Monday, January 22, 2018

For Indie Authors, Amazon Giveaways Are Finally Better Than Goodreads

I talked twice about how much Amazon's book giveaway system sucks compared to Goodreads.  Well now Goodreads has decided to milk publishers with exorbitant fees just to list a giveaway.  In true corporate style they wrote a press release that tries to make it sound like paying $119 to list your giveaway is a good thing compared to NOTHING, which is what you paid before.  It reminds me of this company I worked for about 18 years ago when they changed health insurers and the insurance rep came in and tried to pitch us on why paying more for insurance was a good thing.  And yeah people were not having it.  Not that it mattered since 99% of us at that company were out of a job there within 12 months.

The justification for this change is they're making minor tweaks like it automatically puts giveaways on someone's To Read shelf.  Which for me is actually motivation to not enter giveaways because I don't need 100 books on my To Read shelf that I'm not really planning to read unless I win a copy for free.  And it'll send emails to the winners 2 months later to nag them about reviewing the book.  That's nice but why do I have to pay $119 for that shit when right now I'm paying $0?  I mean really?  REALLY?  I'm sure on some writer's group somewhere there's a dipshit trying to paint this as a good thing or a necessary thing.

Really Goodreads giveaways have just priced themselves beyond the reach of small authors like me.  I mean for my last giveaway I sold plenty of books (for me) but enough to justify paying $119 just to list the fucking giveaway on their precious site?  No.  119 times no.

And so now Amazon's shitty giveaway service actually becomes the cheaper option because you can still (presumably) list the giveaway for free.  All you have to do is buy the copies.  Which it still pisses me off I can't use my Amazon Prime shipping on it.  But still, paying an extra $6 per copy is better than paying $119, wouldn't you say?  And I can handle sending announcements myself, Goodreads.  I don't need to pay you $119 to do it.

Or I suppose you could use Rafflecopter or something like that.  Or just do the whole thing on your blog or newsletter.

Since Amazon owns Goodreads I kinda wonder if Amazon was pissed not enough people were using their giveaways service and decided to make Goodreads commit corporate seppuku to drive people to Amazon.  Maybe I'm crediting them with being too smart--and too evil.  Or not.

I suppose the big publishers can go on using Goodreads, though I'd imagine even they would start reducing the number of books they put up for giveaways.  They're not made of money either.  It's just a fucking stupid thing all the way around.

Speaking of giveaways, enter to win a copy of the new Eric Filler book Papa's New Bag for six more days.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Beating the Author to the Punch

Since Monday I talked about nasty reviews and misconceptions, here's a nasty review I wrote for On Basilisk Station by David Weber:
The way I felt reading this was similar to reading a police procedural that has far too much procedure in it, like one of Ed McBain's books. And like that, there weren't any characters I cared about. Honor Harrington is basically a Mary Sue, her only flaw being that she can't do highly advanced math in her head. The others are all cardboard; when several of them die I couldn't have cared less.

Like I said it was too heavy on procedure and also backstory. When Honor's ship is trying to chase down an enemy ship at about 80% into the book, the author decides that's the perfect time for a lengthy lecture on the history of interstellar travel. Between that the strategy meetings, and then gratuitous musing about those strategy meetings, it pretty much sucks all the drama from the book. As well, if the author had mentioned Honor's "soprano" one more time I'd have wanted to contact the Sopranos. The reader isn't an idiot; you don't have to mention the same detail fifteen times for them to get it.

And the final battle, I'm sitting there for page after page after page thinking, "Why don't they use that lance thing from the training exercise at the start of the book?" Finally, after the ship is just about blown to pieces and a third of the crew is dead, Mary Sue Harrington says, "Hey, let's use the lance thing!" Bravo!

I definitely won't be reading the rest of the series.

That is all.

I'm sure the author would have a reason for why they didn't think to use the lance weapon earlier in the battle.  But shouldn't it have been mentioned?  Like one of the flunkies could have said:  why don't we use the lance?  And she could have said:  we're not close enough yet.  Or whatever bullshit reason.  But you go on and on and lose 1/3 of your ship and crew and then expect me to think she's clever for thinking of something I thought of a long time ago?  It's like if two guys are kung-fu fighting and then one guy suddenly realizes he has a gun and shoots the other.  Why the fuck didn't you realize that from the start?  It's so stupid!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Making The Orville Better in Season 2

Fox's The Orville wrapped up its season last month.  Some people like this show and some people (Nigel Mitchell and Chris Dilloway) loathe it.  I think it's OK but it has room for improvement.

What I think mostly--and I'm sure I'm not alone--is that going into season 2 they need to decide what kind of show they want to be.  The first season was mostly a laid back off-brand version of Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  Some people find that comforting for nostalgia reasons and others loathe it as unoriginal.  And then there are those (critics, mostly) who mistake this for an attempt at a "parody" or "spoof" of ST TNG.  The reason they misunderstand this is because the show stars Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and Ted.  And naturally he brings some of that smartass humor to the show.  But that shouldn't be construed as a parody or a spoof.  MacFarlane recusing himself from the show would be a good step to solve that problem.  I think a more minor step in the right direction is getting rid of the helmsman guy played by Scott Grimes, who also does voice work on American Dad.  Besides being comic relief his character really has no depth or purpose.  So you ditch him (maybe let him make a heroic sacrifice like Alan Tudyk in Serenity) and that takes away the comic relief, allowing the show to get a bit more serious.  And then critics might not be misrepresenting it as much as parody or a spoof.

The next thing you need to do is invest in your characters.  I think one of the better episodes was when the doctor and Isaac the android were stranded on a remote planet.  We learned more about the doctor and her unconventional (by our standards) family and Isaac learned not to resent human kids as much.  They need to do more of that to build the characters.

Another thing I hope they do is ditch the "will they/won't they" bullshit between the captain and first officer.  This isn't Friends or Saved By the Bell for fuck's sake!  These are supposed to be professional people.  But if you still want the romance they can do what I did in the second book of my Rebirth series called The Savior:  turn that duo into a trio!  In the first book of that series the captain and a young ensign were stranded on a planet together and they got a little bit of a thing going.  Though once they got a new ship they put it on ice, though the ensign was still pining for the captain.  Then in the second book a new helmsman comes on board who's an old flame of the captain from when they served together years ago.  So then it became kind of a love triangle, though not all sides were necessarily touching each other.  It'd be super easy to do this even without killing the helmsman (see above) because they moved the navigator guy to chief engineer, which means you have a vacancy on the bridge.  So instead of just using random fill-ins you bring in an old flame of the captain or first officer and then you've got a love triangle.  One that probably won't end like mine where the helmsman died heroically during an epic space battle.

