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TIRED OF TRUMP? Go See Solo! Intelligent, Fun, Different, Well-Cast!


      I am going against the grain here.....the grain carved out by poo-poo reviewers (even though in the Rotten Tomatoes Aggregate it got 71 percent, 7 of 10 reviewers positive reviews...and was thus "Fresh"). And carved out by the 61 percent of those who went gave it a positive review with it averaging a 3.5 out 5 by those raters.

      As a result it has had poor box office.

      Budget Box office
      $275 million
      $339.5 million

      That budget is for production. Another $150 million was spent for promotion.

      Will the film even make its cost back? Very likely but not much profit until it moves into DVD/Blu-ray sales. It will creep along domestically and in the foreign markets and hit $525 million according to industry forecasts.


      I liked it and so did my friends. I have seen it three times going with different friends each time and I will watch it when it gets Satellite and then purchase it. Those are the characteristics that mark a great film for me.

      OK this prequel is not particularly daring or innovative, but it is nonetheless entirely competent and enjoyable. Ron Howard is very skilled at blending interesting characters with interesting action. He does it here.

      The movie is different but not off the charts crazy. There’s no Death Star or Starkiller Base, no Imperial Super-Vessel or HQ that needs to be infiltrated in order to turn off a shield or tractor beam or interstellar tracker. There’s no mumbo jumbo about the Force, no lightsabers, no First Order, no Jedi Order and scarcely a mention of the Empire. This is a movie set in the universe of Star Wars that, for once, doesn’t feel it needs to be a rehash/clone of Star Wars while still exploring the world of Star Wars that the first film (in 1977) stands on.

      Solo manages to give the audience characters already inscribed in their cinematic DNA (Han, Chewy, Lando) and a relatively novel storyline that both fills us in on their pasts and opens doors that explore unique elements of the Star Wars Universe. The final act, in particular, offers a few unexpected twists and something very familiar. Even though Alden Ehrenreich’s Solo is a more innocent, less jaded version than Ford’s, let there be no doubt: This time, Han definitely shoots first (while hating to do it.)

      Given all of that......What went wrong? How come it has flopped?

      I think it comes down to Star Wars Fandom. Generally the verdict was a big thumbs down but for two opposing reasons.

      There are the More of the Same Star Wars Enthusiasts who wanted a Harrison Ford Clone, and Jedi, and a Darth-Vaderish bad guy, and a big space opera battle, and.....

      Then there are the Go Big fans who want to see more stories in a galaxy far, far away, stories that don't use familiar characters, timelines, or events as a passionless shorthand; instead of quick, narrative graffiti, they want filmmakers to paint a broader, and more detailed, portrait. They suffer from sequel fatigue.

      The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi each walked the line between these two groups and were rewarded with big Box Office. All three were placed in the future on the Star Wars Timeline after the Rebellion has failed to reform life in the Galaxy, Luke's Jedi Academy has blown up in his face, and Leia and Han have split. They showed us new galactic vistas and new super villains with lots of cool gadgets. It was familiar and different.

      But Solo is well done nostalgia and plays well to the first generation of Star Wars Lovers the best. The problem. That generation starts its trek with Star Wars in 1977 and closed the books on that phase of its life in 1983 with The Return of the Jedi.

      That first film had a remarkable run......nothing else has come close.......

      Budget Box office
      $11 million
      $775.4 million

      That audience is generally in its 50's and up. Not the core crowd for box office success. NOT ENOUGH TO FLOAT THE BOAT.


      I saw Solo three times. But there are not enough of me's to make up the lag created by the film in its lack of appeal to the More of the Same or to the Go Big crowd. The film does a bit of both but not enough of either for them. I hope that there is a sequel. I would like to see more of this pair pre-Luke, pre-Leia, pre-ObiWan, and pre-Darth but I think the chances are slim.

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      Last Week Tonight

      Lasrt week tonight with John Oliver..10/9/14

      Answers a lot of questions :)

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      Frankie Boyle's New World Order (new)

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      Not Much Intelligent Life In Washington. Outer Space Is Another Story.


          The news coming out of Washinton is pretty bizarre; reminiscent of the cartoons we used to watch as kids. It could be that we aren't focusing on the real stuff, but instead get caught up in being entertained by the ignorance and clownish behavior of you know who.

          Matt Bai gives us his take on what's hot in the news, visitors from another planet, and a few other thoughts about alien life.

          Here, in no particular order, are some of the stories we’ve been closely following in Washington this week, in case you’re one of these people who removed yourself from Facebook in protest and now can’t figure out how to receive information of any kind.

          The first lady has mostly disappeared from public view.

          President Trump is threatening to pardon himself from crimes he didn’t commit, just to be sure.

          The Super Bowl champion Eagles were disinvited from the White House after saying they wouldn’t come anyway.

