Good Is Dumb.
2 June 2002
I know what the problem is with the new Star Wars movies. It's that Lucas watched "Spaceballs," and, well, do you remember the part where Rick Moranis says, "Evil will always triumph, because Good is dumb"? I think he took that seriously as the theme of his movies. It's an explanation that seems to fit all the data.
(Yes, David, I did "? there instead of ?". So I do see your point.)
There was no call for the shot of Natalie Portman running across the field. Absolutely none. But there were so many scenes for which there were absolutely no call, I don't really have the time to list them.
Mark and I had a nice discussion of whether Hayden Christensen or Natalie Portman was the worse actor. They both had that charming "I am reading this from a card" delivery, but I still maintain that Portman was worse because I could not fathom that she was supposed to be a fairly mature twentysomething with ten years' political experience, whereas Christensen as spoiled teenage brat was entirely believable. Even if he was a spoiled teenage brat reading things from cards.
I did like Ewan MacGregor, though, poor man. (He was forced to attempt the line, "Good call, my young Padawan." Um, no. "Good call" goes with "dude." "My young Padawan" goes with "well done" or the like.) And Samuel L. Jackson was very cool. Actually, I wanted Samuel L. Jackson in all the scenes, so that when the other characters were idiots, he could give them That Look that he does. (Sample: Portman: "What's wrong, Anni?" Jackson: [That Look] "He just hauled his momma's broken corpse home, you dumb [noun]. The hell you think is wrong?")
There were two moments when I wanted to find George Lucas and pummel him, which is a vast improvement over "The Phantom Menace." The first was the fanfare and the appearance of the words "Star Wars" on the screen. I got the shivers. And I knew that it wouldn't be like that. I knew there was no way, and I just wanted to pummel Lucas for that. The other moment was when Hayden Christensen read "I've got a bad feeling about this" off a card while chained to a post in the arena. Timing: wrong. Delivery: wrong. Actor: wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and if he refers to the things people love about the original trilogy, he's only going to point out how much this was not it.
There were other moments when I wanted to flee the theatre shrieking. But I didn't actively want to do violence to the person of George Lucas then.
Coming into the theatre, I saw a little blonde peanut, barely old enough to walk and talk. She gave me a bit of a smile, and I smiled back, so she broke into a grin. I said, "Hi, sweetheart, how are you?" and she just beamed at me, and her mother did, too. And, frankly, I felt bad for men, because I think a lot more mothers would be distrusting of the same set of behaviors in men and teach their kids to be distrusting, too. But this one was adorable. She was about the age I was when "The Empire Strikes Back" came out. Maybe this will be as much a part of her world as "Empire" was mine. I rather hope not.
You don't see very many small blondes out here (yep, she was a natural blonde...ahem, sorry), and while I will go absolutely nuts for toddlers of any shape and color, I'm always aware that what we're going to end up with is little blondes. (I was a blonde as a little girl. It helps bolster Mark's alien claim, that the human, blonde Marissa was replaced around age 6 or 7 with a brunette alien.)
(I have no idea what he'll do if one of our kids is similarly replaced.)
Before we went to the movie, we went to Fry's, where we discovered that we could still, in fact, wheel it round. Same old guy, different purchases: monitors this time. I know we needed to do this, but I feel like we're hemorrhaging money lately. Glasses and monitors and clothes and plane tickets and now the sofa is breaking. We had always hoped not to move this sofa home with us when we go, but I had kind of counted on that being an aesthetic choice, not a matter of the metal frame poking through the cloth. Timprov fixed it with a fork earlier this week, but I'm just not sure how long that'll hold. And while we can manage with a piece of duct tape and the afghan thrown over the back for awhile if it gets to that point, we are not the "duct taped couch" sort of people. I had really thought we were past that point in our lives. So...so I don't know. Ikea is having a sale this weekend, and I don't know if I like any of their couches or want any of their couches, but it seems like it might be worth checking out, in case they had a really good sale that they wouldn't have again for months. On the other hand, we can deal with this couch for at least a few months, and they might have another sale. I just don't know.
It's not an entirely dismal situation. I don't have to pay health insurance costs out of pocket any more (woohoo!), and they want to lower our rent again for a one-year lease, this time by $90. (An obscene amount of money minus $90 is still at least a vulgar amount of money, though.) At the rate the rent is going, if we promised to stay here forever, it'd be free. But we'll take $90/month less instead, that's fine. At the end of the year, we'll have paid off the car. That's good, too.
But. We'll need another car when we move home, and we'll start looking at houses, and Mark's student loans won't be deferred any more, and I'm just too aware of how much things cost right now. We're not in a situation where we won't be able to pay the rent. We're just in a situation where I'm a little nervous, and seeing the Ikea ad made me wonder what the longer-term smart thing is to do here.
Ah well. We'll figure it out. In the meantime, I'm reading Smart House, another of Kate Wilhelm's Constance and Charlie mysteries, and I'm enjoying it. Working on revisions on "Fair Use" and "The Children's Village," hoping to get the latter, at least, done in the next few days. I just want to do a massive "clear the decks" sort of a day, of novelette revisions and household chores and errand running and all the little things, so that I can get back to working full-out on the Not The Moose Book, because I'm itching to do it right now. Have a good Sunday.
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