Those are some things I think can help the show.  Some originality in the stories would be nice too.  I mean the last 4 episodes or so especially weren't all that great.  There was one where they went to a planet like 21st Century Earth where everything is run by a system of likes that's almost identical to a Black Mirror episode.  Then there was the one where the security girl faces all these fears and finds herself alone on the ship that was pretty much a mix of a couple of ST TNG episodes.  The season finale was kind of blah where the first officer becomes a "god" to people on a planet.  They already did the anti-religious thing in an earlier episode and then having Isaac stay on the planet was like the crappy ST TNG two-parter "Time's Arrow."  So they need to find some new ideas that also help to build their characters.  Then some of the haters might stop hating.  Or probably not.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Misconceptions About Misconceptions

There's a lot I hate about book reviews, even positive ones.  But one of the most annoying things is misconceptions people get about a book.  Take this one for Chance of a Lifetime on Goodreads:
- How could he think he could never be a cop again? He'd have to have worked with and met many female police officers, some probably further up the hierarchy than him? 
  Well gee that's a great point, except we covered this very thing in the fucking book!
DR. PALMER:  Well, you could always try rejoining the police force.
STACEY/STEVE:  I sniffle but don’t say anything. I could try to go back to the academy. Maybe I could make it through and become a beat cop again. In another five or ten years I might even make detective again. That hardly seems fair.

So yes, he did think about becoming a cop again.  It's not that he didn't think there are female cops; it's that he'd have to start all over again and he's not sure he wants to go through all of that.  And this might be a slight thing if it weren't a focal point of the dude's review.

Well then there's this wonderful nugget of brilliance:
Maybe it is because I'm a man of a similar age and background to the character, and I know of nobody like us able to work in large organizations who would still say the world has been totally tilted against women for the past 2-3 decades. 

Women still make 70 cents for every dollar a man makes!  All the sexual harassment claims of late? So what the hell are you talking about?  Oh yeah, things are totally equal, especially in "large organizations."  🙄

Isolated loner type men, maybe they would. Rural type men, maybe they would. 
Well I am an isolated loner type man, but really rural type men would think the world is tilted against women?  Oh, yeah, rural type men are so sensitive to gender equality.🤣

Anyway, it's annoying to get a 2 star review because this dumbass didn't pay attention to the book and then blames me for it and jumps to a bunch of stupid conclusions.

Or all of this from that recent nasty review of Girl Power:
"You abandon your family or loved ones... and sleep with lots of random people you just met."
Only Elise (Mermaid) sleeps with anyone else. Allison (Velocity Gal) comes close but stops herself.
"The married character decides to just have someone tell his wife and child - who he is constantly terribly missing and loves immensely (supposedly) - that he's dead. Rather than go home as a woman. Let that idea sink in for a minute."
Well maybe not everyone else has as understanding of a spouse and child as you apparently do. And it was the government that wouldn't let Allison reveal her true identity, which was the same for all four of them. Though Allison eventually does it anyway after a night of binge drinking.

"You give up all control of your life and your previous identity and just ... give up pretty much."

Robin's a minor so she can't legally sign contracts or anything. That's a pretty well-known legal fact. So how could she run a multi-billion-dollar corporation? Obviously it would have to be placed in trust with someone else. With no wife or kids or other family it falls to Jasper, the executor of Robin's estate. And like Batman Begins the actual management would actually be done by someone else.

As for why Robin goes to high school it was largely so Robin could go socialize with kids her own age. She's supposed to just putter around the house all day?

"A geek falls in love (in 3 lines of dialogue) with Batman and Batman is like... sure, come to my house and we'll work out together... because... because... yeah I don't know"
You must not have been paying much attention then. The geek (Melvin) is being picked on by bullies and Robin breaks it up with her fighting skills. She reluctantly allows Melvin to go home with her because she feels sorry for him and helps him train to defend himself.   

Again you're giving me 1 star for a bunch of shit you just didn't understand or misinterpreted or didn't pay attention to.  It's so fucking annoying being punished for someone else's dumb mistakes.

Yeah, yeah, it comes with the territory.  It's still irritating.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sometimes You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover

So about a month ago I got a really nasty review of my superhero gender swap book Girl Power that was published back in 2013.  A couple of times the reviewer whined that he was expecting "fun silliness" because all books with superheroes are fun and campy, right?  I mean this is still 1970, right?  No one takes superheroes seriously these days, right?  RIGHT?

Ugh.  As I told him, sometimes you should judge a book by its cover.  I mean look at this cover:

It's mostly black and the woman is looking down all serious-like.  What the hell about that screams "fun silliness" to you?  Is it too much to expect people to use a brain cell or two before posting an idiotic rant on Amazon?

That's not even getting into the stupid exaggerations and outright stupidity in the "review."  SMH.

Just the other day someone complained that the Eric Filler book My Roommate Changed Me Into a Goth Girl 2 was too "mean."  Well, again, look at the cover:

The girl is wearing all black and looking sullen and then there's the purple Beast Wars font for the title.  Does that look like it's going to be pleasant and cozy?  And hello, it's about GOTH Girls, not exactly known for sunny dispositions. 

The same person also wrote a nasty review of this:

The cover doesn't necessarily give it away except for the title.  Even if you ignore the "sexy" Raggedy Ann, I mean it's called Plaything:  Gender Swapped for Her Pleasure.  Does that sound like it's going to be a sunny, cozy book? Honestly, it's like some of these people have no fucking common sense at all. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

More Recent Stuff I Watched

I've spent a lot of time watching MST3K and Rifftrax on the Pluto TV app and Hulu but I'm not going to bore you with that because you don't care.  But maybe you'd care about more recent movies on DVD?  Probably not.

War for the Planet of the Apes:  This is probably the finale of the new Apes movies.  I never saw the first one with James Franco but apparently he made a smart chimp named Caesar who could talk.  Then in the next movie the "simian flu" wiped out much of humanity while the apes hid in the forest.  Ultimately one ape conspired to attack humans.  Which brings us to the "war" that's not really a war.  The apes are attacked by a group of humans led by Woody Harrellson.  He eventually captures and enslaves all of the apes except Caesar and a few others.  These apes find a nearly hairless one who can talk who's also the annoying Transformers-style comic relief.  It was an OK movie but not nearly epic enough to be a "war."  Kind of a missed opportunity at the end when the apes resettle somewhere.  It would have been a great time for them to enter New York and show the Statue of Liberty like in the 1968 movie.  But nope.  (3/5)

The House:  Will Farrell and Amy Poehler are a couple who want to send their kid to a fancy college.  She won a scholarship from the local town council, but a jerk on the council (Nick Kroll) embezzles the money and rescinds the scholarship.  So Farrell and Poehler team with their gambling addict neighbor to start an illegal casino.  Because that's what you'd do, right?  And then start bilking their neighbors out of money.  Hooray?  It gets complicated when a real gangster (Jeremy Renner) shows up and wants to muscle in.  A fairly blah comedy that wasn't extremely funny but not mind-numbingly awful.  Maybe in 20 years there'll be a Rifftrax or MST3K version to really make it funny. (2/5)

