©2005 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:
Revenge of the Sith

Filthy says:
"If this is space opera, where the hell's the fat space lady?."

The Olde Town Cinema celebrated the release of Star Wars by screening it for 62 straight hours. By the time I got there, it smelled like my cousin Jimmy and his friends had been there the whole time. The cashier had sweaty pits and greasy hair swirled into a shape I've only ever achieved by sleeping on the ground. The rank stench of spilled popcorn oil and old hot dogs filled up the joint like an old man's fart. And a few pale souls haunted the hallways like they hadn't seen the sun since Thursday.

The Olde Town Cinema is like a pair of blue jeans you could never get a shit stain out of; tucked away and used only in case of emergency. So, you know Star Wars has to be a pretty big fucking deal when the overflow from the nicer AMC theater up the road is enough to keep our local shithouse open nonstop. Of course, the first shows were filled to capacity by the geeks, and the chicks who want to fuck them. The split between those groups being approximately, oh, 100/0. The Olde Town draws a distinct sort of geek, though: the clueless kind who really wants to see Start Wars but doesn't give a shit that the screens are dirty, you can't buy tickets online, the sound system sucks and arm rests have no padding left in them. That's Jimmy and me. I'll take a shitty theater experience over having to sit near people every day of the week. I showed up about 15 minutes before an afternoon screening on Friday, bought a ticket and walked into a half-empty theater. Somewhere, Star Wars was sold out, but not in Arvada.

For the first hour of Revenge of the Sith I figured it wouldn't take long to review it: "Ehh." The second hour, though, is a hell of a lot better. It elevates the movie to, "Hmmm."

Unless you've been living in a closet for the past decade, and I know a guy who has, you pretty much know what this movie is. There was a boy down the street whose mother locked him in a closet. She was fucking nuts. But, still, the kid had a sweet setup. He had a cooler stocked with snacks, a nice TV and SuperNintendo, a transistor radio and a little stove for cooking hot dogs. I used to go down there sometimes and hang out, play Super Mario and try on his mom's old dresses. When his mother died and the County foreclosed on the house, the first thing he wanted wasn't to see Star Wars. It was to have the shit washed off , his nails clipped and the smell of mothballs washed out of his hair. Then a square meal. And then find another closet, maybe a little bigger.

In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christiansen) is an adolescent Jedi with a ridiculously hot and weepy wife (Natalie Portman). Sometimes weeping makes a lady even hotter, but not in this case. Here she's pathetic and indecisive. Anyway, Christiansen is the Chosen One, a Jedi with a greater ability to use the Force to fight evil than any other Jedi. He's also a moody son of a bitch. Sort of like a teenager working at Wendy's: he can make a great Quarter Pound Double Stack for your 99 cents, but he thinks he's "too good for this shit" so he never does.

Because of his powers, Christiansen is fought over by two sides who want him to fight for them. First are the honorable Jedis, and second is the sleazy Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who, besides ruling the Republic and probably selling Amway, also secretly leads the dark armies trying to take over the Republic. He's an asshole, sure, and misguided. But he's got mad crazy ambition, like a Wal-Mart manager who reads Donald Trump books and follows up on its lessons, except with magical powers.

Christiansen's conflict between two masters is made worse by his premonitions that Portman will die during childbirth, and McDiarmid promises that he can save her by using the dark side of the Force. This would be more appealing to me, I think, if Portman did anything in this movie beside comb her hair, cry, stare out windows and scamper about in skimpy lingerie. Hell, if they had Dr. Phil on her planet, she'd probably watch that. As it is, Christiansen should let her die and hang out at the McDonald's until another boring beauty comes along. He can get his pick of the litter, right? I mean, all that talk about the Force doesn't mean shit if you can't use it to pick up chicks.

Twisted by McDiarmid, and to nobody's surprise, Christiansen turns to the dark side and fights against his fellow Jedis, even killing some kids. Although, here they are called Younglings. I shit you not. Those sci-fi people have crazy names for everything. These creatures on another planet can look like humans and speak perfect English, but they can't say "kids." Man, it makes you think you're really in outer space for a moment.

Of course, Christiansen ultimately becomes Darth Vader, a man so fucking evil that three year olds piss their pants when they hear his name. As we all know from the other star Wars movies, Vader is like an intergalactic Mussolini, with the ridiculous Italian fashion sense, but a bigger asshole.

