Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

All creators have preoccupations, certain themes that most of their work circles back to. In reading reviews and thoughts on The Rise Of Skywalker people kept talking about nostalgia as JJ Abrams’s particular niche.

As I watched it for a third time on Saturday, I tried to see that, and I understand why people think of that for Abrams, if you look only at his film work.

But that would be ignoring a pretty big and important piece of his creative output, and frankly one that I think informs what he was going for with The Rise of Skywalker and Rey’s story in particular much more than anything he’s done on the big screen.

It’s ignoring Alias.

Sidney Bristow’s story, as convoluted as it got, was always thematically about having to untangle herself from the web of lies and violence left as a legacy from her parents and mentors, and standing on her own two feet as her own person at the end of that.

I don’t like the decision to make Rey a Palpatine. I think it’s hugely unnecessary, and creates more questions than it answers. But I get it, as a story decision, especially, when I had the realization about Abrams, Alias and the theme of building your own identity both within and without a legacy.

Rey’s moment of triumph comes when she embraces the Jedi way, the “thousand generations” that live in her, and the voices of the Jedi come to her. It is my favorite moment in the film, not just because it’s movie acknowledgement of Ahsoka, but because it’s the moment that to me provides the most context for Rey’s journey. She’s already rejected her Grandfather’s path for her, she’s already provided Ben Solo his path to redemption, she is choosing in that moment which legacy she wants to continue, the path of the light.

There are plenty of things wrong with The Rise Of Skywalker. I mentioned not loving Rey’s heritage reveal, the retcon of Poe Dameron’s past to make him a smuggler, no real role for Rose Tico and no confirmation of Finn’s force sensitivity (Plus, all those ships in the Hidden Regions and no Ezra riding in on a Space Whale? What gives?) are all writing choices I’m not crazy about.

But Rey’s story is good at the core, the fight against a destiny chosen for her by others to carve her own way is great and fits with a pattern of JJ Abrams’s work. Felicity though a very different genre is also about young people figuring out who they are, rather than who everyone expects them to be. It’s even a little bit there in Star Trek, where he basically says, “this is not the story you know, these characters are making their own way,” Lost was always more Lindeloff’s than his, but it still has themes of identity over destiny deeply embedded in it.

And I think this is the part that got to me. I like stories about family and legacy and finding your place in the world, so I liked this story for Rey and for Kylo Ren, they both carved out a place on a path that had been trod before, but it wasn’t the place prepared for them. I think that’s good.

Next week is the finale of The Mandolorian, and as I said a few weeks ago, Fangirl Loves Star Wars isn’t going anywhere. Next year we’ll have season 2 of Resistance the return of Clone Wars and I’m going to do some EU reading. I love our Galaxy Far Far Away, and I don’t ever want to leave it.


Rise, Rey, Rise Up

There’s a lot going on in The Rise Of Skywalker, and I’m actually having trouble articulating how I feel about this movie. I groaned at a lot of it, cried through more, loved it almost completely. It’s thoroughly predictable, and yet manages to satisfy regardless of that.

I’m not a big lover of twist endings, I think they’re often cheap. The predictability of a formula is not something I consider a fault in narrative. Tropes alone aren’t cheap, though they can be employed cheaply. And The Rise Of Skywalker uses tropes that it’s earned and a few that it hasn’t. It’s a mixed bag of a movie.

Like all Star Wars films it lives and dies on it’s performances. Daisy Ridley gives her strongest in this trilogy, Adam Driver gets less to do than the previous two outings. Oscar Isaac and John Boyega are a damn delight and here’s something that I never ever expected to write, Anthony Daniels really runs away with the thing.

And the score, as you may have heard is incredible. People are calling it the best Williams has done in the series. I don’t know about that. Empire and Phantom Menace are pretty high marks, but it gets close. (I need to listen to it without the film.) But it’s very good. Rey’s theme and Kylo’s theme both get mixed with The Imperial March and Force Theme’s in ways that are wonderful. Leia’s theme is also pretty prominent.

I really, really enjoyed myself.