The Hitman's Bodyguard:  It's basically Midnight Run only in Europe.  Ryan Reynolds is a disgraced bodyguard whose ex works for Interpol.  After her prisoner (Samuel L Jackson) is nearly killed, she asks Reynolds to get the guy to the Netherlands to testify at the trial of a Belarus president (Gary Oldman).  For most of the movie I wondered why they needed to bother since testimony from a professor had already been thrown out because there wasn't evidence to support it.  Though I don't know when you need physical evidence to back up witness testimony.  But it turns out Jackson does have some physical evidence too.  Anyway, they have to take planes boats, trains, and automobiles to get to the Netherlands while being chased by bad guys.  The easy way to sum it up then is Reynolds is Reynolds and Jackson is Jackson and they just do their thing.  It's pretty fun even if not overly surprising or twisty. (3/5)  As a Fun Fact, if Deadpool joins the MCU then you'd have 3 starring actors from this movie all with MCU roles:  Reynolds as Deadpool, Jackson as Nick Fury, and Elodie Yung as Elektra in Daredevil.  Neat.

American Assassin:  I was hoping for more from this movie, but it was a pretty dull action movie.  A guy named Mitch (Dylan O'Brien) is proposing to his girlfriend when terrorists show up on the Spanish beach and start killing everyone.  Mitch's fiancee is killed but he isn't; afterwards he gets all pissed off and tries to infiltrate the terrorists.  But the CIA intervenes and recruits him for a special squad led by ex-SEAL Stan (Michael Keaton).  And then there's just a lot of relatively standard action movie stuff with training and spying and covert missions to stop a rogue agent trying to build a nuke.  There's one woman on the squad but instead of developing a romantic subplot the movie has Mitch waterboard her instead.  Nothing says loving like waterboarding!  The title itself is misleading as Mitch isn't really an "assassin."  He's a counter terrorism agent.  It'd be like saying Jack Bauer from 24 was an assassin.  But I guess "American Counter Terrorism Guy" didn't have the same ring to it. (2/5)  BTW, something we all learned from MST3K:  Never name your main character Mitchell. 🙄

Valerian:  Long before this came out I knew it would flop here in the States.  Old French property? Check.  Made by French guys?  Check.  Corny looking aliens and effects?  Check.  Unappealing lead actors?  Check.  And sometimes, just sometimes, like once in a blue moon, this Grumpy Bulldog is right and this was that time!  So yeah there's like some aliens whose planet was destroyed and their princess beams her memories to Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) who's a huge douche with an annoying partner Laureline (Carla De...whatever, the lame Enchantress from Suicide Sqaud) whom he keeps asking to marry.  Then there's a lengthy bit where they go to "the Big Market" that's in another dimension you can only see with special goggles and whatnot to rescue some weird little animal.  There's a weird bulldog-looking guy they have to steal it from, who swears revenge and yet never appears again.  Then they go to "Alpha" which is like the International Space Station only 700 years later after it was set adrift by Rutger Hauer in a pointless cameo during the credits.  And there's a jerk military guy (Clive Owen--remember him?) who you know is evil because he has his own entourage of killer robots.  He wants the little animal and stuff.  There's an especially annoying detour that goes on for like 30-45 minutes where Laureline is kidnapped by primitive aliens on the station and Valerian goes to rescue her by going to a nightclub managed by Ethan Hawke and starring Rihanna as a shape-shifting alien.  And after they save Laureline from being eaten they jump into a trash chute, reminding everyone of Star Wars, except the walls don't start closing in on them.  What was the point of that whole sequence?  It had NOTHING to do with the main plot.  It was just a lot of sexist, colonialist bullshit that probably played better in the 30s or whenever Valerian was popular in France.  But as a compliment it's still probably not as fucking stupid as Jupiter Ascending.  So there's that.  (1.5/5) BTW, in a self-indulgent bit the bulldog alien and Valerian borrow lines from writer/producer/director Luc Besson's Taken.  You know, that bit in all the previews where Liam Neeson says he'll find the guy and kill him?  Only it's reversed with the bad guy saying Neeson's words and Valerian saying the bad guy's words.

Monday, January 8, 2018


I guess I missed the whole Insecure Writer Support Group thing, but I'll be insecure for a moment anyway.

For the last few weeks I haven't done all that much writing.  Part of it was I guess the holidays and having other stuff to do.  But a lot of it is I think this freaking cold winter.  I mean it's been colder than Alaska for the most part the last month or so.  It really makes it hard to go outside and going out to coffee places or  Panera Bread or Arby's or whatever is where I get a lot of writing done.  At home there are just too many distractions to focus much on writing.  Especially from mid-December to New Year's Day with all the college football games on.

New Year's weekend I'd have gone out and done some writing on Saturday and probably Monday, but I hardly went anywhere the whole 3 days.  I only went to Kroger and Rite Aid for some supplies and Panda Express for lunch on Monday.  That's like a whole hour maybe.  And no writing done at all.  Sad.

Saturday I was all set to do some writing despite the cold.  I ran some errands and got lunch and then got a coffee from Biggby.  I sat down to write...and realized the Chromebook's battery was dead and I didn't bring the AC adapter.  (My old netbook I kept a backup cord in the trunk but the Chromebook is too new.)  I got home and plugged it in...and then realized the MP3 player's battery was dead too.  So I fetch a different MP3 player...and spill coffee on my shirt.  The whole universe is against me!

Maybe if it ever warms up again I'll be more motivated to write.  I wish I could do one of those "snowbird" things and just go to Florida or Arizona.  Or maybe Alaska.  It'd still be warmer than here with all this polar vortex shit.

But until it warms up again I be like:

Or maybe I just need a better project to work on, something to get me excited despite the cold.  Yeah, maybe.  I think writing fake Star Wars movies were probably the most excited I've been writing something in months.  Maybe I should waste time and make those into fanfic books that I can't legally make any money on.  Sounds like a real productive use of time.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Grumpy Bulldog Finishes His New Star Wars Trilogy

Yesterday I posted my version of The Last Jedi that was way more epic than what we actually got.  The thing I tried to do that the movies haven't is get the original characters more involved and yet still let the newer characters do stuff.  Anyway, I'm going to build on that and try to come up with an epic finish.  It's just disappointing it'll never actually be on the big screen. 😪

We need a big action sequence to start with, so I thought about this:  Kylo Ren, now head of the First Order, and an armada descend on the former Imperial seat of power, the city-planet Coruscant.  (Maybe the First Order already owns this?  I have no idea.)  There's only minimal resistance and plenty of sycophants welcoming them.  Kylo takes the Emperor's old throne and declares himself the new Emperor.  And one of his first actions is to put a million-credit bounty on the top members of the Resistance:  Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, and of course Luke Skywalker.  (Who's still alive in my version, so before you say "Actually..." read yesterday's post.)

