Finn’s Journey and Why Canto Bight is Necessary

Spoilers for The Last Jedi

The discourse about Star Wars: The Last Jedi has, if nothing else, revealed the toxicity of fandom. It is either man babies crying over the various strong women who dominate the movie or Star Wars mega-nerds saying the movie does not understand Luke Skywalker and everything else in between. While I do believe the hate for this movie is mostly just a very vocal minority, there has been a common complaint about the movie even from those who say they enjoyed it: Canto Bight.

“It’s pointless,” some say. “It doesn’t feel like Star Wars,” others cry out into the void. “It slows the movie down,” more thoughtful people might complain.

I am going to make an argument for it. One that may cause you to not continue reading, but I hope you’ll hear me out. It might just change your mind. Might. I don’t expect it to as I don’t expect you to change mine. Canto Bight along with the rest of Finn’s storyline in The Last Jedi is not only the most pivotal part of the saga for Finn so far but it is the most consequential storyline for the new trilogy.

I. Traitor

The Force Awakens introduces us to storm trooper FN-2817 during a raid on a village. This is his first battle and after the First Order quarters the village, he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger on the defenseless. At best, Finn is a character made with high moral fiber; however, it turns out that is not the case. He can’t bring himself to kill and he can’t bring himself to save. He may not pull the trigger but he lets the villagers die. He is a afraid. He doesn’t want to follow orders; he wants to run. He doesn’t want to fight; he wants to hide. He wants to remove himself from the equation.

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During his escape, he begins to strip the monotonous identity of a storm trooper and he is given the name of Finn. He belongs to no one now and though he attempts to honor someone who helped him, he only goes halfway. When the opportunity arises, he will leave. It is the one thing at which he is truly skilled.

He has his opportunity when he gets to Maz Kanata’s castle. Except there is one thing he has come to care for, a friendship he hadn’t thought possible. Someone who sees him and sees a hero, sees his potential. (Part of what makes Rey so amazing is her ability to see others as they could be despite her inability to see her own strength). It is not until Rey is captured that Finn decides to face something. However, his actions are driven to help his friend even if it puts others in danger. He lies about his knowledge the shields on Starkiller Base to have a chance to save her. His struggle is not meant for the resistance or a greater good. Finn’s identity is almost entirely tied up in Rey and thus, the loss of her is too great a cost of something he finally gained. If he has learned anything from the beginning of The Force Awakens is that sometimes facing your fears is necessary.

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Even in Finn’s confrontation with Kylo Ren, he is on the defensive. The whole fight Kylo is playing with him and Finn, without any true foundation, doesn’t stand a chance.

II. Spark

In The Last Jedi, Finn awakes and his first and only concern is Rey’s safety. He could care less that he is on board a Resistance ship or where they are going. Once the First Order is hot on their tail, his first move is to get as far away from the Resistance so Rey can be safe if/when she decides to head back to them. Finn’s identity is still wrapped up entirely in her. This is where Rose comes into play.

Rose just lost her sister and it is evident by the way she first interacts with Finn that they were close. They were so close in fact that Rose does not even hesitate in electrocuting Finn, a hero she looked up to, once she learns he plans on deserting. The two end up going on an audacious, dangerous mission (that inevitably fails and costs the Resistance) and their first stop is the casino city of Canto Bight.

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Canto Bight on the surface represents everything of which Finn could have ever dreamed. Glamorous, safe, playful, and as far away from any seeming violence as one could imagine. In a way, the locale is not typical Star Wars because if Finn does not want to be a part of the war, it does need to feel somewhat removed (and personally, I think it does feel just enough like Star Wars).  It is the perfect place for a character who wants to hide to rest his weary soul. Rose, ironically, does not see through the same rose tinted glasses. She lifts the veil for Finn and exposes the corrupt nature of such a place, that to ignore the fight usually means you are either gaining from the systematic war (profiting from weapon sales) or being oppressed by it (the slave children of Canto Bight).

They fail at every aspect of their mission. They don’t get the right code breaker; they get arrested; they almost get killed and they lose their ship. They manage to free the Falthiers, a weird cat-like deer creature that seems to come straight from a Studio Ghibli classic, and also show kindness to the enslaved children. This is where they succeed. After their animal rescue, Finn boldly claims that it was worth causing so much damage to that town. Rose responds by releasing the last Falthier while stating, “Now it is worth it.” The act of kindness mixed with their rescue of the Falthiers is a spark to the children of Canto Bight. They will become the face of the Resistance in the years to come. This echoes her final line in the film that it is not fighting what we hate but saving what we love.