  1. Knive’s Out
  2. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  3. Jo Jo Rabbit
  4. Frozen 2
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  6. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker
  7. Avengers: Endgame
  8. Rocketman
  9. Detective Pikachu
  10. Zombieland: Double Tap
  11. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  12. Downton Abbey
  13. Joker


The Jungle Cruise: This trailer does not have enough puns. It otherwise looks acceptable.

Onward: I really can’t wait for this. It looks so lovely and fun and kind of scary. Really great.


Anway, y’all ready for Spoilers!  THEY’RE HERE NOW





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“What Does This Mean?”: Felicity: Season 1: Episodes 9 & 10

Guys, I almost missed watching this week! Seriously, I’m kind of a mess…ANYWAY! Onto the episodes.

Season 1: Episode 9: “Thanksgiving”

I love a show that contrives reasons for it’s characters to spend a Holiday together when it doesn’t actually make sense to do so. This time, it’s because Julie doesn’t want to face her parent’s after her rape. Of course she doesn’t say this, but it’s pretty clear that’s the reason.

Felicity decides to stay as well, to be supportive or something. Noel is staying to spend the weekend with Hanna. (JENNIFER GARNER!) And Ben is staying because he misses his plane, or something? So, they all get together and Felicity and Julie cook a makeshift dinner at the dorm. It’s ridiculously the adorable, but that’s not the important part.

The important part is that Hanna (JENNIFER GARNER AND HER PERFECT CHEEKBONES) is moving to New York, and this forces Noel to realize that he has feelings for Felicity. She yells at him about something stupid, because she’s mad about Hanna (JENNIFER GARNER IN ADORABLE GLASSES) and they wind up kissing in the bathroom. Also Ben sees them. GASP! Oh and Hanna (I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THAT THIS IS YOUNG PERFECT JENNIFER GARNER) has been seeing someone in Chicago, so I guess they break up.

Season 1: Episode 10: “Finally”

It’s finals week, and which Noel and Felicity are trying to both study and make out with each other a lot, but also avoid making out with each other, the rest of the cast is trying to get it together. Ben needs poetry help. And Felicity helps him (WHY?) Sean is walking around trying to sell fruit, and help Julie with her economics work, and Elena is trying to memorize everything.

So, with Felicity abandoning him for Ben help, Noel gets some kind of enhancement powder from Meg to help him focus, but since it’s made of beets, which apparently turn him into a crazy person, he loses it a little bit. But the guys wind up talking and bonding on their own terms, which is pretty great. I’m in for this love triangle. I’m in a way I haven’t been for a long time. But you know, Team Noel, all the way. I hate Ben. (I mean, less, than I did a few weeks ago. But you know. I hate him.)

Mostly though, this episode, amazes me. There’s something deeply stylish about the whole thing, and I kind of love the cutting and the subtitles, the whole thing is awesome.

Other Stuff

  • Why I Hate Ben: I don’t, really, this week. My hatred is fading, I guess that’s good. Or maybe I have Ben related Stockholm syndrome. Whatever, I don’t hate him so much anymore
  • Team Noel: So. Much. Kissing. It is glorious. Also, they decide to be together.
  • Actors I love on This Show: JENNIFER GARNER AND HER WONDERFUL PERFECT FACE AND AMAZINGNESS. Also, she is yet another future spy on this program. I’m just saying, this is a weird pattern. (I know that this is where she met JJ Abrams, I get all of that.)
  • I’m waffling on whether this show is satisfying my Teen Soap urge and whether I should indulge in Riverdale, which is apparently the best thing to happen to the genre since Chuck Bass bought a burlesque club. If I start watching, I may tack on little mini recaps here, would everyone be cool with that?
  • If this were really The WB/CW, there’s be a month long break before I got back to watching episodes. Luckily, it’s Hulu, so I’ll be back next week!

The Special Features Awaken

I got home from work on Friday with two goal, exercise (I’m working out, either running or doing a Darebee work out everyday in April…) and then settle in and watch some stuff. Really I was thinking, “I can get into the DVR things that I need to clean out” but my TV in my bedroom was set to my Amazon Fire Stick rather than cable and there was a big old banner for The Force Awakens, so I bought it, and excercised during the first half hour and then settled on the couch to finish the movie and watch all of the special feature.

You guys already know how I feel about this movie. (If you don’t, here, you learn how I like it a whole heck of a lot!)

