Entertainment News and Views
Judge Maurice Cobbs's Blog
• Location: Athens, GA
Who's a grumpy-puss this morning?
I am, that's who. Lots of reasons why -- I was part of a burlesque show last night, and every conceiveable thing went wrong, from techincal difficulties to timing issues, although the show actually turned out really great in the end and we all had a really good time. Here's a photo of some of the girls:
Now granted, that should be enough to put anybody in a good mood, but I seem to have become somewhat immune to the charms of the unfairer sex, punctuated when my ex-girlfriend showed up at the show with a date (!), which doesn't matter at all, because I'm completely and totally over her and I couldn't care less and really, I'm happy that she could find a sasquatch to take her out. Okay, I'm being mean. He's probably very nice (mutter mutter grumble gripe).
So anyway, I'm pretty sure I've built up an immunity to romance for a while, really sure, because there I was in a small cramped dressing area with some actually pretty hot and not-too-shy dolls and I don't even care; I'm just worried about whether or not my mike will stay clipped to my lapel and if we'll be done in time to get Chinese take-out. Maybe I'll submit an application to the He-Man Woman-Haters Club.
But the show came off well, partly because we recited the Shepard's Prayer beforehand -- Alan Shepard's prayer: "Oh Lord, please don't let me screw up!" Seriously, one girl -- Cecily -- was standing outside by the back door saying a string of Hail Marys, while dressed in the skimpiest of Indian Princess costumes. Would the Holy Virgin Mother lend her support to a burlesque show? Apparently not: her number had severe techical difficulties and had to be cut. On the other had, maybe that was her prayer being granted in a roundabout manner. Mysterious ways, you know.
So I get up this morning and find that they got that dingbat off that crane in Atlanta -- FINALLY! He'd been up on this tall crane for about 56 hours and had caused general chaos in the city, because they shut down one of the major streets in Atlanta, Peachtree Street, because of him. It seems that he'd killed his ex-girlfriend in Florida, and so his next logical move was to drive to another state and sit on a crane. Yeesh.
But it was a great show.
She Did It All For The Wookie, The Wookie
Random Star Wars News and Views:
Item:The other day, My friend Winston and I were bumming around the local Best Buy. We made our way to the check-out and were greeted by a charming young blonde girl with a strange Wookie-shaped object adorning her register. Winston and I exchanged glances as she rang up our selections, and finally, curiosity got the better of us.
"What," I said, pointing at the Wookie, "is that little thing?"
She smiled brightly. "That's my Chewbacca," she said, proudly, displaying it's motorized action. The arms, which held a bowcaster, moved up and down, and a little hole in Chewie's head twirled (a lollipop had certainly once rested there, or maybe Chewie got a lobotomy). "Can you make a Chewbacca noise for me?"
I did a double take. Winston looked at me and shrugged.
I made a noise like a Wookie.
"That was great!" squealed the girl with delight. "I've been asking people to do that all day. Mostly they just get mad at me. But that was the best one yet!"
Curiouser and curiouser. "Why," I asked, "Have you been asking people to make Wookie noises all day?"
"It's my last day," she explained.
Well, of course. I swear this really happened. Ask Winston. He'll tell you.
Item: Can I say that I find it rather odd that, in a previous blog, Star Wars's place on Time's 100 best list was questioned. As Judge Michael Rankins notes, "Yes, I know it's produced five sequels/prequels only one of which (The Empire Strikes Back) works even somewhat, but it's still badly written, dreadfully acted, derivative claptrap. You shouldn't give extra credit just for spawning a franchise, or else Francis the Talking Mule should be on the list."
However, he seems to completely overlook the fact that Star Wars not only captured the imagination of an entire generation in a way that few movies before or since have, it also changed the very nature of movie-making and marketing, inspired other filmmakers to greatness, and single-handedly revived a dying genre. The film sparked a global interest in science-fiction and a new "Golden Age" of moviemaking. It revolutionized special effects technology and contributed greatly to the creation of new filmmaking technology. Without the runaway success of Star Wars, we might never have seen Superman: The Movie. Or Alien. Or The Terminator. Need I go on?
Of course, if Francis the Talking Mule had had the sort of tremendous cultural, technological and artistic impact that Star Wars did, then Time might have included that on the list, too.
Item: Hey, every bad guy has to start somewhere, right?
From WIS-10 News: (Springfield, Illinois-NBC) May 22, 2005 - It appears Darth Vader delivered an unwelcome show of force at an Illinois movie theater this weekend.
Police in Springfield, Illinois say a man wearing a Darth Vader mask walked into a movie theater, shoved an employee out of the way and grabbed a bunch of cash.
