Happy Star Wars MONTH, y’all!

Happy Star Wars MONTH

With Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!), Revenge of the 6th, and a whole bunch of anniversaries commemorating the opening days of the Star Wars saga, there is a lot of Star Wars awesomeness to go around. So I’ve decided to dedicate the whole month to Star Wars.

That’s right. We cannot limit our Star Wars celebration to merely one day anymore. It’s time to step up our game. It’s time to expand the Star Wars festivities to fill the entire month, not just one lousy day.

So let us make merry this fine first day of May. Grab an Ewok and dance. Ask your sweetheart to put cinnamon rolls on her head. Swing your lightsabers round and round. And stop trying to adapt your speeders to the cold (because it is Spring, after all). We’re gonna party like it’s a long time ago in a galaxy far far away!

All.

month.

long.

So happy Star Wars month, y’all! And remember: the Force will be with you.

Always.

Techno Ewoks!

techno Ewoks

I’ve known about Meco’s Intergalactic Funk version of Star Wars since the early ’80s. I think it’s such a groovy song that I used to use it as the background music for my homepage. Yeah. I said homepage. Remember those? I used to have one back in the day. You could say it was a long time ago. Maybe even in a galaxy far, far away….

My homepage was called Matt’s Little Website. Creative, huh? I thought so. The music was accompanied by a fun little gif:

Dogfight

See? Fun times.

Although I updated it once or twice since creating Matt’s Little Website, it’s clear that the Internet and I have come a long way since 1999 when this homepage first went live.

The Internet has been part of my life for a long time. So why on earth has it taken me 30 years to find out that there’s a techno dance version of Yub Nub, the Ewok celebration?

You have failed me for the last time, Internet.

If I’d known such a thing, I would’ve lobbied for this version to be used in our wedding. Because it’s quite obvious that Ewoks know how to party.


GIFSoup

Why Return of the Jedi is my favorite

Return of the Jedi

Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi. I remember the weeks (and maybe even the months) of hype leading up to this film. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat (honestly? it was a couch. you get the idea though) in the Living Room in our old house on Iroquois, watching Entertainment Tonight’s feature about the filming of the speeder bike scene. I could.not.wait. I was caught up in Jedi fever, like the rest of the country (be sure to note the price of the scalped tickets in that link. I’d be pretty happy with those prices today!).

While I didn’t camp out in the ticket line or attend any midnight showings, I was the first of my friends to go see it. I was pretty proud of that fact.

I still remember seeing that vile gangster, Jabba the Hutt, on the big screen for the first time. I still remember holding my breath during the final duel. I still remember the magic of the final chapter of the Original Trilogy. And because of this experience alone, Return of the Jedi will always be a favorite movie of mine. But that’s not the only reason.

Ewoks

Ewoks. Love them.
image via Enemy of Peanuts

I know. Many people think the Ewoks are the Original Trilogy’s equivalent of Jar Jar Binks. It’s become the cool thing to say.You can say that if you want. It’s OK for you to be wrong.

I argue that Ewoks are a crucial part of the story. The Rebellion is a ragtag group up against the arrogant, evil, well-oiled Imperial machine. The involvement of prehistoric Ewoks in the war against a new technological terror is merely an extension of the theme that has been evident since the beginning of the Star Wars saga – don’t count out the little guy. Love and friendship conquer all.

Darth Vader

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker's final battle in Return of the Jedi
image via Yodapedia

Once you realize the entire Star Wars saga is the story of Anakin Skywalker turned Darth Vader turned Anakin Skywalker*, you view Jedi through an entirely different lens. Watching the redemption of Darth Vader at the end of the film brings a tear to my eye. It gives me chills. In fact, I have goosebumps right now just because I’m writing about it.

The Good Guys Win!

Celebrate the Love in Return of the Jedi
image via Odds & Thens

The entire saga ties together in one dramatic climax. The Emperor is gone. The Empire is defeated. The friends are wiser, stronger, and closer to each other than they had ever been before. There’s dancing and singing and everyone is celebrating the love (not “lord,” as a teacher once insisted in high school) – but only in the original version. That’s one of the reasons I strongly dislike the Special Edition, by the way. Order has been restored. Evil has been destroyed. Good has won. All is right with the galaxy. Just like it should be.