If Rose clears Finn’s vision, Benicio Del Toro’s DJ muddles it. The slicer tells Finn that both sides have their evils and that not joining is the only way. Ultimately, it is DJ’s lack of loyalty to anyone that costs so many Resistance soldiers their lives and pushes Finn to make a decision of who he is in the fight. If he were to continue to run, he could sooner or later be the one selling out others to continue a false sense of security.

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Finn now has gone from a coward to someone who would willingly sacrifice himself for a cause. Though he might have found his courage and fortitude to fight, he still hadn’t learned what it means to save others. His sacrifice would have been in vain; a minor inconvenience for the First Order. (Holdo’s sacrifice was already in motion and Luke’s was an act of embracing the legend he became, lighting a spark across the galaxy.) This brings me to what I believe will be Finn’s role in Episode IX. This, of course, is speculation; however, the I believe the lesson Finn learns in The Last Jedi may lead him to become…

III. A Savior

Finn is the first storm trooper we have seen (in the films, at least) defect. I believe it is without question that the lesson Finn learned about what it means to save is a set up. In Episode IX, we will see Finn lead Storm Troopers out of the First Order and into the fight for the Resistance.  He may have ran, he may have not followed orders but now he will become the face of a hope for those forced to do evil. He will save many from themselves and this will be how the Resistance wins. Rey may be the key to Kylo’s fate but Finn is the one who will take the First Order down from the inside out.

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Read if you want (to succeed)

I am going to brag a little bit. Not that it is really important though as I am just one of 7.5 billion people on this earth and there are probably a billion or more people who could boast greater feats that I am about to in a moment; however, I think it’s okay to take a moment and be proud of something you managed to do. In a way, what I am about to brag about is not even that significant as it was something I achieved years ago and something I have maintained — at times, not all that consistently — and I am making an extra effort this year to even grow in this area. Alright, if you have read this far and your curiosity has peaked, I will not hold back:

In the fourth grade, I scored a reading comprehension level of post-high school on a standardized test.

That’s right.

I did that.

This guy.

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2013 me. No recent pictures capture this kind of magic.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Cool, you can read, so can I. No biggie.” And you’re right, it really isn’t all that impressive. I mean, at the time, I felt pretty cool. Sure, it could have been as easy as circling B when I wasn’t certain of the answer but I actually was and still am a pretty decent reader. It may have been my mother reading to me at a young age or encouraging me to learn how to read books like, Nate the Great Detective and See Spot Run. (Where was Spot going? Why was he going? These questions still haunt me to this day.) It could have been my desire to create stories at a young age. I would draw my own Garfield comics and I think at one point I even attempted to write my own Star Wars fan fiction at six years-old.  Maybe it was just boredom and a lack of good cartoons on television at all times. Maybe I only read because I was home schooled for the first three years of my education and it was a requirement.

The act of reading can feel, at times, so unremarkable. We do it all the time. Whether it’s reading street signs as we try to find our way to a friend’s house for the first time or it’s reading your boss’s angry email about how you forgot to restock the coffee,  it is something we do and a skill we must have to even taste a little bit of success.

I think as adults though, reading is something we should cherish. In school we were tasked with reading books that may have held no interest but as an adult, you get to choose whatever the hell you want to read. (I mean, you could do that as a kid but for many, when you’re required to do something for school it can become a chore to try to do it for fun.) This freedom gives us opportunity that we may not have had elsewhere. We can learn new skills from reading; we can explore different universes; we can use that decaying imagination to curb cynicism. When a book is in your hands (or ears, audio books are cool, too), the world becomes your oyster. We take it, we pry its dirty, unassuming shell open with a sharp knife of wit and we gleam from it a priceless pearl that would otherwise go untouched.

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My favorite book. The only book I’ve ever read three times.

There is a growing and seemingly popular idea that reading is an act of snobbery. That to be well read is to be elitist. I don’t read because I want it to be a means of being better than someone else. I read because I want to just be better. I read to escape as well as learn something about who I am, what makes a hero, what I can do to show my love to those around me more.

There’s another idea, perhaps less popular, that reading is a path to success. Read if you want to succeed is a simple assumption. I don’t necessarily think it is true. Not everyone who succeeds is well read and not everyone who is well read succeeds (at least by worldly means).

