• Category Archives Movies and Film
  • Star Wars. Why not?

    e1763fd4d322db2e1d6fb7196be2c21d
    When Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope came out – I was two years old. There’s some possibility that my parents went to see it for the first time, and dropped me on my head. I mean, it might have been a different movie, I really don’t remember, but I do know I was dropped on my head at about that time at a drive-in theater and they said it was a distinct possibility. Just to be fair, it was a total accident – I had heavy casts and one of my parents sat me on the counter – I swiveled my legs over the edge, and down I went. But I digress.

    This guy still hangs out on my dresser.
    This guy still hangs out on my dresser.
    Growing up in the eventual class of 1993, Star Wars was a HUGE deal. We grew up playing with the Kenner toys, we got hyped up when the new movies came out, and we talked – oh we talked and talked and talked about Star Wars. We knew of the eventual 6 movies that would come later. We knew that one had to do with the Clone Wars Obi-wan and Leia mentioned – we knew one had to do with Anakin falling to the dark side. We had no idea what the third trilogy was about, and frankly we didn’t care. We just knew we couldn’t wait till it was released! Star Wars was a huge part of growing up in the 80s – one might argue it was bigger than Transformers, and certainly bigger than GI Joe.I even remember staying over at my friend Isaac’s (who seemed to be a little more into Star Wars than the rest of us, if that was even possible). He wanted to do a reenactment of Star Wars. I was to play Darth Vader, he was supposed to Play Luke Skywalker, and his little brother, dressed in white pajamas and a pair of tighty whities over to simulate the Armor, was to play a Storm Trooper. My dad simply looked at us – the younger brother in his skivvies, and said “no” and I went home. Even the girls liked to play star wars, despite a severe lack of female characters. Star Wars was equally loved by both genders: Be you a wearer of Princess Leia or of Luke Skywalker underoos.

    In my early twenties – Star wars mania was still alive and well. A couple good friends of mine were obsessed with all things Star Wars, and it was pretty common for us to spend hours in the Borders Bookstore cafe, looking through books showing technical specs, artists concepts, and little bits of trivia. To be certain, Star Wars fandom among gen xers was far from isolated to us. I went to a music fest and saw a band called “Bobba Fett” (later renamed “Twin Sister” for what I understand to be legal reasons). The band was a side project of several other bands, but the point is Generation X and Star Wars went together hand in hand – not just when we were children, but also into our adult years. It was part of our lore, part of our story. We all knew we were secretly Luke Skywalker or Chewie or Han or Leia.

    And then the dark times began….

    George Lucas did a remix of the original movies….the special edition. The internet was young and didn’t hold as much power to share opinions as it does now. Most people were not online, and therefore most of what we heard was either word of mouth or read in a magazine or a newspaper. I’m dangerously close to going off topic here, but the reception of the zeitgeist of the special edition is not the reception we have now – and I think it’s because the internet has changed the way we discuss these things. But back to the topic at hand: I personally had an opinion on computer graphics – and that was pretty much “use them only if you need them.” I feel like everyone I knew was ok with Lucas over using computer graphics. Even people who now preach that the special editions were an abomination against creation itself seemed to be ok with them in the mid 90s. To be fair, while I mocked the special effects, I actually liked some of the special edition scenes – the scene with Jabba the Hutt in IV, the ending of Jedi, and while the used too many computer effects in Empire Strikes Back, at least they didn’t fiddle with the story too much (Empire has always been my favorite). Again, it seems like most people I talked with felt the same about the Special editions. I really never heard much talk against them until after Episode 1 came out four years later…

    The special edition of Episode III includes this scene.
    The special edition of Episode III includes this scene.

    Episode 1…..two years later. I saw the damned thing in theaters several times. Sometimes I would go to the movie theater, flip a coin, and say heads I’ll watch the Matrix again, tails, I’ll watch Episode 1 again. I’m pretty sure I saw each four times in the theater, which is a record. We had been waiting sixteen years for this film. We waited from childhood, through puberty, through our college years, and into our early career phases. Some friends were already married with children when Episode 1 finally decided to flush itself out of the rectum of Lucas like so many other turds before it. But I was in denial – it was Star Wars. It was the movie I had been anticipating for what felt like forever. Surely, this was not a piece of crap. It wasn’t until I saw a commercial showing 9 year old Anakin leaving his mommy – I realized that this was a kid’s movie. I hated Jar Jar before that mind you – a friend told me to look at him as the comic relief, much as C3PO served in the original trilogy (this friend was most likely in the same denial I was in). But I realized this movie was not meant for Generation X. This was meant for the next generation. It had it’s good points mind you: It set a tone. Episdoe 1 was about showing what the galaxy was like before the Dark times. It was a time when a 14 year old could address the senate and demand that her planet’s senator be elevated to Supreme Chancellor. It was a time when the invasion of a planet could bet thwarted by a 9 year old kid who got lucky and an army of Gun Guns. It was a simple time, where things just worked out because the dark side wasn’t really a factor. The Phantom Menace was a story that needed to be told to set up the next two movies – and to even put the original trilogy into perspective.

