn't seen it in years, myself. I had somehow forgotten that it was AWESOME. And it was awesome to watch it with people who had never seen it before.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:37 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Huck500 - my understanding is that the canonical best order is the Machete order.
posted by pmv at 12:00 AM on June 10


I love this guy's comments on the music! He's really clued into the motifs.

I feel like Lando needs a theme with lots and lots of sax. Sax galore.

Now that's an edit I'd be proud to support.
posted by rouftop at 12:02 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Haha, Luke has the hots for the princess

AWKward.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 AM on June 10


Classic: at about 30 minutes in, (before it's ever said in the movie) he says "Oh I have a bad feeling about this."

Little does he know how spot-on his early impressions are.

This is a delight to read.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:37 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


I can't decide whether to be cynical about or charmed by this. I'd really love to know more about this kid's home. He had enough friends to play D&D with — people who would make Star Wars references no less — but never saw the movie? Couldn't identify Darth Vader on sight? It just seems implausible for someone born in 1995.

Well i was born in 90, and i went to a catholic school full of some REALLY sheltered kids and then was homeschooled and hung out in resource centers/summer camps/activity groups/etc with other weirdo homeschooled kids. I knew a lot of kids who basically weren't allowed to watch TV(IE there wasn't one in their living room or anywhere but the parents room, that kind of stuff) or really play videogames. From osmosis and friends themed backpacks/lunchboxes/etc they'd learn what some of the characters were vaguely and maybe by name, but not really know much about a lot of that pop culture stuff you would be expected to know at whatever age you were at.

Some of those kinds of kids grew up to have an almost amish like going crazy and getting addicted to video games and candy and shitty TV or whatever, some of them just kinda kept cruising through life on that same trajectory of just not being all that interested in that stuff(which i think, is what the parents intended? i saw a lot more of the former than the latter though honestly)

Nothing about this is conceptually unbelievable to me, and in fact didn't even sound all that unusual from the kids i grew up around.

This was all in a major city too. I've only met one or two "boonie kids" who were raised in some way similar to that, but i can imagine it would be even MORE isolating in that sense. I made an active effort, and there's still tons of pop culture stuff someone in their mid 20s would be expected to know of/have seen/etc that i'll just go "wut" at and add to my list to eventually catch up on.

It's funny though. I still hang out with several friends who also had similar weird upbringings that i've known since i was 11-13. Occasionally we'll be at a bar/another friends house/party/whatever and someone will bring up some pop culture or nerd shibboleth and we'll all go "wait, what's that again? is it the one with *really vague description*" and at the very least the person explaining it goes "WHAAAAT" if not more people who overheard. It's pretty hilarious.
posted by emptythought at 12:42 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


Pretty muted reaction to the big reveal in TESB, but more or less exactly what I thought when I first saw it:

no

no I don't believe it. That's a lie. That's how they get you.

posted by ShutterBun at 12:55 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


This was great. I would very much like to vicariously re-live all of my favorite movies. I wonder if a blog of him now watching Space Balls would work?

Would it be cruel to request blogs of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Crash and Dead Ringers?
posted by bigZLiLk at 12:58 AM on June 10


Also not to be missed: his "Empire Strikes Back: second thoughts" post is quite an amazing read. He *really* gets this movie, on a level few fans could ever understand it on first viewing.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:04 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


emptythought: “From osmosis and friends themed backpacks/lunchboxes/etc they'd learn what some of the characters were vaguely and maybe by name, but not really know much about a lot of that pop culture stuff you would be expected to know at whatever age you were at.”
That's what I mean. I can see not knowing the story, or even what the names of the characters are. I just can't imagine completely avoiding having seen Darth Vader in 21st century North America.

I do love the kid's enthusiasm though.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:17 AM on June 10


Love this line from the Princess Bride review:

my god that man's big. he makes it look real too. kudos to the team that did that

That would be Mr. and Mrs. The Giant, friend.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:34 AM on June 10 [17 favorites]


I want "You just got told by a space wizard" on my business cards.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:01 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


And the light sabers still kick ass.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:25 AM on June 10


ShutterBun: "Little does he know how spot-on his early impressions are. "

(eye-roll)
posted by chavenet at 2:25 AM on June 10


I showed my 7-year-old son the original trilogy for the first time recently (in de-specialized form; none of your Jabba spoilers, thank you, George), so this hit the spot. I want this on a T-shirt:

Vader would like you to know about all of the time he has none of. For your shit.

And this line from his RoTJ second thoughts also:

A massive space battle is a thing of beauty and I will require many more of them in the future.
posted by rory at 3:11 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


There is 0 chance this kid hasn't seen these movies before. I'm sorry, but no one that familiar with fantasy and D&D hasn't seen star wars a half dozen times. I don't care if he's 19 or 12.
posted by empath at 3:17 AM on June 10


53 here and I've never seen any of the Star Wars films (nor for that matter any Star Trek, the Princess Bride, or The Matrix). No mitigating life story, otherwise culturally OK, just never got around to these.

Even as recently as last week, I'm constantly realizing that some common phrase or quote originated there. "okay, so that's from Star Wars, sigh"

I totally get people's love for it and longing to see it with fresh eyes, but I feel like I'm too old now and it's such a part of the culture that there's no way it could be fresh for me.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:28 AM on June 10


Yeah, definitely read the "second thoughts." The kids are alright.
posted by starman at 3:35 AM on June 10


Since we're on the subject:

You'll notice what movie is playing at the theater in this photo; this is germane to the plot.

I spent all of 1977 out of the country, floating around Europe and North Africa, before lighting in Berlin, and I had, pretty much by chance, completely isolated myself from popular American culture at the time.

Fast forward to an autumn afternoon in 1978: I am probably the last American on the planet who has no idea or inkling of the Star Wars phenomena. I had literally never heard of the movie. I have the afternoon completely free: the kind of freedom that comes with an idea that it's wrong not to use it productively. I'd been struggling with my conversational and colloquial German lately, and decided it would be a good idea to go to a German-language film to improve my skills in that area.

I was wandering around the city when I remembered seeing a theater near the Europa centre, so I grabbed a U-bahn from Oskar Helene-Heim to Wittenburgplatz and walked up the street to the theater.

I saw the posters: Krieg der Sterne... War in the stars, I thought. This sounds like a 1950's science fiction serial, and the picture of the silver robot looks kinda neat and sort of mindless fun. I paid my Dm4,50 and took a seat.

Now the Berlin Royal was like an IMAX before there were IMAX's: a huge screen that curved waaaaay up above you; they showed 70mm prints there. I remember thinking that this theater was kind of overkill for a science-fiction potboiler. I looked around, and I was literally almost the only person in the theater. (On a weekday matinee, so it made sense in retrospect)

The movie started, I jumped at the blast of the fanfare and the huge KRIEG DER STERNE logo, and then busied myself trying to read the scroll in German so that I'll have a sense of the movie. As the scroll receded, I thought Gee, I've never seen an effect quite like that before. Little did I know.

The screen panned down to the planet, and then the rebel ship comes blasting out of the top of the screen chased by laser fire. Wow, that's pretty damn neat, I think. I wonder what's chasing--

HOLY FUCK! I think I said it out loud- that Star Destroyer entering from the top of that 70mm screen was an overpowering, menacing, oppressive presence. I literally could not breathe and was in cold sweats. My fight-or-flight reflex went to full Red-Alert, and I felt a strong urge to whizz myself right then and there.

I think my brain went into a reset loop for the next minute or so. The next thing I remember was Darth Vader's entrance. You think he sounded ominous all filtered and raspy like that? Try it in German.