I think one thing lacking in our current world of information is a desire to learn. In school, I did not even share a smidgen of this desire. I did my duty. I wrote papers at 3 a.m. the day they were due. I signed my name and the date and sometimes reaped unjust rewards and other times blatant, warranted critiques (with red marks included). There’s talk about how kids are growing up so entitled, how this coming generation knows nothing of hardship and then we test them as if checking their knowledge somehow gives them understanding. We don’t teach them how to learn; we teach them how to give answers to questions.

Read if you want to succeed, sure; however, learn if you want to be.

Before 2018, I wrote down a list of books I wanted to read throughout the year. Books that interested me, ranging from Star Wars to The Idiot. I did not do this because I want to succeed through some magical conspiracy of words that is reading. I did it because I wanted to learn and enjoy it.

Alright, I am done bragging.

For now.

My 2018 reading list (so far):

Star Wars: Lost Stars
Annihilation (Part One of the Southern Reach trilogy)
Authority (Part Two of the Southern Reach trilogy)
Acceptance (Part Three of the Southern Reach trilogy)
1984
Of Mice and Men
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Martian
The Idiot
Dune
The Road
The Dispossessed
The Book of Strange New Things
The Expanse Series
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

 

Growing Cynicism and Decaying Imagination

I played with Beanie Babies until I was fourteen. I would tell epic tales of bravery, of courage, of a teddy bear wearing overalls wanting to rule the world, etc. There would always be a climatic battle and then when the heroes won, I would go on to a new story. My imagination was a non-stop machine and I operated it as if I had known nothing else.

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Nanook, he was the hero of many of my stories, but most importantly, he was my friend. ❤

It wasn’t until I managed to hit 5’2″ at 14 and a half and develop a fluctuating-in-pitch voice that I discovered there was a larger world outside the one I imagined.  Mostly, girls. I mean, I knew of girls and I had various crushes up to that point. It was not that I just started noticing them, rather I thought they finally began noticing me. With such a dramatic change, I realized Beanie Babies and stories made up in my room were better served as something from my childhood — a funny anecdote to show that despite being a man (really a boy, but my perception was that I was a man) I still had a child-like spirit. Once I realized there was a larger world outside of girls (and I got married to an amazing one), my mind turned back to stories and my love for them grew even more.

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We be cute and the best story I’ve had the privilege of living. (Photo by Julie Richardson)

Though my imagination never truly died, I have noticed a growing cynicism in today’s culture. The availability of information, the growing cinematic means of serialized storytelling on television and the constant barrage of terrible news has caused us to be abrasive of many things including the art and language of storytelling. Imagination, I don’t think, is truly dead but the language it breathes is becoming that of Latin — a romanticized idea that has given birth to new languages, ones more clumsy and syncopated. This is no more evident than the growing cynicism towards the medium of cinema and stories that once were its lifeblood.

One of the more recent examples is Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While I believe there are valid arguments for execution of the story its telling, I believe the story itself is very well-thought out (and I personally love it). One of the biggest plagues to storytelling with films like The Last Jedi is that modern audiences equate plot with story. Plot is not story. Plot is like a road that takes you somewhere; story is the actual journey. There may be pot holes (get it, like plot holes) on the road but not often do those detract from the journey.

Unless, of course, you focus entirely on them.

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Vice Admiral Holdo is one point of contention for many fans.

Modern audiences have become so fixated on plot holes that they allow the whole journey to be ruined. Often the plot holes they are so obsessed with are not even plot holes because they forget they are seeing the whole picture of the journey of the characters. The characters are meant to reflect humanity. How often as humans do we make a mistake, look back and then reflect on how hindsight is 20/20?  When a character makes a choice that is problematic or another character withholds crucial information, the audience screams foul. They do not accept it as a means to an end especially when the mistakes lead to a dead end. Their lack of imagination does not fill in the blanks for them. They want to be told despite the movie showing them reasons for their actions. Otherwise, if it is not explicitly said why certain things are occurring, they feel as if the road was bumpy the whole time.

Another issue I have seen creeping up in various comment threads on Facebook and Reddit is the matter of originality. There seems to have always been a cry in the Aughts and this current decade that cinema is lacking originality. My wife and I recently went to see Lady Bird, an original story written and directed by Greta Gerwig. I love when I love a movie and I was excited to read other people’s remarks on such a touching story about a mother/daughter relationship and the departure into adulthood. The first comments I read shook me.