    My reaction, both immediate and delayed, to The Phantom Menace probably helped me process the next two movies. Yeah, they had bad acting, and yes, they still rely on bad CGI, but really they were the stories we knew were coming. They were the stories of the clone wars, they were the stories of Anakin and Obiwan, going from master and apprentice to brothers to eventually nemesis. They showed the death star under construction. They showed Darth Vader reborn. They told us the clones in the war eventually became the Storm troopers. They weren’t the original trilogy, but could anything ever live up to that hype of sixteen years? No, of course not. And more and more people seem to be forgiving their shortcomings because the story really is important and the really are fun at times.

    We’re looking into the future again. We’re looking to a new trilogy that may or may not disappoint us. All signs say no, it won’t. It might even be the trilogy we’ve been waiting for…or it might not. But regardless, I will be there for every movie. I will be in denial if the films suck, and elated if they don’t. I cannot look at a new Star Wars movie objectively, because like so many other Generation Xers, Star Wars is part of who I am. It’s a link throughout my lifetime. When they finish the six movies coming in the next few years, I will be wanting more.

    I have no doubt these will not be the last movies we see either. Star Wars is a cash cow that Disney plans on milking for all it is worth. We’ll reach a point where the zeitgeist will say: Another Star Wars movie, why? But myself? I’ll be saying Another Star Wars movie….Why not?

    I hear in Episode X, Mickey Mouse plays Han Solo's son.
    I hear in Episode X, Mickey Mouse plays Han Solo’s son.

    EDIT FROM THE FUTURE: The Force Awakens freaking killed! The trailers for Rouge One look amazing! Let’s hope it stays on this way. On a sadder note – RIP Kenny Baker.


  • Caesar commands you to laugh!

    Spend as much time on the Internet as I do, and you’ll notice that the planet has a bunch of bored people pretending they’re Caesar. They sit on their thrones stoically. They look down at their art and/or entertainment choices as though said choices were Gladiator matches. After they’re done with said A&E choices, these quasi-Roman emperors either give a thumbs up, or a thumbs down.

    The average internet commentator
    The average internet commentator

    Before I get too far into this metaphor, I will say that everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions. However, in the information age (do we still use that phrase?) our opinions, especially shared on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, et al, can make or break our A&E choices. Our friends and acquaintances who share similar tastes to ours, might very well base their choices on our opinions. More so, the professional critics – those who are paid to rip apart every inconsistency, every terrible acting job, and every joke have this power to make or break a piece of A&E. Again, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but with great power comes great responsibility. If Augustus or Nero gives the Gladiator a thumbs down, that Gladiator is destroyed. If the critics hated say, The Office or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, those series ratings probably would have dropped and the networks would have canceled them before their time.

    Perhaps you’re saying big deal. Critics have the power of Caesar over movies, television etcetera. Big deal, some terribly made movie or a rushed and clichéd show get canceled because the critics are telling it as it is. This wouldn’t bother me so much, except I often wonder if said critics, both professional and amateur, are actually looking for an excuse to hate whatever they happen to be reviewing. If this is truly happening, this has to change. There is a time to be snarky, sure, but there’s a time to just be entertained already!

    Let’s look at a couple of movies the critics hated. On Rotten Tomatoes, Skyline earned a 15%; The Starvation Game got a 0%. I’ll admit, Skyline sucked. Skyline might very well be the worst movie I’ve ever seen, and is certainly the worst movie I’ve seen in the last five years. The Starving Games, however, was seriously funny. It might not have been the funniest movie I’ve seen even in the last two years, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and at the very least, it was better than Skyline! Skyline was painful to watch, while The Starving Games was, if you let yourself be entertained, very funny. While both movies were admittedly about making money first and foremost, one actually tried to make people happy for 70 minutes. One actually tried to make the world a little better. But Caesar was not entertained. Why? Because Caesar is a snob! Caesar wants absolute perfection or else the chopping block! Caesar will not allow him or herself to laugh at something so banal as a spoof.

