Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

40th Anniversary

So… I am going to start out by saying that I am sorry I spent money to go see this… Now, don’t get me wrong, Episode VI is my favorite, but this was not what I grew up with.
Return of the Jedi was originally released a few years before I was born, so I did not have the pleasure of seeing it in theaters in all it’s glory. I grew up watching it over and over on VHS. Full trilogy pack, baby.
What I DID get to see in theaters was a travesty! Some gawd awful added special effects and garbage. This, an attempt to reignite the passion, I am sure. I was 11, and I can still remember finding it horrible.
A 40th anniversary only comes once, and yet I just spent some ten or so dollars to see the version that came out 25 years ago… I will say that in my disappointment I got up and did something I can honestly say I have never done… I left the theater and bought some popcorn…

(Also take note of the fact that it was  rereleased AFTER it’s actual anniversary, and will be leaving BEFORE national Star Wars Day.)

Okay, but in reality… all you young men who think Episode III is the greatest episode of all time. (Yes, I am talking to You.) Becauae it was the first rated PG-13 episode. Who cares?! You think the iconic Leia costume didn’t get 12 year olds a little hot in the pants? And how can you hate on one of the greatest creatures ever created, the Ewoks? Okay, yes, they had a spin off movie that nobody remembers… except apparently me. (Dude with a magic stick?) But Episode VI has everything. A reasonable love story that doesn’t make you want to puke in your mouth a little. Lightsaber action scene with lost limbs. Speaking of “loss,” loss. Epic characters like Lando, who was such a hero to me, in my refrigerator box space ship, I answered to Commando Lando. (Don’t mock, I didn’t yet know what “commando” meant.) And literally every character is a strong character (except Jabba, who was killed by a woman in a sexy outfit.)

Episode VI is the culmination of everything. It is the ultimate Good vs Evil show down, that ends in death, explosions, and dancing. What, I ask you, can be better than this?

(Except Rogue One. But we have a few years more before it reaches 40.)

Suzume no Tojimari

There are people in this world who decide not to watch anime, for whatever reason. They don’t want to read subtitles, they think they are kid’s shows, they are afraid to have their eyes opened. And then there are the people who have had their eyes opened…
Anime doesn’t have to be some Naruto, Pokemon fad following. What I love about anime is its ability to create and bring life to stories no amount of CGI can bring. The breadth of world building and character creating, the attention to detail and the emotional evocation…
Suzume no Tojimari, brought to you by Makoto Shinkai, the same man who brought us Your Name, does all of that.
The very first scene, with it’s strange and ominous music, reminicient to me of the first time I saw the beginning of Princess Mononoke, or the opening sequemce of Beauty and the Beast. Breath-taking.
Suzume is a movie about a young woman who begins a journey to fix a world destroying problem she inadvertently started. The array of characters, while perhaps stock and seen before in animes of similar style. The drunken karaoke singers. The suspicious toddlers. The trouble-making cat. The aloof young man who walks the world alone, until he meets someone worth walking it with.
Suzume is a movie about a young woman who begins a journey and eventually falls in love. There is no mystery about that. It is about what happens in between. This movie exercises its power to make us feel confused, feel angry, to laugh, and to cry. And in the end, you realize everything has come full circle. When that strange music begins to play again and the credits roll, suddenly you feel the that door close softly behind you.


Weirdly, the last Indian film I watched starred Ajay Devgn. This film was nothing extraordinary, in the sense of unseen.
Ajay, who played the title role of Bholaa, is merely seeking to find his daughter. But, he is roped into a confusing drug crime and we learn a bit more about his brooding self’s past.
Ajay is like the Tom Cruise of Indian films. Action packed, extraordinary stunts, and 3D worthy special effects. All while wearing a sensible pair of sketchers.
Majority of the film, admittedly, confuses me. He, a short dorky guy, and a stern, by the book, cop lady, drive a bus desperately to town, hauling some 40 drugged cops. It is like the film Speed, only Indian.
Along the way various bad guys set to foil their journey. Perhaps the best group, a group of shirtless, Samoan beachy haired guys, wearing basketball shorts.
All the while, a group of bad guys sets upon an impenetrable police station. It becomes the scene out of the bad Resident Evil movie. You know the one. Where Leon, the new recruit, finds himself locking the station down against a zombie onslaught. Only, this recruit is 55, and the zombies are mindless henchmen.
And, being an Indian film, you can’t forget the Bollywood music and dance. Unfortunately, only one scene, and not super impressive. Save for the lead bad guy, a goth Javier Bardem look-a-like Bollywood dancing while killing some failure.
And, the romcom montage scene of him falling in love with the beautiful doctor and attempting to change his ways…
This is all not to say that the film was bad. Indian films have been stepping their game up and I was happy to spend money to see this one. Films like this give you a taste of everything. Musical, romantic, funny, and slightly ridiculous Tom Cruise action scenes.
It also cheritably provided an intermission. Actually, the second theater outing with an intermission I have experienced within a year. Running at some 2.5 hours, they are being generous. Here in America, 2.5 hours is child’s play compared to the Marvel films or the Lord of the Rings. You will hold your pee or risk missing the MOST critical scene of the entire film.

