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The Star Wars List

The definitive Star Wars good to bad list, as defined by me.

1. The last Jedi (2017)
It’s easy to fall into the trap of the lastest is the best because of technology and modern trends, but this Star Wars movie was pretty bold. It divided the Star Wars fandom in two but what haters are missing here is that the Star Wars movies from their youth is not the same story we need now. A New Hope was about Good vs Evil, Black and White, right and wrong. But we’ve evolved since then and we know that most things live in the gray and extremism in any form is bad.
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A love story …

2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
This was the definistive Star Wars movie. Sure, we got to know the characters in A New Hope, but these characters were not flushed out and no one knew there would even be a sequel. The follow up not only gave us all of the action we loved about Star Wars, but we got to know these characters in much more detail, as well as one of the best kept secrets in film on who Darth Vader was.
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“Scruffy Nerf Herder? You kissed your brother.”

3. Rogue One (2016)
This movie was a love letter to Star Wars fans. It was a back story to the original film we fell in love with years ago. I would even suggest it was needed given the new movie sequels were going to steer things in a new direction so the studio though this would appease the old school fans. They were right, I loved this movie. The tragic end was perfect as it set itself apart not to be a continuation saga, just letting us see a story that meant everything, that we never got to see until now. It also conveniently plugged up a plot hole the original film always left us wondering about.
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It’s like Star Wars, but without Jedi and lightsabers.

4. A New Hope (1978)
The film that changed everything in modern Sci-Fi movies by borrowing heavily from camp of the Flash Gordon movies of the 30’s, from the WWII movies of the 60’s, and Joseph Campbell “The Hero’s Journey” that most modern story telling now borrows from. What set this movie apart was it’s under estimated value in a movie age of realism, a realistic effects team that did a great job of making you feel a part of the story, and ground-breaking special effects that looked like the most realistic space flight of the time.
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“I’m really high on cocaine right now, How about you guys?”

5. The Force Awakens (2015)
The movie that reintroduced Star Wars to a new generation. It wasn’t lost on me that the first words you hear in the movie is “This will begin to make things right again”. It felt like a small dig to what Lucas did with the Prequels that came out the decade before. The movie introduced new characters for us to follow while letting us find out what’s been happening to the hero’s of the past that we once loved and cheered for. The New Order has replaced the empire and everything feels like it’s starting over again, setting up the theme for the new movies: We keep fighting the same fight.
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See? The universe is diverse now.

6. Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The prequels were great for nostalgia and gave us a full circle in the story of Darth Vader, but overall, they were received by the fans with a luke-warm welcome after the joy of the first trailer wore off to the bitterness of pod racing and midichlorians. That being said, some of what happens in Revenge of the Sith is some of the best Star Wars moments in the franchise.
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“You can tell I’m the bad guy by how much whining I do.”

7. Return of the Jedi (1983)
The conclusion to the original saga, the fall of Darth Vader, the temptation of Luke to the dark side, the reunion of heros that we had followed with in the journey for good, the redemption of a villian, and a battle scene that surpassed the original film that blew our minds. Unfortunaltely it had murder bears who could say “yo mamma” and muppets that took too much screen time of this film.
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“Say my name”

8. Solo (2018)
Okay, we need to talk about this. I don’t hate this movie, there’s some fun things happening in it. It just beat you over the head with nostalgia to try and prove its bonafides as a Star Wars movie. The actors were great, the story was so-so, the origin story was un-needed. Mostly I just know now how Han and Lando met, how Han and Chewbacca met, how he got his gun, where the Millennium Falcon came from and why it’s shaped the way it is.

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“Hey baby, I always shoot first”

9. The Phantom Menace (1999)
Jar-Jar Binks. midichlorians, CGI that’s outdated faster than the special effects used in the films before it. Jar-Jar Binks, a battle scene where Jar-Jar Binks fumbled his way though and somehow came out the victor.
Pros: It revived something we all wanted, the Duel of the Fates in the third act was satisfying, and the soundtrack was as good as the original.
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Nobody liked Jar-Jar. Nobody.

10. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
None of the film actors wanted to do this, No seriously, go find it on YouTube and watch Harrison Ford, no one has ever performed a more phoned-in performance. Carrie Fisher only agreed to do it if she could sing. Mark Hamill has a Dorothy Hamill (un-related) haircut. and Fisher later wrote about how high she was on Cocaine performing this live special. It has 70’s stars littered throughout the show and George Lucas himself tried to buy up every known copy and destroy it after it was aired.
Hilariocity Review | Actual Footage w Original Commercials

I included this mostly so you could know how much I hated Attack of the Clones.

