I see the latest Star Wars movie is out. I didn’t understand the first one in 1977 so I doubt I would understand the latest.
I remember taking our son, who was nearly 8, and sitting in the dark and wondering what was happening.
“Why is the human allied with that furry guy?” I asked, and he shushed me.
Was some of it symbolic or allegorical? Did it refer to our own foolish wars, past or present or future? What were their motivations? I didn’t know. Still don’t.
I could figure out some kind of oedipal tension between the old human and the kid, but the only person I could relate to was the Harrison Ford character, named Han Solo. In this huge universe, aren’t we all Han Solo?
I also liked Ford in “The Frisco Kid” (1979) about a Polish rabbi and an outlaw and some even worse outlaws in the west. The hairy creatures were real. The rabbi (Gene Wilder) asked the Han-Solo outlaw (Ford) what he was going to do next, and Ford replied in lascivious and bigoted language.
This was before Ford’s features became frozen permanently between fear and anger. He was young then.
Star Wars did have some sex appeal. We got a report about The Empire Strikes Back (1980) after our younger daughter went with friends from high school.
Apparently, one of the human characters was about to be killed in some outer-space way, and one girl shouted at the screen, “You can’t kill Billy Dee Williams! He be the sexiest man in the galaxy!”
I love some supernatural touches: Emma Thompson as the merciful angel, Meryl Streep as the spirit of Ethel Rosenberg, in “Angels in America.”
Generally I favor movies with reference to some moral code -- Orson Welles lurking in the shadows, Tony and Maria seeing each other across the gym, Clint avenging his buddy’s death in a “shit-hole” bar.
Movies have gotten away from me. Zombie films and Harry Potter films and extra-terrestial films.
Who needs new monsters? Trump and Cruz scare me enough.
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)