“Such a cliche story.”
“Not original at all.”
“It was like any other coming of age movie.”

While those sentiments may be true to some degree (Lady Bird isn’t the first to explore a woman’s coming to adulthood and it won’t be the last), it was the attitude of those that made me distraught. Something only becomes cliche when it comes from something true. If true storytelling has become cliche and thus, it must be dismissed then hopefully no one will ever pick up a pen, a microphone or a camera again.  The cynical attitude towards cliches may seem romantic in some regard.  I, myself, dabbled with the idea of avoiding cliches in my writing. There are some authors who have been wholly successful in their art of storytelling by subverting cliches and genre tropes (see George R. R. Martin); however, it is not the use of cliches that are of a detriment to a story rather it is how well they are used.

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Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as the titular Lady Bird and her mother respectively.

Lady Bird could be bursting through the seams with cliches (it’s not) but the story itself, the characters and their journey, are entirely unique. Just as we experience similar things through life whether it is bullying, the loss of a loved one, the dissolution of friendships or the reuniting of old ones — all life cliches that don’t mean your life is inherently bad — so does the language of storytelling. Yet there is an audience, a growing one, that sees cliches and automatically dismisses it as a distrustful source of art. They dismiss the story as pointless.

It is one thing to not like a story; it is an atrocity to dismiss a story as pointless. It is one thing to like a story but dislike its execution; it is a misnomer to call it lazy. You may not understand a character’s actions or reasoning but that does not make the character weak or a plot hole. Truly, imagination is what is needed sometimes to fill those holes, to create a backstory for someone, to create a reason for a character’s motivation. The plot, the characters, the motivations are all constructs to serve the journey — the story.

With the growing serialized nature of television, it is easy to approach films as if they are to be above that medium. In many ways, television has an advantage of exploring characters in such a way that film does not. In some ways, this advantage, I believe, has caused certain audience members to feel spoiled with the riches of information and then when a film expects a viewer to imagine a reason for something or a character’s history, they feel as if they were robbed.

This growing cynicism is cultivated by an attempt to solve stories rather than listen to them. I believe imagination is one of the most amazing human abilities we have. It needs to be cultivated through learning; it needs to be watered through embracing stories and it needs to grow by freeing itself of the weeds of a cynical nature. Imagination may not be dead but if we don’t tend to its garden soon, we will become complicit in its death.

Video Game Update: The Video Game

Electronic Arts announced an original property earlier today: Video Game Update: The Video Game! Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson stated the game bolsters an impressive amount of game play hours. “It really is unlimited. It just depends on how long you’re willing to play.”

Wilson said he hesitated initially when he was originally pitched the game from acclaimed video game designer, Bernd Diemer, who designed such classics like Battlefront II (not the good one). “His pitch was just one game mechanic,” Wilson stated. “Admittedly, I was not sold until he told me about the DLC packages.”

Diemer explained the impressively complicated DLC/Loot Box/Patch system. “Players will be subject to update screens. Their progress is dependent on the version they are updating in game. If they want, they can purchase an exclusive loot box that will possibly give them a beta version that would be much harder to achieve by just grinding through update after update.

Exclusive game play from the PS4 version. Diemer said gamers can expect to experience a sense of pride and accomplishment with every successful update.

Diemer said that the loot boxes will also contain rewards for those who earn a duplicate itme. “If you receive a duplicate patch, you may get a customize-able feature in its place like a new theme for the loading screen of me and Andrew swimming in your money, for example.”

“The only way you can lose the game is if you select to start the application without updating,” Wilson said. “This will just take you back to your console’s home screen. This is the sign of a truly weak minded individual.”

“The game play gets really crazy when the game actually needs an update,” Diemer said as his gold-plated smile creased his face from ear to ear.

The game is expected to launch early 2018 and Electronic Arts expects to support it until hell freezes over.

2018 Update Review

The 2018 patch update launched on January 1st at midnight and so far the patch, while containing promising potential, feels vaguely just the same as last year’s horrendous update that was version 2017. Of course, there were very mixed reviews for the 2017 patch and 2018 really does not address many of the users’ concerns with the previous update. Version 2018, however, does have the promise of changes in the middle of the year dependent upon a user poll. Of course, not all users will be happy with any type of user-feedback based update.

Let’s breakdown some of the potential the 2018 update has over the 2017 update.