The Escape – Fin

And we returned to life as we knew it..


Today the rain fell. After turning my skin the shade of baked ham, and staring at teal blue waters, and counting all the different cactus breeds… the rain fell.

Since the moment we had arrived the roar of jet planes would thunder overhead every few hours. Like that niggling feeling in the back of your mind. Like that sensation that this is simply a looking glass world. Backwards. And bright, and carefree, and so so distant.

And then the rain we left behind finally catches up. Falling down, soaking into our clothes like cold, ghostly hands trying to pull us back.

To what..

I had felt like a leaf, floating on the surface of the water. Free. Unburdened of all the weight, and the pain, and the loneliness on the otherside of the glass.

A mortal dancing in the Spring Court, finally being called back to the real world.

And as the rain falls, it drags the color from the world and washes it away, down the sidewalk. The weight grips my shoulders as the damp creeps in…


Tonight is the New Moon. A time for new beginnings.

Maybe I will walk off the plane and I will be new.

Maybe I will have a heart, full and open.

Maybe I will step back through the looking glass and

The Escape – Day 6

And it was a glorious day..

And we went to the Zoo!


Meerkats doing The Meerkat..

Giraffes being all long and awkward..

Tortie butts and stuff..

Big Cats..

Wild Dogs..

And animals that look dead..

The sun might not have been out in full force..

And we may have travelled to Australia through a raging storm..

Rejuvinated with a Shamrock Shake and a medium Murder Fries..

Did not get a nap..

Dressed up and found a back room in deep Italy..

(Forgot to take pictures. Fresh made Bucatini)

$20 glass of hella delicious Pinot Grisio..

Topped it off with a double scoop of Pomegranate Chip and Chocolate Icecream..

At some point the sun must have come out..

But it was a glorious day..

The Escape – Day 3

What do I see…

Something Pink..


Something Red..


Something Green..


Something Silver..


Something Black..


And all kinds of colors..

The Escape – Day 2

It rained…

Not the kind of rain we get up North. But this was rain enough to wet my chair, bring steam up from the hot tub, darken the cement, and slow time down.

We all woke early, sipped coffee, gathered in the livingroom to have quiet, coffee, and reading.

I did not read. I ate toast and sipped on coffee. There was no jam, nor any real butter. And stared out the window at the bright, but wet morning. Missing my cat…


The day called for homework, and so homework I did.

I did homework while the rest of the family went off to explore the town.

I did homework while the sky threatened to brighten.

I did homework…


By the time the family had returned the sun was in full form. The clouds, sharp puffs from the heavens, seemed to have dusted off their dancing shoes as they moved out of the way.

So we went to a movie.

A movie that marries the very epitome of Ridiculous, with all the glory of Amazing. It was disgusting, and beautiful. Confusing, and meaningful.

“That was magical…” someone breathed in the darkened theater as the credits rolled.


With the homework set aside, and still swirling on a movie hangover, we decided to go find some food.

I had missed lunch.

So I ordered a half a roast chicken.


It was disgusting.


There was more homework to be done. But it was quickly finished.

And topped the night off with my toes in the hot tub..

The Escape – Day 1.5

Palm Springs

Welcome to Palm Springs!

Where the Silvers flock to golf…

Where you can have your weed delivered, and your margaritas brought in buckets…

And sanitary napkin pads are really just pink doggy poo bags…

Cuz Vacation!

The Escape – Day 1

Air Travel Fun

In the movie Love Actually, Hugh Grant speaks knowingly about Love while the screen plays a montage of happy scenes of love…

All taking place in Airports.

I would like to think it was Love that was going through my head the entire hour it took me to get through airport security. Love that moved me forwards when the TSA agents snapped and barked orders at us. Love that drew my lips up when the child in his mother’s arms leaned over and screamed in my ear…

Love Actually came out two decades ago. It came out after 9/11, and yet I maintain that airports are quite possibly the least loving places I can think of.

People with their phones glued to their noses. People gathered around the outlet stations like cavemen around fire. People power walking with the intensity of a marathon runner and the spacial awareness of an elephant. Has anyone ever heard the words, “sorry,” or “excuse me,” uttered in an airport?