The thing to remember about Star Wars, if you haven't seen it in a while, is that quite a lot of the dialog is radio chatter and robots, etc for the first maybe 20 minutes or so. Lucasfilm also spent a lot of money to get the foreign dubs right, so they were very good, as well. German being my second language, I wasn't as attuned to lip movements as I might have been, which contributed to the illusion as well.

I was sitting there in the theater, stunned, and drained, and it wasn't even a half-hour into the movie yet. Where the fuck are all the people? I wondered. This is maybe the best movie ever made, and no one's watching it?? I looked around at the empty theater. Is it because it's not a big Hollywood picture? I was still under the impression that I was watching a German movie. (And how did the Germans get this far ahead of us in movies, anyway?)

Slowly, I twigged to the idea that this was, in fact, a dubbed film, and the credits confirmed it- it was a Hollywood movie all right. I felt somehow cheated- for those few minutes at the beginning of the move, I felt like Magellan, on a voyage of discovery, literally unable to wait and go tell my friends about what I'd found.

Before this episode, movies to me were just television writ larger, to be seen at the multiplex at the mall. I had had no real experience with movies like other folks had, it turned out, and my self deception led me to all the wrong conclusions.

So that's the story of me and the Royal Theater in Berlin. Hope you enjoyed it.
posted by pjern at 3:41 AM on June 10 [57 favorites]


There is 0 chance this kid hasn't seen these movies before. I'm sorry, but no one that familiar with fantasy and D&D hasn't seen star wars a half dozen times. I don't care if he's 19 or 12.

53 here and I've never seen any of the Star Wars films (nor for that matter any Star Trek, the Princess Bride, or The Matrix). No mitigating life story, otherwise culturally OK, just never got around to these.


lol

I mean I didn't hear Stairway to Heaven until I was like 28. Culture isn't homogeonous, dude.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:07 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I mean I didn't hear Stairway to Heaven until I was like 28. Culture isn't homogeonous, dude.

I would be super skeptical of that claim if you casually tossed off references to Black Sabbath and Aerosmith in the course of making it.
posted by empath at 4:24 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I need to pause the movie here because I just have to say: I am overwhelmed by the sheer imaginativeness of this bar scene.

This was the point where I said, 'oh, the reason these are all one-line paragraphs is because the kid is writing them in real time.'
posted by box at 4:54 AM on June 10


empath: I would be super skeptical of that claim if you casually tossed off references to Black Sabbath and Aerosmith in the course of making it.

People pick up catchphrases from other people without ever knowing where they're from (or the context) all the time. For just one tiny example among thousands upon thousands, people who have never seen Aliens have learned "Game over, dude!" from the popular lexicon over the years of it simply existing, and I guarantee you plenty of them couldn't tell you that it was from a movie at all, let alone which movie. They get the gist that it's about something terrible happening, and about panic, yet fairly comedic, and so, having heard other people use it, they use it. Just like all language.

Several years ago, a group of us (all women who were then in their mid-to-late-thirties) were having a conversation about... I can't remember what. Someone mentioned Cary Grant. One of my friends -- a well-educated, well-traveled American woman who was deeply involved in media fandom said, "Who's Cary Grant?"

Empath, if you haven't yet accepted the fact that other people's lives can be radically different from your own, I'm sorry, but you have to surrender your username.
posted by tzikeh at 4:57 AM on June 10 [12 favorites]


There's a cynical part of me that thinks this is too good to be real, but I'm trying to shout that part down because I love this so much.

On the other hand, I choreographed and performed a fight scene from Macbeth last month at a local book and music festival and gave it a Star Wars vibe, using lightsabers instead of broadswords and throwing in a few Force chokes for flavor. At the Q&A afterward (explaining the safety aspects of stage combat and such), someone asked if the out of distance choke was a safety precaution. I was three feet away from my partner for the choke, so that would have been insanely hyper-cautious. I threw the question back to the audience, and they all shouted "Force choke!" and I shrugged it off. But then later, one of the organizer's of the festival came up to me and said, I'm so glad she asked that question, I didn't get it either.

So, yeah, incredible as it seems, there are folks out there who not only haven't seen the films, they haven't picked up the bits you'd think would seep in by osmosis.
posted by zanni at 5:09 AM on June 10


The kid knows about Dambusters because he lives with his elderly grandparents who like old movies. What's so hard to believe about that?
posted by Optamystic at 5:10 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I made my cousins watch Star Wars years ago while babysitting them. The youngest was all "Psshhh, this is dumb." But as the movie went on, she fell silent. During the trench assault, when Luke yells "I've lost Artoo!" her mouth fell open... She looked at me, and in a very small voice asked "they fix him, don't they?"

Aaaand another fan is born. :)

Still bothered that the people who talked this kid into watching the movies didn't hand him a Despecialized copy. When I sat down with my son to watch for the first time, he sure as hell saw Han shoot first.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:44 AM on June 10 [9 favorites]


The Dam Busters (despite its Oscar nomination for special effects) is a fairly obscure film, and one that has remained in the semi-popular consciousness only because George Lucas cited it as an inspiration for the first Star Wars film. It's not The Bridge on the River Kwai. That's why people think it sounds a little convenient as a reference. Even if the kid has seen Dam Busters for some reason, if he's read Thing One about it on the Internet he likely knows very well that it inspired Star Wars, which makes his mentioning it as if it were something he just thought of while watching the movie seem disingenuous. If his grandparents are war-movie buffs, especially British war-movie buffs, I suppose that changes the equation — though it still seems a little off to me.
posted by Mothlight at 5:45 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I teach "kids" this age. Do not underestimate the culture they don't know (and the stuff they do know and you don't.)
posted by starman at 5:46 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I mean I didn't hear Stairway to Heaven until I was like 28. Culture isn't homogeonous, dude.
I would be super skeptical of that claim if you casually tossed off references to Black Sabbath and Aerosmith in the course of making it.

Yeah, this is totally possible. It wasn't until five years after getting deeply into Sabbath that I listened through a Led Zeppelin album. The aspects of Sabbath that drew me in just weren't there in Zeppelin. Aerosmith just seemed wholly unrelated. So, I could do a First Listen of Aerosmith's "Rockin' It Hard Classic Style" Album (or Whatever) at The Age of 37 post while making references to Sabbath.
posted by ignignokt at 5:47 AM on June 10


It just seems implausible for someone born in 1995.

No, but it might seem implausible for someone born in 1995 to someone who was born much earlier, and has had a higher saturation of media in their life.

Seriously, you guys -- my bullshit-on-the-internet-ometer is pretty high, and there's not one thing in here that makes me doubt this kid. I mean, take that for all its worth, which is just one person's opinion, but I've read through all of his posts now and he sounds very much like a teenager who grew up in a heavy gaming culture ("Don't split the party" indeed) but without lots of modern movies or TV. Not everyone lives in a major city, lots of people don't have cable tv (especially older people), etc. etc.

Mark Does Stuff is a website devoted to a man in his 30s who had never seen or read most of what we consider absolute staples of pop culture, and he's making his way through it completely unspoiled (and unprepared)--books, movies, tv. He used to work at Buzznet.

You see where I'm going with this.

(I once inadvertently ruined Citizen Kane for a movie fan--he said he was going to see it at the revival house and I did the stupid-ass "Have a good time! Rosebud is the sled!" thing -- and he was like, "Huh?" It took a few seconds before I realized he honestly, really had no fucking idea what I was talking about. It's weird to feel like shit while being completely incredulous at the same time, but it happens.)