          The beleaguered EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, apparently sent an aide on a frantic search for a used hotel mattress. (You read that right.).


          You know what story nobody’s thinking much about in Washington right now? Aliens.

          I’m not talking about the undocumented kind who get snatched by the Border Patrol and separated from their kids. I’m talking about the green kind with giant heads and insect eyes, kind of like Ted Cruz, only smaller.

          I know this probably sounds like a more trivial and sensational subject than anything I mentioned above. I really don’t think it is, and I’ll explain why.

          Last December, a team of my former colleagues at the New York Times reportedon a bizarre episode off the coast of San Diego in 2004. A couple of Navy fliers, alerted to strange readings of unidentified aircraft, intercepted a Tic Tac-shaped ship that seemed to dart around the sky and then hover suddenly over the ocean, creating a circular disturbance in the water.

          According to one of the pilots, now retired, the craft had no obvious flying apparatus — that is, none of the wings or rotors you would need to stay in the sky, let alone easily outmaneuver an F-18.

          The Times posted what alleged to be a cockpit video of the incident, though to the layman it looked like a muddled image from an Atari game in the 1980s and didn’t really tell you much.

          The story was part of a larger report on a secret unit inside the Pentagon, whose research was championed by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Naturally, this led to his being ridiculed in Washington as a UFO nut and all of that.

          After the Times account was publicized more widely, Reid arranged for reporters at the CBS affiliate in his home state of Nevada to get a briefing in Washington. A few weeks ago, those reporters published the summary of a report on the San Diego incident compiled for the Pentagon.

          As you might expect, there’s nothing conclusive in that brief report, which you can read here. (It contains a lot of useless jargon about the technical specifications of radar systems, which you could find on Wikipedia.) But it’s remarkable nonetheless.

          The pilots who saw that craft 14 years ago, during a two-week period in which it appeared and reappeared frequently, were pretty sure that no military power on the planet — us, the Chinese, the Russians — possessed anything like it. They described the craft as about 46 feet long, “solid white, smooth, with no edges.”

          The same pilot whom the Times interviewed told investigators that, as he approached the craft, the disturbance in the water below abruptly ceased and the ship tilted in the direction of the F-18. The craft flew off at a seemingly impossible speed and couldn’t be tracked by radar.

          Now, experts will remind us that we shouldn’t be too credulous about this report — or the people who’ve been publicizing it. They include Luis Elizondo, who apparently ran the Pentagon’s secret UFO unit, and who is now employed by a private company set up by Tom DeLonge, frontman for the band Blink-182.

          In February, for instance, before the executive report became public, Sarah Scoles, a writer for Wired, posted a highly skeptical piece about the Times report, questioning things like the origins of the video and whether the information about the incident had been classified or just secret. I guess that matters.

          But I’m not here to tell you whether aliens exist, or if they like to visit San Diego, or how this might relate to Mitt Romney living in La Jolla. No, I’m more interested in the larger questions this report raises that a reflective, intellectually curious society might feel compelled to answer.

          Let’s just assume for a moment that what our pilots saw wasn’t some never-before-glimpsed weather balloon or secret Wakandan teleporting machine, but in fact a visitor from another planet.

          That would mean that somehow, for centuries now, even as we’ve mocked the idea of little green men, we’ve had a stunningly accurate idea of what extraterrestrial ships actually look like — disc-shaped and white, just like in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” How could we possibly have known that, unless there’s a very long oral history of alien encounters that should now be reconsidered?

          Go ahead and laugh if you want. The point is that, as governing and media establishments in the age of entertainment, we’ve lost all perspective. We can no longer differentiate what’s entirely superfluous from what seems superfluous but might really matter.

          We read this mesmerizing stuff about alien encounters, and then, amazingly, we move on to something like Pruitt’s mattress, in the time it takes to eat a bowl of cereal.

          When I was a kid, memories of the moon landing were still fresh enough that we drank Tang and played with plastic space modules. The country had a sense of wonder and destiny, and its leaders — for all their evident flaws — pushed to expand our definition of boundaries, along with our understanding of who we really are.

          Now, instead of looking out with fascination and curiosity, we turn inward with fear and resentment. At exactly the moment when we might want to hold ourselves out as worthy leaders of the planet, we ratify an “America First” approach that doesn’t even include the Canadians.

          We leave it to rich dreamers like Tom DeLonge or Elon Musk to run around like real-life Tony Starks, pioneering the future while we sit around arguing about the past.

          And as media, we magnify whatever’s right in front of us with such intensity that we can’t distinguish any of it from the larger story. We’re living in Trump’s America now — a new outrage every hour, without time or energy left over to ruminate on the deeper questions that animate a healthy society.

          I guess we’ll only really care about interplanetary life forms when they finally drop Melania back home.


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