Back to Blog
I have worked, in the past, reviewing books, music, and movies, I have focused primarily on literature but I have always enjoyed talking about music and film, because I enjoy the humanities and the arts and I can appreciate them in an array of layers. I maintained three different blogs here, on my website, when it first went live that focused on music, film, and literature reviews but they went cold, because I bit off more than I could chew, it’s a lot to keep going, especially when the site started doing so much better than expected, and so much more quickly.
I also have a tendency, especially with movies, to rarely offer a poor review, and, ultimately, that doesn’t work. Reviewing everything favorably doesn’t establish the “bell curve” that people expect in order to respect the reviewers reviews. Although I did always include the good with the bad but, I mean, I tend to like most movies that I watch. If I think I might not enjoy a movie I just don’t watch it and that, too, makes for a poor film reviewer. I walk out of a lot less movies, though—I went and saw Eight Crazy Nights with Adam Sandler in the theatre years ago, when it first came out, I’m not sure why I went to see it in the first place, at the time I was going to a lot of movies and I would, often, drive to the theatre without a clue what was showing or when and just pick a movie that was starting around the time that I would show up, it’s entirely possible—probable—that Eight Crazy Nights was the fate of such an occasion—I walked out of it. It was horrible. I may have walked out of a movie, in the theatre, one or two other times. I remember I had a date one evening, and she wanted to see either Angel’s & Demons or the Da Vinci Code, one of those Dan Brown adaptations, and I fell asleep during the movie, I don’t think that I have ever done that before, or again. I have done other things in movie theatres but such occasions were entirely unrelated to the movie.
I went and saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yesterday, with my mom, and I had very high hopes. In part, because it was the conclusion of the saga and, in part, because J. J. Abrams had co-written and directed it. He was responsible for, kind of, the reboot of the saga with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I’ve liked pretty much everything the guy has done. He did the Star Trek reboot with Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock and it was awesome. Abrams co-created Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Fringe as well as having written Regarding Henry, Forever Young, and Armageddon, so what I’m saying is the guy has his shit together. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was, in my opinion, one of the three best Star Wars films.
With that said, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was a bit disappointing, even for me, the script was decent but mediocre in comparison to, like, pretty much everything he’s every written, and I understand that he was building from the travesty that was Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Rian Johnson—now, Rian Johnson is a great filmmaker, he is responsible for Brick with Joseph Gordan Levitt (Awesome mystery neo-noir film), The Brothers Bloom (another great, kind of, noir comedy with Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, and Mark Ruffalo), and the recent Knives Out with Daniel Craig (I’m waiting until it comes out to Redbox), the one thing that the three of those movies has in common is also the same thing that makes him, quite possible, the worse person to direct any Star Wars film. So, I understand that Abrams was having to re-calibrate a bit, he didn’t handle the pressure well.
The story-line was fantastic, but the script was clearly written by multiple people, it did not harmonize, at all—it was messy. It was rushed. And it was, by the far, the worse direction of any Abrams film I had ever seen. When he did the Star Trek reboot everything was crisp, it was clean it was like he knew how he wanted to tell the story and he just told it. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, however, it felt like he couldn’t commit to a vision and he was just trying different things, like, he would film a scene and think, “Well, that didn’t work,” and then say, “What if we tried this...” and nothing really came together. The two redeeming qualities, other than the foundation that it was built on, was the fact that Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac have great chemistry (and Adam Driver is a great actor), and the story. It had the potential to be so much better, and it was so close but, it just didn’t quite capture it for me.
I’m not a zealot of anything, that I know of, I enjoy Star Wars inasmuch as I enjoy Star Trek and When Harry Met Sally and Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting, I’m not team Star Wars or team Star Trek or team Edward, I simply enjoy a good story, which Star Wars is.
Although I did feel a lot closer to these last three Star Wars films. In a similar way to my parents generation who saw A New Hope, the Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in theatres. I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the IMAX at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C., and for whatever reason, ever since then I have had a different appreciation, and I really wanted to see them outperform the BIG THREE.
It’s a really difficult thing to accept when someone comes so close to doing something so good and then they just, don’t.
And J. J. Abrams just didn’t.
I’m sure, when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker makes it to Redbox, I’ll watch it again and I’ll enjoy it more the second time because, by then, I will have accepted it for what it is but, after yesterday, at the very least, I really will not be so eager to see the next J. J. Abrams film.
(*Anything that I will feel assured enough to review, especially online, is something that I would have tried myself at some point in my history. I have written a novel, I have written professionally for many years, I have played music professionally in some capacity at some point in my life, and yes, I have directed, very small stage shows, such as Rocky Horror Picture Show, etc.)