(BTW Mark starts on Star Trek: The Original Series this week, for those who might be interested.)
posted by tzikeh at 6:00 AM on June 10


I was on the "Well, it could be genuine..." up until this:
hehehe she sounds like Grover from Sesame Park
A bunch of other stuff, too, but this was the final straw. If you know what Sesame Street is, who Grover is and what he sounds like even, then you know it's named Sesame Street. I think this guy is writing exactly what he knows everyone wants to hear.

Not in a villainous way, though. I suspect that this is a project for him: he's roleplaying a character who has never seen Star Wars and is doing his best to accurately portray that. Fair enough. I'm enjoying it!
posted by gilrain at 6:07 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


On the Dambusters topic, it still gets a lot of rotation on TV here, so back in the late nineties in the UK he could easily have picked it up. And yes, I could see a grandfaterht aping it and watching back, mostly because when I was about 7 or 8 I watched the second half of 'a war film' with my Grandfather, all serious pilot talk, switches, danger, and marching music.

It took me ten years to realise it was Dr Strangelove....
posted by ewan at 6:13 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Also, a lot of his misspellings feel like intentional tells that he doesn't know the movies... but are misspelled in a way that feels artificial. For instance, "Greeno" and "mynots". Unless he has a hearing problem, unlikely at his age, missing the 'D' and 'K' consonants in those words, which are repeated several times, seems false.

Anyway, I'll stop nitpicking now. I'm enjoying the project whether it's exactly as presented or not.
posted by gilrain at 6:15 AM on June 10


Sesame Park is the Canadian co-production of Sesame Street, which aired under that name from 1996 until 2002.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:26 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]


Oh, huh! I did not know that, thanks.
posted by gilrain at 6:30 AM on June 10


From osmosis and friends themed backpacks/lunchboxes/etc they'd learn what some of the characters were vaguely and maybe by name, but not really know much about a lot of that pop culture stuff you would be expected to know at whatever age you were at.

This is what happened to me.

When the Star Wars Special Editions came out, my friends and I dutifully went to the theater to see them. I was, I don't know, eighteen? Nineteen? Anyway, I settled in to watch A New Hope, and as it played I realized something bizarre: I had never seen this movie before.

I'd caught bits and pieces of it, here and there. I knew who the characters were, mostly, and I had a really clear memory of that moment when Obi-Wan looks at Luke and smiles and then gets killed. But the blue milk? The trash compactor? The sand people? "Boring conversation anyway?" All totally new. Then they escaped the Death Star and I thought, ah yes I remember this, now they get a medal for saving Leia and the movie ends. But it didn't! It kept going and they blew up the Death Star!

Same thing happened with Empire. I'd had Star Wars bedsheets as a kid and they had Boba Fett on them, but I had no idea who he was. I knew Vader was Luke's father but I had only a very vague sense of how the movie ended, with that cliffhanger. I did not remember Hoth or the bounty hunters at all.

The only one I had seen in its entirety was Return of the Jedi, and though I'd been able to make sense of it as a kid because it does a good job of catching you up, it was definitely a different movie once I'd seen the first two.

When I was a kid, my friends and I would make up our own Star Wars stories, like you do. We'd speculate about what would have happened after Return of the Jedi. I don't really remember most of mine, but I remember I came up with things like C-3PO becoming the next Jedi (I really liked robots) and another Darth Vader showing up to be the big bad guy, and he was exactly like Darth Vader except his costume was red instead of black. Basically, stories based on what I believed Star Wars to be like, and not what it actually was.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:54 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


The "Sesame Park" line threw me, too, until I did the research. I'm still skeptical of this guy's lack of cultural osmosis (although I want to believe!), but I am absolutely convinced that the author is, indeed, a 19-year-old from Canada.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:54 AM on June 10


And for what it's worth:

There is 0 chance this kid hasn't seen these movies before. I'm sorry, but no one that familiar with fantasy and D&D hasn't seen star wars a half dozen times. I don't care if he's 19 or 12.

No, sorry. I was playing D&D when I was eleven or twelve (and then Advanced D&D when I was thirteen because, you know, one must put away the things of childhood), but didn't see the Star Wars trilogy in its entirety until, as noted above, I was eighteen or nineteen.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:56 AM on June 10


There is 0 chance this kid hasn't seen these movies before. I'm sorry, but no one that familiar with fantasy and D&D hasn't seen star wars a half dozen times. I don't care if he's 19 or 12.

So, your theory is that he has written an elaborate series of posts as if he had never seen them, constructing layers of supposition, first reaction and immediate second thoughts that are totally convincing (to this reader who just watched them with a young Star Wars newbie), to impress a small circle of readers of a little-trafficked blog? For the lulz?

That his really quite moving explanation of his reaction to the end of The Empire Strikes Back is performance art, for an audience (as far as he could have known) of a handful of people?

Or: he had never seen Star Wars, like many, many people on planet Earth. There's a whole radio and TV chat-show format based on that premise.

I'm that familiar with fantasy and D&D (and was at 19, too, my fantasy/D&D years being ages 14-16), and yet it's probably true that I haven't seen the original Star Wars a half dozen times. Once in the Hobart Hoyts in 1978. No repeat cinema visits because my parents didn't do that and I lived in the countryside so couldn't go without them. Once when it first screened on local TV in 1983. We didn't get a video until a few years after that, and I never bought it on VHS, but it's possible I saw it again at a video night with friends at some point. But also possibly not, because it would have competed with new Arnie movies and Evil Dead. Saw the special edition at the cinema in 199-whatever. Bought it on DVD (with the original version bonus disk) when my son was little so I could show it to him eventually. Watched it with him a month ago. 4-5 times, max. For ESB and RoTJ, possibly less. For the prequels, once each in cinemas. (Haven't watched those with my son yet, I'm giving him some time when Star Wars = Proper Star Wars.)

Now, to be fair, I did read the Marvel Comics version a lot as a kid, and the novelisation, and Splinter of the Mind's Eye, and drew 3-4 different versions of my own parody comic, and bought some action figures and listened to Patrick Gleeson's Star Wars endlessly on tape and generally Was a Star Wars Kid, late '70s/early '80s version. But until 1983 I had only seen Star Wars once. My obsession with it was no doubt reinforced by watching a lot of Doctor Who repeats on television and reading a lot of 1950s SF; and then there were Blake's 7 and Battlestar Galactica. There were also other glimpses of Star Wars on TV: I remember seeing the notorious Christmas special at the time, and the cast's appearance on The Muppet Show, and possibly something at the Oscars. But that was about it.

But because my own youthful obsession grew from just one viewing of the actual movie, I can well see how not seeing it at a critical juncture could send someone down a whole different path, oblivious to everything about it. Especially if that someone is 19 in 2014, when there's just so much pop culture to catch up on. When and where do you board the USS Enterprise? At what point should you hop onto the Tardis? Who has the time? If you have other interests in your life, the prospective time sink of getting into any of these big franchises is pretty daunting. True, the original Star Wars trilogy is only six hours (although it wasn't easy as a parent to find six hours of baby-sister-free time for my son to watch them over three different afternoons), but beyond those six hours there's a world of Stuff that everyone insists you need to watch as well - so I can well see how someone might just never have started. (And yet: he has started, now. Nineteen isn't that old!)

(It's just as bad for adult TV now; clearing 50 hours to watch Breaking Bad earlier this year was totally worth it, but came at a cost of so many other things I could have done. Same with movies: I've given up on the never-ending wheel of Marvel and DC now, haven't bothered with the Star Trek reboots, and don't even know half the things that io9 talk about in their Morning Spoilers posts.)

