Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Favorites: Star Wars

The story of Love & Squalor begins many years before the fateful meeting of Wilde.Dash and M, long before the almost nightly movie marathons on uncomfortable and rank smelling dorm furniture and Sound of Music sing-a-longs. From the mid 80’s on, unaware of each others’ presence, M and Wilde.Dash were bonding with family, not over board games or a large family meal (ok, there was a lot of that too), but over the likes of Woody Allen and Walter Pidgeon. The holidays in said families were filled with the usual Christmas fair, but also with strange family film favorites and traditions. So hang your stockings with care and when your sister starts complaining about your billionth viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life and how boooooring it is, spend your 12 Days of Christmas with the movies that have followed Love & Squalor from infancy to bloggerhood.

It feels, at this point, like a gigantic cultural cliche to write on Star Wars as some sort of early youth influence or experience.  Isn't it?  It's like Star Wars has become a universal truth.  It's the absolute blend of mythologies, origin stories, and genres.  It swipes from fantasy, science fiction, adventure, and tragedy to build up the ultimate space opera in three (that's right.  three)  acts.  No child should be allowed to age past ten without being exposed to Star Wars.  While the effects of the early episodes may pale in comparison to the later ones, the storytelling succeeds on a simplistic level that speaks to nearly everyone.  When I was a kid, pre-theatrical re-releases and prequels (thought those also arrived fairly early on), Star Wars wasn't quite as popular amongst girls.  I recall going on the only Girl Scout camping retreat I ever went on and conversation turning to Star Wars over marshmallow snacking and pipe cleaner crafting. Someone had mentioned it as a favorite movie, only to be slammed by another scout as Star Wars was, patently, not for girls.  At the time, most couldn't argue for or against it, as they'd never watched it.  All they knew, as a counter argument, was that the series featured a princess and in one episode a tribe of walking teddy bears.  These days, if we can thank the remastered re-releases and prequels for nothing else, we can perhaps thank them for clearing up the gender bias that followed young female Star Wars geeks throughout much of childhood.  I love the whole Star Wars trilogy, but there's always something about starting Episode IV, knowing the exact pattern of how things play out, the grandiosity of the score and all its little transitions, the familiarity of the characters that's like going home.  

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