User Optimization

As with any previous update, users have the opportunity to update their avatars or pursue new endeavors. Most users begin this process within the first couple of weeks but many abandon this feature as the daily grinding required can be tedious. The opportunity provided though from such an update is an always welcome one.

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Users have an unlimited amount of options. Most opt for donuts and continuing couch activities.

Item and Equipment Updates

Of course, with every update comes improvements to various items and equipment that can be obtained through acquiring a daily skill trade (more on that later) in exchange for currency. The downside to these updates is that they are premium content and don’t just come with the update. If you plan on upgrading your Apple Devices in your inventory, for example, make sure to save a good amount of money for something with little added benefits from the previous rendition.

Social Interface

There is not really a major change in any of the social interfaces. With each update, users seem to have more of a difficult time participating in social functions outside their designated spaces; however, as a result of the item and equipment updates, some social meters can be temporarily satisfied through social applications. Unfortunately, these stimulates tend to leave the user feeling isolated and in a state of despair. Certain users have been known to disconnect themselves from such interfaces in hopes of expanding their community parameters. However, they always come back. Always.

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Some users use their social interfaces while occupying proximate spaces.

No Scandals

The 2018 update has been in effect for less than 24 hours and there have been no scanda–Wait. What’s that? Famous Youtuber Logan Paul did something awful. Well, never mind then.

Cons

  • No quick money cheat codes that do not result in potential permanent user ban or temporary restrictions
  • Users seem to just be getting more dumb and worse with each update
  • Culinary options to keep your energy meter going may actually be depleting your life’s HP
  • No Half-Life 3
  • 2018 to feature Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again as if we did not learn from
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    Just, no. Please Developer in Heaven, no.

    the 2008 update

  • No update to NPCs that software regulations that fail to provide users with enjoyable experience (potential to update during 2018 user polls)
  • Still no hover cars despite being promised for the past 30 or more updates
  • That skill trade promotion went to Derrick Smith, that total kiss ass from marketing

 

 

 

Man Fails to Cry During “Your Name”; Neighbors Concerned

Albuquerque, NM — Frederick Wilson, 32, watched the anime movie Your Name on Thursday night and failed to cry. His domestic partner, Patty Jenkins, 29, said she witnessed the lack of tears from Wilson through a somewhat blurred vision of her own due to a constant stream of tears.

“It was pretty clear he was not crying,” Jenkins said, “I am not sure what to make of this.” Jenkins went on to say that the two are currently living apart as they work through this trying time.

Wilsons’ neighbor, Tommy Chesterton, 28, said he is concerned he and his family may be living next to a psychopath. “My wife and I are considering putting our house on sale,” Chesterton said. “What kind of sick individual does not even get teary eyed at the ending of that beautiful, majestic [inaudible due to a sudden emotional breakdown]?”

In November, it was reported Wilson failed to shed a single tear during Pixar’s COCO. He also has been witnessed failing to cry during the first ten minutes of Up and the entirety of Finding Nemo. Wilson will be subject to a psych evaluation on Monday where he will be subjected to movies such as Marley and Me, Toy Story 3 and The Notebook. 

 

Dunkirk: Worst Batman Movie Ever

Dunkirk, a very well crafted period piece by the visionary director Christopher Nolan, may possibly be the worst Batman movie ever. During my viewing of the movie, the real life story of the battle and evacuation of Dunkirk, I was disappointed to find that Batman has less screen time than he had in The Dark Knight Rises.  Sure, there is fantastic cinematography and very excellent performances. Never has Tom Hardy been so thrilling in a vehicle since his turn in the underrated Locke; however, the decision to cast Tom Hardy in a new role in the Nolan Batman Cinematic Universe (NBCU) was a strange one. Cillian Murphy even makes an appearance as a shellshocked British soldier which is a departure from his Scarecrow role. I think for the most part it worked; at least, when I became accustomed to the changes, that is.

I feel the villains of the film could have been better defined. I felt the tension they created by shooting at the heroes and there were a couple of missed opportunities for Batman to come save the day, but we never saw their faces. It was clear Harry Styles was playing the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character from the third movie in the NBCU and I feel, despite his lack of background in acting, he did a pretty good job. Although I think his motivations were a little contrary to the way the character had been portrayed previously.

It has been an odd journey now that we are two movies deeper into the NBCU (Interstellar, being the first after The Dark Knight Rises) without actually seeing the titular character in either. While I feel both Interstellar and Dunkirk are great movies in their own right, the decision to not even feature the hero we need is a bold direction albeit a misdirected one.