    Take Joe Leydon’s (of Variety) review of The Starving games:
    “The Starving Games” might inspire punny put-downs like “malnourished script” or “unappetizing gags.” But, really, a movie as lame as this one doesn’t merit the expenditure of snark.”

    Caesar Leydon
    Caesar Leydon

    I don’t know what Leydon looks like, but by that comment alone, I’m going to assume he runs a comic book shop frequented by Bart Simpson. One wonders if he’s ever laughed in his life. One must wonder if he’s actually learned to laugh or even if he is even qualified to critique humor. I will point out that during Leydon’s review, he didn’t once mention WHY The Starving Games wasn’t funny – he just said it wasn’t funny. ALL HAIL THE WORD OF Caesar!

    Again, why does this matter? Because laughter is fun. Period. I realize there are those who are really serious, but there are also those of us really like to laugh and view laughter as an extremely important part of life. If I sit down and watch a comedy, I’m going to try my best to laugh. I do realize everyone has a different view of what humor might be, but I for one believe our standards for humor should be pretty low. Again, laughing is fun! Laughing makes life a little better. Laughing may even have medicinal value!

    So…what about those of us who are intelligent and educated? Are we not entitled to demand smarter comedy? I’m going to admit that I love smart comedy more than “low” comedy. I will even admit that sometimes I’m in the mood for comedy that’s of a higher standard than say, The Starvation Games. I’ve also learned that if I’m going to survive this world, I need to laugh at things which I would normally consider below my otherwise high standards. In fact, to NOT laugh at things makes my life a little more miserable. Say I write about how “stupid” a comedy is because the humor was a lower caliber than I would prefer. If people care about my opinion on the matter, I’m actually depriving people a bit of happiness! They’re passing up on said comedy because of my snark, and therefore my snark is denying them the chance to laugh. My snark, in this situation, makes the world a little worse. Sure, I get a bit of smug satisfaction for ripping apart someone’s jokes, but is that really worth the cost? Is my smug satisfaction going to bring joy to my readers?

    I’m not saying laugh at everything. We’ve all got our different filters of what is funny. Some things are totally offensive. Some things are gross. Some things probably shouldn’t be laughed about. Some jokes are stale, and some jokes just don’t work. Heck, sometimes snark in itself is funny! I will also recognize that lowering humor standards too far will spread stupidity – that’s not the results I’m after here and I encourage you to guard yourself from this very thing. But for the sake of humanity! Of all mankind! Try to keep an open mind when it comes to comedy. Your life will be richer and happier, and so will the lives of those around you.


  • If you don’t watch these Christmas shows, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!!

    iinasnity wolfCHRISTMAS! FREAKING CHRISTMAS! And what good is Christmas without cool Christmas specials? So here’s some you should be watching. If you’re not watching them, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!!

    1) A Christmas Story
    – Watch this. Watch it twice. Watch it three times! JUST FREAKING WATCH IT!!! Seriously – what is not to like about this movie? There are maybe five movies I can quote from memory, and this is one of them! You’ll shoot your eye out! So help me God he had yellow eyes!

    2) The Grinch that stole Christmas – No, no, no – not the one staring Jim Carrey – gosh! Are you even listening to me? Seriously! I mean, that one was ok – but by Golly Gee Whiz! WATCH THE ANIMATED VERSION THAT ACTUALLY QUOTES DR. SEUSS! Why? Because reasons! That’s why!!!

    3) Christmas Vacation – Of course this one would be on the list! I mean, seriously! I don’t have to explain why! YOU SHOULD KNOW WHY!!! Just watch it! And if you haven’t seen it, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!!

    4) A Charlie Brown Christmas – Yes, of course this one is on the list. When I was a kid, I had a book and a record of it and every-time they rang a bell on the record you were supposed to turn the page. It never was a bad little tree!

    charlie_Linus5) Elf – THIS IS THE ONLY WILL FERREL MOVIE THAT MATTERS! Ok, maybe the Anchorman. And I may have enjoyed A Night at the Roxburry. And oh yeah, he’s got a lot of cool parts in other movies where he’s not the star, but other than that! WATCH ELF BECAUSE IT’S THE ONLY WILL FERREL MOVIE THAT MATTERS!!! SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES!!!

    6) Scooged – BILL MURRAY DID A CHRISTMAS MOVIE! That should be all you need to know! Because freaking Bill Murray is the bomb! In fact! I’m gonna watch it tonight!!! Bill Murray is a national hero!