Meanwhile in some hive of scum and villainy, Rey, Finn, and Rose are in a cantina-type place to meet with Maz Kanata, who has some information on where the Resistance can salvage some ships.  The holographic displays or monitors or whatever show Kylo's announcement and all the sudden our heroes start to feel really conspicuous and beat a hasty retreat.

But of course they're noticed by Phasma, who was discharged from the First Order and has become a bounty hunter.  She figures catching Rey and Finn for the First Order would help to get her back in Kylo's good graces..  Rey and company take off in the Falcon and are followed by Phasma.  She starts firing on them but before they can stop the Falcon, their back-up shows up in the form of Poe and his X-Wing.  The two ships escape to light speed, but unbeknownst to them, Phasma has a tracker on the Falcon.

The Rebel ships return to their hideout, which since we've had ice planets and jungle planets and forest planets and volcanic planets, how about an underwater planet like Mon Calamari?  That would be pretty neat.  They land safely, though by then the tracker on the ship is already reporting their position to Phasma, who in turn relays it to the First Order.  Hux tells her that she'll be back in so long as the Rebels are captured.

In his new throne room, Kylo is brooding (what else does he do?) and Hux comes in with the word that the Rebel base has been found.  So they load up their armada and head out.

Meanwhile, Poe, Finn, Rose, Lando (remember him?), and other Rebel big shots discuss what to do next.  There's probably that token wuss who panics and says, OMG we have to surrender now!  But they decide they need to stay the course for now, so Finn and Rose take a shuttle to go check out the information Maz gave to them.

Luke is off doing Jedi shit like meditating and so Rey goes to join him.  Though Luke (reluctantly) admitted he's her biological father, they aren't all lubby-dubby yet.  They talk about Kylo and Luke feels he's gone too far to come back now that both of his parents are dead.  Rey thinks maybe there's still hope, but it's hard even for her to believe.  They're meditating then and both feel the disturbance at the same time.  Kylo is coming!

They sound the alarm not long before the actual alarms start to sound.  The First Order fleet is all over the planet and sending troops down to the surface.  As usual the Rebels have to buy time to escape to a backup location.  Of course there's the "how did they find us?" question and then BB8 or whoever finds the tracker and disables it.

Our main heroes are of course the last ones to leave.  Poe gets in his X-Wing while Chewie, Lando, etc are getting aboard the Falcon when Kylo shows up--and he's pissed!  Luke tells Rey to get aboard and leave.  She refuses, so he uses the Force to push her onto the ship and lift it into the air.  Though Rey still doesn't want to leave, Chewie is smart enough to know they have to go now or get blasted to bits.

Kylo and Luke have a throwdown then.  Luke can feel that Kylo is stronger than ever in the dark side now.  Eventually Kylo gets the upper hand and so Luke breaks open a wall to let the seawater around them flood in.  The whole base is eventually destroyed, taking the First Order troops with it--and Luke.  (Did I just kill him after being pissed Rian Johnson did it?  Yes.  Yes I did.  Feel free to comment on the hypocrisy.  Not that anyone will comment on anything.)

Of course Rey is bummed about her father and Jedi mentor being killed before she really got a chance to know him. 

Meanwhile, Finn and Rose come out of lightspeed to find a graveyard of Alliance and Empire ships from some old battle.  They start to check them out.  Most are not good for more than scrap, but Rose thinks she might get one or two to work.  But one of the Star Destroyers seems to still have some systems working, so they go to check it out.

Meanwhile of course Kylo has survived and is picked up by a First Order ship.  He maybe kills a couple of his own guys and rages that he'll find them and kill them yet!

The Rebels go to some desolate shithole Lando knows from his smuggling days so they can regroup.  Rey goes off to be alone with her thoughts.  As she meditates, hoping to get in contact with Luke (or his Force ghost), she sees a woman who bears a striking resemblance to her.  It dawns on her that her mother is alive and the Force is calling Rey to her.  So she steals a ship and goes off.

Kylo meets with Phasma, along with maybe a few other bounty hunters, and tasks them with finding the Rebels.  Or else.  He retreats to the Emperor's old quarters to brood.  The ghost of Emperor Palpatine appears to him (why can't the dark side have Force ghosts? Or maybe it's a hallucination) and tells him there's one sure-fire way to coax the Rebels out of hiding:  Threaten such terrible destruction that they'll come out of hiding to try to stop you.  There's not a 3rd Death Star (or 2nd Starkiller Base) handy, so Kylo tells Hux to get an armada ready and find a troublesome world to destroy.

Meanwhile, Rose and Finn board the old Star Destroyer to find the lights on and gravity and atmosphere and crap working.  They look around the creepy old ship and then stumble across some dudes in old Stormtrooper armor who take them prisoner.

The Force guides Rey to some shitty volcanic-type planet.  She lands and is jumped by some thugs.  She lets them take her to their leader, who of course turns out to be her mother.  (Though of course this isn't a real movie I was thinking who you might cast.  A dark-haired woman with a British accent who is old enough to be Rey's mom and has done an action movie or two in the last 25 years?  Kate Beckensale, Rachel Weisz, or Keira Knightley all seem like good choices.  Maybe Angelina Jolie?  She can do a British accent, right?)  Anyway, Rey tells the woman that she's her daughter and the woman is nonplussed.  Rey mentions who her real father is and the woman shoos her minions away.

The woman gives her name.  I don't know what it would be so I used a Star Wars name generator and got Allsus Gulturn.  Allsus confirms much of what Luke told her:  that they met and had a fling and she got pregnant and he pushed her away, afraid their child would be a target.  But what Luke didn't mention is that Allsus and Luke's meet cute was when she tried to infiltrate the Rebellion a couple of years after the Battle of Endor.  Luke figured out who she was and busted her, but instead of taking her to a penal planet or something, he helped turn her to the Rebel cause.  And for a while they were happy--until she got knocked up.  She tried to convince Luke he was being paranoid since the Sith were dead and all that, but Luke kept saying he had a feeling that the darkness would return.  Leia sent Allsus to a nice community of former Alderaan people, where she gave birth to Rey.  But once Rey started to show signs of having the Force, it was Allsus's turn to get paranoid.  She was scared that she'd have no idea how to raise a child like that.  One day a supply ship landed and a woman on the crew gushed over Rey and said she wished she and her husband could have a kid, but they couldn't.  So Allsus suggested they take Rey and raise her as their own.  Allsus felt like shit about it later, so she left the planet and came to this hellhole, where she's done some low-level scavenging and smuggling and stuff.

Rey is pretty peeved about all of this.  She doesn't understand why the Force brought her here.  Allsus says she can stay the night and then leave.  Rey takes her up on this and goes to some little shanty to brood.  That's when Luke's Force ghost shows up.  She's mad at him for not telling her the full truth and not rescuing her from Jakku and now dying when she--and the Rebels--need him most.  He gives her that Yoda stuff about not dwelling in the past or looking to the future.  She needs to be in the present because it's the present that needs her the most.

