Movies I Don’t Want to See: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Oh, fuck you and your fucking lame-ass Star Wars fuckery, you goddamn gullible tools.
By Jim Knipfel
I was 12 years old in the summer of 1977 when Star Wars first hit theaters. That was the perfect age, and by the time the movie opened I was way ahead of the game. I’d already read the novelization and the soundtrack album was in heavy rotation on the turntable. I freely admit I was as enthralled by the picture as every other damned hype-blinded sucker on the planet (including my dad), and went to see it in assorted local theaters some 15 times. Three years later and well into adolescence and a creeping cynicism, I wasn’t quite as gaga over The Empire Strikes Back, but did appreciate the decidedly darker tone, and so only saw it six or seven times. Three years after that, here came The Return of the Jedi, which I went to see more out of a sense of cultural obligation than anything else.
Well, after two hours of pandering, Ewoks, and a cheap, nauseatingly trite happy ending unworthy of a Marlo Thomas made-for-TV movie, I left the theater thinking “Wow, what a loaf of shit THAT was,” and vowing never again. At that instant, I stopped caring about the fucking Star Wars universe.
As much as the original was a self-conscious pastiche of earlier genres, films, and stories, I still consider it a hugely entertaining homage to the swashbuckling movie serials of the ‘30s, and I still appreciated the more sophisticated grimness of the first sequel. Having only bothered to see it that once, Return of the Jedi remained a dead end, almost as if it never existed, or shouldn’t have, anyway. Despite the torrent of hype and marketing, all the fast-food tie-ins and sugary breakfast cereals that came out of them, I heard nothing about the three ensuing prequels themselves that left me with the slightest tickledick to see them. I simply didn’nt give a good goddamn, and to this day can’t even name them (though I think one was called “Star Wars: Steve Takes a Stand,” or something like that.)
The hype onslaught surrounding The Force Awakens began about a year ago, and the dull-witted pasty crowd (and by that I mean “everyone”) has been working itself into quite a lather ever since, ejaculating spontaneously at the very mention of the name “Chewbacca.” This new one, after all, would be the first time all those beloved characters from the original would be reunited. (Though you think about it, how hard could that have been? Harrison Ford’s just a drunken pawn at this point, and the other two haven’t been able to find work for 30 years.)
The fucking thing was inescapable — go online, switch on the radio, step outside, there it was screaming at you—so on the weekend of The Force Awakens’ record-smashing opening, and just to prove something to myself, I returned to Return of the Jedi for the first time since 1983. I was older now, a bit more patient and open. Maybe the angry teenage punk I’d become back then wasn’t about to give some multi-million dollar preconceived Hollywood blockbuster a chance. It was only fair to give it a second look.
And my god. I thought it was a loaf of shit back then, but I had no idea just how towering a mountain of shit it was. At the time I thought it was clear the film was being deliberately targeted at an eight-year-old demographic, but I was giving it far too much credit. Oh, those special effects I’m sure are quite, what you’d call “spectacular,” but the acting, editing, music and script had all the subtlety, intelligence, and snappy dialogue of a Hasbro commercial—though saying that I fear I may be unfairly denigrating Hasbro commercials. It’s a film that is so agonizingly and hilariously bad, so far-reaching and righteous in its sheer epic awfulness, it left me not only not caring about The Force Awakens, it left me not caring about the first two films anymore as well. Fuck it. Life’s too short for this contrived, brain dead foolishness.
And if you were one of those pathetic dullards who bought the tripe the Machine was feeding you, who picked up your tickets months in advance and stood in line for hours, and have been twatting about it in your jizz-soaked excitement ever since, then you’re far stupider than I ever figured.
Published December 31st, 2015
Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.