Interstellar at least worked on an allegorical level about how space is the void we feel without Batman and how in time we will find him again. I don’t want to say I don’t get Dunkirk on a metaphorical level at the risk of sounding naive but I feel its message as it relates to Batman is definitively unclear and messy. Maybe in repeat viewings Christopher Nolan’s vision for the character will become more clear. For now, it is the worst Batman movie since Batman & Robin, which is the best Terminator movie ironically.

Man banned from saying “Merry Christmas” for saying it 364 days early.

LA JUNTA, CO — Derrick Stapleton, 25, has been permanently banned from saying “Merry Christmas” as he greeted someone with the phrase on December 26th, 2017 — 364 days early. Witnesses of the transgression state he was wearing an ugly Christmas sweater while gleefully drinking hot cocoa. He also had earbuds in that were “blasting Christmas music”, some witnesses reported.

Stapleton defended his erroneous ways, stating, “I was just so excited because it had been so long since we could say the phrase. With the war on that phrase being over, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to say it.” He also said he was just wishing his neighbor a “belated” Merry Christmas like one might for a birthday. The neighbor, John Dell, 34, said that while he did not mind the gesture, it was the principle of the matter.

“[Derrick] has a tendency to pull [expletive] like this. Two weeks ago he came to my door with a blanket over his [expletive] head and yelled, “Trick or treat” and then he was upset when I only gave him a tootsie roll,” Dell said. “Damn kid only deserves a tootsie roll for that kind of sick behavior.”

Dell said he was glad that Derrick was banned from using the phrase. “How can you expect someone to respect the rule of law when they can’t even respect proper holiday greeting ettiquette?”

Stapleton said that he would appeal the decision to ban him; a process that could take 6 months that would ultimately be reviewed by the President himself. “I hope I can start saying that phrase again by at least July when I plan on putting my Christmas lights up,” Stapleton said.

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Stages of Pirates of the Caribbean

Spoilers, if you care, for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales…Might save you from watching this movie if you read anyway.

You are at a Red Box outside of Walgreens. You have a promo code for a rent one, get one free. You rent a decent seeming action movie like Atomic Blonde and then there is not really anything else so you select Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.  You liked the first movie and Javier Bardem has made an interesting villain in the past (See No Country for Old Men and Skyfall).  You go inside Walgreens, pick up a bag of Cheetos, some beef jerky and some rum. If you’re going to watch a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, you might as well embrace your inner Jack Sparrow – *Ahem* – your inner CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow.

You stumble into your home and you turn on your gaming console that doubles and is mostly used as a DVD/Blu-Ray Player. You start up the movie, sip some rum, accidentally watch previews for upcoming Disney re-releases as you fumble to skip them and then finally you hit play.

The movie begins and you see a young boy stealing something. You tuned out within the first few minutes because you got a notification about some Twitter feed highlights. Usually you ignore them, but you’re not really doing anything better at the moment.

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“Look, I’m acting!”

You look back at your screen to see Orlando Bloom floundering like a fish as he attempts to act. You realize the young boy must be his son and you wonder when that happened as he’s been a fish captain for awhile. You start to drink the rum as you begin experiencing…

 

 

The five stages of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Acceptance

You sink into the couch as you sip your rum, eat your cheetos and chew on some beef jerky. This is your lot in life. You did not choose to get the rent one, get one free promo — it chose you. You are condemned to watching the movie so you might as well turn off your brain and enjoy it. You get to the part where Jack Sparrow -*Ahem*- CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow is robbing a bank and is too drunk to remember what he is doing. You feel a smile form and you immediately feel shame. British people try to shoot at Jack but are somehow even dumber than this very dumb dummy head and they miss.

You are okay with this. You must be. It’s okay, you tell yourself as you almost choke on half-chewed jerky. You sip some rum to push it down. Then Jack’s lackeys use some horses to pull the vault from the other side. Instead of the vault breaking through the walls, the horses begin to pull the entire bank building. You think this may be the dumbest thing you have ever seen and you slip into…

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This is an actual thing. It makes Transformers look like King’s Speech.

Depression

You set down the rum. It is not enough for the abyss you now dwell within your mind. Your life is a sinking ship without some deus ex machina to save you. You wipe Cheeto dust on your shirt because nothing matters anymore.