Rose and Finn are taken to an old hangar or something converted into a living space.  There's a few guys in tattered Imperial uniforms.  They reveal they've been stranded there for decades.  They managed to get the lights and life support working well enough but they haven't been able to call for help or make the ship go.  Rose volunteers to help them get the ship working enough to fly it to safely.  Finn is skeptical about this plan, but she assures him it'll be all right.

Over some planet (Naboo?  Endor?  Tatooine?  Does it matter?) the First Order armada arrives.  The planet's leaders contact Kylo's flagship and he tells them he's going to level the place for their crimes against his new Empire.  They plead with him to let them live, but he insists they're going to be an example for the rest of the galaxy.  And so the First Order fleet opens fire.  The planet is devastated, though of course we won't show too much of that.  Maybe just some rubble after the fact.

Poe, Lando, and company watch the destruction and want to do something, but no one knows what.  Rey feels a disturbance in the Force--like millions of voice are crying out and then silenced.  She goes to see her mother, who shows her a replay of the First Order destroying the planet for no good reason.  Rey laments that there's no way they can fight back and Allsus says that she knows a way.

While Rose is working on the ship, Finn talks with some of the former Stormtroopers and officers about the end of the war and the new war and stuff.  They're pretty impressed with how he escaped from the First Order and joined the Resistance.  Rose comes back to say she's got the hyperdrive working.  There was also a message from the Resistance.  It shows the First Order destroying whatever planet and then gives the location of where the Resistance has fled to.  Finn asks the former Imperials which side they want to be on and they decide to join the Resistance.

Our heroes are still trying to figure out what to do when Rey returns with her mother.  There's a brief happy reunion and then Rey introduces everyone to Allsus.  She gathers them all together and says that when she was with the Empire there was a weapon they were working on, something that could temporarily disable a whole fleet.  But before it could be brought to bear the Empire was defeated.  Though our heroes don't necessarily want to trust her, they decide that they have no choice.

So our core heroes take off with Allsus to find this weapon while Lando and other Rebel honchos will work on assembling a fleet to counterattack and maybe deal the First Order a crippling blow.  ;As our heroes take off in the Falcon, Phasma locates them and follows them.

They arrive at some planet that's pretty much a ghost town now.  Allsus leads them to an old Imperial compound.  There's not much on the surface, but once BB8 or R2D2 gets a terminal active she's able to use an old code to access an underground complex that's much bigger.  As they're exploring, the bounty hunter shows up to shadow them and find out what they're up to.  Like in a Scooby-Doo cartoon they split up with Rey and Allsus going one way, and Poe and BB8 another.

Allsus tries to talk to Rey, but she's not really having it.  They trigger some defenses that Rey deals with before they can kill her mom, but she tells Allsus it's only because they need her for the mission.

Meanwhile back at Resistance HQ, a Star Destroyer shows up and everyone is freaking out until Rose and Finn contact them.  The Rebels agree to work with the former Imperials and try to get the Star Destroyer has functional as possible.

Meanwhile Poe and BB8 are walking around when they're ambushed by Phasma!  There's a firefight that brings the others running to them.  Phasma is about to escape, until Rey stops the ship with the Force and brings it down.

They interrogate Phasma, who reveals she hasn't reported their position yet.  Rey uses the Force to knock her out, or someone just does it the old-fashioned way with a bonk to the head.  Then Poe gets in the weapon with BB8 and they get it to fly out of there while the others take off in the Falcon.

On the way back, Rey and Allsus are alone in the Falcon somewhere, Allsus still trying to talk to Rey.  Then Luke's ghost shows up.  He admits to Allsus that he was wrong because their kid has grown up into a good, responsible person even without their guidance.  He wishes now he hadn't pushed her away.  After Luke has gone, Allsus breaks down and Rey comforts her.

On the flagship, Kylo is brooding as usual when Hux alerts him to a call from Phasma.  She reports that the Rebels were there and took something from an old Empire facility, though she doesn't know what it is.  Kylo thanks her and promises to give her a reward, which is of course to be Force choked to death.  Then he tells Hux to put the fleet on alert; the Rebels will be here soon.

The Rebels all gather together somewhere to go over their strategy.  It's pretty basic:  hope the weapon works as advertised and then pound the First Order with the ships and fighters they've scraped together.  The resulting damage should help to cripple the First Order and inspire more people to join with the Rebellion, creating a new Rebel Alliance.  But since it would take too long to destroy the First Order flagship, it's suggested they send a team in to plant some charges in it.  Rey, Finn, and Rose of course volunteer because they're our heroes--and they know ships like that better than a lot of people.  Allsus asks to go as well and Rey reluctantly allows her

Poe says goodbye to the strike team and then meets with a cocky young pilot who it turns out is the son of Wedge Antilles.  (Since the actor who played Wedge refused to be in the movies, I'll do this to throw my brother a bone.)  Wedge's son is going to be flying escort along with some other fighters.  Poe is less than thrilled.

Then everyone takes off.  They leap into the system and find the First Order armada with its guns hot.  Poe gets into range to trigger the weapon...and nothing happens.  So the Rebels have to buy some time while BB8 works on trying to get the thing to work.  While the battle is going on, our heroes get in close to Kylo's flagship to sneak on board.

Rey tells Finn, Rose, and Allsus to go on ahead; she's got some other business to attend to.  They're skeptical, but there's not much choice about it.  They have to dodge patrols and such while they search for places to plant their charges.

Rey makes her way towards the bridge.  Sensing her presence, Kylo goes to meet her and they duel.

Meanwhile Poe is trying to keep the weapon from being destroyed while BB8 is trying to get it to work.  Wedge's son bails him out of a jam and Poe thanks him.  Then finally BB8 gets the thing humming and Poe tries it out.  It's basically like an EM pulse that puts the lights out on all of the First Order ships.  With the First Order ships helpless, the Rebel fleet begins pounding away on them.

Finn, Rose, and Allsus are planting their charges when the power goes out and the ship starts rocking from hits.  They hurry to set their charges and get out of there.

Meanwhile, Rey and Kylo are fighting pretty furiously when the power goes out.  Since they have lightsabers it doesn't really put them in the dark, though.  But the rocking of the ship and stuff makes things difficult for them.

Meanwhile, the Rebel fleet is doing damage, but not fast enough.  Things turn bad when the First Order fleet starts to come back to life.  Some turn tail, but Lando and some of the others stay, knowing they won't get another shot at this.  Poe tries to use the weapon again but it's pretty much fried now.  The former Imperials in the Star Destroyer refuse to leave.  When their ship is nearing finished, they ram it into some other ships to do major damage to the fleet.

