“May the force be with you.” It seems just about everyone knows that saying is from Star Wars, the incredibly successful movie franchise that’s been a part of American pop culture for nearly 40 years. With the newest Star Wars movie premiering this week, fans are rearranging schedules, taking vacation days, and ditching their children with relatives for a few hours to see the flick as soon it hits theaters.
I don’t get it. I know, maybe I’m weird, but I just don’t get the Star Wars phenomenon. When the original Star Wars debuted in 1977, I was 13 and had zero desire to see it. ’77 was a great year for movies and there were many others I chose to see over the sci-fi blockbuster that Carter-era film buffs were waiting in line for days to see. Remember these?
The Spy Who Loved Me
Smokey and the Bandit
Saturday Night Fever
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
and of course, Slap Shot.
When Star Wars came around later on television, I watched a few minutes of it and changed the channel. I was bored. As life went on I realized there were plenty of people like me who could care less about R2-D2, Darth Vader and company.
My co-anchor Denise D’Ascenzo has never seen a Star Wars movie and my former co-anchor Gayle King was right there with us. Back in 1999, Gayle and I were co-anchoring Channel 3 Eyewitness News at 5:30 one evening, when we had to read a story about people all over the country sleeping on sidewalks for days waiting to get tickets to Star Wars the Phanton Menace. Apparently spending days away from work, school, family, and regular hygiene and setting up camp outside a cinema is a normal occurence before the release of a Star Wars movie. Who knew?
Going into the story Gayle and I ad libbed a comment that went something like this:
“Some people in the newsroom were saying you and I are losers because we have never seen a Star Wars movie.”
I forget who said which line, but after we showed some video of people huddled on cement with tents and eating cold food just so they could be the first to see a movie, one of us added this commentary:
“and they call us losers?”
The phones at WFSB lit up with angry viewers who thought Gayle and I had deeply insulted Star Wars fans across Connecticut. Imagine the long list of comments we would have received if Facebook had been around in ’99.
Fast forward to today, and my own kids are getting intrigued by Star Wars. A few weeks ago, for family movie night, Kara, the kids and I had a big bowl of popcorn and cued up The Empire Strikes Back.
We were doing this for our kids, we thought (Kara’s not a big Star Wars either) and went in with an open mind. 20 minutes in I’d lost interest, reminiscing about the great movies we’d watched as a family from Finding Nemo to Toy Story to some ancient Disney classics like the Ugly Dachsund, but I just can’t get into this Star Wars stuff.
What do you think?