In Which “Jesse Reviews the World” Reviews “The House at Pooh Corner”
At the school where I work, I used to read stories to kindergarters before their nappy times, and sometimes I would pick The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. It was always a bad pre-nap choice. Even when I used my soothing, boring reading voice, the adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger always had the kids shrieking with laughter.
Though Disney has since made Pooh™ characters the epitome of cuddliness, The House at Pooh Corner, like the works of Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak, is actually proof that most children love dark humor and imperfect characters. With the exception of Pooh and Christopher Robin, the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods are, by and large, jerks. Rabbit and Owl are arrogant and condescending, Tigger is manic and inconsiderate, Eeyore is rude and sarcastic, and even anxious little Piglet is self-centered and prone to jealousy. And unlike moralistic children’s characters like those in the loathsome Ms. Piggle-Wiggle books, our flawed stuffed animals never seem to change much or learn from their mistakes. Instead, they just stick to their neuroses and put up with each other’s crap. As a result – and I hope this isn’t too cynical to say so – they’re true to life in a way that, say, Peter Rabbit could never be. Continue reading
As would befit their titles, Return of the Jedi is the exact opposite of Revenge of the Sith. Sith is a movie with lots of new, interesting plot points that is dragged way down by the awfulness of the first two prequels and their terrible characters. Jedi, conversely, doesn’t have much of the way of ideas, but it’s able to coast because the first two movies set it up so perfectly. At this point, the audience loves Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie so much they’re willing to watch them in just about anything (Star Wars Christmas Special excluded). Continue reading
The Empire Strikes Back takes the things that were awesome in Star Wars and digs into them, unearthing deeper and richer deposits of awesome under the surface. You thought Darth Vader was pretty cool? ESB escalates him from a brooding henchman to a monomaniacal tyrant ready to tear the galaxy a new one if it would mean finding his (spoiler) son. You liked Han Solo? He’s back with better dialogue and a Millenium Falcon that’s actually able to turn, and he and Leia get a love story that’s sometimes quite poignant. You wanted Luke to learn more about the Force? In ESB, a Jedi Master weaves the complete mythology behind the Force, connecting animist and Zen ideas to create a unique philosophy. You found C-3PO annoying? Well….at least in this one Leia and Han tell him to shut up a lot.* Continue reading
That’s right, I’m gonna call this movie Star Wars, not A New Hope or Episode IV, titles that were added after the fact and make it seem like Star Wars is some middle chapter of a complicated and very uneven drama. I like that the original title is as simple as the movie itself: Star Wars. Wars in the stars.
That said, the title isn’t perfect.* Star Wars isn’t really about wars…not in the complicated, expanded way that the prequels are, where we know more the dynamics of the Trade Federation than we do about our main characters. Star Wars also really isn’t about stars or space. Rather, it’s an old-fashioned mythological quest, a legend about fulfilling your destiny and becoming a hero. Continue reading
REVENGE OF THE SITH
Out of all the Star Wars movies, Revenge of Sith might be the most painful for me to watch, because there are so many cool ideas in it that just aren’t quite executed right. Whereas the final storyboard for Episode I was a Post-It Note that said “ROBOTS???”, Episode III contains (Oh, yeah…there are spoilers in here) a major character turning evil, a democracy becoming a dictatorship, the birth of Luke and Leia, and the extinction of the Jedi Order. How could that be less than amazing? Let’s review together. Continue reading
ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Lest you think these first three prequel reviews will just be complain-o-thons, let me start off my Attack of the Clones review with a controversial compliment: I think Attack of the Clones gets off to a somewhat promising start. It introduces elements that were completely missing from Episode I, which I will highlight in blue. First, an explosion kills a decoy Natalie Portman (sense of danger), which makes the real Natalie Portman feel sad (emotion). Someone must be out to get her! (comprehensible plot point) We see Anakin and Obi-Wan (main characters) talking to each other and learn that they are assigned to protect her from her would-be killer. But the assassin tries again, and so Anakin and Obi-Wan go on a chase through the city of Coruscant, quipping playfully at each other as they do so. Continue reading
Last Friday was Star Wars day (cause of May the Fourth get it lol) but I was too sick to post anything about it. However, I did realize: I’ve never reviewed these movies that were so pivotal to my youth. Which is a huge oversight, because I was a Star Wars freak. I had a Star Wars room under the stairs, where I kept my posters and toys. With my brother, I tried to recreate The Phantom Menace shot for shot. I read all of the Extended Universe books, and wrote a novel and a half of my own fan fiction (the main bad guys: Jabba the Hutt’s clone, Boba Fett, and Darth Dryandera, a tall Sith Lord who wore a black cloak and a breathing helmet; yeah, I was super creative).
Enough embarrassing self-admission: let’s review these puppies. I’m doing them in Episode order, not because I think this is a good order to watch them, but because I want to end on a high note. Continue reading
Here is a multiple choice test.
First, watch this video: Lord of the Backstreet Boys. Then answer the following question.
Q: What is the best part of this video? Continue reading
I’m a horror movie wimp. I’ve long avoided films like the Exorcist or Friday the 13th, and I cringe and squint my eyes when scary stuff appears in otherwise safe movies (Coraline, Triplets of Belleville). So if I had only seen the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, which features five college students traveling to a spooky, abandoned…well, cabin in the woods, I would skipped it without question. Continue reading
A few months ago, a female housemate of mine bought a male housemate a yearly subscription to Cosmopolitan, mostly to make him embarrassed. Well, this month’s (May, according to Cosmo) issue just arrived, and I’ve got one more day of spring break, so I’m going to skim through it, reviewing as I go.
Readers beware! Cosmo warns on the cover that this is “The Sex Issue,” though I’m not sure how that’s different from any other month. I will be as tasteful as possible when covering such material as “Steamy Texts to Send Him,” but this issue of JRTW will probably be at least PG-13 no matter what. Continue reading