    7) 8 Crazy Nights – Wait – what is this doing here, it’s not a Christmas movie! YES IT IS! JUST BECAUSE IT ALSO MENTIONS HANUKKAH!!!! Besides! Poopcicle! That’s a technical foul! NOW GIVE ME ALL YOUR PATCHES!!!

    8) Mr Hankey’s Christmas Special – THE CAST OF SOUTHPARK SING CHRISTMAS SONGS! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!?!?!

    Simpsons_Roasting9 A Muppet Christmas Carrol – HEY HEY, LIGHT THE LAMP, NOT THE RAT!!! I for one am sick of sticking to the Dickens version – I want puppets! Heck, they need to do a version of Oliver Twist with the muppets. And why stop there! Muppet Moby Dick! Muppet Atlas Shrugged! Muppet Scarlett Letter!

    10) Rudolph – BECAUSE RUDOLPH!!!

    11) Frosty – BECAUSE FROSTY!!!

    12) All the Doctor Who Christmas Specials
    – Seriously are you not paying attention! Doctor Who! BECAUSE FREAKING DOCTOR WHO!!!

    13) The Simpsons Christmas Special – This is THE FIRST episode of the Simpsons! Before this, the Simpsons were just a sketch on the Tracey Ullman show! Without this we wouldn’t have 25 hilarious years of the best family on TV!!!

    christmas-with-sctv-20051109041147414-00014) KISS saves Christmas – Why they stopped airing this every year, I’ll never know! But you should still watch it! Even if you can only find it in that episode of Family Guy, you should still watch it!!!

    15) It’s a wonderful life
    – Merry Christmas Movie House! I….wait! I don’t like this movie! I get bored by this movie! It’s only a classic because it fell into public domain! Why would you watch this c….Ladies and gentleman, due to being off his meds, Aaron J Edwards has been dismissed from the staff of aaronjedwards.com. Aaronjedwards.com would like to apologize for the ranting of Aaron J Edwards, and hopes that this article does not discourage you from further enjoying the diverse articles found on aaronjedwards.com. Furthermore, Aaronjedwards.com would like to acknowledge that all these Holiday specials are indeed special (including It’s a wonderful life), everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Please note – if you are not watching these, you are not doing anything wrong (although you just might be a scrooge).

    Happy holidays everyone!


  • Big giant robots killing eachother.

    On all my social networking sites, I’ve mentioned I was going to go watch Micheal Bay spit on my childhood for the third time. Regardless of Bay’s past indiscretions (and there are many), I still slapped down my ten bucks to go see Transformers 3. Call it an overblown sense of nostalgia, call it a sadomasochist tendency, or call it just plain curiosity. Well, I’ll get this out of the way: Transformers 3 is not going to win any Oscars, nor should it. However, for me, Transformers 3 did not suck.

    Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon had a thin plot-line to say the least. The characters were so-so, and the effects were par for course. This was a movie made to make money and I doubt Micheal Bay cared the art of film. However, I loved almost every minute of it. OK, so the first few minutes I hated. The actor that played JFK did the worst impersonation of JFK I’ve ever seen. It was so bad, it was like a bad impersonation of someone doing an impersonation of JFK. There’s also the effects in the beginning of the film:  while I appreciate the fact that Bay tried to insert graininess into the some of the shots from the 1960s, it felt a little forced, and did not mesh well at all with the non grainy shots. Of course, then there’s the up-skirt shots of Carly climbing the stairs. That was the point of the movie I rolled my eyes, and braced for impact. Anytime some streetwise jive talking autobots would bust into a rap, and some huge robot made of constructions would be tea bagging the audience. Thankfully, those scenes never came. Instead Micheal Bay focused his testosterone on giant robots blowing each other up. My inner 9 year old breathed a sigh of relief.

    Again, I say that Transformers 3 will not be winning any Oscars, but at the end of the day, I spent ten bucks to be entertained for 2.5 hours. I saw massive amounts of explosions and icons of my childhood in a massive war in the middle of Chicago. I give Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon a solid B. You might not enjoy the film if you weren’t a 9 year old boy in 1984, but if you are of my age and gender, go see the movie. Now. You’ll love it!

    One final thought. Now that we’ve gotten through the trilogy, can we get alive action  Transformers movie with Unicron? Pleeaaasee?


