The Farewell Party
High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.
From: Jimmy Mac, Chicago, IL:
You panned Kyle Newman's "Fanboys" last Friday and I felt compelled to write. I'm the Chicago-based co-host of the "The Force-Cast," the most downloaded Star Wars podcast on the net. I appreciate and understand most of your review and I accept your appraisal. Your pan is not what bothers me. What bothers me is this quote from your review of "Fanboys": "Its primary flaw is that it's not critical. It is a celebration of an idiotic lifestyle, and I don't think it knows it"
Now… when I read the words "Idiotic Lifestyle," my heart sunk. I actually felt personally offended. I've never felt such emotion before while reading a review. I felt like you were calling out my lifestyle as Idiotic. Why the hate??? Where does THAT come from. It was an ignorant and close-minded put-down that needs to be addressed. Remember when Chuck Woolery said the 501st (Star Wars costuming group) were guys who need to get a life at the Rose Bowl parade??? He realized afterwards that it was a ridiculous remark and he apologized. I think this situation is just as bad times 10!
An idiotic lifestyle? Tell that to the members of the 501st and the Rebel Legion who sacrifice their spare time to visit children hospitals all over the world just to bring a little joy into a sick kid's heart. Doing it for no money…Only the payment of a child's smile. Receiving hugs while dressed as Star Wars characters – tears streaming down their checks underneath their stormtrooper helmets.
An idiotic lifestyle? Tell that to the construction worker who had to take on two jobs to support his family. And the only time he gets quality time with his kids is on Friday night when they all gather in front of the TV to watch a new episode of the Clone Wars. Finding that Star Wars is the one thing that can bring a family together in these tough economic times.
An idiotic lifestyle? Tell that to the mother of a terminally sick kid who spends the entire morning standing in line during a hail storm in Indianapolis at Star Wars Celebration 3 so her son can get a glimpse of his idol George Lucas. And that kid not only getting that chance, but also the opportunity to jump onstage with the man to get a hug as his mom stood on the side of the stage weeping. A situation when fandom became medicine for the soul. The very emotion of that moment overwhelmed me and still does to this day.
Are these HUMAN moments the result of living an idiotic lifestyle as you like to put it Roger???????
My question to you, Roger Ebert, is why do you feel compelled to rip on Star Wars fans in such a general and cruel fashion? You have always been a great supporter of the Star Wars franchise, even standing up for the most maligned of the films, "The Phantom Menace." In 1999, You were one of the few mainstream members of the film critic community to give a very favorable review to the first prequel. You claimed that the reason most critics were so harsh about Episode One is because it was shown in a simple popcorn palace – your exact words – with a broken air conditioner.
You claim the environment of that screening made the critics cranky thus the poor reviews. Maybe you should see "Fanboys" the way I did – In a theater packed with Star Wars fans and fans of comedy. You will find that all things funny are better appreciated in a room packed with laughter and energy – not from watching a screener copy on your lazy boy in your Lake Shore penthouse. Since your positive review of "The Phantom Menace," you have pretty much ripped on anything having to do with Star Wars. Is this your way of making it up to your cronies in your industry??? Are you embarrassed you admitted you liked "Phantom Menace" (a wonderful film) in the first place?
So, Please take time to reconsider the terrible way you depicted the broad base of Star Wars fandom. What's wrong with an individual expressing his love and passion for a film franchise that influenced so many? Call us geeks or nerds, whatever you want. Because at the end of the day, we are all just people. And lets face it, at the end of the day, you are nothing more than simply a glorified movie nerd yourself. Eat that, Roger you Fanboy!!!
There used to be a time when I would seek out your columns and books. This is despite the fact that when you and the late, great Gene Siskel did a week of radio talk shows that I produced at The Loop in Chicago back in 1992, you ordered 3 pizzas, offered Gene a slice, and offered me nothing. This is back in the day when I was in my early 20s, poor, making no money, and a slice of pizza would have been a nice thank you for all the work I did for you that week. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on work when someone is slamming a delicious pizza down their gullet right in front of ya???
And I would still seek out your newspaper articles and TV shows even though in 1997, when you sat next to me at the media screening of "The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition" and you fell asleep on my shoulder. What does that say for your reputation and credibility??? I was amused to see that your review of the Special Editions really didn't expand on your reviews for the original films… I think we know why. Call my lifestyle idiotic, Roger, but at least I'm not phoning it in!
An idiotic lifestyle??? How dare you Roger Ebert. How dare you.
Oh yeah, and since you claim "the movie would have been better if it poked more fun of Star Wars fans", then I suggest if you ever see me, a Star Wars fan, walking down Michigan Ave. in Chicago, why don't you try to make fun of me? We shall see how funny THAT truly would be. I guarantee you that I will be the only one walking away laughing. To quote Luke Skywalker to Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi "It's the last mistake you'll ever make."
Star Wars is Forever, Roger. And you can Suck it.
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