It's been a busy fall, so I kind of forgot that back in October when tickets went on sale, I snatched up a couple of Thursday evening IMAX 3D tickets to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Like most of you, I don't go out to movies as often as I used to — somewhat due to rising costs but mainly due to the ubiquity of high-quality content on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and others — so it was a lot of fun to be in a festival-like atmosphere for the biggest opening of the year.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Jedi, despite some flaws in the timeline (which I won't get into because I don't do spoilers). Rian Johnson is one of my favorite directors (I've seen Looper half a dozen times and am yet to tire of it), and he approached the Star Wars franchise from, I think, a similar place to Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok — of purposeful reinvention and, primarily, humor. I'm not a diehard Star Wars fan but a casual imbiber of its pop culture influence. I've seen all the movies enough times to know the plot but I don't care whether Han shot first, nor do I follow the various easter eggs down holes from which I'd never emerge. To me, it's a science fiction fantasy franchise like any other, and The Last Jedi was one of its strongest entries yet.
I loved the freedom every actor was given to pursue a slightly off-kilter version of the character they'd previously played. Or, for the new ones, to carve out a piece of the canon they didn't feel like it was a recreation of something George Lucas would have wanted but didn't have the technology for 40 years ago. I loved that the effects served the story and not the other way around (though this was true of The Force Awakens, too — credit where it's due). I loved that Johnson obviously adores the franchise so much that he's desperate to avoid the pitfalls of previous Star Wars films. That the movie is imperfect doesn't really matter — I'm no film critic — since the impression it left me was almost entirely positive. Even the porgs, which are accused of being a conduit for Disney to sell merchandise, are used to great effect.
This has been a good year for expensive movies; despite slight disappointments (in my opinion, don't @ me) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I adored much of the writing and directing in Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan, and War for the Planet of the Apes. (The less said about Justice League the better, though.)
It's also been a great year for smaller movies; my film of the year, Lady Bird, was made for less than $10 million.
What were some of your favorites of the year?
Here are some other things from the last week:
- Net neutrality has been repealed, but it's not dead yet. There will be lawsuits and more lawsuits, and Congress will obviously need to address it at some point. But it's not looking good.
- Don't expect the internet — your internet — to change overnight. Most people have already restricted their lives to a few websites and services, and it's unlikely that Comcast, for example, will throttle YouTube anytime soon. The repeal of net neutrality will manifest itself in less obvious, more insidious ways. It will manifest through absence.
- This isn't surprising, but I'm still frustrated by Google's attention deficit. RIP, Tango.
- In-display fingerprint sensors are coming sooner than you think, but will Android OEMs adopt 'da notch' instead?
- I wrote about my favorite things of the year, though if I'd spent more time the list could be twice as long and three times more caffeinated.
- Yes, the Pixel 2 is the best Android phone released this year, and you CAN @ me on this one.
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season, y'all! 🎄