  • My picks for the 2010 Acadamy Awards

    Its that time again! Time to settle back with a bag of popcorn, mock celebrities and their hideous clothes, and boo because (insert piece of trash movie here) won (insert undeserved award here). Its almost time to roll the dice – hoping your favorite movies, actors, directors, editors, sound people, camera people key grips and caterers get the credit they deserve! So, without any further delay, without any further adieu, without any further…..uh, I lost my place! Oh, here it is (schadenfreude) – I give you my picks for the 2010 academy awards!

    Best Picture: An Education

    I almost missed this film entirely, and it would have been my loss. My favorite thing about “An Education” is the fact that the writers sincerely put up both sides of the argument facing the film’s protagonist, Jenny. The film shows Jenny’s struggles with both the pros and cons of going to Oxford after she graduates, or marrying Jack. The audience is left guessing which the best choice is for Jenny, and hoping she makes the right choice. Will it win? No. Avatar will most likely sweep the Oscars this year. Even though its plot is paper-thin.

    Actor in a leading roll: George ClooneyUp in the Air

    I will be honest: I choose George Clooney as my best actor pick not because he did such a wonderful job, but because I had no real opinions of the other actors and their performances. However, I must comment that George Clooney did a wonderful job as Ryan Bingham, the man with no goods. I hated him, pitied him, and even loved him at times. George Clooney brought to life a character that could have been very two-dimensional. Will he win? Hard to say actually, I heard Morgan Freeman did a wonderful job in Invictus.

    Actress in a leading roll: Carey Mulligan – An Education

    I if it were up to me, I would give “An Education” almost every award it is up for! Carey Mulligan really was convincing as Jenny, and deserves the Oscar.  I don’t believe I have cared so much about a character since Amélie. Will she win? Perhaps, though from what I hear, Gabourey Sidibe did a great job in “Precious.”

    Animated Film: Up

    The choice for best animated film was probably the hardest choice I had to make this Oscar season. I thoroughly enjoyed Coraline, and in truth, if there could be a tie, I would not be opposed to giving the Oscar to both films. Oh, alas, the Oscar cannot be split, so I really had to go with Up. Up was simply written and animated a little better than Coraline. Will it win? I’m guessing yes. Critics seem to love it, and it’s the only animated film nominated for Best Picture.

    Art Direction: Avatar

    Avatar is just an amazingly beautiful film. I don’t believe I have ever seen a film as captivating and beautiful. Sure, the plot was formulaic, but even the harshest critics have to give James Cameron a nod for creating such a beautiful world. Will it win? Most likely. Avatar is supposed to be the golden child of the Oscars this year.

    Directing: Inglorious Basterds

    This is another category where I had a hard time choosing just one film. Both James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino deserve the Oscar. It is kind of a pity both films came out the same year. Both directors worked for YEARS on their respected films. Both films are supposedly the magnum opus of each director. In the end, I choose Inglorious Basterds because, quite frankly, I enjoyed the film more than Avatar.  Inglorious Basterds is well written, well produced, well acted, well filmed, and well edited. Tarantino simply did a better job than Cameron. Besides, Avatar will get enough Oscars. We can spare to give Quentin the nod he deserves for this film. Will it win? Probably not. As I said earlier, Avatar is supposed to be the golden child of the Oscars this year.

    Writing (adaptive screenplay): District 9

    Yet another hard choice, this time between District 9, Up in the Air, and An Education (my pick for best picture).  In the end, I must say that District 9 is the most challenging script. District 9 could have easily become a shoot ‘em up, aliens invade the Earth type of film. Instead, we get humans acting as humans would act if an alien ship finds itself stranded. We have humans treating the aliens like second-class citizens, not as honored guests who might be able to help us with our own problems. We have aliens acting like any other oppressed culture who want nothing more than to be left alone – a culture that just wants to go home. Will it win? Maybe. I’m guessing either District 9 or Precious wins.

    Writing (original Screenplay): Inglorious Basterds

    I already said how much I love the writing of this movie. Tarantino’s humor, sense of poetic justice, and just plain bizarre and even warped mind all make an appearance in his writing. Several separate plot lines that seem to have no relevance intertwine flawlessly. And what about that ending? Asides from Hitler and his men getting slaughtered by several separate plots against their lives, the one Nazi escapes to what appears to be a storybook ending. Well, almost….almost. I really hope he likes hats. Will it win? Perhaps. Up might give it a good run though.

    So what about the rest of the Oscars? Originally I had picks for almost every category, but sadly friends, I don’t have any more time to spend on this article. So I leave you with a solemn apology. There’s always next year!