But the special features were new and I enjoyed them even more! (If that’s possible) The series of shorts as well as the big making of documentary were a lot of fun.

Because I followed the movie so closely in it’s run up and the weeks following it’s release I didn’t learn a lot of new things, but the bits I did learn were great.

First of all, it was deeply interesting to here the skepticism of the original 3…None of them were terribly interested in doing this movie and JJ Abrams had to talk them into it. I think we can all be grateful that they did. Particularly Harrison Ford, who spoke about Han never getting the ending Ford wanted for him. (Death, Harrison Ford really wanted Han Solo to die…and he got his wish!) Carrie Fisher spoke about having trouble getting back into acting, as she hadn’t in nearly a decade.. Mark Hamill wasn’t sure why Luke would have any bearing on a new story.

But my favorite little detail was how clearly they didn’t expect the fandom to explode over Poe Dameron. The segment about casting Oscar Isaac seems a good deal more thrown together than the rest. They describe him as “The Han of The Piece” which is true though narratively he far more resembles Leia, and Finn resembles Han.

But he is the Han in the sense that like Harrison Ford, this movie made Oscar Isaac everyone’s favorite actor all of a sudden.

Poe Dameron

Why wouldn’t he be?

I spent a good chunk of Thursday night talking about how wonderful he is with Aless, Jess and Alex. So, that’s important!

Anyway, I recommend the special features. The Digital edition is $20, which isn’t bad. I’m not sure how the Blu-Ray is priced, because I’m not buying it! The end!

The Force Is Strong In My Family

Today’s post was supposed to be about Batman VS Robin, and for something lesser, it totally would have been. But this isn’t lesser. This is EVERYTHING.

I get a little hysterical excited when I talk about Star Wars, because I love it so deeply and truly. Seriously. It’s Star Wars, I didn’t spend my childhood running around in the yard playing Batman VS Robin, OK? I didn’t manipulate my little sister into believing that a character who can’t speak was really super cool and she should totally pretend to be him so that I could be Damian Wayne. (Sometimes I think about our childhood and wonder why my sister even speaks to my brother and I, the making her be R2-D2 was symptomatic of how we treated her in general.)

No, I was a Star Wars kid. In middle school, when I learned one of my friends had never seen the movies but wanted to go see Episode II with me, I said, “NOPE, not allowed,” and forced her to have a 4 movie marathon in my basement, so that she could fully appreciate what we were going to see…that didn’t really work out, but that’s Episode II’s fault, for being basically unwatchable. (I will still be watching it come December.)

Star Wars is snuggling on the couch with my Dad while I covered my eyes at the stuff that freaked me out. (As previously chronicled, this wasn’t difficult as I was a chicken.) Star Wars was late night marathons with my cousins, and my first crush.

This Guy!

Him. I had a crush on Han Solo…and Indiana Jones…and Linus from the Sabrina remake (THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE THING ABOUT THE SABRINA REMAKE)…and just Harrison Ford

Star Wars was waiting in line with my sister for Episode III and Christmas mornings because it was what we all felt like watching. Star Wars is my dream Cosplay. (Hoth Leia…I could probably pull it off now, but I want to be a certain size…it’s a motivating factor.) Star Wars is a series of choreographed play light saber battles in my cousin’s basement with everyone taking turns who would be Luke and who would be Vader.

The point is that Star Wars is important to me.

I had a feeling that we’d get something this week, coming out of The Star Wars Celebration, but I didn’t expect a new trailer, I really didn’t. I figured it would premier before Age of Ultron, because Disney loves Synergy so much. (I am looking forward to seeing it before Ultron, because, come on, you know it’ll be there.)

But this teaser, this beautiful wonderful teaser, with it’s light sabers and it’s Mark Hamill narration, and Harrison Ford pop ups and perfect music cues, and beautiful everything about it.

You know what, let’s just watch it again. And again. And again.

“Chewie…we’re home.” #Chewiewerehome, I’m making this a thing.

Keep on Trekking…

Into Darkness Poster

I went in to see Star Trek: Into Darkness literally forty five minutes after watching Star Trek for the first time in years. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge Star Trek fan. I’ve seen a few episodes of the original series here and there, and I’ve seen the original Star Trek movie as well as Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. Generally, when I watch Star Trek,  I feel like I’ve been lectured at about race relations and I can’t take it seriously because I had to watch some beautiful woman try her hardest to pretend that she was actually attracted to William Shatner.