“Hi, I’m Han Solo” (exits stage left)

11. Attack of the Clones (2002)
Trilogies usually mean the entire second movie serves as a second act where much of the story arc is explained and revealed. While this movie served that purpose, it was all over the place in its storytelling, and I was never sure on what exactly was going on and why I should care. I mean, cool, Jango Fett and all, but the final battle scenes were just terrible, along with the acting and my attention being captivated. I’m pretty sure Revenge of the Sith was a much better film because Lucas was scared he killed the franchise with this dog. This entire movie was born out of a throw away line in A New Hope “You fought with my father in the clone wars” (Luke says to Obi-Wan). After the trilogy was finished, Natalie Portman revealed that after making this movie, she thought she had ended her career.
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Isn’t this hilarious, aren’t you laughing?

Election ’18

The elections last night were complicated. Both sides are feeling victory and loss today. The hardest losses for me to absorb seem like in hindsight, were an obvious outcome – Republicans won in the very red states and promise more of the same. Clearly no one is happy with “the same”, but people don’t like change of values even more, and these races were made about (perceived) values and nothing to do with leadership, so we will keep on keepin on.

Kevin Stitt, our new Governor Elect for Oklahoma, feels like just another term for Mary Fallin, like nothing will change. I hope he proves me wrong.

Ted Cruz is an embarrassment of hyperbole without substance and I don’t understand how Texas voted again for him except to tow the party line. He fills a spot that supported the continued control of the US Senate and that’s the sum of his value. Texas, I’d give you more crap for Louie Gohmert too but Oklahoma has Jim Mountain Inhofe throwing snowballs in the US Senate floor because “see? No climate change!”.

If Brian Kemp wins in Georgia, that ridiculousness seriously needs to be investigated. His current lead is smaller than the number of voters he threw out for arbitrary reasons. His ethics on how he handled the conflict of interest and voter purges, is some seriously shady action. I sincerely hope Stacey Abrams makes sure every single vote is counted.

Beto O’Rourke will be back, And he will be a prominent figure in the Democratic party. Steve King is a self admitted White-Nationalist, and Iowa still voted for the guy. Let that sink in for a moment.

I’ll take some comfort in that Nancy Pelosi is now the Republicans problem again. But in reality, they kind of wanted this: Two years of complete and unrestricted control of government gave them no cover to hide behind for inaction on much of the rhetoric that got them elected. The Democrats have just enough power now to finally blame for that inaction.

Still, despite some of the disappointing outcomes, I’m thankful for the victories, the balance of power, and voter enthusiasm.

Even when you don’t win, a difference was made.

The Podcast List

I love podcasts. It’s not as much of a commitment as a book, it can be serialized, and they aren’t as depressing as the news. I like having something playing in the background while I work so I’ve vetted many to see what appeals to me. I didn’t mean to make the list in order of preference. But after making it, yea, this is pretty much the order I would rank my top 10.

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Banff, Canada

The New Year brought a trip to the Canadian mountains in Banff. Beautiful landscapes of snow and mountains, despite the -16F temperatures. One of the highlights was probably standing in the middle of the lake or enjoying the hot springs.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie historians baffled that critics of the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi were expecting more serious toned literary greatness from the predecessor of a samurai space opera knock-off of Flash Gordon (Seriously, look it up, Lucas wanted to originally do a Flash Gordon movie but couldn’t secure the rights).
 

No spoilers, you’re welcome.

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Thank You For Your Service

We need to talk about your patriotism.

 

Feeling proud of your home is a good thing. We should do that. We should celebrate all the things that are good about our culture, and those who make sacrifices for it. I am an American, and I am proud of a great deal of American history. I am an Oklahoman, and I am proud to be from a state that had to work hard to become a livable home. I also acknowledge that neither of those organizations I belong to is perfect, and much of that imperfection is self-inflicted damage.

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Above Gunnison

A quick road trip to Colorado with my drone proved to give great results on capturing video unlike I’ve been able to back home. Stunning treetops and river runs give a new experience to Colorado that I haven’t enjoyed until now. Some more techniques to learn but this was a good first effort.

The New Democracy

Hypocrisy is a forgivable sin in politics. Should it be?

Every time the last president played golf, we heard fake outrage from the same people who remain silent at the current president’s 13th time in his first 60 days, without question the defining days of a presidency and its legacy.

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Happy New Year!

The earth, the universe, and the stars seem never-ending to a species that lives for about 71 years, incapable of perceiving long term change while stuck to a planet and kept busy

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