Does Jedi work as a stand-alone movie? Probably not. But as a conclusion to an epic Trilogy? Absolutely! Sure, there are some faults. Each episode has them. But Jedi has a special place in my heart. And for that reason, it’s my favorite.

Which installment of Star Wars is your favorite? Why?

*I’m sorry if this is a spoiler, but…come on….it’s been 30 years. If this is a spoiler for you, then what are you waiting for? Pretend you didn’t read this, go borrow someone’s copy of Return of the Jedi and watch it tonight!

Happy Halloween!!

I had my share of factory-made Halloween costumes growing up. The most memorable one, I think, was the C-3PO vinyl-like costume that was much more like an apron than a costume. That being said, most of my costumes were homemade. Mom, being quite the seamstress, made a clown costume for me one year. She also made this full-body coat of fur for me so I could be Chewbacca one year. We recycled that costume the next year when I dressed up like an Ewok. I wish I had a picture of that costume, but I haven’t been able to find it.

I do, however, have a picture of what might be my most favorite Halloween costume of all time. I don’t think it was necessarily my favorite at the time (even though I did think it was cool), but it’s definitely one of my favorites in hindsight.

This was my grandfather’s Navy uniform. I never met him. I feel like I have a stronger connection with him, though, because of this costume.

While we did some door-to-door trick-or-treating, the main event of Halloween in our family was driving around town and showing off our costumes to our aunts, uncles, and grandparents. It’s good to be the oldest grandchildren/nephews. You get tons of candy. I think my favorite was the Krackel bar (I’m sorely disappointed to discover that these are only available in the mini bags now). Probably still is my favorite candy bar, although Twix runs a close second.

What about you? What’s your most memorable Halloween costume? What’s your favorite candy bar?

PS: I just looked back at some of the Halloween costumes my kids have worn in years past. Some of them were pretty remarkable, too. 

Star Wars Day: Celebrate the LOVE

My Junior year of high school, I had Mr. Hughes for English Lit. He really opened my eyes to the world of literature. One of the lasting legacies of learning under him was my understanding of the art of tragedy. Mr. Hughes helped me realize that the Star Wars trilogy wasn’t really about Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Jawas, and Ewoks. It was really the Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.

Now, with the coming of the Prequels, this might not be that big of a deal. Of course it’s the story of the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of the Chosen One. But fifteen years ago, there was no Prequel. We only had the Original Trilogy. And the realization that Star Wars is about Anakin blew my mind. It revolutionized how I watched the films.

There was one class session, however, where Mr. Hughes and I had a spirited disagreement about the final scene of Return of the Jedi. He was discussing how Jedi was about Anakin’s redemption and he said, “Even at the end of the movie, they’re calling attention to Lord Vader when the choir sings, ‘Celebrate the lord,’ and the closing credits come up” (obviously, this is paraphrased).

“No they don’t,” I interrupted. “They don’t sing ‘Celebrate the lord.’ It’s ‘Celebrate the love.'”

“No. I’m pretty sure it’s lord,” he replied. Then he continued on his monologue.

You’re wrong, I thought. I know it’s love. But I could never prove it.

Five years later, I was finally able to purchase the Star Wars Anthology and it included the lyrics to the Ewok Celebration. Do you know what the final line is? That’s right…Celebrate the LOVE.

So…if anyone still talks to Mr. Hughes or if you happen to run into him in the grocery store or your local Barnes & Noble, please inform him that I was, in fact, right. I’m sure he’s been tossing and turning about it for 15+ years.

Quoth the Emperor: “Young fool, only now – at the end – do you understand.”

Or something like that.

The Ewok Celebration is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I still get goose bumps from time to time when I hear it. It doesn’t hurt that we used it as part of our Recessional at our wedding (have I mentioned recently how awesome my wife is for agreeing to that?).

I’m still disappointed that they decided to remove it from the “Special” Edition re-release back in ’97. They changed it once. I’d prefer to see them change it again. Something tells me there’s a better chance of making Han shoot first than the return of the Ewok Celebration.

But one can hope. Maybe Sir Lucas will figure out that he’ll make more money that somehow if he changes it back. But until that day, at least we’ll have Ewok Karaoke.