One thing that struck me in his first impressions actually hinted at another reason a 19-year-old in 2014 won't have soaked up all things Star Wars by osmosis:

such an awesome, adventurous, heroic theme. how have I never heard this?

In 2014 you're never going to hear the Star Wars music serendipitously, unless one of your friends happens to be playing it over their speakers; you have to seek it out. That wasn't true in the late 1970s, when it was everywhere. It may not even have been true in the early 2000s, when the prequels were coming out, but this guy says he was a sheltered child back then. (It happens. You know all those people who say "is this something you need a TV to understand"? Some of them have kids. Their childhoods are different, even if they still go to the movies or watch things on video or online. This is something you may need to have no TV to understand.)

The Star Wars theme doesn't get quoted in advertisements or the like, because you can bet that the licenses are prohibitively expensive (compare this with the ubiquity of the public domain Also Sprach Zarathustra 46 years after 2001). If you want Star Wars in 2014, you have to go looking for it. He didn't, until now.

But it goes in waves. In 2016, after VII has come out, or even next year in the lead-up, it could be a whole different story. Trailers, advertising, lots of pop culture references again. But not yet.
posted by rory at 6:59 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


My 6 year old son has not seen any of the movies or cartoons, but knows the entire story, including Luke's parentage, from the Lego SW games. He's a big fan of the franchise, owns 4 lightsabers, dressed up as Darth for Halloween, etc, but has zero interest in the movies.
posted by signal at 7:09 AM on June 10


The Dam Busters (despite its Oscar nomination for special effects) is a fairly obscure film

Obscure? If you aren't from a Commonwealth country, perhaps.

And yet I've never seen it, even though it was only 32 years old when I was 19, and OHMIGOD ROTJ IS ONLY 31 YEARS OLD NOW. Quick, let me write several thousand words role-playing someone who has never seen The Dam Busters for blogging fortune and profit, even though I have never in real life actually seen The Dam Busters, which come to think of it will make the role-playing a hell of a lot easier!
posted by rory at 7:11 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


He might like "The Princess Bride" book better than the movie, because it adds a second layer of complexity when the author's voice talks about the "source" book and all the boring bits that are being skipped.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:19 AM on June 10


It boggles my mind that it boggles folks' minds that a 30 something might have not seen Star Wars.

My stepkids are in their mid-20s. Neither of them had seen Star Wars prior to seeing the prequels. I'm pretty sure neither of them had ever seen TOS before a few years ago.

They knew the pop-cultural references, but that's just not the same thing. Sometimes the ways it's different are fun and interesting. my stepson, e.g., was really excited by 'TOS Spock', and still thinks of George Takei primarily as an internet celebrity.
posted by lodurr at 7:20 AM on June 10


William Shatner is Denny Crane and the guy who recorded Has Been, and I won't hear any different.
posted by rory at 7:22 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


signal: "My 6 year old son has not seen any of the movies or cartoons, but knows the entire story, including Luke's parentage, from the Lego SW games."

I made my son watch the movies before playing the games. He loved the games.

Then we watched the prequel movies. AFTER playing the games, because the games were more entertaining.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:23 AM on June 10


If you were of movie-going age when Star Wars came out, it's going to be hard to credit the idea someone hasn't seen it. It was everywhere. It played in multiple theaters for 6 months, and in single theaters for months after that. I personally saw it at least 4 times in the theater. I wouldn't exceed that record until Pee Wee's Big Adventure (which was very therapeutic for me and was showing at a dollar theater, so I went to matinees at least once a week for its entire run).

So i find this both plausible and charming. It's so hard to get a fresh feel for something that we think of as ubiquitous.
posted by lodurr at 7:27 AM on June 10


Josie Penguin likes Star Wars (or "Guys and Robots" as she calls it), but whenever the opening fanfare starts her eyes widen and she screams, "It's the ANGRY BIRDS SONG!"
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:28 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


(And how did the Germans get this far ahead of us in movies, anyway?)

Great story, pjern. Makes me imagine a German film industry in a parallel universe with no Hitler, where Fritz Lang's Metropolis ushered in a glorious age of German SF cinema leading to the 1978 release of Krieg der Sterne, screening to general indifference because the German people were bored with SF by then. Kind of like the real-world American public and Westerns and Heaven's Gate.
posted by rory at 7:37 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


this was so nice to read. Because, I watched star wars before i could make memories. I literally have 0 memories of the "first time" I saw the movie. I have no memories of being surprised. I have no memories of not know how the movies would end.

These films have been such a big part of my childhood that I have a difficult time watching them now because they are so common place.

So this was nice.
posted by rebent at 7:43 AM on June 10


I rewatched Star Wars a month ago after going through that fan edit of the prequel, "Turn to the Dark Side". I consider this to be a sub in for II and III with regards to the Machete Order. You now just have four movies to watch: IV, V, TDS, VI.

The only Special Edition bit I would accept is to keep the large windows in Cloud City. That's it.
posted by linux at 7:55 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


This is really, really hard for me. I was born in '81, and my family claims Jedi was the first film I saw in a theater. So Star Wars was always around, always something I knew, had seen and absorbed and known the plot to before I knew what a plot was. And then... things went wrong. My dad had a midlife crisis. An affair. A divorce. New places to live. Suddenly, a marriage. I was not onboard with any of this. Like many a nerd, I took refuge in the most accessible nerdery around- Star Wars. Love it, lived it, was a super fan....

And now, this. 20014. The prequels exist.... I dont want Some Wonderful Kind of Noise to see them. I don't want this bright, clearly clever and insightful and idealistic kid to see them. He already understands the climax of Empire too well. He can already spot the seeds of Lucas' own implosion in Jedi.

I truly hate picturing Some Wonderful's realization that All Gods Are Failable, because it mirrors my own Heroes Journey, and it hurts.
posted by Jacen at 8:00 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I truly hate picturing Some Wonderful's realization that All Gods Are Failable, because it mirrors my own Heroes Journey, and it hurts.

Well, he's nineteen. I was around that age when I saw the original trilogy for the first time. The thing is, I didn't have the same history with Star Wars my peers did; the movies and their plot were things I was aware of, but they didn't have a serious impact on me during my formative years. I had no emotional connection to them as a child, really, and I didn't have them built up in my head as this mythical, amazing thing.

So when the prequels came out and it seemed like there was a contest to see who could have the most ridiculously melodramatic negative reaction to them, I didn't get it. I guess I still don't. They weren't my favorite movies but I didn't feel betrayed by them.

I'm not going to say they were great - they weren't - but if you view them without having built up twenty or so years of expectations, they were mostly just forgettable.

My experience with Episode One was that it was a mostly dumb movie that hummed along nicely and had a couple really stupid aspects and a few fun sequences. Anakin was annoying, but so was Luke with his fucking power converters in A New Hope - bear in mind that when I saw Phantom Menace, I had just seen New Hope for the first time maybe a year prior. Jar Jar was incredibly stupid, but he didn't seem any dumber to me conceptually than the Ewoks: an annoying, kind of uncomfortably problematic piece of merchandising the movie spends too much time on. I came away from it thinking that Lucas hadn't made a movie in a while so maybe he was just rusty. Again, it wasn't fantastic, but I hadn't had time to mythologize the previous three so it wasn't the letdown for me that it was for other people.

Episode Two mostly just bored the shit out of me. Same with Episode Three. Again, didn't walk away feeling betrayed.