Kylo and Rey are still dueling.  He knocks her down and is going to land a finishing blow when he's shot by a blaster.  Kylo is pissed and uses Force lightning to fry Allsus, who shot him.  She goes down but Rey has an opening then.  She uses her lightsaber and chops off both of Kylo's hands.  Then she goes to help her mother up.  Allsus is still alive, though hurt bad.  Finn and Rose show up and help Rey get to a ship.  They leave Kylo behind to swear revenge.

The charges go off as our heroes are escaping.  Hux finds Kylo on the deck without his hands.  Kylo orders Hux to get him off of the ship.  But instead Hux basically tells Kylo to help himself and then takes off, leaving Kylo on the exploding ship.

Our heroes escape and retreat as the First Order flagship explodes and takes a good number of ships with it.  Rey thanks her mother, who passes out.  They get her to a bacta tank or whatever to heal.

Later there's a celebration.  The First Order is in chaos and now other planets are coming out to support the Rebels.  Rey visits her mother, who's doing better.  After her mother has gone back to sleep, Rey sees Luke's ghost.  He tells her that Kylo might be gone now, but she has to be vigilant because the darkness will return.

Then Rey goes back to the celebration and we cue the music...

I need to find Poe more to do, especially in the middle, but it's just a first draft.

OK, now I'll go write a whole 'nother trilogy...not.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Grumpy Bulldog Makes The Last Jedi As Epic As It Should Have Been

I wonder which is the least popular feature on my blog:  comic book reviews, movie reviews, or when I rewrite the plot to a movie like I did (a couple times maybe) with Batman v Superman and Logan?  Maybe they're all equally unpopular.

Anyway, Wednesday I ripped The Last Jedi a new asshole and with just cause.  Now some smart aleck might come along and say, "Oh yeah, like you could do better."  Yes, yes I could.  So that's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to polish Rian Johnson's turd of a screenplay and you'll see what you missed out on.

OK, so the opening crawl and base evacuation I don't have a huge problem with.  Though why the hell were those "bombers" so slow?  It's like something from one of those old X-Wing or TIE Fighter video games where you have to protect some transport and it has to go super-duper slow through a bunch of enemy fire to make the mission really annoying.

I'm already digressing.  Now in my version we don't have any of this "running out of fuel" nonsense or the OJ Simpson chase in space.  That shit's stupid.  So the First Order blows the hell out of all 3 Resistance ships.  Leia and 3PO and purple-haired Laura Dern get separated from Finn, Poe, and BB-8.  Leia's pod is picked up by the First Order and taken aboard the flagship, where Leia meets her son (something that has never actually happened in 2 movies) and he takes her to Snoke.  The other pod ends up crashing on Cantu Bight and Poe, Finn, and BB-8 head towards the big casino city to try to get help.

Meanwhile, in Ireland (or whatever the hell that place was called) Rey meets Luke and he's reluctant to go back with her.  But none of this whiny "I came here to die" bullshit.  Let's give him a better reason for being there, like he's trying to find a way to turn Ben back to the light without him dying like Vader.  A little flimsy, but whatever.  Rey tries to tell him that they need his help and so forth but he's not having it...yet.  That night, though, he sees Leia being tortured in his dreams (or visions, whatever) and goes to Rey to say he's going to come back with her, but first he needs to give her some training.  (Cue "Eye of the Tiger" or the Rocky training theme!)

On the First Order flagship, Snoke is trying to get Leia to crack and reveal all of the Resistance's secrets, but of course she's a tough nut to crack.  Ben is conflicted about this but tries not to show it.

On Cantu Bight, Poe and Finn get into the casino and try finding help.  But they wind up getting busted and taken to the owner's office.  And the owner of the casino is...Lando Calrissian!  (Remember him, Disney?)  Like Han, Lando kind of dropped out of the whole Rebellion thing and went back to doing what he does best.  He's bummed about Han and so offers to help them rescue Leia and the others from the First Order.  This is where we'll introduce Rose to give her something more interesting to do than stunning people trying to get in escape pods.  Also, Benicio del Toro sucks.  A slimy thief who...stays a slimy thief through the end.  Wow, Rian Johnson.  That's really exciting. [eye roll]  Anyway, Lando hooks Finn and Rose up with a ship and a fighter for Poe and BB8.  And so they go off to find Leia and the others.

Back on the island, Luke is putting Rey through her paces with lifting rocks and some lightsaber sparring, because in my version Luke still has his green lightsaber.  You can keep the stuff about how Luke's first temple was destroyed.  That's OK, more or less.  But maybe be less whiny about it.

On the ship heading for the First Order, Finn and Rose talk.  She says she has a sister in the Resistance and gradually it dawns on her and Finn that her sister is dead.  And so Finn comforts her...and if this weren't a Star Wars movie there might be some sex, but kissing is about all we can do.  And maybe as they're kissing Poe calls up to tell them they're almost there or something, like 3PO interrupting Leia and Han kissing in Empire for one of those little winks.

On the First Order ship, Ben pays Leia a visit in-between torture sessions.  He tries to convince her to give up and give Snoke what he wants.  And she tries to convince him to come back to the light.  He storms away like a little bitch then.  (Because that's what he is.)

On the island, it's nighttime and Luke is asleep.  Rey's supposed to be asleep, but instead she sneaks off to the dark side cave.  Instead of funhouse mirrors she sees a woman who looks much like her and a younger Luke and they're in love.  Rey confronts Luke with this vision and he admits, I am your father.  Long story short he met a woman with the Rebellion and they fell in love but when she said she was pregnant, he wanted nothing to do with her because he knew any child of his would have a target painted on its back by Imperials, First Order, Sith, Hutts, or whoever else.  So the woman went away and met someone else and had Rey.  But after some demonstration of the child's Force abilities, the woman left Rey on Jakku, where she'd be "safe" from anyone wanting to exploit her potential.  And yet as Fate (or, you know, the Force) would have it, Rey found her way to Luke anyway and is tapping her power.  Understandably Rey is pissed and stomps off.  (Whether Disney would allow this much moral ambiguity I'm not sure.  But you have to admit it's better than "your parents were deadbeats who sold you for beer money.")

The next morning Luke finds Rey and they talk and he admits he never wanted any of this for her because being a Jedi kinda sucks.  They hug it out and get on the Falcon to go confront Snoke and Ben.

Finally Finn, Rose, and Poe track down the First Order flagship.  Poe breaks off to create a distraction while Rose hacks the ship's shields and whatever so they can land without detection.  Poe's fighter takes some damage so he has to break off and regroup, wishing them well.

On the Falcon, Luke and Rey discuss whether Ben can really be turned or not.  Luke is less optimistic about this prospect.  Sure, Vader turned, but only when Luke was going to die.  Might Ben turn with his mother in mortal danger?  Hurm...let's find out!