Investigators say the robber fled the theater and ran into a nearby wooded area. Police have no suspects.
Star Wars: Episode Three-Revenge of the Sith was actually one of the movies playing at the theater.
Investigators say the robber didn't display any weapons- not even a light saber.
Thurl Ravenscroft -- 1914 - 2005
Palpatine to Galaxy: You Got Punk'd!
That's how the movie started, that's how it ended.
Outside the theater: before the movie, simmering anticipation, kids running around with lightsabers, adults running around with lightsabers, some in costumes. Endless discussion and speculation. One man dressed as Leia (I have a picture -- I'll show you). Two girls dressed as... handmaidens? What? I don't know. But there they were.
Inside the theater: anticipation reaches a boiling point. Cheers when the commercials start. This audience is primed. Trailers for Chronicles of Narnia, Batman Begins, Fantastic Four. Finally, 20th Century Fox fanfare. Breathless silence. Excitement is almost tangible. One lone voice, cannot be more than 12 (what's she doing up this late? -- as if we didn't know) -- "This is it!" Lightsabers ignite.
When the Star Wars theme explodes over the surround sound theatre, the dam breaks. Cheering doesn't fully subside until the end of the opening scrawl.
There's no better envirionment to see a movie for the first time. Especially this movie.
The audience becomes as one: gasps, cheers, at one point even hissing the villain -- does that even happen anymore? It certianly does. It did. Ian McDiarmid steals the show, taking more delight in his villainy than Charles Middleton or J. Carrol Naish ever did. All promises were delivered upon. Was that Ewan McGregor? Or was it Buster Crabbe? Hard to say... A different type of movie.... Better than we could have hoped for... My friend Winston turned to me as the credits rolled -- we were well into them before the applause abated and people reluctantly shuffled out of the theratre and back into The World -- and Winston turned to me and said, "You know, we've just seen the end of an era." He wasn't talking about Star Wars; he was talking about something else. It's over. Officially, now.
Quite a grand death. Unchanged in more than seventy years, and what a way to go-go! Of course, George wasn't trying to present anything new, or original, or inventive; quite the opposite...but you knew that, right? It starts like a comic book splash page and it ends with a cliffhanger. Yes... Now he can finally take his place next to Spencer Gordon Bennett and William Witney and Fred C. Brannon... Fighting Devil Dogs ain't got nuthin' on Return of the Sith. What will he do now? A remake of The Purple Monster Strikes? Who knows?
No, it wouldn't fly -- no more than Return of the Sith will, except, of course, with the people who count. Must remember, its time is over.
Time to mourn later. The wake is supposed to be the time to celebrate. Couldn't get out of the theatre -- too many conversations, pats on the back; excited, wound-up kids (they'll all be asleep by the time they get home, dreaming of lazer swords and spaceships); rehashing favorite scenes, quotes from the movie already memorized... ahhhh... stand and bask in it for just a little while longer, before it slips away...
All is as it should be.
Tomorrow, I belive that I shall watch Zorro's Fighting Legion, just to try and keep it alive just a little bit longer...
And of course, I'll pop back 'round to see Sith again. But later, after the throngs are gone... when it's quiet and I can pay my last respects.
T - 03:58:40
Time to move.
Destination: The Colonial 18 Theater in Lawrenceville, GA.
Look at the size of that thing!
We interrupt our Episode III Countdown for this special bulletin:
Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces best known for his Emmy-nominated role as the Riddler on the "Batman" TV series, has died. He was 72.
T - 11:02:10
Less than 12 hours to go...
Geez... I thought I was a fan...
From last Wednesday's "The West Australian":
The forces that be catch up with Star Wars poster thief.
A 22-year-old man will appear in Perth Magistrate's Court next week after he was allegedly caught trying to steal a 20.5m Star Wars poster. The man was charged with criminal damage after plainclothes transit police found him with the skin from a Wellington Street billboard, which featured a picture of Darth Vader from the upcoming Star Wars film. The vinyl billboard skin measured 20.5m by 5.3m and was installed at the foot of the Barrack Street bridge on May 1.
Const. Shane Diston said the man was believed to have cut the poster from its frame using a steak knife. It was not clear what the man intended to do with the poster, which was too big to fit into a standard car. Twentieth Century Fox Film Distributors' John Scott said the incident cost the company about $6000 in loss of advertising exposure and replacement costs. He hoped the arrest would deter other people from trying to souvenir Star Wars promotional material. He extended his thanks to the police with the message: "May the force be with you".
T - 14:6:38
T - 23:59:11 ... All systems go...