So there's that. I guess what I'm saying is that even if this kid does watch the prequels, he likely won't feel the same devastation as someone who grew up with the first three. He's not going to go around being all, "What do you mean, 'prequels?' There are only three Star Wars movies ho ho," or whatever. He'll likely see it as three pretty good movies and then three crappy cash grabs made twenty years later. He'll be fine.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:22 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


When I sat down with my son to watch for the first time, he sure as hell saw Han shoot first.

I truly hate picturing Some Wonderful's realization that All Gods Are Failable, because it mirrors my own Heroes Journey, and it hurts.


It's strange and a little sad to think about that when one introduces Star Wars to kids that you are not only having them experience all that is great about the first trilogy, and sharing in those wonderful moments that you too had as a kid when you first saw them, that almost inevitably they are also destined to experience the disappointment and hollowness that comes with experiencing the prequels.

Even worse, if after watching the whole series, they somehow happen to prefer the prequels over the originals, you just have to accept the fact that somewhere in their young lives, in a brief moment when you had your back turned, your children were replaced by pod people and one day they will get you when you're not looking.
posted by chambers at 8:25 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I haven't let my kids watch the prequels b/c they're a waste of time that lack any of the wonder so beautifully reflected in these posts. But as a parent, what bothers me most about the prequels is how Lucas worked in disturbing scenes of violence and gore into movies that otherwise play to the most juvenile viewing tastes. A movie that begins with a character looking like he stepped off a Nick Jr. show (Jar Jar Binks) ends with Darth Maul falling down a pit after literally getting chopped in half. Mace Windu screams in pain and terror as he holds the stumps of his wrists up in front of his face. Anakin murders a classroom full of first-grade younglings (offscreen, but still). Finally, Revenge of the Sith ends with Anakin, triply dismembered and charred, looking like nothing else except for a lynching victim.
posted by hhc5 at 8:27 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed Ep 1 much more after hearing Weird Al's interpretation.
posted by lodurr at 8:27 AM on June 10


I'm more surprised that he's seen The Dam Busters but has never seen The Hidden Fortress.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:55 AM on June 10


I'm more surprised that he's seen The Dam Busters but has never seen The Hidden Fortress.

I always thought The Dam Busters was a holiday tradition in commonwealth countries, like how The Great Escape is always aired at Christmas in the UK. Perhaps it's becoming less so as we become further separated from the generation that lived through the war. In any case, it seems to me that the chances of seeing a popular WWII movie on TV as a lad is more likely than catching a broadcast or videotape of a subtitled Japanese film set a few hundred years in the past.
posted by chambers at 9:07 AM on June 10


Hidden Fortress wasn't readily available for viewing in the US until the late 90s at least, and even then you pretty much had to order the criterion dvd.. I've never personally heard of it being broadcast (I only saw it as part of a Kurosawa series at a local film museum).

It has its moments, for sure, but I've never really gotten the fascination film geeks have with it. For me the comic relief is the worst part. But then I've never much cared for that style of juxtaposing broad comic relief with serious/serio-comic action. It just takes me right out of things. Kurosawa doesn't do it often; as with 7 Samurai, he's usually more nuanced about it.
posted by lodurr at 9:17 AM on June 10


Dambusters- Is he even talking about the movie? I totally get his reference but have never seen the movie. I just made a model of an Avro Lancaster when I was a kid, and maybe read the book, and the parallel is spot-on.

Also- It doesn't work at all with adults, they are already cynical.
Disagree with that. I didn't see the movie until I was 25, because, well, it didn't come out until I was 25, and I thought it was amazing. Maybe now, if I'd seen other more recent movies, I might think it's kind of lame, but if you hadn't seen the [wonderfulness/crap- pick one or both] that is the movies of the last 40 years, you would approach it without cynicism.
posted by MtDewd at 9:31 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


This is just seriously impressive. I bet you're all laughing at me right now, but these are like practical effects, not computer things. Someone had to come up with all of these ideas and put them together and make them work and ...

Yep. Those awesome, awesome shots of Orthanc from LOTR? Miniature shots. As I get older and see much more poorly done CG, the bigger a fan I am of practical effects. With HD SLR cameras becoming more commonplace for the average consumer, I'm excited about the future of practical effects in short films that plain folk are shooting.
posted by eclectist at 9:46 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Re. Dambusters: I don't know if the blogger is talking about the movie or not, but its resemblance to certain parts of Star Wars is a cinema-geek meme. I can't look up the video here at work, but there's even an overdub on YouTube of the last part of the attack sequence straight onto attack scenes from Dambusters. Given what an utter film geek Lucas was (he was teaching it, for god's sake), I find it plausible that it's intended to parallel Dambusters as homage.
posted by lodurr at 10:02 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


OT: It just occurred to me that during the whole dambuster raid, the Germans seem to have never scrambled night fighters to take on the bombers. For some reason that seems really odd to me, though I suppose I could rationalize it in a few ways....
posted by lodurr at 10:04 AM on June 10


I'm fully prepared to withdraw any objection to the citation of The Dam Busters if it is, in fact, a TV staple outside the U.S.

I still think it reads as obscure in the states, aside from the very occasional appearance on TCM, but that's beside the point since this kid is in Canada. Still, if I had done some research before posting I might have noticed that Peter Jackson was planning a remake (with a screenplay by Stephen Fry!) which suggests it's much better-loved than I believed.
posted by Mothlight at 10:05 AM on June 10


I just noticed, Owen's wearing robes. Is he Jedi?


Heh. No, but apparently the Jedi adopted the dress customs of Tatooine throughout the Order.

Oh those were Jajas. Meh, they weren't so bad.

I don't want to be around when he figures out Jawas don't equal Jar-Jar.
posted by nubs at 10:29 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I grew up in Ontario in the mid-70s with actually similar access to media as this guy (although a generation earlier)- b&w TV, three channels, obviously no VCR or anything. The only reason I saw either Dam Busters or Hidden Fortress was that my dad liked old films, and watched Saturday Night at the Movies on TVO a lot.


Of course, I was taken to see Star Wars on the day my brother was born, about six months after its initial release.


And it was awesome.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:36 AM on June 10


He's doing Ghostbusters next. I'm not sure how that will hold up for him; unlike the others it is set in the time it was made.

I would like to see him do Raiders of the Lost Ark and Conan the Barbarian (1982).
posted by fings at 11:03 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


eff that, I want to see him do "Primer"
posted by rebent at 11:21 AM on June 10


I'm not 100% sold on the fact that this person has never seen Star Wars before; but I can also believe that he hasn't. A lot of the typos and such can be explained by the fact that he's live blogging his viewing experience, and it's entirely possible for people to have vast holes in their pop culture knowledge.

My wife, for example, has a few holes - she knew the phrase "I'll be back" was a thing, but not why I used it frequently with a heavy accent (which she started to parrot) until she sat down and watched T1/T2 with me. Similarly, I have some passing knowledge of Dr. Who (enough to identify a Dalek and say "Exterminate!") but that's it; when my friends start doing Dr Who discussions or references I am lost.
posted by nubs at 11:31 AM on June 10


Ooh, T1/T2 -- he's a perfect person to get hit with the reveal ("Get down") in the beginning of T2 that the advertisements totally ruined.
posted by fings at 11:48 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I think many people on this thread are missing a few key points:

1) This guy is nineteen and grew up completely socially isolated from GenX mainstream zeitgeist. Most of you did not. Most of your kids did not either, because you've indoctrinated them in geek culture from birth. So it really makes no difference what pop culture references your six year old understands, because this guy is not them. He is not of your demographic, and most of the people on this thread sound to me as though they are evoking their generation gap as surely as when the Boomers used to bore us to death prattling on about how great Jethro Tull or Led Zeppelin were and/or bitched about how badly the Cure sucked when we were 19.