You begin looking at your phone. You think to yourself that there are worse things you could be enduring. You think of orphans in third world countries and you pray they have not been subjected to this movie. Their lives are bad enough, you say to yourself. At this moment, Jack Sparrow is being rejected by his remaining crew…he goes and trades his magic compass for a drink. Turns out the magic compass is somehow holding back ghost Javier Bardem from going outside of a certain area of the sea, because reasons. This just slips you into a deeper, more sorrowful depression. You now wish you were the orphan child that never would see or had seen a moment of this movie. You get to the scene where Jack is about to be executed. You begin to…

Bargain

His neck is in a guillotine. You see the lever, the bulky masked executioner with his hand on it and you begin to talk to the screen. You tell the man, if he somehow does not screw this situation up in some contrived manner, that you will take him out to dinner. You will make him a plaque and make sure every child on every side of the globe knows his name. You begin chewing the remaining jerky furiously. Suddenly, your dreams are crushed as someone comes to save Jack. It causes the guillotine to start to spin wildly at a vertical angle. The guillotine rises and falls with gravity and you think that maybe, just maybe this will be it. This will be the end of Jack Sparrow and you can then enjoy the movie. Image result for pirates of the caribbean dead men tell no tales guillotine gif

Every time the blade of the guillotine falls back and does not commit, you scream for justice. Your Cheetos are now a crushed powder due to your clenched fists.  You realize that you have sold your soul to something worse than the devil when Jack lives through the situation. You become so enraged. You have never felt so much…

Anger

You are so close to turning off the movie and breaking the disc. You don’t care if you have to pay for it if it saves just one person from watching this atrocity. You resist. You can’t let this movie win. You can’t let Jack Sparrow have the last laugh. You take a big swig of your rum, snort your Cheeto powder and you chew off a big piece of Jerky with such fury that you may have ate one of your teeth by mistake. Image result for angry gif

You begin live tweeting about the movie. You use hashtags like #JackSpareUsFromAnotherPiratesMovie and #PiratesoftheCaribhasbeens. You laugh manically to yourself. Your 63 follows quickly diminish as you rage tweet but you do not care. This is war.

You finally reach the credits and you enter the final phase. You are in…

Denial

You look at your phone’s clock. No way you just wasted precious hours of your life watching that garbage. You start to think to yourself that at least, at the very least the movie was over and that there would never be another one. They ended all the curses after all. You are amazed you even knew that as in your blind rage during the third act, you only watched about two minutes of the movie. Without any curses, there will be no reason for another movie. You breathe a sigh of relief. You will never have to watch another Pirates of the Caribbean movie aga–

–Wait, what’s this? An end credits scene!? It can’t be. Your eyes fixate to your screen in terror. You see Will Turner and Kierra Knightly’s character (Bella Swan or something) and your mouth is gaping, your Image result for after credits scene gifeyes are bulging and your palms are sweating. A shadow emerges into the room and it is clearly Davey Jones. It is a dream, but it isn’t really. You realize they are going to make more of these movies. You wish to be cursed to live the rest of your days in the middle of the ocean as far away as possible. As long as you still can have Cheetos.

 

The 5 Stages of The Last Jedi

SPOILERS WARNING. Turn back now if you have not seen The Last Jedi. A lot this won’t make sense.

You are sitting in your car. Your emotions are in conflict. You feel like Kylo Ren, except you have spilled popcorn kernels on your shirt and you aren’t shredded like him.  You start your car, you just need to drive. The process has begun and you will not be the same man once it has ended. You stop at a gas station. Lord knows you need some comfort food to get through this. They’re all out of Cheetos though so you settle for some Cool Ranch Doritos but it’s just not the same.

You are experiencing the 5 stages of The Last Jedi.

Denial

That can’t be it. There is so much more that you were expecting. You wanted, no, NEEDED a thirty minute expository scene that revealed one of your countless Snoke theories to be correct even if it did not impact the story in anyway. And Rey just being the daughter of some junk traders? How then, a girl, could she be good at anything? It’s like as if she had to find ways to survive on a barren planet for ten or more years of her life? Surely, she wouldn’t have had developed skills!  And Luke, he was infallible in the original trilogy! Like how he dismissed Yoda, or almost killed his father in a fit of rage!  He would NEVER even have a moment of temptation to do something terrible, even if he thought in that moment it would save millions of lives! Not my Luke Skywalker!