The whole point of the ungodly slog through hell, to be barked at to go back because you didn’t take your belt off, and then barked at again because you didn’t take your computer out of your bag, and then be barked at to keep moving because you’re holding up the line… is in effect, for our safety.

And who doesn’t feel extraordinarily safe at the airport?


This sign was on the wall, in the ramp, where you are past the point of no return. If you have come this far and you suspect someone is trafficking another someone, by this point, they have already made it to freedom.


This was another encouraging sight. To know that should this giant tanker of gas decide to explode, there is at least a fire extinguisher..


And then my favorite…

So much happiness in these pictoral guides to what to do if the plane is going down.

And the lavatory.

A: Why are you in the loo while the plane is going down?

B: Are they subtly making assumptions as to why you are in the loo by providing 2 oxygen masks?


Airplane travel skepticism, never more succinctly explained than by Jack Whitehall…

The Escape – Day .5

The Murder Hotel

What was meant to be an easy night before hitting the skies towards better times, became something much, much different.

We drove in from the rain, to this lonely, darkened hotel.

The long, dark hallways leaving us half expecting a boy on a plastic tricycle to come racing towards us.

We stand outside the locked door. Access denied to us. Cold, tired, and eager to be out of the hall. But unsure of what might be lingering in this room, barring us from entry.

Across the hall the news blaring through the door, the Do Not Disturb sign dangling from the handle. Who was in there? Was the blaring TV some sort of deterrent from what was inside? Was that the faint odor of rotting flesh?

Our door is never opened. The door across the hall is never opened. The news blares on, and the body inside remains undisturbed.

We are given another room.

The elevator points down, ready to take us… to Hell? The walls are covered in some sort of blood splatter, plastic protector. The door remains open despite repeated button pushing. I swear I hear someone limping down the hall dragging a hatchet with them. I slam my finger on the “door close” button and it immediately starts a high pitched wail, like the scream of prior elevator victims.

To our relief, the doors close.

When we finally enter a room, safe from whatever moved up and down the dark hallway, we breathe a sigh of relief once the door chain is in place. Father jokingly says we can place a chair infront of it for added protection.

Protection from what? Protection from whatever prowled the halls.

But maybe the danger was already in the room with us…

The Banshees of Inisherin

So here’s the thing, has anyone legitimately seen and Irish movie that wasn’t somehow heartbreaking. And don’t say Leap Year, because I mean a proper Irish movie.
Previously, in 2008, these two actors, Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell had been in a movie together.  A comedy. This movie did not have the sort of American humor that slaps you in the face. This movie had the UK humor that is just so clever.
But, this film was not a comedy, so don’t go into it expecting to have a good laugh. This film revolves around two men, the moody Colm, played by Gleeson, and the confused Pádraic, played by Farrell. Once best friends, Colm suddenly wakes up one morning and decides and doesn’t like Pádraic anymore. His reasoning, while sound, is also abrupt and not very nice. But the question is: what do you do when a person is not serving any purpose in your life. Living on the small Irish island of Inisherin, Colm realizes he has done nothing with his life to leave behind. His fear is doing nothing to be remembered by.
The film questions the meaning of friendship and kindness. And despair that spirals so deep, you wonder if it is possible to come out. The lengths one will take to cut someone from their life just to be able to find themselves.

All Quiet on the Western Front

I remember the impact this book had on me after I read it some 20 years ago. Opening my eyes to the acknowledgement that every conflict has multiple sides.
The plot follows a young man, Paul, a German so eager to fight for his country that he forges his enlistment papers. But he and his trio of young friends are unprepared for what they walk into. War is not the romanticized idea they thought it was. The young soldiers are thrown into a bloody battle between the Germans and the French.
While the battle between the sides is unmerciful, the reality is that the soldiers on each side are the same. Though they speak different languages, they both have homes, wives, and families. This is emphasized after Paul kills a Frenchman up close and has to watch him die. Neither side truly hates one another. One of Paul’s friends runs off with a trio of young French women for a quick tryst. This idea also the entire premise of the true story film from 2005 Joyeax Noel, when the Germans, French, and Scottish all cease fire on Christmas morning. The soldiers indescriminately play soccer, drink together, and sing songs.
This film was not breath taking, and it has been made before. But it dove deep into the comradery and the emotional toll this war had on it’s soldiers. And for me, served as a reminder that even though you may not speak the language, ascribe to the same religion, or have the same color skin, each side of a conflict still involves human beings.