In Snoke's throne room, he's starting to get kinda pissed because Leia keeps resisting him.  And Ben is really conflicted too.  That's when they all three realize that Rey and Luke are coming for them.  Snoke tells Hux to let the Falcon get through their defenses, though to make it look good.  Leia pleads with Snoke not to do it and he says if she gives up all her Resistance contacts and such then he'll let Luke and Rey live.  (Which he probably won't any more than Tarkin was going to spare Alderaan.)  But she won't do it and Snoke gets pissed enough to knock her out.

Finn and Rose go through the ship, dodging a few patrols and such in their First Order disguises.  They finally reach the detention block and first find 3PO and Laura Dern.  They tell Finn and Rose that Leia's in a separate cell and that Snoke's been working her over.  They find Leia's cell and she wakes up long enough to ask them to warn Rey and Luke to stay away.  So Finn and Rose have to find a way to get a message to the Falcon to tell them It's a Trap!

But Luke's a fucking Jedi Master so he pretty much knows this already.  He instructs Rey to just go along with what he does and wait for the right time to strike.  They approach the First Order fleet with Chewie dodging some lasers and crap until Luke and Rey can get aboard with an escape pod or whatever.  Then they make their approach towards Snoke's throne room.

Meanwhile, Finn and Rose realize they're too late.  As they're trying to come up with a new plan, Phasma and some goons show up to capture them and take them back to the detention block.

Luke and Rey get to the throne room to find Snoke and Ben waiting.  There's some talk with Luke and Rey trying to convince Ben to turn but he's not into it.  Finally Snoke senses that Rey has Skywalker blood in her and says how valuable that makes her.  That's when Luke and Snoke throw down in an epic Force battle with lightning and shit being thrown around and all of that.  Rey wants to help Luke but Ben gets in her way and so they have a lower-key lightsaber duel.

Meanwhile, Finn and Rose are in the cell with Laura Dern and 3PO.  Finn is grousing about their shitty situation.  Then Rose, with some help from 3PO, get the door open.  And they bust Leia out too, though she's still weak.  They're going to find a ship or something to escape but Leia insists she needs to go back to the throne room.  On the way there, though, they're confronted by Phasma and some guards.  Finn takes on Phasma while Leia is able to keep going to the throne room.

The battle is not going all that well for Luke or Rey.  Having not used the Force all that much in years, Luke is tiring against Snoke's onslaught while Rey is obviously not the swordsman Ben is.  Snoke finally gets in a good lick on Luke to send him sprawling.  Rey wants to go to his side, but Ben is still in the way.  Snoke promises that after he finishes off Rey's father, he'll turn her to the dark side.

Meanwhile Finn and Phasma fight until Rose comes to Finn's aid--and they kiss for reals this time.  Finn wants to go help Leia, but Rose suggests she can take care of herself and they should go find a way to disable the flagship so they can maybe escape.  So they head off to go shut down the power core or whatever.  Stick a potato in the tailpipe or steal the distributor cap.  It's about as stupid as running out of "fuel" in the middle of space.

Before Snoke can finish Luke, Leia comes into the throne room and uses the Force to send him flying.  But he hits her with some lightning or whatever and she goes down.  Ben is furious about this and turns on his mentor.  He takes some electrical damage but kills Snoke in a blind fury.  Then he goes to his mother's side just as she dies.  Ben is pissed and wrongly blames Luke and Rey for interfering.  He goes after them, but he's in such a rage that they're able to knock him out.  Luke and Rey hurry away with Leia's body.

Finn and Rose do their thing with the power core or whatever and almost literally run into Luke and Rey.  Their reunion is dampened when they see Leia is dead.  They head for the hangar as the power goes out in the ship.  In the chaos they get to the hangar just as the Falcon lands to take them away.

Meanwhile Ben wakes up and sees his mother, Rey, and Luke gone and Snoke is still dead.  Hux shows up and Ben--or Kylo now--insists he's the one in charge now.  Just then they find out the Falcon is getting away with the prisoners.  So Kylo goes to his ship to chase them.

As Kylo is closing in, suddenly Poe appears in his fighter and damages Kylo's ship.  There are still plenty of other First Order ships around, though, so they aren't out of the woods yet.  But that's when a ragtag fleet appears led by...Lando!  Because why the hell not?  This is my story, damn it.  Lando's called in a lot of favors to cobble together a fleet of ships to harass the First Order.  And then they all escape.

Later, on some nice planet, there's a funeral for Leia.  Luke and Lando both promise to help the Resistance cause and take the fight to the First Order because that's what she'd want them to do.

And...cue the music!

As usual I don't know how practical all of that would have been, but I think it's a lot better.  If you want AT-ATs and crap to sell toys then put that in the evacuation scenes.

I know no one will read it but I'm going to finish my trilogy tomorrow!  Because I can.  So there.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Grumpy Bulldog vs The Last Jedi (SPOILERS!!!)

By now probably anyone who'd read this has either seen the movie or doesn't care, so fuck spoilers.

I heard a lot of people say The Last Jedi was the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.  So I thought it’d be a really good epic sci-fi movie.  Instead it was a messy plot with few of the epic moments that made Empire so good for generations of fans.

Oh, and after killing Han Solo in the first movie of this new trilogy, they of course had to kill off Luke Skywalker in this movie.  Not cool.  And with Carrie Fisher dead IRL, we have none of the main human characters left.  All we have left now are Chewbacca, C3PO, and R2D2.  Oh and Lando if they ever bothered using him or even mentioning him.  (On a side rant, after Lando’s best buddy Han died, you’d think maybe he’d go see how Leia’s doing, maybe comfort her a little.  Or, you know, join the cause maybe.)

And actually the whole day before seeing the movie I was dreading how they’d kill Luke off.  I guess I have the Force too because I knew it was coming.  And then it finally happens in about the most underwhelming way since his mom died in childbirth for…reasons.  Oh no, I used too much Force or something, so now I’m going to like die!.  Ugh, really?  That’s how he goes out?  Weak.

Look, I get the reason they did it.  It’s the same reason they got rid of Han:  Harrison Ford is too old to go running around the galaxy shooting Stormtroopers and shit.  By the same token, Mark Hamill is too old to do any epic lightsaber duels.  And to be honest he wasn’t that great of an actor even back in the original trilogy.  Still, you couldn’t let him have a little better sendoff?

It occurred to me that instead of killing my whole childhood, it would have been better if they’d done a Star Trek The Next Generation thing and just set this like 100 years in the future.  You could still have Chewie and the droids, right?  But I guess you needed to sell it with the old characters.  Still, it just sucks.

It would be more acceptable if the movie were actually good, but it isn’t.  So much of it just feels…dumb.  I mean I know it’s Star Wars not hard sci-fi like 2001 or something but even for a Star Wars movie it was dumb.  Since when do capital ships run out of “fuel?”  What “fuel” are they even using?  It’s not like they run on fucking diesel and have to stop at the space gas station to tank up.  I mean most of the US Navy’s big ships these days use nuclear power, so why wouldn’t these starships be using some kind of fusion?  OK, sure the smaller ships might use some kind of “fuel,” but why the hell is the Millennium Falcon all fueled and ready to go despite sitting around Jakku for like 4 years?  Maybe the Simon Pegg guy keeps it fueled so he can go off on a jaunt every now and then, right?

