The Ridiculous Rules of Hollywood

Jacob is a true professional. It’s probably easier than I think to put the lettering on the “WANTED” poster, and have it underneath the hand of the “judge,” but it looks fancy and complicated to ME. The bearers of the palanquin (which a word that me and my D&D buds were struggling to come up with the other day…we settled on “litter,” I think) all look like badasses, huh?

(You’ll notice that I’m not naming these blog posts “Click Here to…” anymore. That just felt boring.)

I’m a little late in telling you guys, but #Squirrel and I went to see Inside Out last week. There are two things you should know:

1. It’s NOT the best film Pixar has ever made despite the hyperbole floating around out there.

2. It’s a damn good Pixar film, and that means it’s among the best films of the year, guaranteed. Pixar’s worst movies are pretty damn good movies.

The thing that I liked most about this film was the theme/message, and it’s one that every parent in America probably needs to take in: It’s okay for your kids to be sad…in fact, it’s normal and necessary. It seems like most parents these days will do ANYTHING to make sure their kids are happy. Our natural impulse to anyone experiencing sadness is always to try and cheer them up; certainly I’m guilty of it. Parents are more guilty than most, and that’s to be expected. That’s the whole point of this movie, and I can tell you that without spoiling anything.

It’s a great piece of filmmaking…but best EVER? Not from the company that made Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story 3, which I think are Pixar’s three best films. Inside Out is on what I consider the second tier of Pixar films, along with Wall*E and Up…and that’s amazing company to find itself in. (Monsters Inc. and Ratatouille are next, followed by the other two Toy Story films. I’ve never seen any of the others, although I really want to see Brave.)

Here’s the crazy thing…some media outlets reported its $91 million first weekend as a disappointment because it came in #2 to Jurassic World. INSANE. While it’s true that this is the first Pixar film that didn’t open #1, Inside Out still had the best opening weekend any Pixar film has ever had, and it’s the top grossing opening weekend for an original property IN HISTORY. Every film to have a bigger opening weekend was a part of a franchise. That’s HUGE.

To call it a disappointment because the commercials say “#1 ‘family’ movie” instead of “#1 movie” is ridiculous. Media reporters drink too much of their own Kool-Aid.


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Anakin Skywalker Is Just A Big-Ass Midi-Chlorian

For me, the hardest part of writing this comic is remembering not to veer too far into fantasy and away from noir, or vice versa. Both genres come relatively easily to me (and there are many that do not, believe me), but I can easily forget to include one genre at the expense of the other if I’m not careful. The stuff with the Al’Dahani is a deliberate decision on my part to make sure BOTH genres are being fully served. It could very well be terrible, but *I* like it, and I’m reasonably sure that Will and Jacob do too. If the three of us are happy, it’s hard to think we’re not doing something right.

But enough about us and enough about that. Let’s talk about the title of this particular blog entry, and that means talking about the advance showing of the Season Two premiere of Star Wars – Rebels. That means that, if you haven’t watched it yet and intend to, you should stop now.

Have you stopped? I hope so.

If not, well, the promotions have all shown Darth Vader as being a large presence this season, and he definitely was in this premiere, right down to having James Earl Jones doing the voice.

One of my buddies and I talked about it, and he made a point of mentioning that he felt like the character was back, after having been gone ever since Episode One came out. I realized it then, the prequel trilogy took away one of the defining characteristics of Darth Vader: his anonymity. His mystery was taken away when we got to know Anakin Skywalker.

But hearing Vader’s voice instead of Anakin’s, and seeing THAT MASK, and the animators did a very good job of rendering Vader, that brought a sense of “what the hell is this guy gonna do?” And he did a LOT. He outmatched the heroes on every level. He outfought them with a lightsaber and with his personal TIE fighter. He anticipated their actions. Most of all, he used the Force the way a Dark Lord of the Sith should. He tossed our heroes around like rag dolls. He threatened Ezra with his own lightsaber. HE USED THE FORCE TO CATCH A PAIR OF SCOUT WALKERS THAT WERE DROPPED ON HIM.

It was epic. He was epic…and I always wanted to know what he was going to do next. He was a proper villain, as the Brits like to say. He was back.

Just as the prequel trilogy demystified the Force itself, or tried to, by introducing Midichlorians, it also demystified Darth Vader, by showing us the man beneath the mask. People have often said that the original trilogy was about Darth Vader and not about Luke Skywalker, it was a tale of Vader’s redemption, but that wasn’t true at all. It was a coming of age story, it was the story of Luke becoming man enough to save his father. There was a reason why we were never given details about Anakin in the original trilogy. We weren’t even told his name until the third movie. The details were kept from us because THEY WEREN’T IMPORTANT. “Vader as Luke’s father” was all we needed to know. Everything else was about villainy.

Darth Vader is one of the great movie villains of all time, and the prequel trilogy almost took him away from us. But Rebels has given him back.

I can’t wait for the rest of the season. (But I have to.)

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Click Here to Comment on Page 496

What do you imagine is going to happen on the next page, hmmm? Man, Will’s layouts are getting more complex, huh?

So I think I mentioned that we played D&D last week…man, were we rusty. I don’t think anyone felt COMFORTABLE with the rules, and it is still a fairly new system to us, and worse, I don’t think any of us felt INSIDE our characters. Too long a layoff, compounded by the fact that this was far more a roleplaying session than a hack-and-slash one. The good news is, we’re playing again in two weeks, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep a schedule going for a while, so we can get back into it.

Also, just because I’m finally allowed to speak on it, I’m currently working on an episode of the latest iteration of Ben 10! The Man of Action team has always been really cool to me, so I’m grateful for this opportunity. I hope you guys will check it out.


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Click Here to Comment on Page 495

The Al’Dahani are a more varied bunch than we’ve heretofore let on. Will and I have talked a lot about the Al’Dahani in recent weeks, often just excitedly babbling ideas to one another. Most of my ideas stem from the fact that I never wanted nonhuman races in our setting when we first began this journey. Keeping that squarely in mind has given rise to all kinds of weird things, including those big fellas in Panel Three.

Interesting couple of days. The real world has intruded on my psyche these past few days, with news stories that I’m sure all of you have had ping-ponging back and forth across your various means of social media. Matters of race, politics, science, and religion. I don’t this to be a place where we discuss such things; this is a place where we are brought together by our geekhood.

But I just don’t feel much like talking about geeky things today. Be safe, y’all. Be good.

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