Star Wars had 2 major bursts of popularity in the US. The first one occurred a whole two decades before he was even born and faded out almost entirely by the mid 90s unless you were a deep novel reading geek, and he was far too young and socially isolated to have been affected by the second burst just prior to and during the Ep1/2/3 releases in the late 90s/early Aughts.

2) He is from Canada not the US. So yes, potentially very different cultural and entertainment / media backgrounds, especially if he is from a rural area. He was not raised in the suburban homogeneous monocultural US experience the bulk of this thread is projecting. oh right, the Wikimedia Foundation FPP just covered this concept yesterday.

3) If you take the time to go through and read his "second thoughts" links, he is an absolutely fantastic writer. Hell he's a fantastic stream-of-consciousness writer on his first viewing links, I absolutely love his IM-esque reactions written out. To most middle-aged GenXers I'm sure his reaction stream sounds childish, however to me, who communicates via chat and SMS and social media with college students of this exact age on a daily basis, it sounds contemporary, earnest and completely genuine.

It also makes total sense to me, an only child raised primarily in rural isolation by older, intellectual adults, who rarely watched TV outside of PBS specials and never had cable, that he would be massively ahead of the curve on the things he does successfully "get", like classical music theory and literary and film theory/tropes (and he is very good at this stuff) and waaaaaaay behind on things like pop cultural references, especially if as he says they did not have cable and everything was on VHS, and even moreso especially if most of the gaming he's referencing is of the tabletop ilk, which is what it sounds like.

I was a tabletop D&D gamer in high school and massively ahead of the curve on things like dialup BBS and gaming culture (I knew stuff like a million chatspeak shorthand references and fantasy tropes and emoticons, and what makes a good or terrible DM, etc), but most of the mainstream TV and cinematic suburban referentials of my heyday (the mall scene, the high school movies, culturally relevant music that wasn't part of the Top 40 heavy rotation, shit like that) totally fly over my head. I will be 46 years old soon and I still have not seen Pretty in Pink, mostly because I don't much care for Molly Ringwald. I just saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the first time a few months back, too, mostly because my 35 year old husband insisted on it because it was one of his favorite movies as a kid. It was okay, I guess. I now realize I've seen tens of references to it that I never really got before. So yeah. It can happen.

So yes, I can totally see this guy being 100% straight up legit. And not only that, now I really want him to become a successful movie critic. I feel like with his background and his apparent depth of literary and film theory, his approachability and his writing skills, he even has the potential to be the next Roger Ebert, should he want to do so.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:34 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


I just realized that Admiral Piett is the person he's been calling "Pete" the entire time.


Admiral Pete.


Hee hee
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:53 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


lonefrontranger has a point, here. We've got a guy who's in a metaphorical place very close to where many of us were when this came out -- we have an opportunity to get back a little of the sense of wonder we had on first viewing. if it turned out tomorrow to be a fake, it still helped me do that today.
posted by lodurr at 1:09 PM on June 10


Admiral Pete.

He has a tattoo of Mon Mothma on his arm that he can make dance.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:25 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Sesame Park is the Canadian co-production of Sesame Street, which aired under that name from 1996 until 2002.

Ha. "The world is bigger than you think": 1
"I know exactly how big the world is thankyouerymuch": 0
posted by straight at 1:31 PM on June 10


He has a tattoo of Mon Mothma on his arm that he can make dance.

Many Bothans died to bring us this information?
posted by mikurski at 1:31 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


He might like "The Princess Bride" book better than the movie, because it adds a second layer of complexity when the author's voice talks about the "source" book and all the boring bits that are being skipped.

Whatever you do, don't have your kids read the book first. My girls did that and then we watched the movie and they were underwhelmed and disappointed. They didn't think it did justice to the book. I was...sad.
posted by straight at 1:33 PM on June 10


Watching Empire Strikes Back for the first time with my daughters, I was really uncomfortable with the crappy way Han keeps hitting on Leia when she's clearly not interested, only for it to turn out that, no, he was right, she does like him.

I'm not looking forward to sitting through the metal slave bikini scenes with them, but I may not have to. They weren't very impressed with Empire and haven't seemed particularly eager to get to the next movie. (One of their biggest complaints? They didn't think Empire uses music nearly as effectively as the first movie did.)
posted by straight at 1:40 PM on June 10


People pick up catchphrases from other people without ever knowing where they're from (or the context) all the time.

Yea, to expand on this all the fairly sheltered/pop-culturally isolated kids i knew and myself did know tons of popular catch phrases. I never for instance watched power rangers, but there were a couple things from it my brain is failing to remember right now that everyone used to mention that i knew.

I would be super skeptical of that claim if you casually tossed off references to Black Sabbath and Aerosmith in the course of making it.

And yet, that's how it worked. Random bits and pieces made it through, random bits didn't. There's nsync songs that got played to death on the radio i literally didn't hear until someone played them off youtube a year or so ago, but i knew most of the britney spears hits and the will smith hits.

Rewind the timeline a bit and that would seem just as "implausible".

but I've read through all of his posts now and he sounds very much like a teenager who grew up in a heavy gaming culture ("Don't split the party" indeed) but without lots of modern movies or TV.

Which also sounds super on point to me. All my friends were huge gamers. TCGs, D&D for a while, PC/console games depending on who had what systems or a semi-decent PC, you name it. But just not a lot of popular movies or TV.

Mostly, it just amazes me how much people want to believe this guy is full of shit. This seems so plausible in my circle of friends. My partner has never seen star wars*, and neither have several other people i know. It's just, not that weird.

*and she's a nerdy librarian who loves movies, it just... never happened. go figure.
posted by emptythought at 1:47 PM on June 10


To most middle-aged GenXers I'm sure his reaction stream sounds childish

Having recently witnessed an actual child's reaction to a first viewing of the original trilogy, I can confirm that it wasn't nearly as nuanced as this. I agree, both his first thoughts and his follow-up posts are excellent. (BTW, great find, Sebmojo!)

I've never seen Grease or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'll just hand in my Gen X badge.

Watching Empire Strikes Back for the first time with my daughters, I was really uncomfortable with the crappy way Han keeps hitting on Leia when she's clearly not interested, only for it to turn out that, no, he was right, she does like him.

Yeah, me too. Good ol' '70s. It was a long, long time ago.
posted by rory at 1:52 PM on June 10


Whatever you do, don't have your kids read the book first.

I did the opposite, I've seen the movie numerous times but only recently sat down with the book. I barely made it through the first couple chapters. I think it might be the first time I've ever said I liked the movie better than the book...all that extra blather that's supposed to be the "book about a book" conceit that drives the story struck me as labored and tedious. Maybe I'll try again someday.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:06 PM on June 10


For reference, which I think might have helped with framing the OP, here is his sum total of referential knowledge of Star Wars prior to viewing.

I could probably write something similar in regards to Blade Runner, which I still have not seen to this day. Fine, I'll turn in my nerd cred now.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:17 PM on June 10


This kid's a very good writer. I enjoyed this, thanks for the post.
posted by misozaki at 3:11 PM on June 10


ROTFLMAO. Thing is-- this guy is exactly the age I was when I saw the first one when it came out. His reactions are so "spot on" to my memory that I'm buying this hook, line, & sinker.

