Okay, I think I’ve finally written down every movie I saw and book I read last year, so now I can get to what I’ve seen and read in 2016. I’ve been stuck on the same page of the current book I’m reading for the last couple months, so I’m not off to a promising start there. But I have seen a handful of movies. Star Wars is not the first or second movie I watched this month, but it’s been such a big deal, it seems rather fitting to start with it and give it a spoiler free entry all its own.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Did you hear about this new Star Wars movie that came out last month? Apparently, it’s been doing fairly well at the box office. I put off seeing it for over five and a half weeks past its release. That doesn’t seem so long, but when I told someone I hadn’t seen it yet, they were surprised, saying, “Who knows how long it will be in theaters.” My response was that I saw Frozen in a theater a few days before it was released to home video, so I figured I was probably safe. Besides, I kind of liked being able to say that I hadn’t seen it. If I couldn’t brag about being one of the first people to see The Force Awakens, I could at least brag about not having seen it yet.
How times change. Back when The Phantom Menace came out, I was jealous that my little brother got to see it before I did (and so annoyed that I had to drive him and his friend to the theater that I dropped an f-bomb in front of my Mom for the first time).
I guess the prequels taught me to be more wary about buying into the hype for anything, especially Star Wars. Also, for most of my life, I’ve had this natural instinct to not jump on the bandwagon of anything that’s really popular. Maybe there’s an element of sour grapes to all that. “I haven’t seen this movie or TV show that everybody else is raving about so I’m going to act like I don’t care.” All that is not to say that I’m not a fan of Star Wars. Not as much as I am a Star Trek fan, but I do like Star Wars, too.
One of my favorite YouTubers, who is a big Star Wars nut, ended a video that had nothing to do with Star Wars or sci-fi by making this offhanded comment about people who prefer Trek over Wars being stupid. I realize she was trying to be funny, but even though I agreed with pretty much everything else she said in the video, I couldn’t give it a thumbs up because I was being a humorless nerd and took what she said too personally. And what’s her big reason for liking Star Wars more? Because it has more “pew-pew” dogfights in space. I’d call that a stupid opinion, but I’m not gonna look down on her just because she likes Star Wars more. I mean, I like both; I don’t know why some people have to make it a contest.
Perhaps the nonconformist in me was partly responsible for me holding off seeing The Force Awakens as long as I did, but a bigger cause may have been my anxiety: I wanted to avoid the crowds of rabid fans and whatnot. My dad had talked about maybe us seeing it together the Tuesday after Christmas, but he forgot about it and then heard on the radio that the theater was swamped, which is exactly what I thought would be the case, seeing that kids were still off from school, etc. I’m not sure I really wanted to see it for the first time with my dad anyway. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m very glad I didn’t go with him. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand.
Part of the reason I finally caved in and went to see it when I did is because, even though I’d managed to avoid all spoilers (going so far as to avert my gaze when commercials for the movie came on TV), I really didn’t care to push my luck. It sucks, but in this day and age, if you get spoiled, there are a lot of people out there who will consider it to be your own damn fault. However, to my way of thinking, that’s basically a form of victim blaming. I’ve been spoiled far too often. I’ve only seen the first season of Game of Thrones so far, and I’ve been spoiled multiple times about things I haven’t seen yet.
It happened again recently when I saw a T-shirt design that was spoilery, and I left a comment that said matter-of-factly, “I feel like I just had GoT spoiled for me… again. I really need to get caught up on that series.” I wasn’t even complaining, exactly; just stating a fact. But that didn’t stop some asshole from responding with, “That episode aired months ago. If you’re not caught up by now then boohoo,” with several people giving that comment a thumbs up.
Look, fucker, not all of us have cable or HBO or feel good about watching stuff illegally online, and even if I could afford it, I don’t think the most recent season is even out on DVD yet. How snobbish do you have to be to hold someone in such high contempt because they haven’t been able to see every episode of some TV show as it aired, especially when it’s on a channel not everyone gets?
After a certain point, spoilers are probably inevitable. I mean, I was disappointed that Fight Club got spoiled for me, but considering the fact that I waited over a decade to rent that movie, I really have no one to blame but myself. But to be a jerk and spoil stuff and/or then blame the person who got spoiled because they didn’t see something right away or even a few months or a couple years after it was released to the public is a pretty dickish, elitist thing to do. I’m really not sure at what point it’s okay to freely talk about something without fear of spoiling it for others, but it’s definitely not right after it’s been released.
