I’m Watching Star Wars Right Now
These words were written in your past. In the very moment they are released on Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 8:00pm… I will no longer exist on the planet Earth.
In fact, I will have been transported to a galaxy… far, far away.
Yes, you guessed it… I’ll be about fifteen minutes into
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
And I’ve got to say, if all goes well, that will be quite the accomplishment… for me.
I suppose I should admit it’s something of a sad state to acknowledge I couldn’t get it together to buy my tickets for opening day months ago, like any self-respecting sci-fi geek did.
(And then I figured it would be impossible to find tickets for days or weeks after opening weekend.)
But a work colleague, who was more organized than me and successfully got himself to an opening-night screening suggested I find the opportunity to see the new J.J. Abrams’ flick soon… before people started to talk openly about the plot.
His comment sounded a little ominous…
“The Force Works in Mysterious Ways”
As I was driving home from work on Friday thinking about how distant the Force still felt from my eyeballs, my wife called and told me she just received an email from Fandango proclaiming there were still tickets available in our area code to buy that very night.
Now in the old days, we would have just gone for it, but as you know we’ve got a young Jedi in training at home… He’s only five and not quite ready to watch “Star Wars” yet.
(Especially a PG-13 rated Episode VII)
So we can’t just take a spin around the galaxy anytime we want.
But we’re not entirely unable to pivot… so we decided that if I could secure a couple tickets for tonight, we could swing the rest.
As I was driving, I figured I could either buy the tickets online when I got home…. or better yet… I could just drive a little further up the street to our local movie theater and go old school… and simply secure the tickets there.
And that’s exactly what I did.
(How 1940’s of me)
As I stood in the center of the lobby, grasping my two tickets, I looked about for some unforeseen obstacle… Like some storm trooper would walk up and demand a $200 opening-weekend surcharge. But everything seemed absolutely normal. Of course, there were lots of people on line waiting to see the sold-out Friday night show, but other than experiencing a few momentary flashbacks, I felt really good.
Flashbacks, you ask?
I think part of the reason I didn’t try harder to see “The Force Awakens” on opening day was because of fan hysteria and long lines for sold-out shows. I’ve been part of that scene before. And I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve been one of “those fans” who’ve contributed to “the scene.”
I first transported back to “Star Trek: First Contact’s” opening day back in 1996. That was the time I organized a group trip and brought ten of my friends.
- We bought our tickets…
(No Fandango yet)
- Stood on line for an hour with 500 Trekies
- And finally walked in
(There were actually three theaters that day showing the flick, and ours was outfitted with the newer “Dolby” sound system.)
Our tickets were for one of the other theaters. We were in the wrong one!
When one red-shirt member of our landing party took a quick trip to the bathroom, she was nabbed on the way back by a young usher, who spotted the discrepancy on her ticket.
He walked down to our group to escort all of us out of the sold-out theater. By this point, it was only a couple minutes until the film started. So it was clear we wouldn’t get into any of the other simultaneous screenings either.
What would you do…?
It was my own personal Kobayashi Maru moment…
(If you’re not a “Star Trek” geek… that refers to how someone handles a “no win” situation.)
Without giving much thought to the consequences, I simply proclaimed we wouldn’t leave.
My excuse…? I explained that we were told to stand in the line that led us to this particular theater. That was technically true, but I was hanging my hat on an unconfirmable technicality.
(We were still sitting in the wrong theater.)
The usher threatened to bring in the manager. I called his bluff.
(It wasn’t a bluff.)
It was at this point, the rest of my group started getting uncomfortable. So they started to get up to leave. My poker game was over.
Only a benevolent act by the “Q” could save me…
And then the lights dimmed. And the movie started. And we were still there…
And I guess the usher gave up.
(He never came back.)
So we watched the movie.
And yes, my friends later told me I was a little crazy to do what I did.
(I wasn’t proud of my act of defiance, but I have to admit that Dolby sound was sweet!)
Twenty years later, all I’ve got to say is that was a long time ago in a state far, far away, and I would never do something like that today.
(Do I seem a bit defensive?)
“No Growth without Assistance”
Fast forward four years…
Then there’s the time when my wife and I were dating, and we went to a packed movie house in Brooklyn about to see “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” We showed up with five minutes to spare, and there weren’t two open seats together in the whole place.
Yep… another Kobayashi Maru.
So I ran up the stairs led by some ‘Force” and asked an entire row of people to shift one seat over.
(And happily too. I think it must be a Brooklyn thing.)
I think my wife was impressed.
But come on… that was another risky move… Right?
If it had played out poorly, my future could have evolved into a different timeline altogether.
“The Force is Strong with This One”
Fortunately, another film flashback that comes to mind is much more Zen.
It’s the hot summer day in 1977 when I saw “Star Wars: A New Hope” with my mom at the now long-gone movie house on East 86th street in New York City.
I remember being blown away by the entire movie. And though I was already a “Star Trek” geek, the groundbreaking “Star Wars” really opened my eyes.
(Along with the rest of the planet.)
“Your Thoughts Betray You”
Then, I snapped back to this reality.
So I walked through the suburban parking lot and got into my car.
I thought about the future. About tonight.
Would this experience also burn permanent memories into my neurons just like it did with “A New Hope” and “The Return of the Jedi?”
(Watching Episode VI in the massive New York Ziegfeld Theater with a thousand screaming kids begging Darth Vader to take action against the evil Emperor is hard to forget.)
Oops… time slipped again.
“You Cannot Escape Your Destiny”
Will December 20th, 2015 always be a day I remember, because it’s the day I saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens?”
I’ll let you know.
(For now, I’m just tickled I’m getting to see it on opening weekend!)
And I’m shooting for a stress-free experience this time.
(May the Force be with me.)
If you thought this was going to be a movie review, this is not the blog you’re looking for… And what self-respecting Star Wars’ fan wants to read a review ahead of time anyway?