As I was saying, the first hour of Revenge of the Sith is pretty "Eh." There's a shitload of fighting, and a couple shitloads of special effects. The opening sequence showing Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan MacGregor) and Christiansen skittering through a massive space battle to rescue McDiarmid (before they know how naughty he is) is spectacular. But that's not news. News would be if it weren't spectacular. Like if you could see the strings, or you could see Lucas's fingerprints in the clay the monsters are made out of.

Still, I was pretty bored at that point. The dialog sucks Clydesdale cock and the characters don't seem to be driven by anything I could care about. Of course, this is outer space and these are space aliens, so maybe they have their reasons.

The scenes between Christiansen and Portman are supposed to show us a powerful, nearly obsessive love. They don't. They just say what you can buy in a Hallmark card and give to someone when you don't really mean it. Real behavior that shows you can't live without someone is late night phone calls made from phone booths because you're too fucking drunk to press those tiny keys on a cell phone. Calls that go on from your end way after she's hung up as you argue with the dial tone and then beg for its forgiveness. It means getting thrown out and then butting your head against the front door until she lets you back in, not out of pity, but because she can't sleep with that thumping. Lucas thinks a few cornball lines like "I will always love you" convey the message as successfully as Christiansen carving her initials into his wrist with a protractor needle.

A lot has been said about how shitty the dialog is, but I feel I need to say something: the dialog is shitty. It stinks like a Shriner Hall men's room: the old, stale, rancid stench of a lifetime of undigested beef finally making its way out the ass. There are so many embarrassing, stiff lines it reminded of the one time I tried stand-up comedy and ended up using the last two minutes of my five curled in the fetal position at the corner of the stage, crying . And that's the part that got the most laughs. A perfect example is when Christiansen turns to the Dark Side, while we can get the sense of what Lucas is doing, he makes it happen with corny and trite exchange ending with the young Jedi kneeling and saying, "I will do whatever you say, Master."

Some of the acting is crap, too. Portman, the only woman I can recall with a speaking role, is given about as much to do as a security guard at a retirement home. She looks perpetually confused. Christiansen has one mode, that of a bad actor trying to look seething. Cold stares get old fast. MacGregor is the only who looks like he's enjoying himself, and that's a fucking shame because in the original Star Wars movies, everyone seemed to be having fun. Especially Harrison Ford. McDiarmid is also having fun, but that's because he gets to chew scenery like a cow with cud.

There are some pretty cool moments sprinkled throughout. As though to emphasize that evil and horror look the same throughout the universe, McDiarmid is shown watching a Cirque Du Soleil show. When Darth Vader is first released from a medical table, his first steps mimic Frankenstein's monster. There is some lame shit, too: on a Wookiee planet, one of the furballs swings into a scene while howling Tarzan's call. And Lucas has liberally sprinkled digs at the Bush Administration throughout the movie. They're out-of-place, inappropriate and not nearly as subtle as Lucas probably thinks they are. Shit, I want to hear his opinion about as much as I want to hear that bonehag Ann Coulter open her mealy maw.

But even with the shitty dialog and the stiff acting, the second half of the movie is pretty fucking terrific. Not just because it ties all six movies together. I don't give a goats third left tit about that crap, and I don't really want to follow some fanboys Gantt Chart to understand all the timelines and motivations. Once Revenge of the Sith gets past the preposterousness of Christiansen's turn to the darkside, the movie kicks into gear.

The battles mean more, the dialog means less. It's easier to understand what everyone's fighting for without a long-ass Jedi Council to belabor it. And as corny as Darth Vader is, he's a great villain. As long as someone's going to be pure evil, Vader's as good as it gets. Someday, all those losers who say they worship Satan just to get back at their parents are going to make up a Church of Darth Vader and kill feral cats in his name. At the same time, though, Vader has charisma, and you know he gets laid. A lot. So you gotta admire him.

I'm not going to compare this to other Star Wars movies because I don't give a fuck about those comparisons. It's not like the others are in theaters to see instead. Besides, at this point you're either going to see this movie or not and what I say makes about an ant's shit of difference. I'm not going to buy into these movies as mythology as too many people are eager to do. They are just fucking movies. This one is good. But it probably would have been better if Lucas hadn't believed the fanboys and fossilized everything. Still, Revenge of the Sith is a pretty good movie, and it gets Three Fingers.

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Clay Smith of Access Hollywood

House of Wax "Sends a chill up your spine. Don't miss it!"

In Kicking and Screaming "Will Ferrell is hilarious!"

Filthy's Reading
Alan Dale - Comedy is a Man in Trouble

Listening to
The Dwarves - Free Cocaine


Star Wars