I am not a brony, but I have gotten into watching Friendship is Magic, and I was ticked that a certain episode got spoiled for me from the latest season when someone uploaded fanart for it to this site a few hours after the episode aired. It wasn’t even anybody I was subscribed to; it just showed up in the stupid “recommended deviations” section when I was looking at a pic that had nothing to even do with ponies. It’s possible I wouldn’t have gotten around to seeing that particular episode for months, but even if I’d planned on watching it later that day, I would have already been spoiled. I get being so excited about something that you have to do fanart for it right away, and again, the internet being what it is, you’re expected to be on top of everything instantaneously- you have to strike while the iron is hot because stuff becomes old news at the speed of light- but it still feels pretty damn inconsiderate.
Anyway, back to Star Wars. This past Tuesday evening, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to finally see Episode VII. I slipped on the Stormtrooper T-shirt from Japan that my sister gave me (under my sweatshirt because it’s been freaking cold) and headed out to the theater. Then I almost turned around and drove straight home because halfway to my destination, I noticed my “check engine” light was on. I just had my mechanic look it over and change the oil a couple weeks ago; I don’t know what the hell could be wrong. I have no idea who I would have called if I’d gone out to the cinema’s parking lot two and a half hours later at one twenty-something A.M. and found that my car wouldn’t start. I certainly didn’t relish the thought of a three hour walk home in single degree weather. No movie would have been worth that.
Since I was already there, I decided to take my chances, and I’m glad to say that the car got me home just fine. That warning light is still a concern, though. I probably should have called my mechanic already, but I have a tendency to put these things off. It wouldn’t start for me on Christmas morning and then it took me about a week and a half to work up the courage to call my mechanic because I hate talking to people. Weirdly, I always put on this phony cheerful façade around him, probably to hide my nervousness and partly to offset how serious and businesslike he always is. I even tried telling him a joke once and he didn’t crack a smile or anything.
After all that, it turns out there was nothing really wrong with the car- it was the key that was the problem. The mechanic said it was because I was trying to start the car with the key that didn’t have the little pad with the buttons for locking and unlocking it and opening the trunk and the car’s computer couldn’t read it, but it dawned on me yesterday that I may have actually been trying to use a key for one of my two previous cars that I got it mixed up with my other keys, and if that’s true, it makes it even more embarrassing that I didn’t realize it sooner and also that I just didn’t throw the key away when I no longer needed it. It also makes it more my fault.
I had to pay to have the car towed in order to find out there was nothing wrong with it and then I had to walk an hour and seventeen minutes (3.9 miles) in order to pick it up. At least the weather was above freezing then. Things were way more convenient when I lived right next door to my mechanic. Maybe I could go to someone that’s nearer to my current address, but besides not being sure who I can trust, I don’t like change.
I just assumed the reason the car wouldn’t start was because I hadn’t driven anywhere in a month. I was too scared to. That’s another reason I didn’t see Star Wars sooner. I got pulled over and ticketed for having expired plates right before Thanksgiving. I thought I was going to go to jail because I’d counterfeited a fake license plate sticker in order to buy myself some time (my fatal error was making it for the month of November and then neglecting to replace it when November eventually came), but the cop never even mentioned that. She was actually about as nice as a person could be in these sorts of circumstances, but I still felt really embarrassed at how pathetic I made myself sound.
The reason my plates had expired is because I’d always just gone to the same emissions testing place in the past, but when I went there the last time, it wasn’t there anymore, and me dealing so poorly with change, rather than figuring out where I was supposed to go instead, I just did nothing. Being forced to admit to that (kind of cute) cop how badly I function in the real world was a humiliating experience and probably played a major part in the depressed funk I was in for most of December.
I guess the positive side of having to have my car towed was that I asked my mechanic to check my emissions as long as he had the car. Then I went to the DMV and got my new sticker, which took about ten minutes, making me wonder why I’d been stressing out about it all this time. Clearly, I have a lot of issues. Social anxiety is not a lot of fun, kids.
Geez, now I remember why I started devoting most of my journals to books and movies; I joke about how boring those must be to other people, but it’s better than when I whine about my personal problems.
Well, if I wanted to avoid crowds, I picked a good time to see Episode VII. I went on a Tuesday (because it’s five dollars all day at this particular theater chain) at eleven o’clock at night. For the first ten minutes or so, I had the theater all to myself. Then a trio of Johnny-come-latelies wandered in. Maybe they’d already seen the movie and didn’t care if they missed the beginning. I know that if I hadn’t seen a movie before, I couldn’t walk in after it had already started. Even if I had seen it before, it’s still not ideal. I hate that some people think they can come in late because of the trailers and then cause a distraction as they get settled. At least these people were quiet enough that I didn’t even know they were there, apart from some candy wrappers crinkling.
Sorry, I know I’ve been doing a lot of rambling, but I began this entry with the intention of saying what I thought of the new Star Wars film, so here goes. It was all right.