Largely, I usually feel like I wasted my time and not in the good way, like, “I wasted two hours having a lot of fun and it was awesome,” but more like, “Huh, well, that was two hours that I could have been sleeping or DOING JUST ABOUT ANYTHING BUT WATCHING STAR TREK.” Even with this attitude, I really liked Star Trek (2009). I watched it again this morning and still really liked it. I was even pleasantly surprised, because I forgot the Chris Hemsworth plays George Kirk and getting to see Chris Hemsworth do anything, even for just a few minutes makes the world brighter…


The new Star Trek universe has two things really going for it:

1. A clean slate, I’m pretty DC’s whole “New 52” initiative came from this same idea that J.J. Abram’s decision to take the characters and situations that people love, blow up their past adventures and move on, with all new ones. DC screwed it up, and from a lot people’s perspectives, it seems Abrams did too. I’m not so sure. I thought that Star Trek was a gamble, and I’m thinking that Into Darkness is just continuing the game. We’re still waiting for the payoff.

2. It’s cast. The flaws of these movies are huge. They’re far from perfect. They have large gaping plot holes, an inability to let go of the past, and overly manic directing style. But the shiny new Star Trek cast is wonderful. Chris Pine is wonderful. Zoe Saldana is amazing. Karl Urban is fantastic. John Cho and Anton Yelchin are great. Simon Pegg is one of the greatest gifts ever given to cinema. If I were to try to explain Zachary Quinto in one word, it would be “Wow!” I love this cast individually, and they’re just wonderful together.

Added to the mix this time around was Benedict Cumberpatch at Khan. I love me some BBC stars, even though I don’t understand the fanatical devotion to Sherlock, and I think he’s a very good actor. I was excited to see him take on this iconic villain.

Into Darkness had all of the elements of a great movie, but it didn’t quite land, stranding it as merely good. We open with a traditional Star Trek scene, Kirk and McCoy are running through a jungle trying to keep from violating The Prime Directive. (Which is then laid out by Spock for Trek newbies. I did know what The Prime Directive was, I’m not that clueless.) Of course, this is Chris Pine’s trigger happy version of Captain Kirk, and violate the directive he does, flamboyantly and spectacularly so. Spock reports him, which kind of ticks him off, since during the mission Kirk saved the Vulcan’s life.

Kirk is then busted down from Captain to Commander, and The Enterprise’s command is handed back to Admiral Christopher Pike. Bruce Greenwood’s performance as Pike is also great, as it was in the first movie. He once again pulls Kirk back from the edge in a bar. Spock is transferred to a different ship.

Meanwhile, in London, Sherlock Holmes tells Mickey Smith that he can heal his daughter…sorry, that was my CSD acting up. But the Starfleet analyst that “John Harrison” (Khan) is blackmailing was played by Noel Clark, who played poor put upon Mickey Smith back in the early days of the Doctor Who reboot. I always loved and pitied poor Mickey, who was left behind over and over again. Anyway,  in exchange, the analyst blows up a Starfleet archive which puts the Federation into emergency mode, which begins with a meeting of Starship captains and first officers. I bet you can guess how that ends.

They get blown up. Pike dies. Kirk and Spock are sad. Kirk becomes Captain again. All is as it should be. Except, Kirk requests to be sent after Harrison, (who, need I remind you is not actually that guy, but Khan.) and Old Guy Who Is Clearly Not To Be Trusted (Admiral Marcus), says, “yeah, go for that, and take these new experimental torpedoes to kill him with.” Kirk, being Shiny New Trigger Happy Kirk, who’s mentor just got blown up, is all, “Okey Dokey.” When Spock and Scotty point out that this smells fishy, he just gets indignant and Scotty quits. Luckily, Uhura and Spock (who are a couple in this universe don’t forget) are currently in the middle of a lover’s spat, so she sides with Kirk, basically out of spite and maybe a little bit out of residual sexual tension between Saldana and Pine.