Love in June

            The little boy with the sandy shade of fluff atop his head claimed to me that he was Cupid. He couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old, yet there he stood on my blue and orange flowered welcome mat, cheap downy angel wings strapped to his back and a yellow plastic nerf bow clutched between his pudgy fingers. He stared with deep puddles of eyes that couldn’t possibly be a natural shade of blue. In all the moments of the day, from first light to twilight, I had never seen a sky lay down a blue so blue as this child’s eyes. Across each rosy check a far too generous dappling of dark freckles and his nose moist with the warm goo found within the dark caverns of his nostrils. Though I am sure he explored those caverns all too often.

            The wide grin just below the goo caves revealed a huge gap between his teeth where he had lost the front two. Through the gap I could see his fat, pink tongue. My mind ran over words to make him say that contained S’s then laugh when he couldn’t manage the S sound properly. Mississippi was always good.

            Then his grin vanished and he stuck a pudgy hand under my nose, or rather, as close to it as he could reach. “Two dollar’th plea’th.” Was this kid kidding? A quick scan around the neighborhood revealed nothing unusual. A couple houses down, nosey Mrs. Dumas (pronounced Doo-Moss) peered at us through the cream colored blinds guarding the window. She held a phone tightly, probably reporting me to the police as some kiddie porn ring leader.

            I ignored her and politely asked the boy to repeat himself. He thrust his hand further under my nose, this time standing on tip-toes, as if he thought he might find something in my nostrils. His fingers smelled like peanut butter. Dark dirt planted firmly under each nail, at least, I hoped it was dirt when one finger hit my lip smearing my chapstick across my chin.

            “Two dollar’th plea’th.” Yes, the boy had asked me for money. I asked what the money was being spent on and he said, in a tone that suggested I was some kind of idiot that he was Cupid, again. A quick mental check confirmed that it was not February, nor was it October for that matter. It was the middle of June. The boy wasn’t leaving without his two dollars. I laid the money heavily into the greedy center of his palm, reluctantly.

            The toothless grin reappeared. “Thank’th lady!”

                In one swift, if slightly crooked motion, a bright, neon yellow nerf dart whizzed towards my face. It hit my lip with a moosh, causing more chaptstick to smear.

                Across the way Mrs. Dumas lifted the phone again. Thankfully, the police in the area know Mrs. Dumas and that she had them on speed dial.

                “Now, you will fall in love!” the boy yelled, bending to retrieve the dart from the welcome mat.

                I had to admit, it was sort of cute. I asked who he thought I was going to fall in love with, with my best you-can-tell-aunt-Rose smile. A few jelly beans fell from his pocket.

                “Bea’th me lady. That’th your problem.” He popped a red jelly bean between the gap in his teeth. He trotted down the driveway and towards the next house. I heard him say, “Hi, I’m Cupid. Two dollar’th plea’th!”

Striking Stranger

We have crossed a bridge and entered the parking lot of the trail head. I’m not entirely sure where we are. The sort of place where folks to get their daily fresh-air fix. Not just open window or stepping out their front door, this was where the air is really fresh.
I descend from the cab of the truck into the sunlight. There are times when I know I’ve taken the good days for granted. Cooped up in my room with the window open in a vain attempt to recall the scent of nature bathed in warm sunlight. I suppose there are a lot of things I take for granted.
A waterfall falls ever so sure and strong from somewhere above. My parents coo into the heat of the day how beautiful the place is. I wish I could see it, but each digital picture I take will prove that I really can’t. The desperation to capture one beautiful moment in time and take it away with me, but somehow the moments evade the frame as I wander aimlessly snapping away.
An old man bends heavily over his walking stick, beginning a vain attempt up the mountain. I suppress the urge to laugh. What does this old guy think he’s doing? He is wearing what looks like a pair of hospital slippers. He inches his way forward, desperation weighing on each brow. His hair looks as though it hasn’t felt the stroke of a comb in ages. His eyes gaze upwards towards the top of the falls. What could possibly be so important that he feels the need to best the mountain?
My mind plays over some random, romantic scene. A somewhat younger and spunkier version of the old man, smiling. Eagerly dragging and equally young girl up this hill by hand ignoring her protests and questions. As he reaches the very top of the hill the crease in her brow softens as she steps into view of the dancing, plunging waterfall; the lush valley beyond; and the velvety sunset resting easily atop the tree-line. Maybe she comments on how beautiful it is. Maybe he comments on how beautiful she is. And his grip tightens on her hand as he slowly descends to one knee, producing a small box from his pocket…
And it had been happily ever after for years, until the day she left him alone with only his precious memories… And maybe just this morning he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease…
And two young aides in white rush to this old man’s side not sure how he had managed to wander away from the group. They steer him about and lead him back down the trail past my parents
and I…