What is this Dam Busters everyone keeps talking about? Should I look into it?
posted by cleroy at 3:27 PM on June 10


It's a movie (based on a book) about an RAF attack on a couple of German bridges on the Ruhr. The attacks used cool specially developed bombs. They also flooded large areas and killed thousands of people, many of them civilians and slave laborers.
posted by Justinian at 3:45 PM on June 10


cleroy: WWII war movie.

he actually addresses his weirdly specific knowledge of WWII war movies in the comments - a commenter says (much as people in this thread have questioned) --
How have you seen Dam Busters but have never seen Star Wars? I can count the number of people I know who have even heard of Dam Busters on one hand. I'm pretty sure George Lucas saw Dam Busters though, and borrowed from it.
To which he responds:
See I would say how have you seen Star Wars but not Dambusters? What about Triple Cross? The Great Escape? Casablanca? The Eagle Has Landed? Tora Tora Tora? (Okay not the last one don't watch that. It's not all that great.)

How about WWII musicals? Miss London Limited? The Sound of Music? Anchors Aweigh? Thousands Cheer?

WWII is like my thing. I mean it was my grandfather's thing and my uncle's thing first but IT IS JUST AS MUCH MY THING...
He was raised in the boonies without internet or cable TV and a bunch of old VHS copies of war movies his grandparents liked and... not much else. He admits he's never much even used a DVD player, with his only exposure to "modern" pop culture being the few things his teachers showed in school.

He is a newly fledged young adult living in his first shared apartment in the "modern world". I grew up in the boonies showing horses and watching Masterpiece Theatre and... not much else. I don't find this all that startling, really - it parallels my own experience growing up in isolation pretty well, actually.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:45 PM on June 10


If you do watch Dambusters be ready for a little cultural whiplash when they talk to the squadron dog; it was called 'Nigger' (a not-uncommon name for black dogs at the time). Peter Jackson is remaking the film and tweaked that detail.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:01 PM on June 10


This nineteen-year-old hasn't just seen The Dam Busters, he's seen Two Girls and a Sailor.


Is he my grandparents?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:29 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I wish I had more money than I could ever spend because I'd fund a study to put a photograph of Darth Vader in front of people from isolated communities and ask them to identify the subject.

I do have to admit though, the entirety of my knowledge of Dam Busters comes from The Wall.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:19 PM on June 10


I'm more surprised that he's seen The Dam Busters but has never seen The Hidden Fortress.


I was 7 years old when Star Wars came out. Saw it 7 times during its initial run, more in re-releases, and literally hundreds of times on video. I doubt a month has gone by in the past 30 years I haven't watched at least part of one of the films.

In short, I'm a huge fan who's been deeply immersed in Star Wars for decades.

First time I saw The Hidden Fortress (which I'd known for years was a key influence on Star Wars) was 2 months ago. It happens.

Then again, I've never seen Dam Busters, so I guess I've inadvertently proven your point as well.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:25 PM on June 10


(One of their biggest complaints? They didn't think Empire uses music nearly as effectively as the first movie did.)

The Imperial March? Yoda's Theme?

Those kids might need a re-watch, cuz that's like, the high water mark of film scoring right there.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:29 PM on June 10


Finally had the chance to read through - this was just delightful. I have just spent the last god-knows-how-many hours of my life listening to the Star Wars Minute podcast from the beginning, and it dovetails with it so nicely.

Nthing that the Empire second thoughts post is fantastic all by itself. I have no doubts this is real - and I love how well he can express both the wonder and the humor, and in so few words.
posted by Mchelly at 8:26 PM on June 10


Ghostbusters first impressions.
posted by fings at 8:31 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


From the Ghostbusters impressions, see if you can guess the part of the movie this is:

>> pick a mouse. easy.

>> who did it

>> Ray. Of course.

>> oh what is it come on

>> it big

>> wait what
posted by JHarris at 10:08 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


I love his delight at the Star Wars music. As a kid I had a record with that on one side and Close Encounters on the other (which creeped me out a ittle, as did the movie, at that tender age). Still, I wore that thing out.

Then a month ago my father and I got to see John Williams, the man himself, conduct the Oregon Symphony. They played all the hits, from Schindler's List and E.T. to Close Encounters and Indiana Jones.

And, for the encore, Star Wars. Which played by a full orchestra is FUCKING. AMAZING. I was seven all over again.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:13 AM on June 11


...Tora Tora Tora? (Okay not the last one don't watch that. It's not all that great.)

blasphemy!
posted by lodurr at 3:11 AM on June 11


The Imperial March? Yoda's Theme?

Those kids might need a re-watch, cuz that's like, the high water mark of film scoring right there.


I think it was that they already knew and loved the music and felt like the movie didn't use it well (leaving out too many of their favorite parts). "You've got a fantastic piece like 'Yoda's Theme' and that's all you're going to use of it in the movie?" (Not an exact quote, but that's something like what they said.)
posted by straight at 2:17 PM on June 11


Thanks for the Dam Busters help, ya'll! I've found clips and documentaries and what-all. I can't believe WGN didn't have a copy of this when I was growing up!
posted by cleroy at 4:17 PM on June 11


Somewhat Relevant XKCD
posted by nubs at 4:45 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Great stuff. Now I wanna see this young man do this for "Raising Arizona."
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:56 PM on June 11


On the advice of this column, and "I should have seen it by now" I'm watching The Dam Busters now for the first time.

I don't think it would make for a very good live-blog though because MY GAWD, the foppish tedium! Bring in Darth Vader already!

(turns out it's basically a war-time "How we did it!" movie disguised as a feature film, as far as I can tell)
posted by ShutterBun at 5:11 AM on June 12


I think it was that they already knew and loved the music and felt like the movie didn't use it well

Leitmotif. They'll get it. It's scarcely ever been better executed in a film, apart from maybe "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (to my amateur ears)
posted by ShutterBun at 5:14 AM on June 12


I think it's well post-war, but the context we miss is that Operation Chastise was kind of a big deal in the British myth of the war. It was seen as the first time that the British both really out-smarted the Germans and hit them hard where they hurt, while simultanously having that powerful narrative of valor under fire. (Several of the bomber crews made multiple runs against heavy flak because they couldn't line up the shot correctly the first time. And losses were VERY heavy.)

So it was a big deal for them. It's like their version of the Tokyo raid.
posted by lodurr at 5:45 AM on June 12


Re. effective leitmotif: It's used really effectively in the LOTR sound tracks. The 'Rohan Theme' gets particularly effective play. Also see 6th Sense. But yes, Williams is really good at it. He's under-rated, IMO, due to his over-exposure.
posted by lodurr at 5:46 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Good call on the Rohan theme. The charge of the Rohirrim at the Pelenor Fields, with the theme played on a Celtic fiddle, is definitely a high point in the whole trilogy.

On re-reviewing this kid's analysis of the movies, it's really, REALLY impressive. He picks up on a lot of things (the hero's journey, themes, relationships, foreshadowing, etc.) on first viewing, and really understands them. These are things I was *told*, so by now I assume I "know" them, but he gets them on first viewing. I'm really curious how in-depth my appreciation would be, had I been 19 instead of 7 upon seeing them.