We wish to express our gratitude to the enemies of crime and crusaders against crime throughout the world for their inspirational example. To them and to lovers of adventure, lovers of pure escapism, lovers of unadulterated entertainment, lovers of the ridiculous and the bizarre...to fun lovers everywhere this picture is respectfully dedicated.
Shivering with antici
It's all still there; the excitement, the sheer joy, the expectation of pure escapism. A kind of feeling that too many people these days deny themselves -- it must be what the previous generations felt while standing in line with a five cent box of popcorn, ready to go see the next exciting chapter of Flash Gordon vs. The Nazi Tigers From Mars, or sprawled out on the floor waiting for the next episode of "The Shadow" or "The Green Hornet" on the radio. Wild, improbable plots. Adventure as high as the stakes. Swash as it's never been buckled before.
Times like this remind me of why I love the movies so much. For everything else that the movies can offer -- and as they progress as an art form, they can offer quite a bit -- for me it comes down to everything that Star Wars represents, right from the first moment that the Devastator chased the Tanitive IV across that movie screen in at the (now non-existant) Riverside Cinemas in Macon, GA in 1977. It's a legacy that was started in the comic strips with Buck Rogers and Secret Agent X-9, that leaped onto movie screens with King of the Rocket Men and Spy Smasher and was broadcast across the nation as "Boston Blackie"... It carries with it the smell of old Doc Savage pulp novels and dog-eared copies of The Saint pocket books... It's a tangible thing most noticible in the eyes of children lost in fantasy worlds where fantastic things happen to people in absurd costumes that don't really make sense to anyone except people with the mind of a child...
It's incredibly, deleriously fun, this thing -- and so is everything that goes with it. Of course, fun ceases to be fun if you start to take it too seriously, and Lord knows that there is too much seriousness in the world today... it doesn't matter though. At least, it doesn't matter now. The people eager to tear that wonderful, glorious thing down, to step on it, to ruin the fun, to keep sour expressions on their faces while they complain and nitpick... they hold no power, not for the next couple of days. They'll take over again, to be sure... they always do... sniping, complaining, disaffected, malcontent, hipper-than-thou... too cool to be bothered, above it all... crashing bores... to those people, I say "You have no power here! Begone, before someone drops a house on you, too!"
"You see, I'm mad enough to believe in romance. And I was sick of this age -- tired of the miserable little mildewed things that people racked their brains about, and wrote books about, and called Life. I'm not interested to read about maundering epileptics, and silly nymphomaniacs, and anaemic artists with a Message; and I'm not interested to meet them. If I notice them at all, they make me want to vomit. There's no message in life but the message of splendid living -- which doesn't mean crawling about on a dunghill yapping about your putrid little repressions.... The low-down shocker is a decent and clean and honest-to-God form of literature, because it does deal with things that have a right to occupy a man's mind -- a primitive chivalry, and damsels in distress, and virtue triumphant, and a wholesale slaughter of villians at the end, and a real fight running through it all. It mayn't be true to life as we know it, but it ought to be true..." -- Simon Templar, "The Avenging Saint"
See, that's how I feel about movies.
Oh, I know...the miserable quibbling hairsplitters won the Earth long ago... they rule the world, but not for the next couple of days.
Ah, I live for these little moments, this wash of anticipation. It really is why I love the movies. Well, one of the major reasons.
T - 38:45:51
From the internet: Star Wars lines much better with the insertion of the word "pants"....
We've got to be able to get some reading on those pants, up or down.
The pants may not look like much, kid, but they've got it where it counts.
I find your lack of pants disturbing.
These pants contain the ultimate power in the Universe. I suggest we use it.
Han will have those pants down. We've got to give him more time!
General Veers, prepare your pants for a ground assault.
I used to bulls-eye womp-rats in my pants back home.
TK-421... Why aren't you in your pants?
Lock the door. And hope they don't have pants.
You are unwise to lower your pants.
She must have hidden the plans in her pants. Send a detachment down to retrieve them. See to it personally Commander.
Governor Tarkin. I recognized your foul pants when I was brought on board.
You look strong enough to pull the pants of a Gundark.
Luke... Help me remove these pants.
Great, Chewie, great. Always thinking with your pants.
That blast came from those pants. That thing's operational!
A tremor in the pants. The last time I felt this was in the presence of my old master.
Don't worry. Chewie and I have gotten into a lot of pants more heavily guarded than this.
Maybe you'd like it back in your pants, your highness.
Your pants betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially one... Your sister!
Jabba doesn't have time for smugglers who drop their pants at the first sign of an Imperial Cruiser.
Short pants is better than no pants at all.
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