The Good Dinosaur
A film that has some promising elements and which often seems as if it is on the verge of evolving into something wonderful but never…
From Ed Ferrusquia, San Francisco, CA:
(a reply to Jimmy Mac)
Hey Jimmy Mac, let me let you in on a little secret -- it IS an idiotic lifestyle. You may not think it, but knowing who the Secret Apprentice is and actually CARING is idiotic. Subscribing to a "Force-Cast" dedicated to all things Star Wars is idiotic. Camping out for weeks on end, missing work, school, sex, just so you can say you saw "The Phantom Menace" before anybody else is idiotic. Doing all these things in a Boba Fett costume... stretches the limits of human dignity itself.
It may be true that 501st and the Rebel Legion sacrifice their time to bring joy to sick children. God bless 'em. It may also be true, however, that such selfless compassion on their part does not accurately reflect the majority of "fanboys." My sister was a volunteer nurse at a hospital and I gotta say, she never came home and told me the one about a group of Stormtroopers visiting the leukemia ward. You bring up a few stories to cynically tug on the heartstrings, as if THOSE were the reasons you like to play dress-up. The fact that you have to bring up a few exceptions to the rule just reveals how deep you have to dig to find respectability in what amounts to grown men who, when asked to state their religion on a government form, fill out "Jedi" on the "other" line.
In calling Roger Ebert a "glorified movie nerd," you seem to imply that knowledge of film and knowledge about The Force belong on even pedestals. Comparing Ebert's knowledge to your knowledge of Star Wars minutiae only reveals to me that you're about a few midi-chlorians short of an annoying Gungan -- or a few roofies short of being able to say you've gotten laid, take your pick. Knowing "Citizen Kane "frame by frame and being able to talk about each scene in depth as an example of great formalism in cinema is just a little less fanatical than being able to quote 6 two-hour films by heart, plus the spin-offs, the animated series, and the entire timeline as it pertains to the extended Star Wars universe - -which by now probably fills more comics, books, websites, zines, and non-canonical fan fiction than has ever been written about our own actual universe. Stephen Hawking would feel ashamed by the sheer volume of work dedicated to the Star Wars universe in comparison to his own achievements. That is, he'd feel ashamed if he were not secure in the knowledge that knowing all there is to know about Star Wars means precisely ant crap.
By now you've noticed that I've thrown a lot of Star Wars lingo your way. Trust me, I had to look it all up on Wikipedia, but hey, I'm probably guilty of being nerdy about other things. I enjoy reading some comics, I've played a few video games. I couldn't, however, tell you what's going on in Amazing Spider-man (is Strazynski still writing it?), nor could I brag about "pwning the most noobs" in Halo. I'm pretty much garbage at it, actually. There's nothing wrong with watching Star Wars, or Star Trek, or reading Sandman comics, or never missing an episode of "The Simpsons." Hell, I think anybody who can quote "The Simpsons" is cool. But if you can quote "The Simpsons," and tell me the episode number, and the title of the episode, as well as who guest starred in that particular episode (oh yes, those people exist...) that means you've chosen to learn just a little more about pop culture than you should probably know as a healthy adult human being.
Speaking of "The Simpsons," think of Comic Book Guy. Hey may be a caricature, but he is also a warning. In "The Simpsons Movie," just as doomsday is about to strike, he sits before a handful of his most cherished comics, reflecting on the tragedy that he's dedicated his entire life to comic books...just before he says, "Life well spent!" It's a funny line, no doubt, but it's funny because in reality, such a life really would be a waste. I don't mean "dedicate life to comics" in the sense that the great Will Eisner dedicated his life to comics, pushing the limits of the craft and helping to legitimizing it as an art form. I mean it in the way that Ebert wrote about in his review of "Fanboys" and the very lifestyle that the movie apparently champions (I haven't seen it yet). Life really is too short, the world too full of wonder, for any one person to go out of his way to possess such inconsequential knowledge. You miss out on so much in life and, in the end, will it have been a life well spent?
And if it seem as if I'm being harsh, it only as harsh as you throwing cheap shots at Ebert for sleeping through "The Empire Strikes Back" for what had probably been the umpteenth time in his career, or the cardinal sin of not sharing a slice of pizza with you. You said there were three boxes of pizza, and I doubt Ebert ate them all - why didn't you ask for one? Neither case helped make your point, but it did show just how touchy and defensive you are. Then you top it all off by threatening that when you see him on the street, it will be "the last mistake he'll ever make." Tough guy over the net? What? That you would threaten a 66-year-old recovering cancer patient with violence speaks volumes about you. Then again, the fact that you made the threat while quoting Luke Skywalker -- and just for knowing that it came from "Return of the Jedi" - makes me wonder just how seriously anybody should take you, as a person or as a potential threat. Roger Ebert could whoop your ass.
By the way, in the future just remember: one question mark is usually enough.
Matt Zoller Seitz reviews and reflects upon Jesse Eisenberg's New Yorker piece about film critics.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...