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You suck some of the Cool Ranch Dorito dust off your fingers as you turn up the Dashboard Confessional song that is just hitting home in that moment. You sing a long to the words, out of key. The words carry a heavy weight in your heart as you sob silently about how Leia could never use the force even in a desperate situation. Also, you always thought that people just blew up in space despite science stating otherwise.

Anger

You find yourself on Twitter, reading hashtag posts about how Rian Johnson and Disney have destroyed your childhood. You write out a tweet about how you feel personally betrayed that Snoke bit it and that the movie dared to have humor in it. How dare Poe Dameron, a serious space pilot toy with the enemy in such a manner!? And then there’s Rose… you contemplate how to tackle her character and you settle by comparing her to the oft rightfully hated Jar Jar Binks despite the characters sharing no inherent qualities and actually being kind of a neat, world-expanding character in the Star Wars Universe. You chastise “fans” for liking the movie and you make sure the director of this travesty knows how much you hate him and his movie. You laugh to yourself as you wipe Cool Ranch Dorito dust off your touch screen. It is really stuck on there as if it became a paste while you typed furiously.

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Your face may have permanently contorted in anger similar to the picture above.

And then you remember Luke and how he thinks the Jedi tradition should end. You realize that somehow undoes the original trilogy despite the fact that stories are not static, they continue on and evolve as real history does. How could they have Luke experience a character arc without him having a real, full fledged lightsaber fight!?   Just then, you remember the Porgs and how they were marketed as a big part of the movie and though you hated them before, you hate them now because they weren’t a big part of the movie. You also think that Chewie should have ate that Porg. Chewie deserves to eat a good Porg, you say as you stuff your face with the last two Cool Ranch Dorito chips.

Bargaining

Some reddit commenters have the right idea, you think to yourself. One person said it should have been Admiral Ackbar, your favorite internet meme, on that kamikaze space ship. That would have made that already cool moment exponentially better, right? You also think the hacker guy should have been Lando. It would have made so much sense that the character who lead the second Death Star run was just at some casino while the rest of the galaxy was fighting.

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“Save us Ackbar, you’re our only hope.”

You also start to say, “If only they had cut the casino part of the movie entirely, that’d make the movie better.” You ask yourself what the point of that whole thing was because they failed their mission in every way. It couldn’t be that the movie has a whole theme about failure, you say to yourself. You also fantasize about how Rey should have turned to the dark side, leaving Luke to become the hero you once loved despite the story being about the new characters and not the old. You start an online petition, asking Disney to remove the movie from official canon and let George Lucas remake the new trilogy. “George would never allow such a character like Rose, the new Jar Jar Binks, to exist,” you write in the petition’s description.

Depression

You arrive at home. You sit in silence for a little bit. Your heart is broken. The movie you made in your head shattered. You look out the window of your car and you see an empty, vacant world. You shake the bag of Cool Ranch Doritos at your face, hoping for any remaining crumbs to bring you satisfaction. All you wanted was Luke to fight Snoke and die trying. Yet, that was not given to you. So many movies have cool moments that you always imagined and yet, your favorite space movie gave you different ones. You contemplate writing poetry, only to realize the only thing that rhymes with Yoda is “soda” and that does not fit the tone of it all.

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This world, you don’t recognize it. It’s a cruel, pale imitation of something familiar. You contemplate going to an island, thinking maybe that will be the only way for the truth you now know to come to realization. That it is time for Star Wars…to end. You realize that is a bit too extreme as you still love the Original Trilogy and Rogue One (because that movie didn’t add or subtract anything from the original trilogy).

Acceptance

You get out of your car. You realize as you walk into your home that everything you love is still there.  You find a bag of Cheetos in your pantry and now your fingers are covered in both Cheeto dust and Cool Ranch Dorito dust. You wonder why no one has ever combined the flavors. You go online, buy another ticket for The Last Jedi as you are obligated to see the movie at least three more times to validate your deep hatred for it. You drink the remaining Root Beer that you bought before the movie. It’s watered down and tastes how you imagine The Last Jedi should have tasted: a watered down version of the movies you had loved since you were a child.

You realize in that moment that maybe it is okay if other people liked the movie. Maybe they are still true Star Wars fans just as you are even though you didn’t like it. Maybe there are more than one type of story that can be enjoyed and just because it is not your cup of tea does not mean it is an invalid story to tell. You put your phone down and you put on the movies you adore just as a small child embraces a stuffed Porg, smiling from ear to ear as he walks out of a theater.

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