And instead of trailing behind the Rebel ships taking potshots, why doesn’t the First Order just bring in more ships?  Or dispatch some of its ships at lightspeed ahead of the Rebels to trap them?  And you have like 100 squadrons of TIE fighters and bombers and crap you’re just not using for…reasons.  It makes no goddamned sense.

And if the Rebel cruiser could go to lightspeed and ram the First Order flagship and destroy most of their fleet, why not do that a lot earlier?  Oh, right, they had to “fuel” the transports.  Why not have one of the other ships do it instead of letting them get blown up?  At least they’d have been doing something.

And what idiots are these Rebels that they designed their base with only one entrance or exit?  So, yeah, when the Imperials (or Imperials Lite) find your base you’re trapped like fucking rats.  Brilliant strategy!

Michael Offutt described Luke as a whiny bitch and I have to agree.  He is a whiny bitch most of the movie.  And because of this, there’s never really a chance for him to build a relationship with Rey.  So it’s never like Luke-Obi Wan or Luke-Yoda or even Anakin-Obi Wan or Qui-Gon-Obi Wan.  Several times I sat there thinking, Dude, your fucking sister is going to be killed.  Do something!  What kind of selfish twat are you?  And when he finally does he somehow projects himself parsecs across the galaxy, a power that we’ve never seen any Jedi use before in 7 movies; it’s like one of those lame “Expanded Universe” books where some crummy author would have Luke able to fly or turn water into wine or some shit like that.  At first I thought he was really there somehow but then I thought maybe R2 or BB8 was projecting a hologram or something, but then comes this sorta deus ex machina device.  I guess the excuse for this was Snoke was able to “bridge” Rey and Ben’s minds over light years.

But just who the hell was Snoke?  Who the fuck knows?  He had all the power of the Emperor and maybe even more so and yet it’s hard to believe Palpatine would have been so stupid as to leave a rival like this running around.  Oh, hey, maybe he just had a midlife crisis and developed Sith powers instead of buying a convertible.  But now he’s dead, so who gives a shit?  What was the point of him anyway?  I guess we needed someone to teach Ben Solo and start a cut-rate Galactic Empire.  I suppose at some point there’ll be a book or comic book to explain his rise to power.  Or there already is.  Like I care since he’s apparently just a throwaway character.

Oh and Rey’s parents?  They’re just alcoholic junk dealers who sold her into slavery for drinking money…or something.  Despite that by the time she’s grown she’s not a slave.  So that Simon Pegg alien guy just let her go?  Or maybe she earned enough portions to free herself?  And yet somehow these junk dealers just happened to spawn someone with next-level Force abilities.  Sure.  Why not?  I guess that’s better than Immaculate Conception…but only just.  But she was called to find Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber that he got from his father and she’s just some junk dealer’s kid?  Really?  Gee, wouldn't Empire have been so much better if Vader had said, "Luke, your father...was an alcoholic junk dealer who sold you to Uncle Owen for beer money."  Epic!

The side plot with Finn and Rose would have been good if it had gone anywhere.  They hook up with Benicio del Toro, a shady thief who, surprise surprise lures them into a trap.  But why the hell did he go to all of the trouble to break them out of Cantu Bight and get them into the First Order flagship and then get in disguise and open the tracker device room?  Why not betray them on the planet?  Or when they arrived at the First Order Fleet?  Or once they got aboard the ship?  And then he just stays evil and maybe dies or something?  He doesn’t pull a Han Solo or Lando (remember him?) and decide to help the Rebels?  Weak.

And then Rose stops Finn from destroying the big gun that they all took those busted ass speeders out there to destroy, because she's so in love that she'd rather they both get captured/killed by the First Order than die a hero.  But really, couldn't he have just tied a rock to the accelerator?  Jumped at the last second?  Been "thrown clear of the blast?"

And after Kylo Ren and Rey’s somewhat epic battle in the woods in the last movie the rematch is…them killing a bunch of Snoke’s guards and then breaking Rey’s lightsaber like a fucking wishbone.  Oh, wow, that was cool.  Not.  Luke’s fight with Ben was even lamer.  A Star Wars movie without a decent lightsaber fight is pathetic.

And what was the deal with the funhouse mirrors in that dark side cave?  Was that supposed to be symbolic of something?  The dark side cave on Dagobah stopped the movie dead but at least it made more sense.  And ghost Yoda can call down lightning?  Since when?

The part with Leia freezing in space and using the Force to rocket back into the ship was pretty dumb, but I almost cried just thinking about Carrie Fisher dying IRL.  Kind of wonder why Leia doesn’t use the Force more often.  I mean not that she should have been going around with a lightsaber, but she couldn’t have moved some rocks for their escape from the old base?  Or what would have been good would have been to reshoot the ending and let her go out and finally use her Force power to destroy the First Order troops and stuff.  Then Luke could have shown up at the end for a funeral and gone on to help the Rebels.  She could have gone down in a blaze of glory!  Instead of having to be awkwardly written out of the next movie.

I guess you can see why Colin Trevorrow and Disney had problems.  Rian Johnson kind of left a mess for the next director to clean up.  He was supposed to be writing the second part of a trilogy, but he sucked all of the momentum out of the story to leave it coasting on fumes for Trevorrow Abrams.  I mean you have some twenty-something brat running the Empire Lite now?  And the Rebellion is down to like ten people and one ship?  And almost all of the old cast is dead?  Probably not what Trevorrow thought he was signing on for.  Like my sister said that's the problem when you have these different directors doing different parts.  In writer's groups sometimes people try to do a group story and sometimes you get that one annoying guy who tries to take it into a far-out direction or tries to be a jerk and end the thing prematurely and then the next guy up has to try to cover up.  Rian Johnson was the guy who messed up the chain and now the next guy up has to try to fix it.  Which is hard to do when you've killed off a bunch of characters, destroyed the Rebellion, and quashed the most interesting mysteries.

Really, didn't they sketch out the whole trilogy before they started?  And because they want a new Star Wars movie every year they have to rush to get these together  instead of taking time to make sure they're getting it right.

I’m running out of steam now.  This was made better than the prequels, but it’s easily as dumb as Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones.  So no, I don’t put it second after Empire.  I put it sixth.  A definite 2/5.

My rankings:

  • Empire
  • New Hope/ROTJ (it’s pretty much a toss-up)
  • Force Awakens
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Last Jedi
  • Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones

And Rogue One would go above Force Awakens, though without that epic Vader scene at the end it'd probably be sixth.  That's what this movie was missing, some really badass Force action. 


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