Saw The Last Jedi again. When my favorite line was uttered the guy in front of me turned to his friend and said, “This is bullshit.”
I want to say I don’t get this polarizing love/hate with The Last Jedi but I actually do. A movie experience is personal and you get out of it what you put into it. If you’re there for one character, you’ll leave disappointed if they weren’t there enough. If you’re there for action sequences (in today’s movies) you’ll be entertained. But if you’re like me and you’re looking for a story that attempts to highlight a path in the labyrinth of life, you’ll find something greater.
Don’t believe me? Ask Daryl Zero. There was a movie not many people saw called Zero Effect it starred Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller and there is one line in that film that taught me the bigger way to look at life and film. In Zero Effect, the main character is an unconventional detective and as he’s looking for clues he says, “Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you’re only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you’re sure to find some of them.”
When you enter a film and you’re looking for something specific your chances of leaving happy is slim. Never trust a trailer. A bad trailer can cover an amazing film. A fantastic trailer can be just polishing a turd.
You have to leave your perceptions at the door and be willing to look for anything you can relate to. Still you might come up short, but I promise you, you will find something. If for no other reason, do this so you get your time and money’s worth.
I have many movies I hate. There are a handful of creative’s whose work I won’t waste my time with, however, seeing a movie I don’t like, I will learn something.
I learned a lot from The Last Jedi.
Many things after two viewings I’m still digesting, but what I’ve really learned these first few days of anticipation, love, hate, backlash, wonder, theory… many of us have forgotten how to listen to a story.
It’s not just this new generation with minute long attention spans. My generation – the generation that grew up on Star Wars – seems to have lost the connection with story.
In case you didn’t know, Star Wars is a space adventure about a dysfunctional family in the style of a Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. That means it will have action, camp, cliffhangers and teach you something about family. This plus light saber fights is all any Star Wars movie is promising you.
What The Last Jedi continues to unfold is that there is a light and a dark to every family and there will always be both. Within every family unit there are people you get along great with, then there are some where you hope you’d never see them again. Sometimes they surprise you in a good way, sometimes they disappoint you. But they are family and it’s their life, not yours. Their choices, not yours.
Just like a movie, it can surprise you or disappoint you but it’s not yours. You didn’t write it, you bought a ticket and if you didn’t get something out of it, you wasted your time.
What we get in each new Star Wars is how these characters are going to survive in a world at odds with two sides that must exist.
So when Rose tells Finn, “That’s how we’ll win, you don’t fight against the thing you hate, you save the things you love.” It’s another layer to the saga of dealing with the light and the dark sides of life. It’s a lesson on family dynamics that is great food for thought. Put your energy into the things you love and don’t waste your time on hate.
But the guy in front of me thinks that line is bullshit and wants to destroy the thing he thought he loved and walks off in a huff.
I imagined him crushing all his Star Wars collectables in a Kylo Ren fit.
But “Every word in that sentence was wrong.”
Because more than likely he won’t destroy his fandom. He’ll spew all his hate on the internet, meanwhile, he’ll keep buying Star Wars stuff, he’ll keep watching the movies, and he’ll get excited for the next trailer and it will start all over again.
I’ve been through this with every Star Wars movie. Either in coffee houses or online, there is always something to hate on.
- A New Hope – pointless fantasy.
- Empire Strikes Back – it didn’t have an ending.
- Return of the Jedi – Ewok hate.
- Re-releases – Lucas messed with it too much.
- Phantom Menance – Jar Jar and Jake Lloyd.
- Attack of the Clones – the love story.
- Revenge of the Sith – love story again and General Grevious.
- Force Awakens – casting choices and somehow too nostalgic.
- Rogue One – CGI Tarkin & Leia.
If you count the re-releases and the holiday special I’ve been through 13 of these. I’ve seen the force of love and hate flow though people. They point fingers and blame whoever (mostly Lucas) but it comes down to a very simple thing. Are you trying to relive your childhood, or learn something new?
If you want to relive your childhood, then dust off your favorite version of Star Wars, move into mom’s basement and that watch again at least you’ll save some money. I’m honestly sick of hearing self-proclaimed Star Wars super fans hating on the thing they love, you’re an Ouroboros, look it up.
If you are like me and want to learn something new then you take Daryl Zero’s advice and leave your perceptions at the door and find something you’ll want to save. Trust me you’ll have a much better time enjoying movies.
Kate Chaplin is a podcaster and author. She talks about movies that have inspired her life for good, bad or ugly and shows you how to break down a movie into the life lessons hidden within. Kate’s Take is available on iTunes, YouTube and here at Gal’s Guide.