They capture Harrison (KHAN!) and put him in a nice clear prison cell just like Nick Fury did to Loki in The Avengers. Then Khan, Kirk and Spock chat for a while and we find out that he’s Khan. (Duh) There are a few more plot twists involving the introduction of Carol Marcus, who Kirk clearly wishes to bone. (He later “welcomes her to the family” and it’s severely creepy) And they wind up finding out that Admiral Marcus is a bad dude, they get Scotty back, and he Kirk and Khan raid Marcus’s ship. Spock calls New Vulcan to talk to Spock Prime about Khan. Prime says he vowed to not interfere with the new timeline, and that Spock Two has to make his own mistakes. But of course, he then tells them not to trust Khan, he is very dangerous. When Two asks Prime how they defeated Khan, Prime’s response is that it was with a great cost. That cost, of course, was Spock Prime’s life.

While I was psyched to see Leonard Nimoy (I mean, really, why wouldn’t anyone be? The man is great!) this was to me a major instance of the movie being too self aware. Like I said, one of the great things that this series has going for it is a clean slate. Having Spock Prime in the first movie was a respectful nod to fans, and helped establish a new clean time line. But if they’re going to haul him out for subsequent adventures, just to give advice to Spock Two it cheapens the idea.

They beat Khan and this time it is Kirk that pays with his life, not Spock. I liked this twist, because it unleashed Spock’s full on wrath. Zachary Quinto does angry, very very well. Also, seeing him do the full on long scream, “KHAAAAAAAANNNNNN!” was way more fulfilling than anything Pine could have done. This is not a criticism of Chris Pine, who is really great at playing Captain Kirk, I just feel like Quinto is better at everything than most people.

Thankfully, due to a MGuffin of Khan’s blood having regenerative properties, (discovered by McCoy when he injects it into a dead tribble…another cute but unnecessary Trekkie nod.) we will be spared Star Trek III: The Search for Kirk, because they just revive the dead Captain. It’s a nice scene when he and Spock make up, and we flash forward to a year later, and The Enterprise crew gets their 5 year long commission to go “where no one has gone before.” (I hate changing gender pronouns for no reason, by the way. It’s pandering and insulting.)

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Like I said, I love this cast. I think they’re great. Urban took a bit of a back seat this time around to give Pegg the shining number 3 spot. (1 and 2 belong to Pine and Quinto, as it should be). He delivers possibly the greatest line ever, “Well, if it isn’t Captain James T. McPerfect Hair!” Saldana  steals a couple of great scenes and seeing her speak Klingon was a lot of fun. Cho and Yelchin are both so perfectly suited to playing Sulu and Chekov respectively I have trouble even analyzing what they do, and just sit back and enjoy watching them. Cumberpatch was good, if not great in his quiet intensity.

Visually the movie is a huge improvement on it’s predecessor. The lens flares are still there but much more muted, Kronos, the Klingon homeworld is a rotting bit of beauty and The Enterprise herself looks great.

Like I said, the elements were all there, the movie just didn’t gel. And it’s way too long. I don’t care how good it is, almost two and half hours of people flying around in a spaceship is too long. But I give it like a 7/10.


My God is the Anchorman 2 teaser brilliant. It’s so brilliant.

Elysium will probably be the best movie of the past five years and no one will talk about it after the first few months. Just like District 9.

I don’t know why I didn’t realize that Kevin Costner was playing Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel, but that makes me way too happy. I hope there’s a scene where he and Clark play catch. Anyway, the new trailer was so good I actually found myself crying. I’m yoyoing so hard on my expectations for this movie that I’m going to get whiplash, but right now I am firmly in the “excited” place.

Despicable Me 2 will be the best movie of the summer and again, no one will talk about it. It will be unfortunately overlooked because it’s “a family movie.” This makes me sad.

So far these are my summer movie season standings:

1. The Great Gatsby (with a bullet)

2. Iron Man 3

3. Star Trek Into Darkness

Next week we get Now You See It and After Earth. I haven’t decided which I want to see first. I really want to see Now You See It, but I’m also really excited that Will Smith is teaching his son how to fight aliens…

JJ Abrams, I believe in You

A long time ago I made a list of things that annoy me about JJ Abrams. For the most part they were things like, “What do the numbers mean?” and “Interdemensional beings don’t make any sense,” and “I really wanted Josh Jackson to be on Grey’s Anatomy and now because of Fringe that isn’t happening.”