Really impressive stuff, and a big thanks for this post.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:31 AM on June 12


(turns out it's basically a war-time "How we did it!" movie disguised as a feature film, as far as I can tell)

Been a long time since I've seen the film, but Nova did a recreation some time back that I thought really captured the challenge well.
posted by nubs at 9:17 AM on June 12


I think things like the hero's journey, etc., are bigger now than they were then, and also my impression is that you get exposed to them a lot as a serious narrative gamer. But yes, it's neat that he can pick up on them on first pass (where we had to just feel them at a gut level) -- but neater, it doesn't seem to detract from his enjoyment of them. I was in that place once with those things -- at his age I'd read all the way through Masks of God (volume 1 twice) and Hero with a Thousand Faces -- and it just got me jazzed when I saw them. What were to many people dreadful movies (like Krull) just got me really excited because I was picking out all the 'hero's journey' shit.
posted by lodurr at 9:21 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


lodurr the thing that's amazing to me is that he says he's never read Joseph Campbell - he's apparently absorbed the thematic structure of the Hero's Journey straight from tabletop gaming.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:42 PM on June 12


I can buy that. I just started learning about tabletop recently, and one of the things that's struck me is how conscious a lot of tabletop gamers are of narrative structures.
posted by lodurr at 12:55 PM on June 12


mmm, yea makes sense - when I was doing tabletop in the mid 80s it was definitely before the Bill Moyers PBS special with JC aired, thus I don't think the Power of Myth was quite as visible on the geek radar at the time.

a good understanding of narrative structure is a major concept that separates good from shitty DMs tho so that's always been a thing.

from his other comments it would appear the guy is potentially some species of English major so that would explain his literary chops and narrative skills.

also also HOLY BALLS [heh] he just posted up a Raiders of the Lost Ark liveblog and I admit I lol'ed at work.

I guess another piece of context is that it seems he's recently had some sort of injury - he frequently references being a fairly serious athlete and having had little time or patience for screens up until now, but also makes repeated references like "it hurts to laugh" and "I can't walk" so it would seem his immersion in pop culture is due to being (hopefully temporarily) immobilized in some way.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:58 PM on June 12


I just found this link via Coudal's.. and see it's been here for days. I hate it when travel takes me away from keeping up with MeFi.

This blog is awesome, and I hope it's not fake/viral.

Instant Newsblur and Instapaper fodder!
posted by DigDoug at 7:11 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


fings: Ooh, T1/T2 -- he's a perfect person to get hit with the reveal ("Get down") in the beginning of T2 that the advertisements totally ruined.

Fings, I think you're going to get your wish. He just did Terminator, which I'm pretty certain means he'll be doing T2.

Terminator: The Terminator First Impressions

Terminator: The Terminator Second Thoughts

Also his first impressions of Raiders are lovely, if sparser than normal, but he explains in his Raiders Second Thoughts that he was just SO INTO THE MOVIE that he didn't have much to say. Ain't that the truth.

(He also nails that Indy ultimately accomplishes nothing at all in Raiders and everything would have happened exactly as it had anyway if he'd never been involved in teh first place, which is some higher-level film watching than you usually get first time out.)
posted by tzikeh at 6:16 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]



the rhythm in this music is just bizarre

is that it's not 6/8

I'm just fascinated by this music guys


Wasn't there a mefi post about that? It's like 5.79/8 or something because of the wonky way the sequencer was programmed.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:17 PM on June 14


the guy playing the [Terminator] 101 is so friggin' hard edge it's awesome

ladeez and gemmun canadian dude just got shwarzeneggered.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:54 PM on June 14


ALSO if you've ever wondered how cool it would have been had they not spoiled the shit out of Arnold being the good robot in t2?

he just blocked the THE OTHER ONE IS AFTER HIM WHAT THE EVER LOVING HELL IS THIS I AM SO ALL KINDS OF ON BOARD WITH HWAT IS HAPPENING NOW. folks you have no idea how compeltrely awesome this is. You do but you just don't. Guys I'm, just so SOLD. THIS MOVIE JUST QUADROUPLED IN BADASS AND AWESOME WE HAVE A TERMINATOR ON OUR SIDE


that cool
posted by Sebmojo at 12:06 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


From his Raiders of the Lost Ark blog:

HEY GUYS STHATS HAN! :D OH MY GOD THIS IS ALREADY LIKE THE BEST THING

His enthusiasm and joy at this flicks is really infectious and makes me want to watch them all over again.
posted by graventy at 6:52 AM on June 15


Beeteedubs: the rpg.net thread that pointed this out for me, the blogger talks in more detail about his experiences.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:23 PM on June 15


Holy shit, he only went and watched Alien as his first ever horror movie. Late at night. Alone.

I am going numb from the cold and the stress. no no no no no. why did you ask me to wath this cmoive it ns not ienterttaining it is just evertyhing bad inthe universe

I'm quite sure of two things: that it's a cinematic accomplishment with few peers, and that I never want to see it ever again. Holy fuck this movie should go to hell.
posted by rory at 2:54 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


did he get into an accident? it sounds awful!
posted by rebent at 6:58 AM on June 24


The accident is why he's had time on his hands to watch and blog about all these movies. Yeah, sounds horrible.

His first alien movies for this project should really have been Close Encounters and E.T., not Alien.
posted by rory at 8:42 AM on June 24


yeh....Alien was probably not a wise recommendation. Reminds me of once taking a first date to see Blood Simple. (In my defense, it had been a long time since I first saw the movie and I'd totally forgotten the part where Frances McDormand pins Emmet Walsh's hand to the windowsill with a knife.)
posted by lodurr at 8:49 AM on June 24


His intro to his "second thoughts" post for Alien:
My accident was a terrible experience. My legs are both wrecked; one to the thigh, the other just the lower leg with a patellar fracture. Both feet have been worked on. My right talus has been chipped and the chip dislodged severely enough that they're going to have to go in, take it out and then shine up the cracked area so my tendons don't catch and tear on it. My right shoulder has a severe fracture. I've got a fun scar on my face. My ribs on the right side are bruised. I consider myself lucky; I could be dead right now. Oh yes, there's one more noteworthy injury I got from it. My right middle finger will never fully extend again.

So I can't flip it up at all of you.
Yeah, maybe not such a smart choice.
posted by tzikeh at 9:48 AM on June 24


jesus that poor guy. Alien as his first ever horror flick? And they left him alone at night? That was an incredibly dick move. And people are actually celebrating his response in the blog comments with congratulatory back-slapping schadenfreude. This right here is when I get utterly pissed off at that certain species of "geek culture" that is this particular breed of contemptuous solipsism / lack of empathy that... I just don't even.

There's just no excuse for that, and I hope they haven't permanently broken his particular brand of enthusiastic goodwill. Jeremy is just such a good writer and critic, even above his completely unspoiled enthusiasm for this project, I would hate to see that killed.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:43 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


and rory, from context in the followup and commentary it sounds like the one roommate/friend (frenemy?) had originally told him she'd be there, then trumped-up an excuse to leave, potentially deliberately. The same "friend" who recommended this as the must-watch-next on the list, over the strenuous disagreements of Other Roommate.

So yeah. Geeks like this? Fuck 'em.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:46 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Dunno if anyone's still reading, but he just did The Blues Brothers.
Jake. Hello Jake. Or maybe that's the name of his hand. Who knows.

"One gold lighter. Hello Sozay."

ONE SOILED. WELL THEN.

Hello hands named Elwood.

I get the feeling the man dresses in black.

And he signs with an X. Clearly a man of great intellect

This fellow also dresses all in black.

I found The Blues Brothers, you guys
posted by tzikeh at 8:57 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


He really is an amazing movie watcher and writer. The joy he conveys writing about The Blues Brothers more than made up for the dismay of his reaction to Alien (for this reader, at least). And he had some pretty great and insightful thoughts about Groundhog Day and Rocky as well.

I'm gonna be following this blog as long as he keeps writing about movies.
posted by straight at 10:39 AM on July 9


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