Like I said, this was a really long time ago. Although is Christina Yang had gotten some Pacey lovin’, I think things with that show would have been very different.

Then Star Trek came out and I was all “Whoa!” Because that movie is flipping fantastic. I never even liked Star Trek before that movie came out. Chrissy and I have always shared the opinion that Star Trek is boring, like CSPAN in space. I’ve always been a Star Wars Person.

I've mentioned how much I love him!

It’s amazing, and he doesn’t hurt

Of course so has JJ Abrams. This annoyed my Trekkie friends to no end. (I am aware that Trekkie is a derogatory term. So is Fangirl, I deal with the label) My friend Jen actually said about it, “I just feel like get out of my fandom dude, stick to your own.”

Well, now JJ is going to stick to his own. He’s been comisioned to write, produce and probably direct Star Wars: Episode VII.

This movie is going to be awesome.

It probably won’t make a lot of sense. There will probably be ghosts. JJ loves ghosts. There will most definitely be alternate universes, and I really hope someone walks in to that Cantina on Tatooine and orders a Slusho.

But basically, all the things considered, given how precarious this venture is, moving forward with the Star Wars universe is going to be controversial no matter what, I think that JJ Abrams is the man to do it. He’s proved he can handle beloved material, has a good grasp of the mystical mumbo jumbo that makes up the Force, Jedis and the other stupid crap that we all love about Star Wars. This man will even make Medichlorians make sense. I guarantee it. Did you ever watch Alias? That show made no sense at all, but it was completely captivating. Felicity was like, the dumbest thing ever, but everyone loved it. And when you say the plot of Lost out loud it sound like a psychotic took acid and watched Gilligan’s Island. 

So I say, way to go JJ! Can’t wait to see what Bad Robot does in a Galaxy Far Far way…

How Does Reading Stand a Chance?

Last night, while sitting around a table drinking home brewed beer, my brother, my friend Mark and my friend Joe started talking about this week’s Sons of Anarchy. 


Opie Winston, Jax’s best friend gets beaten to death by  prison guards while Jax and two of the other Sons (Chibs and Tig) watch. It was a heart breaking scene, given that Jax had come clean to Opie about a number of secrets he had been keeping. Opie was blown away, but still hugely angry with Jax.

All three of us had different reactions to what happened, I was heartbroken. I had watched the episode on Wednesday morning, and sat by myself crying. Opie was a great character and I loved the relationship between him and Jax. Mike felt about the same, and Mark was annoyed that there was no discussion of Opie’s now orphaned children. (His wife was killed by the Sons in Season 1)

Joe, who is an English teacher, started laughing. We looked at him and he just said, “Do you think people sat around talking like this about Dickens? You know, how they only printed like one chapter a month?”

Then we all laughed and I said, “Probably, you know like, ‘Did you read Great Expectations this week?'”

Joe: Oh man, yeah! That Miss Haversham is such a bitch! And Joe was my favorite character.

Me: Yeah, totally, that was messed up!

Joe: I give up, man, I just give up. I’m not reading next month. Screw Dickens, he’s gotten completely out of control! I miss the early stuff, you know like Oliver Twist? Dickens was good back then, this new stuff is crap!

Joe and I agreed that this is probably the kind of conversations that fanboys and girls of yore had. But then Joe sighed kind of wistfully and said, “But seriously, what kind of a chance does reading have, when TV is so full of crazy twisted, awesome stories, that are so easy to access?”

He has a good point. I love good TV, I love long form TV, and I’ve even argued that the good stuff is going to become the canon in the next 100 years. (I have a concentration in Shakespeare, I like to think my descendants will get one in Whedon or Abrams.) But there is something sad about how literature seems to have stopped being a major part of the collective consciousness. There are some exceptions, like Harry Potter, but generally books don’t spark those kinds of conversations anymore.

There’s definitely something sad about that, but I’ve always thought it was an interesting evolution in entertainment. Shows like Sons of Anarchy are smart, and engaging and deeply captivating. It psychs me up that it’s so omnipresent in popular entertainment. But there is something to be said for how sad it is that it isn’t reading that does that anymore.